RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
The City of Oaks’ and its smaller neighboring industrial municipality, Durham, house North Carolina State and Duke, while the more affluent, less populated, Chapel Hill, is home to University of North Carolina. After visiting N.C. State campus and middling local brewpub GREENSHIELDS, July ‘03 (closed ’07), stopped by fabulous Super 7 Even, one of the finest beer stores in the country at that time (located in Exxon station at 6901 Louisburg Road), finding cornucopia of Highland, Carolina, Charleston, Cottonwood, Pipkin, and Dogwood brews. Soon after, North Carolina’s microbrew revolution happened.
Leading the way for Raleigh’s current brewpub explosion in 2008, BOYLAN BRIDGE BREWING COMPANY became popular a few years before hard-nosed competitors Lonerider, Trophy, Big Boss and Raleigh Brewing came to fruition. Up a hill across the railroad tracks overlooking Oak City’s skyline in a rustic beige brick building, this yellow wood furnished cafe-styled pub brings brusque blue collar fare to hard working locals.
Besides the hand crafted beer, perhaps the most outstanding feature of Boylan Bridge is the large side deck with red-white umbrellas – a comfortable outdoor station boasting the most picturesque view of downtown.
During the start of a June ’13 family trip, we ate Corn Tortilla Chipped Nachos while grabbing a few samplers from the glass-encased stainless steel brewtanks while sitting across from the cozy soffit-covered center bar next to framed poster art. Today’s blackboard beer list offers five in-house choices to go alongside Americana fare such as the Angus Burger, Philly Cheesesteak, BLT and Crab Cake Sandwich.
Sturdy flagship beer, Rail Pale Ale, gathered orange-peeled grapefruit bittering for prickly floral hop-spiced crisping, placing tangy peach-tangerine illusions down below.
Mild Endless Summer Ale brought corn syrupy lemon-grapefruit tartness to wood-dried hop spicing while maintaining a brisk carbolic spritz. Similarly pleasant, Autumn Amber Ale amplified its lemon-soured citric foundation with spicy perfume-hopped bittering.
On the dark side, caramel-malted Brown Ale left subtle coffee-oiled honey nut, butternut and praline illusions atop toffee candied soaping. A better bet, Pullman Porter, added molasses-smoked mocha malts and dried fruiting to coffee-roasted nuttiness, leaving a caramel-burnt sweetness on the back of the tongue.
Retaining stylistic integrity while expanding the loose guidelines on the bitter end just a tad, Boylan Bridge’s common fare makes fine crossover fodder for mainstream drinkers ready to take a bold step forward discovering the craft beer revolution.