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Southern Pines Brewing Company

Southern Pines, North Carolina


Crusin’ Rating: B+

Booze Rating: B-


Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin beer wine distillery blogger- Southern Pines Brewery- Guest Post-Outside

Recently, Hannah and I were fortunate enough to get a little taste of the southern life attending the graduation of one of my brothers, from Chapel Hill. Amidst a flurry of speeches, honors, and an easy half-dozen graduation events, Hannah and I struck out to see what the Research Triangle - Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh - had to offer in terms of beer and spirits. Not only was it a perfect excuse to get out and explore the area around the universities, but it was a great opportunity to try some places we will most likely never get the chance to try again and to sneak a little bit of southern food (ahem, sweet tea) action in!

You might be thinking, what are we doing reviewing any place in North Carolina, let alone a series of guest posts. Well, while Hannah and I truly love Wisconsin and are firm believers that Wisconsin is the best state in the nation when it comes to beer and countryside, we can hardly make that claim if we’ve never given anywhere else a chance. In that vein, whenever we have the chance to travel, of course we are going to try out the competition. There are some very famous breweries around the nation and we hope to be able to put them toe-to-toe with our offerings here in Wisconsin. In that spirit, and in the spirit of fairness, we will be reviewing guest breweries in the exact same manner as any place in Wisconsin. We did not announce ourselves and tried our best to fit in an accept any sort of local culture quirks in stride. These guest posts will be spaced out into our normal que of reviews and I hope you enjoy coming along the ride with us!

First up, I elected for the most Southern-feeling of the places we tried - Southern Pines

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin beer wine distillery blogger- Southern Pines Brewery- Guest Post- Train Station

Brewing Company in the aptly named town, Southern Pines. This was the farthest location we had time to travel to, an hour drive south of where we were staying - in order for Hannah and I to meet up with some dear old friends, the Golfers - (Captain Dan and Mrs. Derby) - whom hadn’t seen since they moved to warmer climes almost ten years ago. As previous residents of one of Wisconsin’s many lakes, I thought they would give a unique perspective into a solid brewery choice which also happened to coincide with Hannah’s major goal of the trip - visiting a picturesque little southern town. In a rare instance of getting two birds with one stone, we showed up prior to our review to walk around the small town of Southern Pines which was at once a snapshot of days gone, complete with a small train station right in the middle of town that still functions. I half expected to hear a man in the middle of the square opining on the dangers of a pool hall - a Music Man reference for those of you unfamiliar. At the very same time, a Chinese noodle shop in an old house and a kayaking store not far aware hinted at that time was indeed still marching forward. Mixed in with the various art and clothing stores were other small spots of history, including a little bell tower on top of a building reading “Casino” and about the cutest little post office you’ve ever laid eyes on.

Hannah and I had a very specific bucket list of foodie destinations and we left sampling Carolina barbecue until the Monday before we departed. With many of our potential options closed we found a place a mere block from our brewery destination, Embers BBQ - and while perhaps not as fully old-style as we had hoped (it was a fairly modernized operation - it definitely served to satiate our barbecue needs as well as the next. Our search for some down-home barbecue will continue and we only just recently learned from the Golfers that NC has two distinct styles of BBQ sauce while South Carolina has a whopping four! Part of me is a little relieved that we don’t have to worry about reviewing a half dozen barbecue joints in a weekend and just stick to alcohol!

After our small tour of Southern Pines was finished we took a leisurely stroll to the tasting room - although it turns out there are actually two locations of southern pines - both in the town - and to our understanding, you can buy and sample beer at both locations. The location we met at the downtown tasting room, rather than the production brewery. This location was right on main street, dominating a corner with its elevation thanks to being built out from a hill. With a fantastic, terraced patio offering plenty of outdoor seating, couches, tables, and even fire tables. Several of the namesake pines reaching overhead we could easily see why The Golfers enjoyed this spot for a relaxing sip or two on a humid day. The brewery is dog-friendly and you can carry in your own food with beer, cider and N/A options available - but no cocktails or wine. While this was primarily a social call, we did enjoy a flight of four to sample some of what the brewery had to offer:

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin beer wine distillery blogger- Southern Pines Brewery- Guest Post- Beer Flight

Duck Hook (5.1% ABV) - This blonde ale had ample corn and honey on the nose with a light cracker buttery note, tasting floral and light with high carbonation and finishing slightly sweet, this was an easy, understated sipper.

Painkiller Tiki Sour (9.0% ABV) - A heavy ABV sour to put Hannah’s tastebuds to the test, this beer poured a cloudy, rich yellow and had lots of orange and pineapple notes when put to your nose. We tasted lots of pineapple, some orange juice, and coconut although the coconut was fairly faint. Oddly enough, not the only Painkiller (a tiki cocktail from the 70s) sour we came across while in the state. I thought this sour was enjoyable enough, even if the cocktail it’s based on is a little too sweet for my taste, but Hannah strongly disagreed and said this wasn’t nearly sour enough for her.

White Russian (11.0% ABV) - This Imperial Double Milk Stout - tried in order to report back to the Thirsty Badger and his love of high ABV beers, poured nice and almost opaque brown with separate notes of milk chocolate and high fat content milk, even a little sweet cream. This beer was quite sweet and we all tasted some of that milk sugar content along with faint hints of chocolate and a decently hoppy finish. Just a little sweet for us.

Get Punk’d (10.0% ABV) - This Nitro Pastry Stout lost its effervescence a little quickly, which prompted the Golfers to point out a fact that they noticed beer is not served nearly as cold in North Carolina as it is in Wisconsin, and not just because the ambient air is warmer and more humid. They told us several instances, even in cooler months wherein beers straight from the tap or fridge just aren’t served with that refreshing ice-coldness. Now, there is a place for room temperature or even warmer beers but in the heat I could definitely understand the disappointment. That note aside, this nitro was of course, thick with a tan, creamy head on it with notes of coffee, creamer, and chocolate covered nuts on the nose. Primarily sweet and nutty when tasting with a little cocoa powder and cream, this pastry stout was a little underwhelming to the palate and not nearly as strong tasting as its aroma suggested.

We learned after our tasting from Captain Dan that the Man of Law, one of Southern Pines Flagships - an American IPA coming in at 6.4% - was his go-to beer when sitting on the patio or when he wanted something crisp and refreshing to drink at home. After trying it, it was easy to see why. While I didn’t end up buying any to make the journey back to Wisconsin

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin beer wine distillery blogger- Guest Post- Southern Pines Brewing

from Southern pines, I could envision the brewery and town being an excellent spot for a quiet, small-town, southern evening and the brewery would be such an excellent place to sit with friends and your dog, waiting for the sun to drop and the fireplaces to light up.

Understanding that most of our readers will most likely not get the chance to visit, Southern Pines was an excellent town for a visit if you’re ever out in the Research Triangle. Spending the afternoon with old friends and sipping beer on a patio was about the most Wisconsin thing we could do and made us a little bit homesick.

Until next time, keep on crusin’, don’t stop boozin’!

To learn more about Southern Pines Brewing please visit their website at: or on Facebook: @SouthernPinesBrewing or on Instagram: @SouthernPinesBrewing

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