WILMINGTON — The Wilmington area continues to grow its reputation as an “Asheville East” of craft breweries — there are now 18 in the region — and we’ll be here to keep you in the loop. Our craft beer tracker is a place to keep up with scheduled beer releases, festivals, special casks, and more for the week ahead. We’ll publish every week and update as information comes along.
Schedules can fluctuate inside the brewhouse, so check the breweries’ links for updates on their Facebook pages. Brewers and taproom managers: keep us informed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Topsail Island St. Patty’s Day Pub Crawl (March 17): The pub crawl’s organizer expects 300 to 500 participants after last year’s big showing. The route will include at least four bars on Topsail Island while two in Snead’s Ferry consider participation. Read about it here.
Cape Fear Craft Beer Week (March 22 – 31): Festivities kick off with the Ultimate Brewing Championship at Hannah Block Community Arts Center (Mar. 22), where the champion’s belt will be given to a local brewery who brewed the best small batch using unique, local ingredients. The rest of the week includes beer and food pairings at various breweries, an End of Season Oyster Roast (Mar. 23), a brewery tour on the Port City Brew Bus (Mar. 23), and the Cape Fear Craft & Cuisine at Airlie Gardens (Mar. 30) featuring more than 25 breweries.
This week in craft beer Monday, Mar. 11 – Sunday, Mar. 17
Bill’s Brewing Co. | 4238 Market Street in midtown Wilmington
Upcoming Releases: the seasonal Raisin the Dubb, a Belgian dubbel (a brown beer first brewed by Belgium’s Westmalle Abbey in 1856), brewed with rum-soaked golden raisins.
- Brewing Philosophy: “We strive to create beer that everyone can enjoy, from the craft beer connoisseur to individuals new to the craft beer scene.”
- Brewers’ Top 3: Dog Haze of Summer NEIPA, Schwarzbier, and Wave Break IPA
- Founded: June 2016
Broomtail Craft Brewery | 6404 Amsterdam Way, King’s Grant area of Wilmington
Newest Release (Friday, Mar. 1): the Ducktail bourbon barrel imperial stout, aged in Maker’s Mark barrels, with notes of charred oak, vanilla, chocolate, and of course, bourbon. Comes in at a healthy 10 percent ABV.
- Brewing Philosophy: “To enrich the world by using scientific art coupled with the natural resources and living organisms provided by Mother Nature developing unique, high-quality beer for all to enjoy.”
- Brewers’ Top 3: Galloping Gose’ – series of light sours using natural lactobacillus and brewers yeast in fermentation to develop smooth, refreshing, true to style Gose’; Acerbic Ecstasy – flagship IPA, a hybrid English / West Coast IPA; Moe Beer – signature brown ale, highly crushable and pairs well with almost any dish.
- Founded: 2014
Keep up with their souring/barrel aging facility and taproom in Ogden, The Sour Barn (7211 Market Street).
Check Six Brewing Co. | 5130 Southport-Supply Road in Southport
New Release: the Flight Test #1 (a fruit IPA). “Fruity with a dark amber color and hints of grapefruit and orange,” owner and brewmaster Noah Goldman said. “The hops bring an almost sweet juicy taste that will surely satisfy New England Style IPA fans.”
- Brewing Philosophy: “Make the finest ales and lagers possible, using local ingredients whenever possible.”
- Brewers’ Top 3: Harley Pope Vanilla Porter, Aerial Aggression Double IPA, B-17 Bock
- Founded: June 2016
Edward Teach Brewery | 604 N 4th Street in downtown Wilmington
Newest Release: the Peach Wheat Ale, brewed with apricot and peach purees.
On March 27 (6:30 – 8:30 p.m.): Come sip on their latest beers with paired dishes by Chef Rex Horrell, as part of Cape Fear Craft Beer Week.
- About:: “Set in a historic firehouse in Wilmington’s Brooklyn Arts District, we craft beers for everyone. Try our German or Black Lagers, Peach Wheat Ale, and IPAs.”
- Founded: December 2017
Flying Machine Brewing Co. | 3130 Randall Parkway in midtown Wilmington
New Releases: the Paper Cranes Passion Fruit Pale Ale, a NEIPA conditioned on fresh passion fruit.
Also now on tap: the Connubiality, a 10 percent ABV Mexican “wedding cookie imperial stout” using locally-baked cookie, with notes of vanilla, chocolate, and almond.
- Brewing Philosophy: “We want to mix new age ideas with old school techniques to bring a new era of innovation to the marketplace.”
- Brewers’ Top 3: Vimana (a Kölsch), Hollow Bones (a Roggenbier), and Hollow Wolf Lord (a double New England IPA)
- Founded: June 2016
Flytrap Brewing | Located at 319 Walnut Street in downtown Wilmington
New Release (Sunday, Mar. 3): Sour BlackBerry Saison.
- Brewing Style: “A neighborhood brewery specializing in small batch American and Belgian style ales that are guaranteed to be at the peak of freshness.”
- Brewers’ Top 3: Our Saisons, our Rotating House IPA, and our Kettle Sour Ales
- Founded: October 2014
Front Street Brewery | 9 N. Front Street in downtown Wilmington
Mar. 27 (6:30 p.m.): the Bacon, Booze & Beer part as part of Cape Fear Craft Beer Week, a curated pairing of craft beers and fine whisky, with bacon coming in as palate cleansers between each tasting station.
- Brewing Style: “Specializing in American and Belgian style ales and small batch brews.”
- Brewers’ Top 3: Amberjack ESB, Napoleon Rye-namite, Tiny Tim’s Christmas Ale
- Founded: 1995
Good Hops Brewing | 811 Harper Ave in Carolina Beach
Re-Release: the Brut IPA is back on tap.
