Carolina Brewery

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Carolina BreweryCarolina Brewery
Carolina BreweryCarolina Brewery

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

460 West Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27516
United States

(919) 942-1800 | map

None provided.

BA Score:
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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 58
Photo of Cylinsier
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

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Photo of Yetiman420
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%

Stop #433 on my world brewery tour.

Right on the main drag of the UNC campus night life.

Long bar with access to big TV's. So bright it might detract if that's not your thing.

I had the small batch flight - Bohemian Pils, Super Saaz Imperial Pilsner, Octoberfest, Stout, Black IPA, Imperial Stout.

All beers were very well done. The black IPA was a bit to roasty and not hoppy enough.

Lots of other beers to choose from and I went with a pint of their IPA which was nice.

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Photo of beerinator
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

If you must visit a taproom in Chapel Hill, this is the one to try. The food is American style, with burgers, chicken sandwiches, pizza and a NC style pulled pork barbeque on the menu. The service is usually good, but usually not great.

The downstairs, where the bar is, has a smoking section, but the upstairs is all smoke free. This is good and bad. I usually like to drink and eat at the bar, but you have to keep your smoking patrons happy too.

One of the coolest things about this place is their commitment to UNC athletics. If you are catching a home game either basketball or football, hit the Brewery an hour or two before the game. If you buy anything (even just one beer) they will give you a ride to the event on a bus that travels to the game and back. You don't have to worry about parking and riding. And you have a sober driver!

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Photo of awester462
4.16/5  rDev +11.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Located on the main street in chapel hill, this place is a cozy looking place and feel yet a place you could also have a good time in.

There is a bar and some tables downstairs and the upper level is a place they will use on days the Tar Heels play. So people can drink, eat and watch the game on the big screen.

They have a nice beer selection but they only rotate 6 at a time due to lack of space. The beer is stored behind the bar so you can watch the cleaning and everything else involved by the brewmaster and his helpers. The beer is very good by the way. There is always someone in there getting a growler filled up

The staff is helpful and generally cheerful and will help accomodate you with any needs you may have.

The food is a bit pricey. I looked at the menu and the food looked good but it didn't look that great.

Overall it is a good place to visit and I am looking foward to going back next time I am in North Carolina, especially looking foward to their Imperial Stout.(which they would not sell in growlers)

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Photo of zekeman17
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

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Photo of tommy78
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

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Photo of cracgor
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

So the bar is two levels. The actual bar is downstairs with several additional seats. Upstairs is primarily tables for dining. Several televisions. They have wooden floors and all of their brewing equipment is clearly visible behind the bar. They have tons of house brews. They rotate them throughout the year. So far, they are very good. They also put your beer in the proper glassware. Service is average. Never really paid a lot of attention to the bottled beers...always got the house stuff. Service is typical as far as waiting. Food is actually pretty good, but your typical burger style place. Cost is about what i'd expect for a restaurant.

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Photo of Stoo333
4/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I recently visited here for the first time with a few other NC BAs. The street it's on is usually busy, but parking for Carolina Brewery is available around back.

There was a good bit of room inside, with a very visible list of the beers they had available that day. TVs are all around for people to watch various sporting events.

I tried their altbier which was enjoyable, and their oatmeal porter which was outstanding. I wouldn't hesitate to have either again...especially the porter. They had about 4 other beers available that day including an amber ale and a belgian style beer. I'm interested in trying the others they have available after sampling the porter and the alt.

The food was good, as was the service. They had no trouble moving tables together so all of us could sit together. I look forward to the next time I get the opportunity to return.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Carolina Brewery looks and smells like a brewery! Big stainless fermentors and bags of malts decorate the dimly-lit and unfinished raw-timbered interior, and bready notes of beer being born cloud the air with goodness.

Sort of a sports bar/hardcore brewery mix... nice.

Service is cordial and unobtrusive, a bit slow, but not unfriendly... the 6 homemade beers on tap are pretty good and presented in sparkling clean, room-temperature glass.

Growlers are available right at the bar, pre-filled and ready to go. The food I saw others with looked good, but I was just there for the suds!

I'll be back to this place again, if for no other reason than the beer is damned fine!

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3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of Ninjaworm
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

The establishment is broken into two floors. The upstairs has party rooms and extra dinning area that allows for more intimate interactions with fellow diners. The downstairs is normally very pleasant just a bit noisier.

Good beer and really good food at decent prices make it unreasonable not to check out the Carolina Brewery.

