North Carolina is definitely an up-and-coming craft beer haven. Over the past 5-10 years, we have seen a huge increase in the amount of craft beer available and the number of local breweries springing up across the state. This is thanks, in part, to the “Pop the Cap” initiative and the persistence and growing popularity of craft and local beer enthusiasts in the area.
Local bars and restaurants are doing a lot to grab a hold of this growing market. Tyler’s Restaurant in Apex, Durham and Carrboro frequently has “Pint Nights” where you can buy a craft or local beer and take home the glass. Rockfish Grill, and others are also catching on to this phenomena (see the “Casks for a Cure” event). However, I have really been impressed by one particular bar in Chapel Hill – Bub O’Malley’s.
If you have not visited Bub’s in the last couple of years, you probably think of it as a local dive bar serving up cheap pints of Schlitz and 24-ounce cans of Miller High Life. And, while you can still find tall boys of cheap beer (Schlitz cans are no longer available), you will also notice a variety of over 100 different beer choices – 30 on draft! And of course they have the typical “BMC” (Bud, Miller, & Coors) offerings, but the vast majority of their taps are taken up by local and craft brews. For example, where else can you find three beers from Fuquay-Varina’s Aviator Brewing Company on draft?
But what does all of this have to do with home brewing?
James Rippe, the bar manager at Bub’s, has been the driving force behind Bub O’Malley’s transformation from a dive bar into a craft beer bar, and he is also a home brewer. As his beer interests began to merge, James decided to start the Bub’s Connessuier Club, a members-only club that would allow a group of individuals explore the world of craft beer through tastings, outings, and educational sessions. This group would also taste and rate beer, in an effort to help decide which beers make it onto the taps at Bub’s.
James said that, “having an interest in beer is great. Having a place to share that interest is even better! This is why the Bub O’Malley’s Connoisseur Club was created. For the newcomers to the world of beer and the veteran home brewer, there is something to learn. The unique aspect of the Conn Club is that the active members have a direct impact on the on Bubs itself by choosing some of new beers to be ordered.”
This Sunday afternoon (10/30) at 1:00 PM, with the support of Bull City Homebrew, I will be teaching a “Homebrewing 101” class for the Connessuier Club. Bull City has supplied us with some great schwag and ingredients for a Winter Spiced Ale that we will be cooking up through an extract and partial mash recipe, while showing the basics of how to brew your own beer as well as a look into the science of beer. And the best part is that the beer will be served to the club during the December meeting!
So, if you are in the RDU area, I encourage you to come out to Bub’s and join the Connessuier Club. The benefits are great, and you will get to brew up some excellent beer on Sunday of the UNC Homecoming weekend!
As James said, “If beer is the water of life, then lets all take a drink together.”