Active Beers: 20
Beer Ratings: 409
Beer Avg: 3.59
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 36 | Reviews: 28 | Show All Ratings:
3.73/5 rDev -2.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
The first time I sat down in Carolina Brewery in downtown Chapel Hill, I wasn’t expecting much. The only offering I’d had of their wares was the blonde, which is basically a Bud—tough to judge a brewery’s worth from that American staple. I shared a couple of samplers and went home, not blown away, but certainly not disappointed either.
Fast forward a couple of years and I’m not living in Chapel Hill and Carolina Brewery is the closest brewpub to the place I call home. Needless to say, I’ve been back several times since moving in, and although this isn’t saying much because I keep living in tiny town, it is the best brewpub I’ve ever been able to call a home spot.
First of all, I enjoy the variety they provide. There’s always six staples on tap and at least another six seasonal or small-batch brews available as well. And to make things better, most of those rotating handles are high gravity. Double pilsners, strong Christmas ales, Belgian triples, and even double wheats fill their taps. And they’re all very good, though few come close to what I would consider great.
One of those that does, however, is their Hell’s Bells Dopplebock. It extremely potent and extremely rich and smooth – it is, in short, everything that I want in my favorite style of beer. I came back often while they still had this one on tap.
Next on the list of strengths is the location. It’s right downtown on the better side of Franklin Street, and there’s a ton of space inside. It’s a bit modern for my tastes, with a lot of metal and railings and stairs and what not, but it is clean and not over decorated. Although why they have an upstairs is beyond me – I’ve never even seen the downstairs full. And the television situation could use some improvements; they have plenty, but they don’t have a bunch together in one spot.
As for the food, I’ve only eaten there once. It was their late night menu and limited, but still looked pretty appetizing. The end result didn’t quite live up to the promise of the menu’s description. It certainly wasn’t bad, but it also was not something I would ever crave. If I’m there for some drinks and I’m hungry, I wouldn’t hesitate to order some grub, but the food by itself would not draw me on the premises.
Finally, the service doesn’t suck, but they don’t seem knowledgeable about beer, either. And I’m not just talking about their own beers, I mean beer in general. A lot look like college kids who are still hammering home the Beast on the weekends.
02-20-2014 15:14:45 | More by bigkingken
4.25/5 rDev +11.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Nice place, smaller but quiet, TVs for sports and you can see the brewing vessels behind the bar which is kind of cool.
The beers weren't great but were solidly good and enjoyable. I would go back.
Service was great, good staff and quick response.
The selection is just the brewpub's beers, so that's that. They had 6 on tap when I was there. They have 4 on tap always and then a rotation of seasonals, so as many as 3 others I think.
The food was good too, not great but good for the price and tasty enough.
05-28-2012 23:03:14 | More by Cylinsier
3.95/5 rDev +3.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
Myself and 2 friends went down to Chapel Hill for a concert last weekend and this place just happened to be a block away. The first thing I noticed on entering was the fermenters behind the bar. Seeing the blowoff tubes bubbling away was very cool. We split a pitcher of the oatmeal porter before heading outside to eat.
Very good atmosphere inside and out. Having the active fermenters practically within arms reach sticks with me as one of the coolest things (and the sacks of grain stacked against the wall got my little homebrewer heart all aflutter). The music was a lot more hip than you might expect (Toro y Moi? Nobody plays that). The sidewalk seats in the little bohemian college area went well with cool draft beer.
Speaking of the beer, it was hit-and-miss with most of them sitting barely above average. I can say that with the exception of the IPA and APA, they were all exactly on point style-wise. I'd recommend getting a flight to guide your selections for the rest of your experience there. I found the Oatmeal Porter, Coffee Stout, and Copper Ale to be the best.
Our server was prompt, knowledgeable, and above all able to put up with shenanigans. She made a good impression.
I got the Pulled Pork sandwich (obligatory in NC) and we split an order of the beer battered onion rings. The onion rings really brought out a whole new dimension in their Golden Ale, and the sandwich was worthy of being called Carolina BBQ. Not the best I've ever had but definitely good.
