Ok, so this one isn’t totally about beer. I have a friend that grew up in the Chicago burbs with me and has lived in Seattle for a while now. He and his wife are moving to the area in September. I started making a list of things for him to check out, but I thought it might be nice to get some other input. Maybe we can all find something new? Please feel free to add your favorite things about NC in the comment section.
Some of my favorite things…
1) BEER (surprise, surprise…) and FOOD
I love beer tours. I love learning about how beer is made, I love meeting the people that make my beer, I even love the weird way breweries smell. My favorite brew tour in the area would have to be Carolina Brewing Company. I think its the most informative and they are the brewer that got me started on craft beer, so its kind sentimental for me.
The Big Boss brew tour is probably the most fun. I don’t believe that people actually go there to learn anything, but the crowd is usually a little crazier than the one at CBC and its fun to people watch. The seasonal beers from both of these brewers are my favorite and I am looking forward to the Big Boss release of Aces & Ates coming soon.
I have a few set places that I like to hang out and drink beer. I am at Tylers Tap Room in Apex about once a week. I think Tylers has the best bartenders in the area. If you go there, sit at the bar. You can order food and talk with whoever is working behind the bar that night, they are really friendly and knowledgeable about beer.
I am a big fan of Tir Na Nog. They always have a good beer selection and they have a surprisingly good selection of vegetarian food in addition the normal pub food. This is another place where your visit will be more enjoyable if you sit at the bar.
The patio at Mellow Mushroom is fantastic in nice weather. They have a good selection of beer, but I have to be honest, it doesn’t always taste right there. I don’t know why, but I have had more than a few beers that tasted kind of off there. I still like it. Its one of my favorite places to go for lunch when I am off work mid-week.
I also like The Rockford, its a little easier to find now that they put the name on the door. They have a small selection of beer, but solid choices. The food there is simple, but good, the side dishes are normally the best part of the meal. If you are lucky enough to get a window seat, you can look out over the street from the second floor and see all the happenings on Glenwood Ave.
Food Trucks are awesome. I know there is a lot of drama surrounding them now, but I really like the idea of them. The veggie burger and fries from Only Burger was one of the best I have ever had. I am also desperate to find and consume some dumplings from the elusive Chirba Chirba.
Bottle shops make me happy. I think my world became a better place when The Beer Dispensary came to Apex. Tim is a great guy and a total beer nerd like me. He is always looking for something new and different. I know every time I go in there, he will have something that I haven’t tired or heard of. He is also good about posting new product on Twitter, so you know the second it hits the shelves.
Bottle Revolution – This place isn’t open yet, but I have been following its progress on Facebook and Twitter and I know its going to be great. I met Ted at the Girls Pint Our event and he seems like a really nice guy and seems exited to bring some quality craft brews to the area. He will be located right down the street from the RBC center, how brilliant is that?
Sam’s Quick Shop -this one is a little far for me, but worth the trip. It’s a small building jam packed with just about every craft beer you could want. Rumor has it, the got a few shipments of Terrapins Hoptaneous Combustion. Unfortunately, I missed out, but just knowing they got it, makes me want to keep a better eye on that place.
2) THINK LOCAL (also mostly food based, I think I’m hungry)
I really like the think local vibe that we have going on here. It has seemed to get really strong over the past year or two and I think its something we should all continue to push.
The farmers market in Raleigh is the first thing that comes to mind. I was even told about it before I moved here. It’s exactly what you would expect a farmers market to have, there is just much more of it. A lot of times its even cheaper that buying at the grocery store.
Little Flying Cows Honey. I guess honey is a strange thing to get excited about, but it really is the best honey I have ever had. I could eat the creamed honey straight out of the jar with a spoon. The family that owns it is really quirky, but I mean that in the best possible way.
Larrys Beans! This is the best coffee I have ever had. If you get a chance to go on the tour of the plant, you should go. Its really cool how they operate and how environmentally conscious they are.
Stick Boy Bread Company. Ok, I’m a little biased on this one because I am one of the bread bakers here. I can honestly say the owners of this business are some of the nicest people I have ever met. I shopped here before I worked here and although I would continue to support them based on how genuinely nice they are, I also respect their approach to business and think they offer very good products. They use Larrys Beans and make the cheesy beer buns that they use at the Aviator Smokehouse. So you can support two local business at once here.
The Got To Be NC festival – This is a great thing to go to each year. You will find local businesses of all sorts. They really promote local wine, but not beer (shakes fist and looks disappointed) . Maybe they will change that next year? Its a good opportunity to try samples of products from local companies. We had friends in town with kids when we went and we had a great time in the toddler area playing with the games they had set up.
3) DOG STUFF
Any one that truly knows me knows that I am obsessed with my dogs. They are more important to me than beer or hockey! I am actually covered in tattoos of my dogs. Given that, I had to include some dog related things too.
The Pet Pantry (FeedYourPets.com). Since I am talking non-stop about local food, I thought I would include pet food as well. The Pet Pantry uses almost all American sourced meat. They deliver pet food directly to your front door. Most days if you place your order before 6am, you get your pet food the same day. I have gotten a personal reply from the owner every time I have placed an order and a sample bag of dog treats with each time as well. They have a Facebook page and post coupon codes on there every once in a while.
BEST PAW FORWARD- Dog training. I’ll admit, I’m Franks worst nightmare. I feed my dogs treats in hopes to make them love me more. I get as excited to see them when I come home as they are to see me. I let them sleep in my bed. I would be a Best Paw Forward failure! That being said, Frank knows what he’s talking about when it comes to dog training and if I chose to listen to his advice, my dogs would be better behaved. I have known him for a few years through a dog rescue that I sometime volunteer with. He offers group classes and personal classes in your home. He is a trustworthy guy and rumor has it he is also a craft beer drinker, so that scores him extra points in my book.
I grew up on Chicago area punk and random straightedge and hardcore. The music I have found here is very different than that, but I have come to enjoy it very much.
Avett Brothers- They have absolutely blown up over the past few years. for some reason their website is broken right now,so I had to put up a You Tube link
The Bowerbirds- They seem a little darker and creepier than the other bands but in a really good way.
Lizzy Ross – I first saw her play at a dog rescue event I was at. I cant figure out how that voice comes out of such a tiny girl.
I’m sure I missed some obvious stuff, but this is just a starter list. I would love to hear what some of your favorite NC things are!