National Beer Day is April 7, which coincides nicely with North Carolina Beer Month every April... except that this year, we're also celebrating Durham's birthday. The fact that Durham has been around for 150 years was more than enough inspiration for a six local breweries to create libations specifically for this momentous occasion.
Cheers to bubbles, brews, and a momentous birthday.
Bull City Burger and Brewery
Bull City Burger and Brewery, or BCBB, (pictured below) won Best in Show 2017 at the North Carolina Brewers' Cup including three gold medals, two silver medals, and one bronze. Over an 18-month cycle, they brew about 60 different true-to-style ales and lagers. They are champions of style and brew authentic tasting beers representative of the regions and countries where the beers originated. While they are proponents of traditional beer styles, they also like to play around with ingredients like jalapeños, chocolate, smoke, and whatever looks like it might taste good in a beer.
This year for Durham 150, they're creating a fondly named Durhamer Ale, a new style of beer brewed with Durham malt, Durham water, North Carolina hops and the flavor of the city. Yum!
Seth Gross of Bull City Burger and Brewery explains, “This beer was designed to showcase the great elements of our city, the South, and our history. In the glass, the beer is a tobacco brown color with a toasty biscuit aroma. The beer emphasizes malt flavors while the hops is more in the background with less bitterness.”
Durty Bull Brewing Company uses old-world brewing techniques, along with their own creativity and passion, to bring you barrel-aged and sour beers as well as many other unconventional brews. They bring a specialized niche of beer as well as our love of brewing to the wonderful residents of the Bull City and beyond.
A century and a half led us to this very moment: when Durty Bull partners with Big Spoon Roasters to release a coffee stout into the world! “We’re very excited to be part of Durham’s 150th and to get to work with such great local businesses,” said Matt Pennisi, manager of Durty Bull. We can't wait to try their creation in the coming weeks!
Fullsteam Brewing specializes in southern-sourced classics, progressive beers with a eye toward the future, beers that celebrate seasonal harvests, and experimental and wild beers from the farm's edge. The brewery took home another Good Food Award this year in the beer category for its Southern Basil beer. The Good Food Awards honor artisan products deemed exceptionally tasty, but also made through sustainable practices and local sourcing. Fullsteam remains the only N.C. brewery to win since the awards began in 2011. Additionally, Fullsteam owner Sean Lilley Wilson (a James Beard Foundation award semifinalist in 2012 and 2013) was nominated again this year for the distinction of Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional.
Durham 150 celebrants will get to experience the product of Fullsteam's collaboration with Goorsha, an Ethiopian eatery, to create a Tej (wine) and Tella (Ethiopian home brew) inspired Amber Ale using North Carolina honey and “Ethiopian hop” gesho.
“It's been incredibly rewarding to work with Discover Durham, our fellow Durham breweries, and our restaurant partner, Goorsha,” said Sean Lily Wilson, owner and chief executive optimist at Fullsteam. “The Durham 150 celebration gives us an incredible opportunity to brew a beer with Goorsha, as we celebrate their culinary and culture contributions to this rich, diverse city we call home.”
Ponysaurus' grassy beer garden (pictured) is the ideal setting for sipping. Ponysaurus Brewing Co. is a forward-thinking, backward-tasting brewery and taproom based in Durham, NC, creating beers that are meant to be savored, appreciated, contemplated, philosophized, studied, nuzzled, and mindfully guzzled.
Visit the taproom and beer garden where the beer is always flowing on 219 Hood Street. And look for us throughout North Carolina at Mateo Tapas, Pizzeria Toro, Poole's Downtown Diner, Geer Street Garden, Wine Authorities in Raleigh, Thirsty Monk, and other fine establishments!
Their Durham 150 beverage is producing a szechuan peppercorn ale in collaboration with Dashi for ingredients; we can't wait to see how this libation spices things up!
“North Carolina ingredients and Japanese flavors inspired the Muchu Durham Ale, a collaboration brew we crafted with Dashi for Durham’s 150th anniversary,” Ponysaurus’s co-founder, Nick Hawthorne-Johnson said. “Muchu, which means "crazy about" in Japanese, are our exact sentiments about Durham. This ale is brewed with sake yeast, buckwheat, Sorachi Ace Japanese hops, szechuan peppercorn, and locally grown Koshihikari rice from our friends at South Wind Produce. The blend of these bold flavors creates a well-balanced, full bodied beer with notes of earthy tea and hints of lemon. Cheers to Durham!”
Based in Carrboro with a second location in Durham, Starpoint Brewing uses whole cone hops, premium malts, and time honored brewing techniques to craft the best beers for their customers. Check out their Beer Study location off of University Drive to peruse some brews, hang out at the bar, or play some classic pinball games.
Durham 150 inspired the brewers at Starpoint to collaborate with NuvoTaco to create a tortilla mexican lager and jicama variant.
“I eat at NuvoTaco (across the street from Starpoint Brewing) most every day,” said Nikko Carlson, head brewer at Starpoint Brewing. “I may be more taco than man at this point. With this opportunity, for breweries to partner with Durham restaurants and businesses in a collaboration to celebrate Durham’s past and present, and as a Hispanic, I thought it would be great to highlight a cuisine that is heavily influenced by Hispanic culture, especially the contributions historically that minorities and their cuisine have brought to Durham. So, I created a Mexican Lager recipe, which generally includes a lot of corn in the grist, and NuvoTaco brought their tortilla chips they fried up for the beer. We mashed with tortillas instead of the corn generally used in a Mexican Lager recipe and are going to lager it for a month for a light and crisp lager that would be great to sip on in Durham’s warm spring and summers.”
The Glass Jug
Another recent edition to the Durham scene, The Glass Jug Beer Lab is an on-site nano brewery producing one-off small batch experimental beers that you can only find at The Glass Jug. The Beer Lab gets its name from the experimental focus of the brewery and as a nod to all of the fantastic scientists in their backyard of the Research Triangle Park area. Additionally, their outdoor seating is excellent for the warm spring weather.
What's more intriguing than a Belgian Witbier with gin botanicals? Try it in honor of our anniversary year to find out.
"We're excited, not only about our partnership with Durham Distillery, but also for the chance to see what all of the other great Durham breweries, food, and beverage providers put together,” said Chris Creech, co-owner of the Glass Jug Beer Lab. "As one of Durham's newest breweries, it's exciting to be a part of a collaboration that celebrates the long history of Durham and showcases the exquisite food and beverage scene in our town."
Bonus Beverages: Bull Durham Beer Company
They may not have a special brew this year, but their opening days are more than enough reason to quench your thirst on these coming summer afternoons.
The Durham Bulls are the only minor league team in the country to brew their own beer in their own park. You can get Bull Durham Beer Co. draft beer at the park come opening day while they play at home for the first time in 2019 on April 11. You can also purchase cans at your local Triangle supermarket including their recently released light beer. Not only is the beer itself garnering praise, but the design of the cans themselves is award-winning.
Each brewer will have Durham 150 beer-themed coasters available at their taprooms as well as a stamp to signify that a patron visited a brewery serving Durham 150 beer. When patrons collect all six stamps on a coaster, they can trade it in at the Visitor Info Center (212 W. Main St.) for a commemorative pint glass.
For more information on other NC Beer Month or National Beer Day events in Durham, visit our Events Calendar.