Overall I really enjoyed my experience here. I recommend hitting it up if you're in the area, expecially if the weather's nice.
04-24-2011 00:25:57 | More by TJBAIHWL
3.33/5 rDev -12.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$
This is a rather prominent spot on the main strip of Chapel Hill, a ways down from the main bar area towards Carrboro. It's got a pretty nice feel inside, with a spacious bar/restaurant area and visible (and audible even) fermenters behind the bar. It was a very relaxing spot to spend the afternoon of Presidents' Day, and there are a couple tables outside. It seems like a good place to watch a game, with multiple TVs, but as a Duke fan, I'd like to be somewhere other than Chapel Hill if we're talking college sports.
The quality of the beer here is only average. Don't expect anything that will blow you away, and don't come here if you are looking to sample the best brews of the area. I found some of their beers to have somewhat of a cardboard note to them, and while some of them were above average, none of them were great. I was able to get 7 ticks in here, so you're not going to be stuck with just a few options.
The food here is pretty average, not that I had a lot of it. Prices are very reasonable and service is great based on my experience.
Overall, a nice place. Maybe not a beer geek's paradise, but hey, everyone likes to get a few ticks in, right?
02-28-2011 23:48:43 | More by nickd717
3.15/5 rDev -17.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 2 | $$
Came here with my friends per her suggestion. Was glad to try something new.
Plain block letter name on the front. You can see right into the brewery and restaurant from the outside, pretty cool. The lights weren't bright but it wasn't dark like a candlelit restaurant either. Vintage looking brewery things, mainly signs with beer on them, adorning the walls. A small fridge holding a selection of prefilled growlers near the checkout at the door. Some clothing as well. I wish I got some coasters to take home. Oh well, something to do next time! There are 2 floors but I didn't see what was upstairs. It looks open up there with a balcony overlooking the quadrangular bar below. 6 or 7 taps, all of their own making. There are booths along the wall, tables, and bar tables. Probably seats close to 40-50 people fairly comfortably and can seat more at the bar as well. The conical brewing tanks are clearly visible from the seating area. Bags of malt placed functionally as well as aesthetically. Gives you a feel of sitting in a big building designated for brewing, which it is.
For quality, check out my reviews of their beers. Some were stars, others fell flat. I'll discuss food quality in the food paragraph.
We were seated quickly and the waiter came by quickly to take our drink orders. Odd, seeing as we had JUST sat down and didn't even have time to look at the menu yet. I had to look at what's on tap, but was disappointed when they told me their imperial stout, DIPA, and barleywine weren't available. But he was prompt with our orders and answered questions to the best of his ability. We ordered the sampler of beers so we could taste everything but he failed to go through and tell us about each one, which is odd to me because most other brewpubs train their staff to explain their beers, especially when a sampler is ordered. He made sure our meals were satisfactory and got more beers for us in a timely fashion.
Their website said that their barleywine was available, yet the waiter told me it kicked 2 weeks ago. Hmm...
Let's talk food. Now, I'm not a picky eater at all. In fact, I'm known as the garbage can to my family and friends. I ordered the pizza burger, medium well, with fries. I normally never order burgers less than well done, but I figured I'd give it a try. It came out well done, which I actually enjoy, but that's flag number 1. There were 3 slices of pepperoni on the burger. *sigh* do we have a pepperoni shortage or something? The pizza sauce on the burger was scant and thin. I ate everything, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. Their "Italian spiced" burger was underspiced and overseasoned. I didn't get much oregano, parsley, or basil from it. Instead it was just very salty, like salt was sprinkled on after it was cooked. I tried a little bit of my friends' food and although their food was less salty, both their burger and the chicken sandwich was kind of dry. The beer greens (collard greens cooked in their Kolsch) was pretty good.
Overall, there are a few things I think that can be improved:
* Better trained staff
* Better food recipes and/or better chef
* Chalkboard to write down what's currently on tap
* Update website
* Beer recipes (see my reviews of their beers)
So in conclusion, I would say that this place is a good pub to relax and have a few beers and shoot the shit, but as a restaurant, it needs some work.
