Last Updated on April 13, 2021
Last Updated on April 13, 2021
If you plan to visit Western NC, please check beforehand to see if the area is safe following the recent flooding. Officials have closed some sections of Pisgah National Forest (including Forest Heritage Scenic Byway and Blue Ridge Parkway stops) to keep visitors out of danger. Please respect signage and local guidance.
We’ve written quite a bit about Durham, including its amazing food and our favorite coffee shops. Since we’ve shown you how to eat and get perked up, it’s time to kick back with a beer in Bull City. In this guide to breweries in Durham, we’re going to show you places that are leading by example in North Carolina’s beer scene.
With a mix of OG breweries and newer players, including a transplant from Asheville, here are Bull City’s craft beer makers, their backgrounds, and our favorite drinks to consume from them.
Many of these Durham breweries are the reason why we think NC Beer belongs on our bucket list. If you’re interested in more Bull City fun, we also cover things to do in Durham and where to stay in style!
Breweries in Durham NC
726 Rigsbee Ave
You can’t start your North Carolina craft beer journey anywhere other than Fullsteam. A strong connection to Southern farmers and a “Plow to Pint” mantra is just the beginning.
On the taproom menu, you’ll find experimental ingredients like sweet potato, scuppernong, hickory, and pawpaws.
Fullsteam is also incredibly transparent about where and how they spend their money as you’ll find inside their Southern beer economy report. For example, 2019’s version demonstrated that they purchased over $500,000 in Southern ingredients for their first 10 years since launching in 2010.
If you need further convincing, head over and grab a Rocket Science (IPA, our favorite!) or one of their experimental pints. That way, you’ll know your money is going toward a tasty experience and back to the source, most importantly.
You can learn more about Fullsteam and its place in North Carolina craft beer in our interview with owner Sean Lilly Wilson.
219 Hood St
Ponysaurus Brewing has been pouring pints since 2015, starting in an attic that could only be accessed via a scissor lift. These lovely folks brew experimental American, Belgian, and European style beers, which they describe as “forward-think and backward-tasting.”
Crowd favorites include the Biére De Garde and Don’t Be Mean To People Golden Rule Saison. However, you’ll also find experimental sours and bourbon barrel-aged beers here. That’s why we think Ponysaurus is an awesome brewery for everyone.
The wide-open lawn out front is perfect for warm weather picnics and family-friendly hangouts too! And of all the breweries in Durham, this one is where one governor has stopped by to kick off NC Beer Month in April.
Bull Durham Beer Company
Durham Bulls Athletic Park (Open April to September)
Home games at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park are a fun time and not just because of Wool E Bull’s antics. For starters, each game features players who are either on the cusp of making it to the Show or those who are rehabbing before going back up.
You also have the first brewery in the country owned and brewed in a Minor League Baseball Stadium—Bull Durham Beer Company.
Brewed right next to the concession stand, a Bull Durham beer and baseball really go hand in hand. We like their IPA, which only seems available at the stadium.
When the Bulls aren’t playing, you can find Bull Durham’s Kolsch, Wheat, and Light Ale at stores or bottle shops from Durham to the coast.
206 Broadway St Suite 104
Durty Bull is one of Durham’s best kept local secrets, tucked away from the main drag of downtown. Step inside the taproom that’s adjacent to their 15-barrel production, and you’ll see that this brewery packs a punch!
Specializing in barrel-aged and sours, Durty Bull also offers nice IPAs, Porters, and other styles depending on when you stop by. Head down to for a Hurts, Donut?, a Fill in the (Blanc), or something else and let us know what you think!
You can also play old school console games on their TV or Simpsons pinball between pints at Dirty Bull. And finally, props to them for the wonderful collection of Simpsons memorabilia inside.
Barrel Culture Brewing and Blending
4913 South Alston Ave
Barrel Culture Brewing and Blending is truly unique, even for this list. Housed in the former Counter Culture headquarters, hence the name “Barrel Culture,” this South Durham brewery is set in a beautiful location. With plenty of outdoor seating and a sleek-looking taproom, there is plenty of space to hang.
