Taking the Beltline Brew Tours – Durham Version

Just when you think that one brew tour is just like another and when you do three in a row, it would be like watching TV repeats all day long. We just did the Beltline Brew Tour for Raleigh two weeks ago so three more in Durham would be more of the same but it couldn’t be more from the truth. Brewery tours are about engaging the beer enthusiasts, accommodating not only newbies but veteran homebrewers too. If the tour guide is dry and is simply spewing facts about beer and what  equipment does what,  the audience is lost and all they look for is time at the tasting bar. So far, we have not encountered this type of brewery tour (yet).
Seth Gross at Bull City Burger and Brewery
First stop is Bull City Burger and Brewery which opens at exactly 11:11am. Seth Gross didn’t take the group through the brewery area since it’s in a room with glass walls and visible from the dining area. He started with the basics of what beer is made of and brought out the ingredients for everyone to see and taste. It’s amazing that barley can be sweet and, depending on how long it was kilned, can taste like chocolate. He described the difference between ales and lagers to make it understandable for all. It was wonderful when he explained how to drink beer to get the full flavor and aroma and to not just drink it down. He did briefly go over the process of brewing and how each piece of equipment is used. His presentation was full of energy and his approach was very unique and intriguing.
Triangle Brewing Company brew tour
Next up was Triangle Brewing. A giant warehouse filled with their canned products as you walk in and a large open area to peruse the tasting bar, gift shop (t-shirts and glasses) and the large canning machine. Everyone is given a pint of whatever they have on tap – it’s such a hard choice to pick just one! For those that were sort of new to the craft beer scene, we highly recommended the Golden Ale. That one is a personal favorite. It comes in at a nice 8%ABV (alcohol by volume) so you get great beer that is a great crossover from those “other beers” and at an impressive ABV. Taylor(formerly/currently known as Leon) took the group into the brewing area – Triangle Brewing definitely outputs A LOT of beer! Taylor took the technical side, discussing the equipment process from start to finish. Once again, high energy and very engaging  and his humor kept the tour moving right along.
Sean Lilly Wilson at Fullsteam Brewery
Next stop is Fullsteam Brewery. Sean took on the brewery tour duty and it was the funniest tour to date. The group engaged him with a lot of questions that ran the spectrum of easy to detailed. He started with the brewing basics, pointing out that Fullsteam is heavily engaged in supporting North Carolina agriculture. Everyone was treated to samples of Sweet Potato Carver, Working Man’s Lunch and Cackalacky ginger pale ale (of which I have found an incredible new favorite. Don’t tell anyone until we do the review!) With as much brewing equipment as we’ve seen on the tours, it’s amazing that something new is learned every time. When you hear what goes into making the Sweet Potato Carver and the wonders it does to the equipment, you learn to appreciate it so much more. Sean has a very quick wit and that played a huge role in keeping everyone entertained and informed.

The tour finished at Bull City Burger and Brewery – where all enjoyed lunch on the back patio. Did I mention that they have THE BEST BURGERS around – you have to try the Over Easy Burger!! Seth brought out more samples and enlightened everyone to the history of the beers we were trying – more great information. All in all another great experience and Will is looking to expand to other breweries so the beer quest continues! CHECK OUT THE GALLERY