Lynwood Grill & Brewing Concern
4821 Grove Barton Rd
Raleigh, North Carolina
My wife took a girls trip to Austin in January, so, naturally, I spent the weekend drinking beer and playing 16-bit video games.
With nothing to do and nowhere to be, I spent a solid several hours around midday ponying up to the bar at Lynwood Grill in northwestern Raleigh. The place had somehow managed to elude my radar for some time, probably because it doesn’t necessarily have the word “brewery” or “brewpub” in its name. But I had seen them at some regional beer festivals, and was keen to give them a shot.
The location is fascinating to me. You don’t typically find a brewery in a large, unattached building that was obviously constructed with a restaurant in mind. It looks more like an Applebee’s or an Outback Steakhouse from the street. It makes me think that either the brewery was tacked on to an already successful establishment, or they had some major financial backers from the get-go.
In any case, the interior doesn’t do much to detract from that typical American restaurant atmosphere. Yes, it’s nice inside, and, yes, it is unnecessarily dim at times. There’s the ubiquitous wall hangings and plenty of televisions.
It’s a nice joint, but there’s nothing special about it.
The same can be said for the food. I ordered a burger with a side of onion rings. Like any other American joint, you get plenty of grub for your cash, but it’s also all coming in frozen through a ubiquitous food supply truck. That doesn’t mean it’s bad – the onion rings were particularly crunchy and tasty and were probably hand-dipped – it just means that you get a run-of-the-mill burger on a run-of-the-mill bun. That’s pretty much what I expected going in.
The beer, however, delivered above expectations. Perhaps I wasn’t expecting much, but I was surprised by the wide assortment of offerings. I think there were upwards of 12 beers on tap the day that I visited, at least half of which were seasonal and interesting (read: high ABV). A few IPAs, an imperial stout, and a bourbon aged porter to choose from…sign me up.
The bourbon-aged beer and the imperial IPA were both very tasty, and all the other styles were certainly drinkable. I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to come back that far outside of downtown Raleigh, but I bet they have a stranglehold on the local market, and there’s a ton of people who live between the beltlines out that direction.
The service was pretty decent too. I never had to wait to put an order in, and they didn’t mind me taking up a corner of the bar with a computer and backpack. Of course, it was pretty empty in the middle of the day, but still.