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.
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
New Releases: the seasonal Raisin the Dubb. The Belgian dubbel is a brown beer first brewed by Belgium’s Westmalle Abbey in 1856. At Bill’s, it’s 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
- 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
Latest 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
To kick off Cape Fear Craft Beer Week, Hops Supply Co. (5400 Oleander Dr.) is hosting an Edward Teach Tap Takeover. And on Wednesday, March 27 (6:30 – 8:30 p.m.), come sip on their latest beers with paired dishes by Chef Rex Horrell.
- 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
Flying Machine’s newest is the Obedience to Ritual, a double New England IPA brewed at a strong 7.4 percent ABV, with notes of mango, papaya, and strawberry. Also on tap: Mozi’s Kite NEIPA and Helles beer on nitro.
- 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
Latest Releases: Kiwi Blond with Passionfruit (released March 23) and the Lemongrass Saison with pink peppercorn (released March 15) brewed at 6.8 percent ABV, both on draft and in 500 mL bottles.
- 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
The Sinful Stout and Brewmaster’s Reserve is coming off the tap list, replaced by the Azalea Fest Lager (released March 18), Extra Brut Barreled Champagne IPA (March 15), and Sláinte Irish Red (March 15).
On March 27 (6:30 p.m.) the Bacon, Booze & Beer party, as part of Cape Fear Craft Beer Week, will showcase curated pairings of craft beers and fine whisk(e)y, with bacon to cleanse the palate 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
Saint Patrick’s Day Release: Andrews Irish Light Ale.
- 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 brewery events 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
Tap and Table dinner (Thursday, March 28): as part of Cape Fear Craft Beer Week, Chef Dub from Little Chef Food Truck will be creating a gourmet menu to pair with Mad Mole beers. Tickets are available at the brewery ($30 each) and include three courses with three 10-oz. pours.
- 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.
- 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
Can-Release: The New Jack and The Feels IPAs (also on draft).
- 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
Recent Release: Peach Wit, a wheat beer brewed with three baskets of local peaches back in September, left to sit in the fermenter until January “when the flavor was just right.”
Also, keep your eyes on April 20th for their 1-year anniversary party featuring live music and a food truck.
- 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
New Release: Siren Sarah – Irish Red Ale, malty and brewed true to style, full of caramel and toasted notes.
- 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.
And the second annual Gose-off, as part of Cape Fear Craft Beer Week, pits Waterline’s brewhouse and taproom staff against each other to create different batches of gose beer, a top-fermented beer style light on hop bitterness. Guests will be able to sample four of the finalists’ recipes before casting their votes.
- 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
Join them for Beer and Hymns, Sunday, Mar. 24 from 6 to 7 p.m., as part of Cape Fear Craft Beer Week.
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
Florence-Relief Collaboration Release: Sweet Carolinas, brewed with Colorado’s Weld Werks and New Belgium, Ohio’s Commonhouse Ales, and Raleigh’s Trophy Brewing. The idea came about at the Great American Beer Festival to “make a beer with the expressed intent of providing relief to the folks affected by Florence.”
Sweet Carolinas is a Milkshake Double IPA with nearly a thousand pounds of mandarin puree, vanilla, milk sugar, and Citra and Lotus hops. Released on draft and in cans on Friday, March 15. Proceeds from all sales will benefit Foundation for the Carolinas and their efforts to support those affected by Hurricane Florence.
- 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
New Release: the Nitro Coconut Chocolate Porter. Recent releases include the Lame Street Lager and Wilmywood Wit.
On Mar. 27 (6 p.m.), the Surf & Turf Tour Across America Beer & Wine Dinner, as part of Cape Fear Craft Beer Week, will feature a pairing of east coast beers and west coast wines served with 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