Last January I wrote about new breweries and distilleries expected to open up in the Triangle in 2016.
Sitting down to write the 2017 version of that column, I re-read last year’s and noticed some of those breweries still haven’t opened. At least one that did has already closed.
And a few are on the way to establishing themselves, as long as they can get through another year or two and make even more of a name for themselves.
So with the warning that brewing can be a fickle business, here’s what we know right now about what Triangle craft beer drinkers should be on the lookout for in 2017.
If there’s a trend here, it’s that established restaurateurs are opening most of these breweries within new or existing restaurants – although there are a few brewery-only businesses in the works.
Downtown Raleigh is set to get another brewery. Bida Manda owner Van Nolintha said he will open Bhavana – which is in the former Tir Na Nog location, next door to Bida Manda – in the next month or two.
I wrote about the project in last year’s story, when it was called Plenty. Now it has a new name, and the opening date is finally within sight. The concept has remained unchanged, which is nice because it sounds really cool: A brewery, florist, dim sum restaurant and book store, all located at 218 S. Blount St.
“We are curious to see how it evolves,” Nolintha said. “People who are coming for these different offerings are going to come together, coexist in a space they might not have all been in otherwise.”
As for the beer, head brewer Patrick Woodson said Bhavana will mostly brew Belgian styles, along with a few sour, funky and other experimental styles.
And the Raleigh location of Tobacco Road Sports Cafe – which recently moved from Glenwood Avenue to 505 W. Jones St. – is temporarily closed to install brewery equipment, which the restaurant said last week will open “soon.”
(In addition, Growler USA, a Colorado-based microbrew pub and restaurant chain, will soon open one of its newest locations near City Market in downtown Raleigh.)
But the opposite can also happen. Last year, I wrote about how The Busy Bee in downtown was rebranding, by changing its upstairs area from a bar called The Hive to the Belgian-inspired Mash And Lauter. That only lasted a few months, and now the entire restaurant – which is owned by the Trophy Brewing team – is closing, with plans to re-open soon as Trophy Tap & Table.
Just south of downtown Raleigh, Brice’s Brewing Co. in Garner passed its final inspection and began brewing in December. They’re not open to the public yet, but they’re putting the finishing touches on the taproom at 1822 Garner Station Blvd. It doesn’t have much in the way of curb appeal, situated in a strip mall just off U.S. 401. But it has a secret weapon that gives it, actually, a great location. The brewery is just a stone’s throw away from one of the best Mexican restaurants in the Triangle, Taqueria El Toro.
Cary is getting its third brewery, as Jordan Lake Brewing Co. is under construction near downtown not too far from Bond Brothers Beer Co., which opened last year. They plan to invite food trucks to complement the eight to 10 beers on tap, named after cofounders Luke Carter and Charny Mitchell’s favorite places at Jordan Lake. The tap handles look like kayak paddles, and the patio will have picnic tables modeled after those at the lake (but please don’t plan to camp at the bar).
One of North Carolina’s oldest breweries, Triangle Brewing Co., closed its doors last spring. But there are always newcomers waiting in the wings, and several breweries have plans to open in Durham this year.
Last year, I wrote that Durham could get two new breweries in 2016 – Durty Bull and Modern Romance. In the spirit of my day job with PolitiFact North Carolina, I’ll give myself a Half True on that. Durty Bull did open, but not Modern Romance. Online, it describes itself as “coming someday to Durham.”
So that might be one we’ll see in 2017, but it’s far from the only potential new Bull City brewery.
A short walk from Ponysaurus, the new Dueling Sloths Brewing Co. is under construction already at 923 Franklin St. Dueling Sloths will have half a dozen arcade games inside, and an outdoor patio for when the weather is nice.
I’m sure I’ve missed a few, so please let me know what other breweries we might see open up in the Triangle in 2017.
UPDATE: Some helpful readers have pointed out a few that I misse.
For even more updates on new Triangle breweries, see my new article here.
Doran: 919-836-2858, firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @will_doran