Twenty-one is an important age for folks who like to drink beer. It’s when you can legally crack open that first craft beer and enjoy it with family, friends and Dionysus above. When a craft brewery reaches the ripe old age of 21, it also has attained an impressive milestone of longevity. It means that the brewery started in the last century, during the ‘90s, when craft beer was but a blip on the radar of beer drinkers and makers in America.
If we take the way-back machine 21 years ago to 1995, we could enjoy the birth of Carolina Brewery, one of North Carolina’s pioneer craft brands. Carolina Brewery was the first brewery in North Carolina’s triangle area and the fifth in a state that is now home to more than 120 breweries. Grown from founder Robert Poitras’ personal passion for the craft beer industry, the brand has handcrafted a selection of signature drafts, along with an ever-evolving menu of fresh, locally-sourced dishes served at its brewpub.
“So much has changed in the craft beer industry since we opened 21 years ago, and our journey from then to now has been one of continual evolution for the brand,” said Poitras, Carolina Brewery founder and third generation Tar Heel. “In 2016, customers can look forward to a new Sunday Brunch in March, more produce sourced from right here in North Carolina, along with more seafood featured on our spring and summer menus. We’ll also have a batch of new beers, including the debut of our Pamlico Pale Ale on tap and in 16-ounce cans this spring.”
“When we started brewing at Carolina Brewery, our mission was to bring world-class beer to North Carolina,” said Jon Connolly, director of brewing operations at Carolina Brewery. “Twenty-one years later, our team is proud to continue this tradition while also getting creative with new, tasty brews like the upcoming Pamlico Pale Ale. Brewing is the perfect blend of art and science, and Chapel Hill is a prime location to showcase our craft.”
Co-founded in 1995, Carolina Brewery is a North Carolina institution with two brewpub locations in Chapel Hill and Pittsboro — each serving fresh, made-from-scratch entrees using local ingredients. Carolina Brewery has received numerous accolades in the press and at respected beer festivals throughout the world, including a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival, over a dozen medals at the World Beer Championships and many more. A graduate of the Siebel Institute of Technology and World Brewing Academy in Chicago, Connolly has served as Carolina Brewery’s brewmaster for more than 20 years. Carolina Brewery’s beers are available at restaurants, bars and shops offering craft beer throughout the Carolinas and Tennessee.
In honor of the occasion, Carolina Brewery will be tapping a limited edition Belgian witbier style “Anniversary Ale” on the brewery’s official birthday, Feb. 9, at both locations in Chapel Hill and Pittsboro. As part of the anniversary celebration, pub-goers will be able to enjoy $1 pints all day long, as well as savor the limited time ale for longer with takeaway growlers. On Feb. 12, the brewpub will also be giving away limited edition Anniversary glasses to the first 500 beer customers at the flagship location in Chapel Hill.