RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
In a small red brick-topped shopping mall anchored by Food Mart (and just one-half mile from the center of town), Raleigh’s TROPHY BREWING COMPANY was established in 2012. Besides selling a terrific revolving varietal of brews crafted at its tiny backroom 3-barrel nano system, Trophy’s excellent pizzas have become locally renowned as well.
Visiting this small two-room pub with family in tow during June ’13, I get readied to try four worthy brews at the cramped 6-table patio space (with folding doors allowing for warm weather outside acess). An open kitchen keeps busy behind the small left side bar area that fills up with North Carolina State hipsters, local businessmen and families for dinnertime while a torrential storm hits town.
Efficiently run by owners Chris Powers and David Lockwood and head brewer Les Stewart, Trophy’s tap handles pour three Belgian styled offerings and one increasingly popular German knockoff this rainy evening.
Ultra dry Participant Berliner Weiss glazed its salty coriander spicing with light crystal malt creaming, making for a nifty sour wheat moderation.
Citric-dried Quiz Wiz Wit brought spritzy orange-peeled coriander spicing to white-peppered mandarin-clementine briskness and lemon-honeyed banana tartness.
Grassy perfumed hops and Belgian candi sugaring laced Best Of Show Citra Saison, a light citric-embittered medium body with lemon-pitted yellow grapefruit rind tang contrasting banana-bruised pineapple tartness.
Though lacking specific Belgian yeast influence, Biggest Flirt Belgian IPA let its dry resin-hopped floral spicing sedate soft-focus grapefruit, pineapple and peach tropicalia with impressive results.
Equally impressive were the gourmet pizzas, such as Most Outgoing (tomato-sauced arugula and mozzarella-cheesed caramelized onions, mushrooms and brie), The Daredevil (fire-roasted tomato-sauced jalapeno and caramelized onions and chili peppered salami), Farmers Market (basil, pesto, tomato, kale, spinach, squash, asparagus and red onions), Most Loyal (herb-roasted chicken with mozzarella, onion, basil and pesto) and Local Celebrity (mozzarella and ricotta-cheesed sopresseta, kale, mushroom and, asparagus).