Monday, January 11, 2010

NC Beer List

Over the past year, I've become more interested in local craft beer due to a growing relationship between local brewers and local rock musicians, as well as a growing buy-local mentality. With that in mind, I've started to compile a list of the vegan-friendliest brews for those of you who live in the NC area (or have access to some of these beers). I've withheld my own personal recommendations from this list because it is incomplete and because I hope to possibly pilgrimage (a la Beer Y'all) to some of these breweries and do a side by side comparison of their wares to bring you the best and brightest from each one!

Without further ado, the list thus far:

Aviator - Vegan Friendly

Fuquay Varina, NC

We don’t use isinglass in any of our beers (we did use it in the past…but have discontinued it) and to now we have not used honey.

You can list them all!



Carolina Brewery - Vegan Friendly!
Chapel Hill and Pittsboro, NC

Thanks for your interest in the Carolina Brewery. We always have Sky Blue Golden Ale, Copperline Amber Ale, Flagship India Pale Ale and Oatmeal Porter on tap, plus seasonal beers.Our beers are made with malted barley, hops, yeast and water. None of our beers contain isinglass, dairy, gelatin or honey. For a complete list our beers please visit our website
Thanks, -Jon

Carolina Brewing Company
- Vegan Friendly!
Holly Springs, NC

According to J
ohn, "We don’t use any honey, isinglass, dairy or gelatin at all so every beer we make is vegan."

Catawba Valley Brewing - Vegan Friendly
Morganton, NC

At this time all of our Beers are Vegan, In the past we used some different clarifying agents, (Isinglass to be exact) But I haven't used anything in many years . So were safer , fresher and happier..
W Scott Pyatt

Craggie Brewing Company - Vegan Friendly!

Asheville, NC

My name is Bill Drew and I am the owner/ brew master of Craggie Brewing Company. Thank you for your interest in our beers. Have you had a chance to come to our tasting room to sample our wares yet? All our beers are "Vegan". No clarifying agents or foam inhibitors. We don't filter either. Most of our beers are just malt, hops, yeast, water. Since yeast is a living organism, is it an exception to the rule? Some of our other beers do contain candy sugar, molasses, ginger, spruce tips, strawberries, blueberries, etc. depending on the seasonal recipe. I hope this is helpful. Thanks and cheers!

Foothills Brewing Company - Vegan Friendly!
Winston-Salem, NC

We do not use isinglass in any of our products, nor do we use honey. I believe, as a result, all of our beers could be considered vegan. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact me at or directly at 3364079276. Thanks for the interest! Jamie Bartholomaus (Brewmaster)

French Broad Brewing Company - Vegan Friendly!
Asheveille, NC

Thanks for your interest in French Broad beers. We would love to be listed on your blog. We do not use isinglass or any other animal by-product in the production of our beers. Thanks again for checking with us.

Drew Barton

Ham's Brewhouse - Mostly Vegan Friendly!
Greenville, NC

It's actually easier for us to list our brews that aren't vegan. The only ones that are not vegan are our Mother's Milk Cream Stout (it contains lactose) and our Sunfest Lager might not be vegan. We filter our Sunfest Lager and our filter modules contain DE (diatomaceous earth), but I'm not sure how you guys feel about DE. Here's something to read if you're not familiar with DE....

Other than that, all our brews can be considered vegan.

The only fining (used for clarity) we use is Irish Moss, which is made from different kinds of seaweed.

Other than those two, any of our brews listed at would be considered vegan.


TL Adkisson

Heinzelmännchen Brewery - Mostly Vegan Friendly!
Sylva, NC

Except for our Ancient Days Honey Blonde Ale, all our other Ales (Gopher, Hoppy Gnome, Gnutty Gnome, Middleworld Brown, Black Forest Stout, Weise Gnome, & Big Amber Ale). We use a cold maturation process to clear most of our beer with an occassional dose of Trub Clear (an Irish Moss product) in our specialty Ales due to the higher protein content of that style. You can find beer style descriptors on our website.

