Aviator Brewing Company
600 East Broad Street
Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina
Visited on August 31, 2013
Aviator Brewing Company is in a tiny, adorable town called Fuquay-Varina about a half-hour outside of Raleigh. Really neat downtown with historic buildings? Check. A large enough footprint to occupy both a taphouse and a full-service barbecue restaurant? Check. A wide variety of beers, most of which don’t suck, and some of which are genuinely good? Also a check. Mouth-watering barbecue that meets the expectations of the aromas?
Hold on just a second there.
While the location was great with hardwood floors and a lot of character, and the beers were pretty decent, the food fell flat on its face. I ordered a half-rack of ribs, because what better way to judge a barbecue house than by its willingness to take the time to do a smoked rack the right way? Believe it or not, they somehow came out burned.
How do you burn a smoked rack of ribs? There shouldn’t even be enough heat in the smoker to come close to charring the crust to an inedible lump of charcoal. Maybe it was my own fault for ordering them dry, but I’m a firm believer that the meat should stand on its own and the sauce should be there to augment, not cover up inadequacies. My best guess is that they finish them on a grill before serving to warm them up, and maybe they don’t get burned when drenched in sauce, but whatever the reason, these were terrible.
The service sucked too. We bellied right up to the bar, and sure they were busy, but the bartender either had RBF (not likely) or was extremely annoyed with her job. Either way, she made it seem like pouring us a sampler was the absolute worst thing anybody could have possibly asked of her at that moment in time. And when it came to sample the rest of their wares, we had to flag down a different staff member, because she was apparently done with us. God forbid you ask questions about in-house brews that you’re unfamiliar with.
The aforementioned location and beer was the best part of this place. The Devils Tramping Ground Tripel, Hotrod Red, and Steamhead California Common were all growler-worthy – or at least quite nearly so. But is it worth the drive for crappy food and service?