Think “craft beer” and hot spots like Bend, Oregon, Fort Collins, Colorado or pretty much all of Vermont come to mind. But down in North Carolina, Raleigh has been quietly carving out a top spot in the still growing craft beer industry. Things are not likely to remain quiet for long, however, because yesterday The Raleigh Beer Garden opened – with more beers on tap than any place on earth.
North Carolina’s capital city has gone beer mad: the greater Raleigh area boasts an impressive 21 breweries, plus lots of tap rooms and bottle shops. Beer centric activities include the Greater Raleigh Beer Trail, Trolley Pub Raleigh, and Beltline Brew Tours. The Courtyard by Marriott Midtown even offers a “Room with a Brew” package in conjunction with local Big Boss Brewing Company. But the Raleigh Beer Garden is likely to become the new face of the city’s thirsty tourism industry.
Raleigh Beer Garden Taps
Just a handful of the 366 taps offering the world’s largest variety of draft beer at the new Raleigh Beer Garden in North Carolina’s capital city.
The beer is flowing now, but not quite all the taps yet, and the Garden is in the red tape process of claiming its Guinness World Record (something I know more than a little about, having personally set new GWR benchmarks in skiing, golf and poker). The record will be for its staggering selection of 366 beers – all on draught from individual taps. An even twelve dozen (144) showcase North Carolina craft beers on ground level. If you can still make it up the stairs after trying a selection of those, you will find another 222 taps from across the country and around the world.
Just when you thought there was enough to drink, the three-story Beer Garden, with indoor/outdoor spaces, rooftop deck and patio, tacks on Spiritual, a high-end cocktail bar featuring locally distilled spirits. In the theme of keeping things as local as possible, tables and many of the bars throughout are made of wood from Pecan trees that stood on the bar’s site. In short, it sounds like a pretty awesome place. Since Clyde Cooper’s BBQ, specializing in hard to find classic Eastern Carolina-style whole hog cooking (since 1938), is on on my to-do list, it looks like now I’ll have someplace to go afterwards next time I visit Raleigh.