sslogoSteel String Craft Brewery
106 S Greensboro St
Carrboro, North Carolina
919-370-6971
website
Visited on September 2, 2013

Update

I’ve since moved to Chapel Hill following my original review and had the opportunity to revisit Steel String on more than one occasion. And I must say, they’ve sold me as a fan.

In my subsequent visits it seems like there is a wider range of house brews available, many of which do not focus on hops. I’ve had an excellent double chocolate stout, an exquisitely spicy Christmas ale, and a pretty well-executed double IPA. And they seem to have perfected their flagship IPA Big Mon, because it isn’t nearly as harsh as I recall and is actually quite palatable.

That being said, they still miss the mark here and there. I had a pint of alt recently and found it pretty terrible, especially given the style. Alts shouldn’t be that hoppy, and it tasted kind of funky. That one needs some work, but on the whole, I’m more than happy to patron Steel String on a frequent basis.

Keep learning and growing!

Location: 19
Food: NA
Beer: 17
Service: 17
Total: 73 (of 80)

Original Review

I really wanted to like Steel String, but I just can’t bring myself to say that I did. It’s very close to my new bride’s parent’s home, which would make it ideal to visit on a regular basis. But their beer recipes just don’t hit home with my palette.

They’ve got the location down, at least. The building is in downtown Carrboro, which is a very nice, quaint downtown surrounded by a ton of people living in every direction. It’s not Durham or Chapel Hill, and definitely not Raleigh, which is appealing. The bar, tables, and light fixtures all seem antiques and are beautiful, comfortable, and appropriate for the spot. And the outdoor patio housed some awesome elderly bluegrass musicians, which is one hell of a touch.ssout

The only problem is that I very nearly hated their beer.

Every single sample I choked down seemed to miss extremely wide of the mark for the style they’re aiming at. Both of the IPAs were extremely overhopped, leading to not much more than bitterness all the way through the drink, extending for several minutes in the finish even. Not pleasant. Their farmhouse ale didn’t have either of the fruity or sour notes expected when I hear the word farmhouse. I don’t know how the Saison yeast failed so miserably in its efforts. Or maybe it was just overpowered by the hops?

The only beer I’d bother drinking again was the Rubber Room Session Ale. Unlike all five of the others, this brew wasn’t overhopped, which made it drinkable. This is surprising as its ABV is just 4.7 percent and it would be extremely easy to overhop.

ssinPerhaps the problem is that the owners and brewmaster are really into the West Coast style of beers, which just doesn’t hit my preferences. I don’t even really like Green Flash, for example. Or perhaps they’re young and still working on the recipes. Maybe they just had the worst examples of their craft on tap when I visited. Whatever the reason, the beers need some work before I become a regular.

Location: 19
Food: NA
Beer: 10
Service: 14
Total: 63 (of 80)

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