Double Barley Brewing
Smithfield, North Carolina
Visited on March 28, 2015
You know a place is gonna be good when their address is a highway.
Driving back to Durham after a short overnight road trip to Kinston, my wife and I discovered that there were a couple of breweries directly on our way home. Okay, fine, so maybe we had planned it that way all along.
If you’re driving along US-70, Double Barley is really hard to miss. It’s sort of a nondescript building, but they’ve got quite the prominent sign out front. And trust me…you don’t want to miss this one.
Although it doesn’t look like much, their premises is really quite interesting. It feels like a friend’s house when you walk in with stairs and doors – sort of like a foyer – and the tap room continues that feeling. It’s like your sitting in the basement of your buddy’s house that he’s transformed into an awesome bar. It’s clean, it’s cozy, it’s colorful, it’s mostly cement.
It’s quite nice.
I had moderately high expectations for Double Barley’s brews going in, thinking I’d remembered enjoying their beers every time I see them at a beer festival. It didn’t matter. I could’ve had enormous expectations and they still would have exceeded them.
They must have gotten their name from taking every beer recipe they could find and simply doubling the amount of grain they put in the mash. Few beers here weigh in under eight percent, and several are over ten. And they’re all delicious.
They had a solid 10 beers on draft when we visited, with only a couple misses. For instance, while their brown is fine without the vanilla, their usual mixture of the two is just as good as Breckenridge’s. And an amber they had on draft completely missed my palette.
But IPA after IPA greatly impressed me, including a 12 percent behemoth of a beer. Their “Steakcake Stout” is smooth, velvety and boozy – everything I want in a beer. And if you mix their vanilla porter with it, I swear you can hear the angels singing.
And I don’t even believe in angels.
The bartenders were welcoming and friendly, giving just the right amount of personal touch and leaving us alone. They seemed to know most of the people in the bar…again sort of like being at your buddy’s house. And when it came time to leave with a growler full of 12 percent IPA and I noticed my glassware was smelling kind of funky, the bartender took it to be sanitized and cleaned for me.
This was my 40th brewery visited in the state of North Carolina, and it’s tied right up there with Wicked Weed for my favorite. It’s a can’t-miss if you’re in the state to drink.
*Note that they do serve some food, but our bellies were too full to try any.
Total: 78 (of 80)