Fayetteville has a prominent place in US History; it is one of the first areas Scottish immigrants settled in the 1700s. And it continues to play a vital role in protecting this country, evident by all the yellow ribbons and its proximity to Fort Bragg. Many veterans have returned home and set up businesses to help the community they bravely fought for. Locals are more than happy to give their tireless support to veteran-owned small enterprises volunteering whenever they can.
One of the most popular choices is craft brewing which has plenty of room for more passionate individuals to come in and show their creativity. North Carolina has over 300 breweries and ranks in the top ten for most in the US, and Fayetteville is helping out by adding a few more.
This veteran-owned nano brewery is the latest to pop up in downtown Fayetteville. It doesn’t seem like anything special from the outside, but inside is a different story. It’s a family (and dog) friendly space with a large outdoor patio that calls you to settle down and hang out. Bright Light hosts, various events to keep customers entertained, like live music, trivia, and even ax-throwing!
The beer is on a level of its own. Their Apricot Blonde (a fruity pale ale), 60 Watt IPA (a light pale ale with notes of tropical fruits), and the Hazelnut Toffee Porter (a dark ale with a soft mouthfeel made with toffee, hazelnut, chocolate, and coffee) are worth a sample.
Heckler Brewing Company is the newest addition to Fayetteville’s growing craft brewery collection and the first in Northern Fayetteville. They opened their doors in February 2020 but had to close them just as quickly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While many businesses fell apart during these troubled times, Heckler’s made the best of it in true Southern resilience. They reorganized their operations and were among the first to deliver their iconic brews to beer lovers around town.
With its doors back open and 16 beers on tap, including year-round house brews, seasonal ales, and guest brews, Heckler’s is back to doing what it does best. Patron favorites include the Red Heckler (a smooth, nutty Irish red ale), “Pronounced Slawn-Cha” ( a spin on a traditional Irish dry stout with toasted malts and a chocolatey finish), West Coast Kristal (a wheat beer), The Better IPA ( a golden ale) and XB Pale Ale (an English Pale Ale with crisp, clean finish).
There is something about Southern food that hits differently. It is warm, and comforting, but also spicy and exciting. And enjoying it with a robust beer takes it to another level. Fayetteville has some of the finest brewpubs that serve quality food with their superior craft beers. Here are some of our favorites.
Established by a group of veterans, this nano brewpub has become an iconic location in the heart of historic downtown Fayetteville. “Gaston” is French for “guest,” and the motto here is “Be Our Guest.” The brewery has a warm, inviting atmosphere with classic pub interiors, plenty of indoor seating, and outdoor patio seating, where patrons can enjoy the evening weather as they admire the historic architecture on Hay Street.
Gaston’s has a variety of IPAs like Boondocker and the State of Lunacy, as well as stronger American ales like the “All American Strong Ale” and “Namaste Lavender” (a clean and crisp golden ale with notes of lavender).
The restaurant menu has a delectable assortment of dishes. Shareables include typical pub fares like pretzels, jalapeno poppers, chicken wings, and chips with dip. There are also fresh soups, salads, burgers, fried chicken, tacos, flatbread pizzas, and desserts.
While you are sipping a Boondocker IPA, order a GAston Burger too. This burger is certified Angus Beef with cheddar cheese and smoked bacon and loaded with onions straws doused in Boondocker IPA. And don’t forget to round it all out with a slice of pecan pie; it’s heavenly.
For 67 years, the original building served as a hardware store in downtown Fayetteville. This iconic location had gone through many hands before it finally became a brewpub. Its name is in honor of the original owner, Benjamin R. Huske, and his humble business.
Fayetteville’s old brewpub has a rich selection of artisanal brews, brewed in impressive American-made stainless steel vats that are completely visible inside the tasting room. Huske’s 15-barrel brewing system is making some quality ale. Favorites include Sledgehammer (an American Stout), Watermelon Wheat (a pale American Wheat beer), Saison De Huske (a farmhouse ale), “Kill-A-Man” (an Irish red ale), and Brick House (a hoppy IPA with notes of citrus, pineapple, and passion fruit).
The food menu is a comprehensive page-turner. There are so many delicious dishes to choose from. They have an extensive list of shareable snacks like loaded fries, nachos, mozzarella sticks, fried green tomatoes, poutine, batter-fried butterfly shrimp, and southwest-style chicken egg rolls. Then there are signature BBQ platters, salads, sandwiches, burgers, Angus Beef tips, ribeye steaks, fish, pasta, and every kind of side you can think of. Their Cavatappi Alfredo is a favorite with in-house special alfredo sauce and your choice of protein (chicken, shrimp, or salmon). It is topped with parmesan cheese and with fresh garlic bread.
Mash House is another brewery that was founded in 2001 by veterans. It is currently under new management, but its award-winning beers are just the same, and it has even been named “Best Brewhouse” by Up & Coming Magazine multiple times. Their high-quality beers are brewed on the premise and don’t have any preservatives; only the best local produce North Carolina has to offer. Their bold blends are some of the most authentic in Fayetteville, brewed traditionally. They don’t need fancy names because their IPA, Hefeweizen, Brown Porter, Red Ale, and Stouts speak for themself. They also serve crafted cocktails and wine.
They also have some of the best local cuisines in Fayetteville that will keep you coming back for more. They have plenty of starters, salads, soups, burgers, sandwiches, tacos, entrees, sides, and desserts. There is something for the whole family. The Jambalaya “Our Way” is a lip-smacking Creole dish with chicken, shrimp, ham, andouille sausage, peppers, and roasted tomatoes in a spicy Creole sauce topped with cheese, grits, and chives. Follow that with a vanilla bean Creme Brulee that melts in your mouth.