NC Beer Month – Craft beer anyone?

If I told you that I wasn’t big on drinking or alcohol before, those who know me will have a hard time believing it.  No, I am not an alcoholic and this is not some sorts of self-acceptance speech.  I started my drinking career with cheap beers, and enjoyed it too.  I think at that time drinking wasn’t about taste; flavor or where that beer came from it was more about who I was drinking it with and how fast I got the buzz.  Of course even now what matters the most is who you are sharing a glass or bottle with, but luckily these days my surroundings are way more knowledge about their beverages.  April happens to be NC Beer Month, this is the month where we celebrate all things beer and you will see events and specials happening around the area.  After I got through my stint of chugging retail beers I had lost the taste for it, I moved on to what you would call more red pastures in terms of red wines.  I will take a glass of wine over beer even today but I now I know how to savor a beer without chugging it and to recognize it for its taste and not the quick buzz value.

My first exposure to so called Craft beers was in Asheville, a place that I hold very dear to my heart.  I think I was born to live there and somehow belong to it, but that is a whole different topic.  I initially tried the beers only because it had images of Shiva and Ganesha on it, I know not very Hindu like but I connected with those cans.  For some reason I felt like if it had my favorite god on it (yes I have a favorite god – don’t judge!) the taste had to be good.  Let me tell you I was wrong, if you are used to drinking regular beers and not a big beer drinker venturing into crafted beers can be challenging.  So what you say is craft beer? By definition from the Brewers Associations (you will find the links at the bottom of this article), an American craft beer comes from a brewery that is small, independent, traditional.  If you want to learn the details of what each of that entails then you can visit their website, there is plethora of information on what it is and what they do.  But in short these are breweries that are most likely owned by people who are passionate about their brew and take time in thinking what it should taste like.  As they say everything made with true passion and love the outcome is always different and definitely good.

Raleigh has its own worthy contenders for breweries and craft beer shop, but there is one that is very close to Cary and Morrisville area.  This is the place that turned me to a craft beer drinker and one that knows what they are selling.  The place I am talking about is The Glass Jug, located off HWY 55 right before you hit 40.  The location seems a bit odd to me so I had to meet with the owners and see what their vision was and why they decided to open. The Glass Jug is about seven months old now and going strong.  I don’t exactly remember how I stumbled upon this place, but a friend of mine and I need a place to meet and as per Yelp this was it! When you enter the place it is not very grand I must say shelves of beers with taps and a machine that looked to me like it was futuristic.  I will explain what that is later, but I was welcomed openly with a smile and eagerness to serve me good beers.  The Glass Jug is proudly owned by Katy and Chris, a couple happily brewed in marriage.  The start of this with a lot of things as we know was in college, they started brewing beers in college and at that time the scene of brewing your own beers was not that big.  It takes motivation and a lot of courage to pursue something that you enjoy, Katy and Chris both come from a corporate background.  Katy gave up her position to run the store full –time while Chris continues to work as a website designer and helps out Katy with the store to make sure things are running smoothly.  Chris is Certified Cicerone (to tell you the truth until I met him and read about it on the site I had no clue such a thing existed), BJCP beer judge and an award winning home brewer.

There is something for everybody here; they make sure to feature one local beer on the tap.  Usually the small breweries who do not package their stuff are features on tap here.  You will find names like Big Boss, Hi-Wire, Fullstream, Foothill and many others from around the country.  They emphasis big on local and small businesses, be it for food or beer.  They also take the title for being Triangle’s first counter-pressure growler filling station.  So remember when I said the futuristic device, well not so futuristic in fact a very simple thing that helps you keep the beer fresh and tasting good.  Chris told me that it was in 2013 that the law for selling and filling growlers were loosen by the general assembly, and that was the right time to be at the forefront of the movement.  What they do is allow you purchase a growler, or bring your own they will fill it up with what they have on the tap for that day/week.  The growler can be purchased one time rate and be filled as many times as you want of course for a fee to fill the growler, but the price is so economical compare to kegs of beer that you get out.  There are many places that allow you to fill the jug if you say, but this place has the system where they purge the growlers with Co2 and then filled under pressure to ensure freshness longer.  This allows you to enjoy the beer for months instead of days, and this is what is called the counter-pressure filling station.  Now that you all have been educated you can feel free to buy me a beer here, but if you do want to know more about growlers and how to use and store them you will find plenty of information at the link provided at the end.

Overall it is a great experience to be at The Glass Jug, the place where I tried my first sour beer and one who turned me in to a dunkel drinker.  They have games to play; you think playing cards against humanity is fun?  Well try playing it drunk, we laughed and we laughed.  The place does provide snacks; of course sourced locally you will see hummus and chips, cheese, olives, and popcorn.  If you have a friend who likes wine and not beers, trust me this place will be a good place to break them in.  If not they also serve wine by glasses and also nonalcoholic beverages for those who do not drink.  If you are super hungry and would like to have a nice Tandoori chicken, empanada or spicy Thai with your beer then you have plenty of choices in the complex.  They are perfectly fine with you bringing your own food in; the only thing required of you is to make sure you have as much fun as you can.  They will welcome you just like it is your college dorm, there is no snobbishness here and no weird looks if you don’t know your beers.  They are patient and very willing to explain and educate you on what you are about to drink.  This is not a brewery, but if you would like to learn how to brew your own beers just ask Chris or Katy and they will gladly guide you in the right direction.

There are plenty of events every week to check out their website for more information.  Every Tuesday after work they have Vinyl night, not many places you see those playing now.  So what better way to spend your warm spring evenings than with a cold beer and some vinyl love.  As the site suggests you can bring in your own favorite album from your collection to be played.  This is not a store, this is a place owned by your friends who just wants to bring you the best.

Links –

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