Durham Beer Scene
The Bull City is also a beer city. We make it here, we sell it here, and we definitely drink it here. It's also home to the annual World Beer Festival hosted by All About Beer Magazine (also headquartered in Durham). If you're looking for a thriving local beer scene, Durham is your place.
- Breweries: Learn about Durham's local breweries that craft ales, stouts, lagers, sour mashes, and other hoppy options you won't soon forget.
- Nightlife: Check out these beer-focused nightlife options, where you'll find a community of like-minded drinkers, special events, and hard-to-find beers.
- Retail: Bring home some brew, whether home is down the road or hours away. Discover Durham's beer retailers, providing extensive selections and enjoyable shopping experiences (and by that we mean, shopping with a beer in hand).
- Tours: Durham companies that will help you safely experience the city's beer scene.
Durham's local breweries ensure that connoisseurs have plenty to explore while they're in town:
- Bull City Burger & Brewery (BCBB) pairs an emphasis on local agriculture with a serious taste for beer. You can taste the local pride in beers like the Honorable Bell's Brown Ale, named after longtime Durham Mayor Bill Bell. You can find the beers at both BCBB and their sister restaurant, Pompieri Pizza. Tours are also available most Saturdays.
- Bull Durham Beer Co. is the home brewery of the Durham Bulls. It's also the only brewery in the country located inside a minor league baseball stadium. The beers are available at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and The Bullpen, Bull Durham's 2,000-square-foot beer garden, which features an outdoor patio and food from Heavenly Buffaloes.
- Dueling Sloths (coming soon!) will open in 2017 in Durham. It's under construction at 923 Franklin St.
- Durty Bull Brewing Company has a 6,000-square-foot, 15-barrel production brewery and tasting room in Downtown Durham. They age many of the beers in barrels and feature an extensive sour beer program. Beers include an IPA, Porter, Lager, and Sour Blends.
- Fullsteam Brewery aims to make "distinctively Southern beer," often partnering with other local businesses and sourcing their ingredients from nearby. Brews like the Carver, a sweet potato pale ale, show what these folks are about. Enjoy one in their popular tavern or take a tour.
- Ponysaurus describes their mission like this: "the beer beer would drink if beer could drink beer." If that doesn't make sense quite yet, try their Fig Saison Ale or their Scottish Ale, and you'll see what they mean. Visit their East Durham brewery and taproom and tour the 6,000-square-foot facility.
- Starpoint Brewing has partnered with Beer Study to open a dog-friendly bottle shop and brewery in the Rockwood neighborhood.
Get to Know Durham's Breweries
A local beer expert gives us a rundown of Durham's brewery scene -- what to drink and what to expect when you go. read more
Not only does Durham make good beer, but it also boasts a number of great places to enjoy a good brew while you spend time with friends or make new ones. We asked the beer experts at Sam's Quik Shop (find out more about them in the retail section, below) to put together a list of their favorite bars to visit for craft brews – check out their comments and selections below, and find the vibe that suits you:
- Bull McCabe's features a large lawn for relaxing and an even larger beer selection that appeals to the folks at Sam's, who said: "Just an all-around great bar. Great wings."
- Criterion is a neighborhood bar fit for the 1930s. According to Sam's, it has a "well-curated draft selection, including a beer engine for casks. Amazing liquor options too."
- Dain's Place has made tons of fans with its atmosphere, food, and beer selection. The folks at Sam's put it simply: "Tons of bottles and great food."
- Green Room is a classic dive bar. Just listen to what Sam's says: "Awesome old-school pool hall with a great bottle selection. Best dive bar in Durham."
- Surf Club is bar with a relaxed atmosphere and a rotating beer selection. Sam's summarizes: "Great draft selection, killer outside patio."
- Tyler's Restaurant and Taproom & The SpeakEasy are two connected establishments featuring a full menu and over 70 beers on tap. As Sam's say, "If you can't find a beer you want to drink here, you obviously don't like beer."
Whether you're looking to expand your palate for beer, or taking a selection of Durham brews to friends back home, these retailers are your place to go:
- Beer Durham offers locals and visitors a place to grab a growler right in Downtown Durham. In addition, they offer a variety of craft and local beers in bottles and cans, and tables where you can relax and enjoy one of your new brews.
Beer Study, located in the Rockwood neighborhood, operates a joint bottle shop / beer-centric hangout with with Starpoint Brewing.
Bottle 501, like the name suggests, is located off of 15-501 in Durham. They have a robust bottle selection that includes more than 550 craft beers and wines from the local community and from around the world. Guests can relax in the shop's lounge and select from 16 beers and wines on tap or use a 32 ounce Crowler machine to take home beer in an aluminum container.
- Bull Craft Bottle Shop offers a large selection of North Carolina beers and wines, ciders and sodas, as well as eight rotating beers on draft. The shop is conveniently connected to a burger joint and their patio provides a hangout spot where dogs are welcome.
- The Glass Jug is the Triangle's first counter-pressure growler filling station and is located near Research Triangle Park. The Glass Jug sells pints, half-pints, growlers, cans and bottles, and kegs of local and craft beer on a seasonal, rotating basis. You can also find one-off releases, as well as wine and cider.
- Growler Grlz lets you try dozens of beer in a variety of ways: 16 oz. pints, 20 oz. pints, flights, 32 oz. growlers, and 64 oz. growlers. One stop by this Southern Durham locale and you can be ready for parties, tailgates, barbecues, tailgates, or whatever other beer drinking event you can imagine.
- Sam's Quik Shop has the largest selection of beer on the east coast, featuring over 1,500 different beers. Their sister location, Sam's Bottle Shop, brings Sam's to Southern Durham. Both locations offer beer on tap so you can sample while you shop.
Explore Durham's beer scene in a fresh way.
- Biker Bar is a mobile bar that seats up to 14 people. Tours last about two hours.
- Beltline Brew Tours offers private and group tours of Durham breweries, which include tastings and an inside look at the brewing process.
- Tap the Triangle offers all-inclusive group tours of Durham breweries, which include tastings, behind the scenes tours, and food from local restaurants. Private tours available.
See more information on Durham tours
Browse Durham Breweries & Distilleries: