Beer Blogger & Writer Conference 2015 officially started last Friday, July 17th. But some of us lucky attendees kicked things off Thursday, the 16th, with the Pre-Conference Excursion. We came in from parts all over the country. Those coming from the West Coast had to deal with long voyages and massive sleep deprivation, while others merely had to drive 20 or so minutes. Whatever the commute, it was a day and night well worth the trip.
We started things off by boarding a bus which was helmed by George, our Corvette loving bus driver. A most affable fellow, he happily put up with our shenanigans.
Once aboard, Mary from visitRaleigh greeted us and gave us some brief background on the Raleigh area. She turned things over to our tour guide, Will, from Beltline Brew Tours. As one would expect, Will was very knowledgeable about the Raleigh Brewery Scene and also quite entertaining.
First up, Raleigh Brewing Company, which is on pace to self distrubute 4,800 bbls of North Carolina made beer this year. RBC is the first female owned brewery in NC. They provided us with a great tour, samples of their amazing beers, and brought in some delicious BBQ for us to devour.
Lonerider Brewing Company was our next stop. Talk about a great Logo. They are coming out soon with a new beer called Magnificient 77. This ambitious brew celebrates their 7th anniversary. It sits at 7.7% ABV and is made with 77 hop varities from 7 different countries. We didn’t get to try this beer but were able to sample others, before, during and after Sumit, the owner, led us on a tour.
White Street Brewing Company was the last brewery we descended upon. Their growth continues to outpace ever new facility capacity. A great problem for a brewery to have. In their second year they took home the 2014 World Beer Cup Gold Medal for German-Style Kolsch. More great BBQ was provided to us via a Food Truck. Kraft and I also ate our “official” North Carolina hot dogs at “Shorty’s Famous Hog Dogs”, which was next door.
Our final stop was not a brewery, but soon to be home of the World’s Largest selection of beers on tap, Raleigh Beer Garden. Some had to take a nap on the way over. The owner gave us a “hands on tour” of the facility which opened Tuesday, July 21st. There are 366 beers on tap, with plans to add 10-12 more on the Roof Top bar. After letting us check out every inch of the building, including the beer cooler, he took us down the street to one of his other bars, Hibernian Pub, where Aviator Brewing Company, Nickepoint Brewing Company, and Big Boss Brewing Company poured us samples of their brews.