Gizmo BrewWorks – Rising from the ashes of the ill-fated Roth Brewing, Gizmo hopes to pick up where they left off in the hopes of avoiding a similar fate. The brewery/taproom is set deep inside an industrial park, in what might be the worst possible location, at least if you want people to visit. They have kept Roth’s Raleigh Red and Dark Construct Stout in rotation, but otherwise are trying some new things. So far, I’m not very impressed. The place is undergoing serious renovation now, so if you plan on going, maybe wait a bit. Maybe by then they’ll have something other than trash cans to catch the tap overflow…
- Rye Dunkelweizen – draft – 5.5% ABV – The rye flavor was nice, but understated, and I didn’t care for the smokiness. Aroma and taste alike were lackluster, and I wouldn’t recommend this one.
- Bee Keeper Honey Wheat – draft – 5.5% ABV – This one was pretty sweet, but had a good balance and was enjoyable from start to finish. Flavors were uncomplicated, mainly bread and citrus, but a solid honey wheat. Frankly, it was the best one I tried at the brewery.
Steel String Brewing – This place is located in a cool little neighborhood in Carrboro that has pretty much everything a hipster college student could need: An indie coffee shop, a local Whole-Foods-esque grocery, a thrift shop, a wine bar, a Wendy’s, and a good brewery. Why would you ever leave?
- A Little Tenderness Honeysuckle Saison – draft – 5.7% – A tart, dry saison, not as refreshing as the saisons I’m used to drinking, but it’s kind of a nice change.
Red Oak Amber Ale – draft – 5.0% ABV – This is the best amber lager I’ve ever had. Unfiltered, unpasteurized, and brewed according to (slightly modernized) Bavarian Purity Laws, it is very fresh-tasting. I’m not usually a huge fan of ambers or lagers, but this is a great example of both. I pass the brewery almost every time I take a road trip, and one of these days I’ll finally stop in and try their other beers as well.
Huygens Delirium Tremens – bottle – 8.5% ABV – This one’s been one of my favorites for a long time. Since I discovered it, I’ve had quite a few different Belgian goldens, and I’ve realized that it’s fallen from its throne. It’s still a great beer, but it’s too heavily carbonated for the more delicate flavors to come through. Still, the citrus aromas are wonderful, and the spices warm the palate while keeping the beer light and refreshing.
J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Lagavulin Whisky Cask, 2005) – bottle – 11.5% ABV – Peaty, woody aroma. The beer, if you can call it that, since it’s practically wine, is VERY sweet. Definitely sweeter than other barleywines I’ve had. The flavor is also heavy on the peat, with a touch of smoke in the finish. The mouthfeel is so smooth, almost like tea with a lot of honey…and scotch. The burn is pretty intense, and it warms all the way down. I wish I had a second bottle so I could let it age. This certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan of barleywines, and also of fine, single malt scotch, I say go for it. Ron Swanson approved.
Fullsteam Summer Basil Farmhouse Ale – growler – 5.4% ABV – Smells a lot like basil, naturally, very floral. Also has some citrus hop aroma in the background. The flavor is wonderful, like mowing over an herb garden. A little more bitter than last year’s batch, but that doesn’t make it any less great. It may be the most refreshing beer I’ve ever had.
North by Northwest Restaurant & Brewery -
- Okanogan Black Ale – draft – 5.5% ABV – Very sweet and malty, with good hop bitterness. Roasty malt flavors in the finish and a thinner mouthfeel than other black ales. A very good beer.
- Py Jingo Pale Ale – draft – 6.0% – Citrusy hops in the nose, great bitter happiness. A solid American IPA, and well-paired with the BBQ chicken pizza.
And the winner is…
Fullsteam Summer Basil! If at all possible, you should try this beer. It’s a bit different from last year’s batch, as expected for a seasonal, but no less delicious. Red Oak was a close second.
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any recommendations for me by tweeting @WickedGlitch with hashtag #botm or leaving a comment!