Wilmington Brewing Company
824 S Kerr Ave
Wilmington, North Carolina
Visited on 6/24/2017
Is it just me, or are all breweries attached to homebrew stores typically pretty awesome? If I’m not the only one noticing this trend, Wilmington Brewing Company does nothing to diminish it.
I admit I didn’t expect much walking into the place. For starters, I have yet to be even moderately impressed by a brewery in Wilmington. Like a lot of towns across the nation, it suddenly has something like 10 breweries that have all popped up in the past couple of years. And like a lot of those recent popup breweries, not very many are any good.
The place also doesn’t exactly look like much from the outside. A non-descript white concrete bunker is adorned only by an admittedly nice mural of their logo, but not much else. A gravel parking lot runs along the front and along the side. A nondescript grocery store that seemingly has no name sits on the other.
But walking inside, I start to understand the charm of the spot. They’ve got a strong beach vibe going – and not one of those stupid fake ones that a chain restaurant would come up with. A light blue paint color, aluminum siding on the bar, simple but elegant wood block tables and countertops – it all adds up to a do-what-you-want kind of vibe.
They don’t offer any flights, which is fine in a tourist town, but they are at least kind enough to offer half-pours for roughly half the cost. While I don’t love the plastic the brews are served in, this did allow my wife and me to get through five of their wares.
A grapefruit gose was a solid first offering, though a little heavy-handed on the salt for my tastebuds. A kolsch was crisp and clean and right on style – a perfect addition to any beachfront lineup. But the third beer in that first group really stood out to be – a New England style IPA with zero bittering hops, and I can’t begin to tell you how much flavor from a shitload of whirlpool dryhop additions.
Probably the best beer I’d had at a brewery in about a year.
This prompted me to stick around for a couple of more offerings – their flagship IPA dubbed Tropical Lightning and an imperial breakfast stout. The IPA was quite good, but could not come close to competing with the NE style. But since the imperial breakfast stout was so different from what we’d had before, it also stood out as one of the better beers I’d had in a while.
The folks behind the bar were knowledgeable about the beer they were pouring and pointed me in the right direction a few times, so they seem decently trained. I would have been more impressed though if they’d have been able to tell me what hops were in that delicious NE IPA without having to grab a bottle for reference.
But overall, an excellent brewery, and one that I plan to frequent each and every time I’m in town.
Total: 77 (of 80)