Triad Tipples: Little Brother Brewing & Well Crafted NC

Little Brother Brewing is Greensboro’s second newest brewery, the newest being Leveneleven. After frequently passing by the small storefront, which used to house the Idiot Box and is located across the street from Natty Greene’s, I finally got over there for a proper visit.

IMG_0288Actually, I went because Well Crafted NC was having their launch party on April 14. This is a project spearheaded by the UNCG University Libraries, and they reached out to me last year when I was still writing the Barstool column for Triad City Beat. What I love is that they’re archiving the local history — past and present — of breweries and saloons. They’ve done interviews with almost all Greensboro brewers, and they’re extending their reach to places like Winston-Salem and Durham. I wrote an article for Winston-Salem Monthly recently that goes into more detail about the project and two of the first breweries in Winston-Salem.

So on this hot April day, there’s not only the regular Little Brother crowd, there’s the Well Crafted crowd, milling around a table with homebrew recipes from the 1800s and glasses from Schlitz and Natty Greene’s, even back when they were Old Town. There’s a menu from Loggerhead Brewing, a long-defunct brewpub from the ‘90s. Richard tells me he bought the menu off eBay for a few bucks. (EDIT: This was before the Pop the Cap movement in the mid-2000s, so Loggerhead had to brew beer under 6% ABV. They also brewed according to the German Purity Law of 1516, which Red Oak does today.) They have the interview with Little Brother brewer Steve Monahan playing on a laptop, and pictures of the interviews and breweries’ label art, which I helped contribute, dot the spaces between.

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Although it’s hot, the windows bend like elbows to open as wide as possible, letting in the breeze and making the place feel a bit bigger. Little Brother kegs decorate the ledges above the entrances, and the original black and white tiled floor gives a vintage feel and complements the black walls and white mural, brushstrokes evident, on one wall.

Given how small the brewery looks from the outside, it has a comfortable, laid back atmosphere. Seats are plentiful and include stools at the bar, tables outside and in, benches along the front and side walls, and a couch with an old trunk for resting your beer or feet. Every time I go to a new brewery, I have to check out the lighting. LB has bulbs with modern glass coverings, and one chandelier is like a metal cage with two loops welded together.

The liquid offerings clearly cater to the craft beer crowd. The sour gose is purple-pink in the glass. They brewed a pepper ale for Well Crafted, which I heard wasn’t too spicy and didn’t have any lingering spice. I tried the IPA, which was bitter but nice. At 7% ABV, I didn’t need anything else, even though I wanted to try the double IPA they made with Gibb’s Hundred. Surprisingly, the wine list is long for a brewery, so you can satisfy that part of your group, too.

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I’ll definitely be back to the brewery on a lazier day. In the meantime, support Well Crafted NC with your materials or financial gifts, and check out katbodrie.com for more articles that I’m writing about local craft beer and the Well Crafted NC project.

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