They also report they’re on the final two kegs of the Sierra Nevada collaboration, Resilience IPA, and the Broken Hearted Stout.
- Mission: “To make and drink damn tasty beer, offer a comfortable neighborhood gathering place and support all things local.”
- Flagships: Donna Golden Ale, Flip Hop IPA, Stanky Yankee Hazy IPA
- Founded: 2014
Ironclad Brewery | 115 N. 2nd Street in downtown Wilmington
Nothing new to report here, keep up with news on their Facebook page (link above).
- Brewing Philosophy: “We strive to provide each beer enthusiast with a unique experience by infusing traditional styles with unexpected ingredients: Fermentation of the Imagination!”
- Brewers’ Top 3: Smoked Honey Lager, Cukes of Hazard, and Navigator Double Bock
- Founded: 2015
Mad Mole Brewing | 6309 Boathouse Road near Bradley Creek in Wilmington
New Release (Mar. 7): the Molevolence, a Belgian dark strong ale brewed with blackberries at a dangerous 11 percent ABV.
- About: “Wilmington’s first solar-powered brewery. Spun off from a local software company, Mad Mole combines technology and art to brew better beer.”
- Founded: June 2018
Makai Brewing Co. | 5850 Ocean Highway W. Unit 1 in Ocean Isle Beach
Saint Patrick’s Day Release: the Ula Ula Irish Red Ale will be back on tap.
- Brewing Philosophy: “Extending the reach of North Carolina craft beer ‘toward the sea’ with consistent flagships and diverse small-batches inspired by the Hawaiian Islands, the Carolina Coast, and our local community.”
- Brewers’ Choice: Carolina Tropical IPA, Nightingale Coffee Porter, Fire Knife DIPA
- Founded: 2017
New Anthem Beer Project | 116 Dock Street in downtown Wilmington
Draft-only Release: the Preachy, an unfiltered strong bitter.
- Brewing Style: “Diverse and recognizable hoppy beers with a sidecar of barrel-aged dark beers and traditional styles from the UK and Belgium.”
- Brewers’ Choice: Rusty Cage, Five Thieves, Hillbilly Prophet
- Founded: 2016
Red Hare 34 North Experiment Station | 4802 Main St in Shallotte
Fresh cans of About Last Night Brut IPA are out in the Shallotte taproom. At 7 percent ABV and 28 IBUs, taproom manager Byron McSweeney calls it a great rendition of the brut style. “Very dry with a pleasant hop addition,” McSweeney said.
Keep your eyes on April 20th for their 1-year anniversary party.
- Brewing Style: “Our style is fun, approachable beers. Specialize in lagers and crushable IPA’s to experiment wilds and sours, all usually with a classical and historically accurate base but with our innovative spin.”
- Brewers’ Top 3: Soft J IPA, SPF 50/50 Tangerine, and Putin’s Paradise Russian Imperial Stout
- Founded: 2012 (Shallotte location opened April 2018)
Salty Turtle Beer Co. | 103 Triton Lane in Surf City
Upcoming Release: the Roland Avenue Rye IPA (6.1 percent ABV). “Some dankness, spiciness, and smoothness to this one,” owner Dan Callender said.
- About: “Veteran-owned brewery located in Surf City, consisting of 10 rotating taps and a family friendly taproom featuring food trucks and live music. “
- Brewers’ Choice: Coastline Kölsch, Hey Zay NEIPA, Swingbridge Breakfast Stout
- Founded: Dec. 2017
Waterline Brewing Co. | 721 Surry Street in Downtown Wilmington
St. Patrick’s Day Release: the annual small batch Irish Stout for the St. Paddy’s Day Bash at the brewery.
Read about head brewer Dani Bearss’ quick rise from bartender to head brewer here.
- Brewing Philosophy: “Brewed Under the Bridge with a focus on traditional, easy drinking beer styles with the occasional twist.”
- Brewers’ Choice: Our top-selling Kolsch, awarding-winning Coffee and Cream Pale Ale, and the annual release of our Whiskey Barrel Aged Tennessee Tripel.
- Founded: 2014
Waterman’s Brewing | 1610 Pavilion Place near the Wrightsville bridge
Nothing new to report here. Keep up with their latest beer list here.
- Brewing Philosophy: “Love your liquid!”
- Brewers’ Choice: Abundant Sunshine IPA, Knothead ESB, Makin’ Me Hazy IPA
- Opened: July 2017
Wilmington Brewing Co. | 824 Kerr Avenue in midtown Wilmington
Recent Can-Release: Beach Time Session IPA, brewed with mosaic and el Dorado hops.
“It goes down smooth while keeping you upright,” co-owner Michelle Savard said.
- About: “Homegrown from a small home-brew shop to an 11,800 square-foot facility. WBC includes a 3bbl and 25bbl brewery, tasting room, and a home-brew supply store.”
- Brewers’ Choice: Tropical Lightning IPA, Blair’s Breakfast Stout, Jalapeño Saison
- Opened brewery/taproom: 2014
Wrightsville Beach Brewery | 6201 Oleander Drive near Bradley Creek, Wilmington
Mar. 27 (6 p.m.): the Surf & Turf Tour Across America Beer & Wine Dinner, featuring a pairing of east coast beers and west coast wines and Carolina crab-stuffed shrimp.
Also, throughout March, 11 percent of every order of an Oysterman’s Stout will go to the N.C. Coastal Federation and their mission to protect and restore the coastal water quality and habitats of the N.C. coast.
- Brewing Style: “Wide variety perfect for sipping on the beach, including a year-round selection of lagers.”
- Brewers’ Choice: Carolina Harvest Ale, Raspberry Berlinerweisse, bourbon barrel-aged Masonbarrel Barleywine
- Founded: 2016