For craft beer lovers, fall doesn't just mean football season—it's also synonymous with the best beer releases of the year. And in NC, we know a thing or two about producing top-notch brews! In this list, Chana Lynn of @RaleighWhatsUp will take you on a tour of her favorite local spots—from breweries to bars to bottle shops—to sip NC beer this season. Cheers!
Fall is the perfect time for hanging at Dram & Draught. The plaid pattern of the barstools, the exposed brick interior and the cozy refurbished space make it a great retreat. Look for a nice range of draughts to start, featuring heavier, tastier beers that pair nicely with the autumn days, such as porters and stouts. You will also find some amazing cocktails and a nice selection of whiskey, which is their specialty. Personally, I prefer a cold beer, so I’m glad they offer up some local brews on draft for the craft beer fan like myself! If you’re hungry, there’s often a food truck parked in front of this friendly neighborhood bar, but if not, there’s always the trusty Char-Grill across the street that will always complement your choice of drink.
Lynnwood Brewing Concern started in Northwest Raleigh as a restaurant and small brewery. With the success of their brewing company, they expanded to a larger space in Five Points last spring. Their new taproom and beer garden is probably one of my favorite new Raleigh brewery locations. They have a large space with plenty of tables for watching football games or just spending a crisp sunny Saturday hanging with a big group of friends. Bring the dogs and kids and meet up outside in the beer garden while enjoying the cooler weather that is finally descending on Raleigh.
I recommend grabbing a seasonal beer like the Fräulein O. Märzen and celebrate your own Oktoberfest!
As the season changes, so does the beer aisle. Drop in to BottleMixx and grab one of the many pumpkin brews available this time of year—I suggest snagging them now as they are at their freshest! I can always find a good selection of seasonals at BottleMixx.
BottleMixx is a great North Raleigh neighborhood spot where you’ll often find friendly regulars watching sports, enjoying casual conversation and sipping on a cold one. Be sure to check out their Monday flight special for $5! BottleMixx also has a fantastic wine selection and their super knowledgeable wine connoisseur Jack will help you pick out the perfect vino for that Thanksgiving dinner while you sip on a tasty draft beer.
As the weather gets cooler, it’s time for indoor fun. The new taproom at Big Boss Brewing features indoor games such as darts and ping pong tables. And along with these cooler temps, I look forward to their annual release of Harvest Time Pumpkin Ale. Whether tapping it fresh from the brewery or picking up a six pack at a local bottle shop or grocery store, this local beer always signals that fall is officially here and it’s perfect for a smooth transition into the season. (Bonus: It also pairs nicely with that bowl of Halloween candy sitting next to you when the trick-or-treaters come around!)
North Street Beer Station is a great place to catch up with a couple friends in a casual and informal spot. It’s the definition of a neighborhood bottleshop and it attracts a bunch regulars. Get there on sunny day, when the garage doors are up. They often have some good draft deals, paired with relaxing atmosphere. If you are looking to just sit and relax on a nice fall afternoon, stopping by North Street is an excellent choice. Look for NC beers like NoDa Brewing from Charlotte or fill up a North Street Crowler to take home any of your favorite drafts (also handy for a fall bonfire or football tailgate!).
North Street Beer Station sits in the heart of Glenwood South and there’s plenty of nearby places to go if you get hungry, feel like bar hopping or want to pick up the pace next door at Clockwork!
You will find a great variety of beer in this tiny bottle shop located in North Raleigh. Even though they are small, they have a wide selection of beers on tap (18 taps!) and a few seats at the cozy bar in the back. Stop by The Hop Yard and stock up on some great fall varieties for pairing with holiday meals—volunteer to be the one who makes the beer run while the family is preparing for the Thanksgiving feast!
One of my favorite seasonals you are likely to find here and is usually pleasing to all palates is the Great Lakes Oktoberfest. The Hop Yard carries probably one of the most extensive beer collections in Raleigh, so you can find a wide variety of brews from different local breweries and some harder-to-find items too!
Pelagic is a cozy spot fit for relaxing and enjoying a beverage on a day when the weather isn’t ideal for being outside. Pelagic has that Person Street neighborhood vibe and is very welcoming to dogs as well.
Cooler weather means the desire for heavier beers, so I would look for a great stout on tap to enjoy on the spot or take home to drink by the firepit. Duck Rabbit Milk Stout is a great option and it’s made here in NC!
From the first time I visited Pharmacy Bottle & Beverage in Cary, I knew it was a place where I would want to spend more time. Pharmacy offers great indoor and outdoor seating and has one of my favorite bars to sit, sip and people-watch. I'm also a fan of places with great glassware that makes for awesome Insta beer photos! After sampling a tasty brew at the bar (and getting your beer selfie!), stock up on some great canned or bottled beer options for your next NC football tailgate. I recommend grabbing a six-pack or two of Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale from Foothills Brewing to throw into the fall beer mix for tailgating at your own Alma Mater.
While the weather gets chillier outside, The Glass Jug, a Durham locals’ favorite, is always warm and busy on the inside! Though it’s located in a nondescript strip mall, it has a whole different vibe inside, offering plenty of good beer on draft, knowledgeable staff and a great selection of bottles to take home with you. I would keep an eye out for some rare autumn beers here, like a NoDa seasonal, or a good Breakfast Stout.
As the leaves change colors and the air chills, fall is a great time to get out for a Saturday or Sunday drive and explore. Hillsborough is a fun town to visit and also home to Mystery Brewing.
Mystery is the perfect place for sampling a wide variety of unique and earthy beers while seated in the rustic and cozy tap room. The brewery is located close to the Eno River and is open for tours. Their selection is heavy on the seasonal—try sampling the Rosalind Autumnal Saison, available now through December, or the Fantine Belgian IPA, one of my current favorites. The town of Hillsborough offers plenty of dining, shopping and exploring options to round out your day trip to one of NC’s small-town gems!
When the air turns brisk, it’s time to give the Belgian beers a try. One of my favorite trips abroad was to Belgium—honestly, they probably produce the freshest and best-tasting beer in the world! Belgian beers and food are heavier, earthier and seem fitting to cooler weather. I suggest heading over to Mash & Lauter, located above Busy Bee, and trying a Belgian Dubbel or Tripel. Pair it with one of their amazing dishes like the Rabbit Fricassée for a true Belgian experience. Or go light with a wit beer, like the traditional Blanche de Bruxelles, paired with a Belgian waffle. You won’t be disappointed, and as they say, it’s cheaper than a plane ticket to Brussels!