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Raleigh, N.C., is known for many things, from its eclectic culture and Southern hospitality to its magnificent nature and remarkable cuisine. But as of late, North Carolina’s capital city has also made a name for itself in the world of beer—so much so that the City of Oaks was recently dubbed the sixth top beer destination in the world!

A massive beer festival voted as America’s best, one of the world’s most beautiful breweries, intimate taprooms and infinite choices at a record-setting bar have helped grab the attention of beer lovers everywhere. So, whether you’re planning your next beercation or you’re a Raleigh local with a hankering for hops, check out these breweries, bars and events that led to Raleigh being dubbed as a top beer destination for 2019.

Fast facts: Major beer accolades for Raleigh, N.C.

  • Beverage-focused website VinePair listed Raleigh among the world’s top beer destinations for 2019
  • Condé Nast Traveler named Brewery Bhavana one of the world’s 15 most beautiful breweries/wineries/distilleries
  • Award-winning Burial Beer Co. opened a new taproom inside of Transfer Co. Food Hall in early 2019
  • Brewgaloo, the state’s largest beer event, was just voted best beer festival in America in USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards

Spirited spaces

A brewery that launched in an airplane hangar. North Carolina’s first woman-owned brewery. A brewery born from a rickshaw company. A West Texas-themed brewery that’s a staple in the N.C. beer scene. With nearly 30 breweries across Raleigh, the beers (and the entrepreneurs behind them) are as diverse as the spaces themselves.

In the heart of downtown Raleigh, you’ll find Brewery Bhavana, where passionate minds Vansana and Vanvisa Nolintha created a space for books, botany and beer to collide. The bright, light and cheery gathering spot, previously named one of America’s 10 “best new restaurants” by Bon Appétit, is truly gorgeous—Condé Nast Traveler just named the space one of the 15 “most beautiful breweries, wineries and distilleries” in the world!

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For some dinner with your drink, look no further than Trophy Brewing Company. Bold pizza names and toppings such as The Daredevil with ghost pepper salami and sriracha or Local Celebrity with pesto and honey are simply delightful when paired with any of the constantly-rotating seasonal draft selections (bonus points for grabbing a coveted table on the outdoor patio). Don’t just take our word for it—Thrillist named the Morgan St. location one of the “best pizzeria brewpubs” in America.

In historic downtown Wake Forest, you’ll find another dreamy watering hole—White Street Brewing Company handcrafts flavorful ales and lagers for you to enjoy at the taproom on charming White St. (the Kölsch, a Gold Award winner at the World Beer Cup, is best enjoyed with a couple of hot dogs from Shorty’s Famous Hot Dogs right next door).

Beer seekers can step into the Wild West when walking through doors of Lonerider Brewing Company, where passionate mind Sumit Vohra has spent the last decade building the brewery into an iconic Raleigh beer brand. Beers like Shotgun Betty, Deadeye Jack and Hoppy Ki Yay have brought home numerous awards and medals over the last 10 years.

New to Raleigh’s brew scene is Burial Beer Co. Native to Asheville, N.C., and named one of the world’s best small breweries by Craft Beer & Brewingmagazine in 2018, the brewery has opened a cozy space that’s part taproom, part art gallery dubbed The Exhibit at Transfer Co. Food Hall (where eager crowds are lining up early for special beer releases). This spot is ideal for a quick drink with your food hall grub or to grab some cans to go.

Based in Holly Springs, and boasting names that play on their status as the state’s first fully woman-owned brewery, Bombshell Beer Company has certainly made its mark on the community. Sip on Lady in Red Amber Ale in their taproom or venture outside to their beer garden with your Pirate Queen in hand.

Grab a group of your beer-loving friends and visit the Raleigh Beer Garden, where they offer more beers on tap than anywhere else in the world (more than 350 options!). The three-story beer garden—quite literally a garden, with its indoor trees—is as expansive as the draft list (and includes a rooftop bar and tons of outdoor seating).

With so many breweries to explore, it’s a lot to remember, and you don’t want to miss any of it. So, let the Raleigh Beer Trail do the work for you and earn prizes along the way!

Read more here about special beer events and why you should visit Raleigh

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