The barrel room is also open, as long as there isn’t a private event. And for those lucky enough to step inside, you’ll find barrels in the middle of aging beers anywhere from 12 to 18 months. The beer then goes through the tanks, where it’s blended with fruit to make their delicious flavor combinations.
Specializing in barrel-aged wild sours and ales, you’ll find bright colored beers and even chocolate milkshake-inspired beer slushies here.
Also, check out Barrel Culture’s “Third Friday” series, where they pair beer and local food together for a delicious combination!
Bull City Burger and Brewery
107 E Parrish St
While Bull City Burger and Brewery (BCBB) has incredible pasture-raised beef burgers, this place is also known for brewing its own world-class beer! Employing sustainable and community-driven principles for their beer (the same with their food), BCBB keeps its ingredients pure to ensure amazing-tasting results.
The Parish St Pale Ale is our go-to but when we branch out, there are plenty of opportunities to try something new. BCBB’s brewers have been known to dabble with jalapenos, chocolate, and more fun ingredients.
If you’re heading downtown a want a delicious burger and brew, this should be your first stop. Just don’t use the beer to wash down your meal. Savor it and let your tastebuds enjoy the experience.
Hi-Wire Brewing at Golden Belt
800 Taylor St #9-150
And Durham is proud to have them in the Golden Belt, occupying a giant space of almost 9,000 square feet. And it’s not just the circus theme and colorful murals that we’re wild about!
With 24 taps, full-sized shuffleboard courts, soccer pool tables, table tennis and more, it’s clear that Hi-Wire Durham is definitely not your average brewery. They’re always experimenting with barrel-aged sours and wild ales, and the tap board is always changing.
Bull City Ciderworks
305 S Roxboro St #3628
Bull City Ciderworks got its start in Durham by a couple of Lexington guys. And while nearly all of their production happens in the land of red slaw, their cider bar in Durham is certainly worthy of this list.
You can find them next to the Wine Feed in downtown, where games and plenty of space are waiting for families (and dogs!). Ciderworks also hosts some fun events throughout the year, which is why you should follow them on Facebook to keep up.
At this location, you’ll find 24 taps waiting to pour delicious cider and even cans of NC beers for hop lovers. We love coming here and can’t wait to watch new things coming in and out of Bull City Ciderworks!
The Glass Jug Beer Lab
5410 Highway 55
The Glass Jug might be known by some for its amazing bottleshop, but their on-site nano-brewery produces amazing beer, with some only for the taps.
Dubbed “The Beer Lab,” this place taps into RTP‘s reputation for science and innovation while experimenting with new exciting flavors and creating great brews.
Here, you’ll find science-y names like Standard Deviation, Binomial, Opacity and other head-spinning words that might remind you of Mr. Johnson’s 3rd period. But unlike Mr. Johnson’s class, these beers are never boring and the new stuff is always fun to try, too.
You can spend your time browsing the bottles on the wall or hang out in the beautiful beer garden outside. Visits to The Glass Jug make us a little envious that we don’t live in South Durham.
Because if we did, we’d be hanging out here on the reg’!
Starpoint Brewing (Beer Study)
2501 University Dr, Suite 4
Beer Study combines a few of our favorite things (bottle shop, taproom, and arcade) to make one hell of a place to hang out in Durham. And speaking of the taproom, you have 38 taps to choose from. There are plenty of guest taps waiting, but Starpoint is the one if you’re seeking some on-site brewed deliciousness.
Starpoint started in Carrboro and quickly built a following, courtesy of the hoppy yumminess they were pumping out. You’ll still find a few of them on the menu, including Tekno Boy (West Coast Imperial IPA) and Hipster or Hobo (Pale Ale).
A Starpoint is perfect for a stroll around the bottle shop, conversation at one of their many tables, or sip between games in the arcade. That combination is wonderful, but the most important component is the beer. And that’s why we’ll always include it among our favorite breweries in Durham.
Our Thoughts and Yours, Too!
Durham’s brewery scene is a part of why we ended up moving to North Carolina. It keeps growing, along with our love for the city, and we’re excited to see what happens next in this growing beer hub.
Have you ever visited any of these breweries in Durham? Which one is your favorite? If you’ve never been or been lucky enough to frequent these spots, which one do you think deserves the fame of your first pint?