Highland Brewing Company - Vegan Friendly!
Asheville, NC

Hi – Thanks for your interest in our brews. All our regular and seasonal beers are vegan. Our regular beers are Kashmir IPA, Oatmeal Porter, Gaelic Ale, Black Mocha Stout, and St. Terese Pale Ale. Our seasonal beers are Cold Mountain Winter Ale, Black Mountain Bitter, Clawhammer Oktoberfest, and Cattail Peak Wheat. Barb @ HBC

Liberty Steakhouse and Brewery - Mostly Vegan Friendly!
High Point, NC and Myrtle Beach, NC

Nice to hear from you and also about your interest in our craft beers. We do not use isinglass or gels here at Liberty, nor do I add lactose to any of my beers. Sometime in the future (as I have in the past), I will be utilizing honey, but it would be advertised as such. I believe I will be making a honey wheat ale in the Spring. One point to make is the fact that beer is created by the metabolism of sugars and other constituents by yeast. There is active academic debate whether fungi, which brewers yeast is a type of, is a plant or animal. I personally (along with most) categorize fungus into its own group and leave the plants and animals into their own respective groupings. I would guess that you would have to interpret the definition of fungus to yourself and decide whether or not beer is in fact vegan. I personally think it is as long as lactose, finings or other animal products are not utilized. If you have any other questions, please contact me at your leisure. Thanks!
Todd Isbell

Lone Rider Brewery - Somewhat Vegan Friendly

Raleigh, NC

Shotgun Betty (unfiltered Hefeweizen) is completely vegan. Our other beers do use finings.

Natty Greene's Brewing Co - Mostly Vegan Friendly!
Greensboro and Raleigh, NC

the only
beer we use isinglass finings on is our General Stout, and the Irish Honey Red contains honey.
all of our beers are vegan aside these two. here is the list of the main sellers:

Guilford Golden
Wildflower Witbier
Southern Pale
Buckshot Amber
Old Town Brown
Cannonball Double IPA
Black Powder Russian Imperial Stout
Red Nose Winter Ale

at our pub locations in Greensboro, and Raleigh we brew over 40 recipes over the year and all of these are vegan.

in a follow up email, Sebastian mentioned:

I missed one, the Milk Stout we do has lactose sugar in it which is derived from dairy products...specifically whey.

Sebastian Wolfrum

Director of Brewing Operations | Natty Greene's Pub and Brewing Company

Olde Hickory Brewery - Mostly Vegan Friendly

Hickory, NC

Thank you for contacting the Olde Hickory Brewery! I've spoken with our brew
master and confirmed that the vast majority of our beers are vegan friendly. The only beers we make which are not are the Imperial Stout and Christmas Ale, both of which contain honey. The bottles of these are labeled with "made with honey." All of the rest of the beers listed on our website are vegan friendly, as well as our Dopplebock which is new and not yet on the site. Best, Nikol Wuest

Red Oak Brewery - Vegan Friendly
Whitsett, NC

Thank you for your inquiry. We brew 3 different lagers and all are vegan. We brew according to the 1516 law of purity the oldest consumer protection law in the world. This allows only 4 ingredients; Malted Barley, Hops, Water and Yeast. The beers we brew are Hummin' Bird, Red Oak and Battlefield Bock. We do not filter the beer or clarify it. We brew the way all beer used to be made.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Chris Buckley
Brew Master

Top Of The Hill - NOT Vegan Friendly
Chapel Hill NC East Franklin St., Third Floor, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 100 East Franklin St., Third Floor, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
"I am sorry but we use Isenglass in all of our beers. No isenglass remains in the beer but we do use it to clarify instead of filtering.

Scott Maitland

Triangle Brewing Company - Vegan Friendly!
Durham, NC

As of last inquiry (July 2009) all beers are vegan.

Still Awaiting Feedback:

Appalachian Craft Brewery - Fletcher, NC
Asheville Brewing Company - Asheville, NC
Big Boss Brewing - Raleigh, NC
Boyland Bridge Brewpub - NC
Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery - Farmville, NC
Front Street Brewery - Wilmington, NC
Green Man Ales and Brewery - Asheville, NC
Huske Hardware House Brewing Company - Fayetteville, NC
Outer Banks Brewing Station - Kill Devil Hills, NC
The Mash House Restaurant and Brewery - Fayetteville, NC
Mother Earth Brewing - Kinston, NC
Pisgah Brewing Company - Black Mountain, NC
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery - Charlotte, NC
Weeping Radish Farm Brewery - Jarvisburg, NC

Rocking Songs of 2009

Hey All.

Back with an update on rock and roll, not cooking (cooking is coming soon though, thanks for your continued support!)

I've gone ahead, like so many others, and compiled a list of songs that were my favorites of 2009, based (primarily) on how many times I listened to them as calculated by both and how long the mix CD they were on stayed in my car, and whether I still want to listen to them now. This is what I came up with, in no particular order, except maybe #1:

1. The Rural Alberta Advantage - Frank, AB
My roommates were ready to murder me after I discovered this song. I walked around the house all day going "Oo-oo oo-oo" and played it for them incessantly. I figured it out on guitar. And it didn't help that this was kind of a break-up-ish song that made me sob like a 4 year old with a skinned knee. I saw them live and it was just as goosebumpy. Listen, and love.