The only downside to this establishment is that their service is good but nothing outstanding. Most times that I visit I have been with larger groups of people in the 7-9 range. So it is understandable when a beer is forgotten every so often, no one is going to die waiting an extra few minutes for a beer.

The have their standard beer fare with their rotating offerings, the point of my most recent trip was to try their first ever IPA. The beers I find to be good overall with some shinning stars like their new IPA.

The food is quite good, most of the food follows the standard pub fare. Each meal I have enjoyed quite a bit, deserts are not to be missed.

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Photo of MacMalt
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

A college town is a great place for a brew pub and, as expected, the vibe here is upbeat and fun. You see both students, beer geeks, and families with children for dinner. There are two levels for dining, with lots of television screens, which might actually detract a little from the atmosphere, particularly when the news is being broadcast. The staff is friendly and attentive. I thought the food was quite good - in fact, better than I expected. It is basically upscale pub cuisine but it's fresh, well-prepared, and tasty. Being a brewery, the main attraction is the beer. It's always fun sampling beers where they are brewed and you can order either flights or full pours. The beers are okay; not world class (and I wouldn't go out of the way to purchase them in bottles or cans) but good enough for a pleasant experience of eating and drinking. I'd certainly pay a return visit to Carolina Brewery.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

So my sister and I were walking around downtown Chapel Hill, killing a day before my cousin's wedding and came across this little place on Franklin Street.
After some cajoling on my part, we entered and sat at the bar. A rather industrial looking place, if I do say so, with the mash tun, boil kettles, and fermenters featured prominently beind the bar.
We both ordered the beer sampler and were quite surprised when the waitress brought us a rack of 7 4-or-so-ounce samples (I believe they were the Kolsch, IPA, Octoberfest, belgian-style, and a few others I can't remember at the moment).
As we got halfway through our samples, the hop-bitterness and the fact that neither of us had had anything to eat all day got to us and we ordered us up a plate of nachos. While the nachos took a long time (around 15 minutes to arrive), they were excellent.
The beer is quite good, although I really didn't like their Funky Monk Belgian Ale, which I found VERY bitter for a belgian.
This is certainly a place that I could see myself returning to if I had a chance.

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Photo of curtisjoseph
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

There are currently two locations for Carolina Brewery, the original in Chapel Hill and a new building in nearby Pittsboro. Both are for the most part identical apart although I personally feel the vibe of the Pittsboro location is a little better as the brewery is less crowded than its original location on Franklin Street which is heavily frequented by students from UNC. The quality of the beer and food is pretty great, but personally I am not a huge fan of their beer selection. Personally I feel like it is one of the better bars in Chapel Hill since even though college students make up the main crowd you don't get the same college bar feel like you do at He's Not Here. When I do visit Carolina Brewery, I tend to stick to their Sky Blue or Copperline which are both average beers but nothing particularly impressive. Honestly, I go here more for food than anything, pairing their beer with their nachos and quesadillas is so much better than drinking it alone. Even if you are prefer meat, I highly the black bean option which is cheaper and still tastes incredible with their beer!

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Photo of GJ40
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

This brewpub is close to UNC Chapel Hill and has a good following among students, faculty and visitors to the university. It's great (but very busy) on a UNC basketball game night. It's got a large bar on the first floor with some booths and tables as well. There's also a second floor with more tables and a private room. The center of the second floor is open to the first creating a good connection between the two.

They usually have 4-6 beers on tap. The IPA is my favorite but unfortunately on this last visit, it seemed a bit off. They also had a golden ale, amber, alt, maibock and stout. The beer is usually good but as with many brewpubs, it can vary.

The food is very good. It's typical pub fare for the most part (burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc.) but they also have a more sophisticated, seasonal section of the menu. I especially like the burgers, hush puppies and cheese grits. The only disappointing meal I've seen was fried chicken that seemed tiny and overdone.

The service is great. It appears to be mostly UNC students and I've always found them to be very friendly and helpful.

Carolina Brewery used to be an easy choice for me but since finding other spots here on BA, it's a harder decision. But it's still a great place. Check it out if you're in the area.

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Photo of Chincino
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of oldhippie247
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3

The "$$ - reasonable" score is based on the beer prices alone, which were $2.50 a pint, not bad at all for fresh, decent quality stuff brewed on site.

