Frequently ranked as one of the best cities to live in the US, Durham also attracts millions of visitors every year, partly due to its great nightlife and culture. The craft beer scene is a staple of that culture and has evolved alongside the city. Durham is home to many fantastic breweries that take pride in their process and serve their customers the freshly brewed goodness of craft beer. If you ever find yourself in Durham wanting a great time, hit these 7 breweries to get a buzz.
Once a tobacco manufacturing hub, Durham is now known as the city of medicine due to its renowned medical facilities and research. Western scientific medicine is, however, not the only medicine Durham has to offer. Good craft beer is healing to the senses and soul and thankfully, Durham has some fantastic options for you to indulge in that particular medicine. Here is a list of the best breweries in Durham for you to get your dose.
- Fullsteam Brewery
- Ponysaurus Brewing Company
- Durty Bull Brewing Company
- Barrel Culture Brewing and Blending
Fullstream is a staple on the Durham craft beer scene and derives its distinct identity from the American South. The brewery has lofty ideals to create a Southern Beer Economy using locally sourced ingredients and empowering local food producers and farmers. Fullsteam’s beers are made using locally grown ingredients such as sweet potatoes and hickory wood. Their tagline From Plow to Pint summarizes the brewery’s mission of creating a local supply chain that ends in delicious Southern Craft Beer known for its unique taste.
We recommend their Road to Nowhere pale ale. Described as the perfect pale ale for fall and winter, Road to Nowhere has a hoppy warm undertone that is a perfect love letter to the south. If you want a true taste of North Carolina, try the brewery’s lager called Carver. Made using locally sourced sweet potatoes, the beer is the American South in a drink and a perfect adventure for your taste buds.
Ponysaurus Brewing Company
Ponysaurus has been brewing a storm since 2015 when they first started the business in an attic. Their tagline, “The beer would drink if beer could drink beer”, is a mouthful but sets the right tone for this experimental brewery that takes pride in the conventions. The brewery specializes in experimental American, Belgian, and other European-style beers that honor the tradition of the brewing process but incorporate rebellious flavors. The brewery describes its approach to beer as “forward thinking and backward tasting”, succinctly summarizing the blend of old-school and experimental.
We highly recommend there Don’t be Mean to People, a barrel-aged sour. A golden rule saison barrel aged for five years, mixed with plum and molasses, this is an experimental take on a classic beer. If you want a classic clean beer, try the Munich Dunkel which is made entirely with barley, water, and hops. On the days you want to keep it simple, this beer is just right.
Durty Bull Brewing Company
Durty Bull has tucked away from the bustle of downtown, a hidden local gem that specializes in barrel-aged beers and sours. The brewery’s passion for old-world brewing techniques and a penchant for experimentation have produced many unique beers worth tasting. A massive bonus is all the Simpsons memorabilia inside the brewery, including a Simpsons pinball machine. Meticulously brewed craft beer along with a game of pinball is a winning combination.
Try their My Mom Still Packs My Lunch, a limited-release stout made with peanut butter and marshmallows. The sweet taste of nostalgia with the bitter undertone of the stout makes this an experience worth having.
Barrel Culture Brewing and Blending
As is evident from its name, Barrel Culture specializes in barrel-aged beer. Customers can get tours of the barrel room, where they can see beers aged anywhere between 12 to 18 months. This aged beer is then combined with different flavor profiles to create unique beers for everyone to enjoy.
The brewery has 18 taps on-site to deliver a carefully curated range of beers consisting of seasonal and year-round favorites. If you like your beer to have a bit of a kick, we recommend trying their Ginger, Lime and Salt mixed fermentation ale. On the other hand, if you want to satiate your sweet tooth, their Triple Berry Cheesecake Sour hits just the right spot.
Best Breweries in Durham with Food
Sometimes you need some food to go along with your craft beer. We have compiled a list of the best breweries in Durham with food to calm those growling stomachs.
Tobacco Wood Brewing
Tobacco Wood is a Durham Gastropub that plays on Durham’s history of tobacco manufacturing through its name. The establishment also holds the distinction of being North Carolina’s first female, veteran-owned brewery. The founders have combined their passion for craft beer with their ideals of inclusivity and conceived Tobacco Wood, a major player in the Durham craft beer scene.
The restaurant’s menu consists of hearty American fare that will make you full and satisfied. We recommend going all in and trying the gigantic Meat Sweats Burger, which features 4 beef patties. Pair it with the 565, which is a light, crisp, refreshing ale to cleanse your palate and balance the meaty goodness.
Clouds Brewing is a gastropub in the heart of Durham that features craft brews and American fare on its menu. The pub’s roomy brick wall dining space, self-serve taps, and TV screens make it an excellent hangout spot.
We recommend trying their Sweet Potato Porter for a classic Southern beer experience. Pair it with some more Southern goodness in the form of Short Ribs. This will be a meal that you won’t forget for a while.
Bull City Burger and Brewery
As is evident from its name, Bull City Burger and Brewery takes great pride in its Durham roots and makes sure to empower local producers through its business. Bull City, a locally owned brewery and restaurant, makes sure that its burgers are made out of locally raised meat that is hormone-free.
The brewery also minimizes its ecological footprint as much as possible. The feed of the chickens and pigs is primarily the leftover grain from brewing beer. Bull City is an independent business with a conscience that just so happens to serve delicious brewed beer.
We recommend trying their Pimento Burger, which features their house-made pimento cheese and pickled vegetables. Pair it with the brewed goodness of their Parrish Street Pale Ale for a final touch to an already brilliant meal.