01-03-2011 05:46:13 | More by DmanGTR
3.86/5 rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$
We stopped in to the Carolina Brewery after touring the UNC Chapel Hill campus. The atmosphere of the place was very welcoming and laid-back and the staff were very friendly.
My friend and I had a beer sampler which included 8 beers on tap. My favorite was the Imperial Stout and my friend really liked the Flagship IPA. The beers overall were good. We didn't try the food. It wasn't a place you could spend a ton of time in like some other brewpubs, but it was a good overall experience. I would recommend going here if you are in Chapel Hill, NC.
12-01-2010 00:38:40 | More by Chincino
4.13/5 rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
5 yankees from up in PA headed south for a guys weekend and a UNC football game. We were looking for a place to eat and watch the Phillies/Reds playoff game. The hostess (a Philly girl) was super nice, seated us right in front of one of their big TVs and checked in on us a few times during the evening.
Being in the south, we ordered BBQ, hush-puppies, Brunswick stew, etc. Everything was very good, and the service was quick and friendly.
On to the beers. Three of us are beer guys, and we each ordered a sampler of 6 beers.
Pale Ale--very good, I'd give it a 7 out of 10
Brown Ale--not so good. 4/10
Oktoberfest--pretty good 6/10
Barley Wine--pretty good as well 6/10
IPA--was Ok, probably a 5/10
Oatmeal Porter--pretty bad 2/10
I was a bit disappointed overall in the beers, the three that I thought I'd like the most (IPA, Brown, Oatmeal Porter) were the ones I liked the least. I'm not usually a Pale Ale kind of guy, but luckily this one was good enough to have a few of with dinner, and a few more afterward watching the end of the baseball game.
If I happen to find myself in the area again, I wouldn't have any second thoughts about going back to Carolina Brewing.
10-13-2010 16:46:55 | More by zekeman17
3.55/5 rDev -7.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$
A and I recently stayed in Chapel Hill and decided to check out the Carolina Brewery. The decor is nice enough, nothing extraordinary, but its clean and smells of beer making.
We sat at the bar and the tender was pleasant. We ordered sandwiches with regular and sweet potato fries. The regular fires were oversalted and the SP fries looked and tasted as if they had been soaked in oil, not good. A's veggie burger was nothing to scream about, but my pork sandwich was pretty good.
The beers were better than the food. The beers on tap that night were an IPA, altbier, golden ale, amber, a lager and a porter. All of the beers were tasty, the IPA was not overly hopped, the golden was crisp and the porter had a nice mouthfeel. A and I agreed the altbier was the best thing we had that night. Malty but not overly sweet, very balanced.
If we were to visit again I think we would eat elsewhere and then head over for some brews as the food appears to be an afterthought.
04-13-2009 19:12:54 | More by ridedammit
3.85/5 rDev +0.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
I last visited Carolina Brewery about 2 months ago on a quick trip up the Chapel Hill. I enjoyed a pint of everything they had on tap over the course of a Tarheel game, which at the time was: Copperline Amber, Downtown Trolley Brown (my least favorite of the visit), Sky Blue, Old North State Stout, and Firecracker Pale Ale (favorite of the visit). Most of their beers are relatively low in alcohol, but many are big on flavor, meaning I was still able to walk down Franklin Street afterwards. I would definitely recommend this as a nice drinking spot, but would probably eat elsewhere as the food is only average.
02-02-2009 20:17:07 | More by oldhippie247
4.13/5 rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
I was told by a good friend to check out the Carolina Brewery. We went there on a Tuesday night, and the place was relaxed, which was good considering we arrived with two small children. I did a sample of the house brews and I enjoyed almost all of them; the Sky Blue Golden Ale tasted like piss. As for the service, our waitress was very good. She knew her beers, knew which foods went with the beers, and she was kind towards my children. The food itself was very good. I had the burger, which lived up to its billing as the best burger in the Triangle. The desert was excellent as well. The prices went along with the area; not too expensive but not cheap either. I would recommend this place for good grub and beer.
11-23-2008 03:19:21 | More by tommy78
Carolina Brewery in Chapel Hill, NC
87 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.