Q&A with Neuse River Brewing Company
According to data from the Brewers Association, on average, 1.5 new craft breweries are opening each day in the U.S. What a mind-boggling stat. In the Triangle, it feels no different. The spike in breweries in the region is not only great for the economy, but craft beer nerds like myself who enjoy visiting these watering holes.
Neuse River Brewing Company is the latest to join the Triangle beer scene. Located in the vibrant Five Points neighborhood, the area is quickly becoming the “Raleigh Beer District” with Nickelpoint Brewing Co., Blackjack Brewing Company and Subnoir Brewing Company all within walking distance to one another. Big Boss Brewing Company is just around the corner as well.
I met Jennifer Kolarov, director of sales & marketing of Neuse River earlier this year. It’s been fun following their journey and learning their story over the last eight plus months. The brewery officially opened its doors last Friday, July 31 to a group of thirsty Raleigh beer enthusiasts.
Jennifer was kind enough to participate in a brief Q&A before they opened their doors to the public.
HOTP: How and why did you come up with the name of Neuse River Brewing Company? Tell us a little about the brewery?
NRBC: This is actually an intersecting story as we came up with many names prior to deciding on Neuse River Brewing Company. In fact, the original name was Black Paw – a play on the Tar Heel State – but there was already a brewery in Durham, England with the same name. Although they were over 3,000 miles away, we thought it hit a little too close for home so back to the drawing board we went. One night while trying to think of how we could incorporate our appreciation for the state we live in as well at our passion for the community, Neuse River Brewing Company was suggested and ultimately decided on. Ryan Kolarov and David Powell grew up playing on the Neuse and it immediately struck a chord with them. The River stretches across 248 miles of the state so anyone from the Piedmont to the Pamlico-Sound may have the same connection and that’s why we chose it.
HOTP: Why did you settle in the Five Points area of Raleigh?
NRBC: In our initial search for a location we had hoped to be in the North Raleigh area, close to Falls Lake. After searching for about six months and still coming up empty-handed, we extended our search further south. In doing so we found a few locations that may have worked, but one day stumbled across our current location. The building was built in 1946 and was originally purposed for building and restoring fire trucks. It has a barrel ceiling, original windows and tons of character. Even though our original plans didn’t pan out, we really found a hidden gem in the building.
HOTP: NRBC is unique in that you’re focusing on Belgians and IPAs. What inspired you to go this route?
NRBC: We’re really just making the styles of beer we enjoy. And, although you can find Belgian ales in the Triangle, there isn’t really anyone focusing on them yet.
HOTP: What can you tell everyone about your sustainable practices and willingness to buy local?
NRBC: As of right now we’re trying to source everything from ingredients to building supplies and swag from local companies. Our grain for the Riverkeeper’s Wit comes from Farm Boy Farms in Pittsboro and 5% of each beer sold goes directly to the Riverkeeper’s Foundation to fund their efforts in maintaining and advocating for the Neuse River and its surrounding tributaries. Many of the items in the Tasting Room were purchased at the Habitat for Humanity store or re-purposed from Ryan’s Dad’s farm in Creedmoor, NC.
From a production standpoint, our options are limited as we’re just getting off the ground, however, plans to take the spent grain to Ryan’s Dad’s farm are already in place. Eventually, we’d like to implement a wastewater program and operate via solar or wind power.
HOTP: You have seven beers listed in your “Signature Series.” Is one a flagship?
NRBC: No, not at this time.
HOTP: Any collaborations in the works with other Five Points breweries?
NRBC: Naturally there has been talk about collaborations but nothing set in stone yet.
HOTP: What does the North Carolina craft beer scene mean to you?
NRBC: It’s hugely important to us. We’re thrilled to see the growth in demand and enthusiasm for craft beer in the Triangle and state. It illustrates a desire for a well made, local product – not only with beer but also within the art and food cultures. We’re thankful every day we made the decision to start this venture when and where we did. We really couldn’t have picked a better time.
The brewery is located at 518 Pershing Rd. in Raleigh. Tap room hours are:
Thursday 5 pm – 10 pm
Friday 5 pm – 11 pm
Saturday 12 pm – 11 pm
Sunday 12 pm – 10 pm
Have you had a chance to visit yet?