My brother and I walked in for a quick quaff on a Tuesday was pretty mellow inside, a bit small but a good vibe nonetheless. Common brewpub atmosphere, with the tanks out in the open and the "old warehouse" feel. Service was quick and pleasant, the waitress joking and having some fun doing her job. They only had six offerings, and nothing out of the ordinary. Typical brewpub stuff really: IPA, golden ale, stout, amber, pale ale...and another I'm forgetting. We approved of both the IPA and amber and left happy enough.

Better than some brewpubs I've been to, but probably not a "must try" destination unless you happen to be in the area anyway. I'd be curious to try their more adventurous offerings someday...

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Photo of asabreed
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Another place on W. Franklin St. in downtown Chapel Hill, this place has two levels, and when we went it was packed. Of course it was also a Friday night at 7 o'clock. We ended up having to wait for a table, but we opted out of it and finally snagged some seats by the bar when those with tables waiting went to the hostess with the black squares blinking the "your table's ready" flashing red lights.

It's deceiving at first, because you think the hanging wooden signs around you are all the beers they have, though the only ones available are hanging below the bar on your immediate left upon walking in. They had five beers on tap (and they weren't serving anything else, which was fine with me, because you're forced to try microbrewery in-house beer, and that I love): an amber, an imperial stout, a golden ale, an oktoberfest, and something else I now forget.

I had the amber and the oktoberfest, and neither was anything to write home about unfortunately. However, my turkey wrap, which is seemingly simple, was very tasty, and I hear their pizza is also really good.

Our bartender was attentive and also very cute (yes, not a big deal in the grand scheme of beer drinking, but being a guy who likes beer and cute girls, when they go together well it becomes an even greater experience), especially for two people eating at the bar, which I know can annoy some bartenders.

I wish the beer was better, as that would've made the experience a lot better. But I'd definitely go back again, especially to see what seasonals rotate (along with some styles that aren't conventional and easy enough to brew). Worth the visit if you're around the area.

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Photo of sinistrsam
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Friday night pre-bar-hopping scene in Chapel Hill is bound to be crowded, but space in this restaurant/microbrewery was at a premium. For three people we had to wait 20 minutes to even sit at a makeshift ledge-type silverware shelf. Eventually we moved to the bar and got serious about tasting some of the in-house beer and having a bite to eat. Although there are wooden signs hanging all about the place teasing you with exotic and seasonal brews, the only ones actually on tap at one time are listed behind the bar, about 5 or 6. I tasted an Oktoberfest, a Pale Ale and an Amber. The Oktoberfest was mediocre but the Pale Ale was hoppy and refreshing. The food was damn good; I had a fish sandwich and fries. You can buy growlers of their beer, and I definitely plan on doing this. I need to taste some of their seasonal stuff before making a definite decision on how I feel. I say, if in Chapel Hill, check it out.

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Photo of bigkingken
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of CampusCrew
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Cool historic location and right there on Franklin street by the school. They have above average food and beer selection. It's not the best but defefitly worthy of a visit. I had the sampler to try al there beers they had and we actually saw them making the beer and removing mash while we were there. The Copperline was my favorite. I had the puller pork and was great for bar food. Everyone I was with seemed to enjoy the food and atmospehre. Try it out if you are there. I liek Top of the Hill brewery better but this was a good chnage of pace. I have been to the Top twice already.

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Photo of philipt
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Best brewpub in Chapel Hill. The best largely in part to the beer, selection, and atmosphere. Carolina brewery has a jumbo sized stone/concrete bar with plenty of sitting around it. The brewing is done right behind the bar (no glass dividers here); you almost feel like part of the process if you're there when brewing. The food is rather ordinary for a brewpub -- sandwiches, burgers, steaks, and pasta to name a few. The beer is the main draw. Carolina Brewery brews a large variety of beers throughout the year. Try the IPA if its on tap. The service was nothing better than average. Also, don't forget a growler of your favorite brew when you leave.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

Got a tour of UNC and saw this place as we walked around campus. Nice atmosphere, just wish I had time to go back for dinner and see what the atmosphere is like then. Decor is kind of woodshop like, with the brewing apparatus behind a long bar. Second floor also. I got the babyback ribs and liked them a whole lot. My SO got a pizza and she purred happily. Waitress was new and was not really sure about the menu or the beer. Could not hurt to take a few more lessons. The beer selection was kind of slim. Just 5 on tap and it appeared to be the usual culprits, none of the more interesting samplings they have listed here. Definitely would go back because it seems like a neat place to hang out and catch a ballgame.

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Photo of ridedammit
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

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Carolina Brewery in Chapel Hill, NC
Brewery rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 713 ratings