2. Veelee - Not Getting Anywhere
Yep, I chose the sort of sappy ballad duet as my favorite. I can't help it. I adore it. I was at Veelee's very first show ever, and trust me, you're going to hear about this band. Download their whole, quite worthwhile EP at their web site (linked above).

3. Beep Beep - Human Hair
Beep Beep is probably my favorite band of 2009. I've seen them twice. One of those times, I drove over 500 miles to make sure I caught them. They are a new incarnation of an old favorite who put out an incredible (and criminally underpromoted by Saddle Creek!) double disc this year. Human Hair is one of the "outlier" songs. It is so kitschy and well orchestrated that I felt like it was truly representative of the band for me. Weird, awesome and totally offputting unless you're a little sick. :)

4. Beep Beep - Mermaid Struggle
This is Beep Beep's face-melter. One of my roommates says it makes her feel like she's having a seizure. It makes me feel like I need to take acid and practice playing guitar. If this song doesn't in some way impress you, I feel like we don't see eye to eye. It blends beauty and dissonance so well that I fell in love with Beep Beep all over again the minute I heard it.

5. Red Collar - Tools
You might not be from North Carolina, and so I'll forgive you for not knowing our hometown heroes. Their first full-length, Pilgrim, has been getting lots of play and support around here. Tools has been my favorite RC song for a long time because it captures both the angst and energy the band can bring to a stage show. If they are ever playing in your town, just go to the show. Trust me. No recording can ever do their live show justice.

6. Ida Maria - Queen Of The World
A friend sent me this song saying it reminded her of me. I listened to it and at first thought "A Norwegian Erin McKeown, circa Distillation." Then I listened to it again. Ida Maria, you have written my theme song. If you've ever been an indecisive, possibly alcoholic, definitely lonesome twenty something girl, you will pin this song to your chest.

7. Marina & The Diamonds - Obsessions
You're thinking, God, when will this stupid piano singer-songwriter thing end, right? I had the same thing going on through 2009. I have had enough of Feist and Regina Spector and Nora Jones. But I love Marina Diamond. She is terribly off, self-loathing and basically sounds like someone I would hang with. And she is totally remixable. See if this doesn't get stuck in your head. Just try and see.

8. Fol Chen - Cable TV
You wanna have a good time? Wanna get down? This retro jam cites being broke, being in love and dancing in your underwear to Janet Jackson. It is absolutely infectious, although it does smack a bit of a one hit wonder.

9. The Love Language - Sparxxx
This was my first exposure to local breakouts The Love Language. It made me hungry for more. This song, though, really made me believe that Stu McLamb deserves all the fame and fortune he can get, because this shit is pure pop gold.

10. Japandroids - Young Hearts Spark Fire
The year's biggest garage duo! I missed them twice, once because I was working and once because of singer's emergency surgery and sudden date changes. This song is truly anthemic for those of us who are young, dumb and in love with rock and roll.

11. Bruce Peninsula - Crabapples
Easily the most unique, striking and resonant song on the list. Bruce Peninsula makes use of the stark contrast between simple call and response chorus, and extremely complex drumming. They claim to be inspired by Alan Lomax archives, and I can definitely hear it. When it comes up on my mix, EVERYONE wants to know what it is. Now you do.

12. The Joy Formidable - Whirring
Do you like straightforward girl-fronted indie pop? I DO I DO. I've had to avoid ripping off the vocal melodies on the chorus like 10 times.

13. An Horse - Camp Out
Although somewhat irritated by the album as a whole (and particularly the hyping of it, since it gets quite monotonous), I found myself really vibing on this song and put it on a mixtape without wanting to strangle the singer. It encompasses everything I like about the band, good lyrics, interesting rhythm and quirk. And also it namechecks Hole, which makes me smile.

14. Micachu - Golden Phone
Oh Micachu, everyone loves you! A great taste of the experimental, not-quite right but somehow totally aesthetically pleasing artist who is prone to building her own instruments, second guessing her releases. I was pulling for you to win that Mercury Prize, Mica!

15. Hammer No More the Fingers - Radiation
Durham, NC's "Boys Most Likely" put out a fine effort this year with Looking For Bruce. This song has long held its place at the top of my favorites because it combines two of my favorite things: Eastern European Disasters and DISCO! It recalls the story of and her rides through Chernobyl.

16. La Roux - Fascination
Another contender for the Mercury Music Prize, La Roux's high register could have taken this dance tune to turn-it-off territory, but somehow, it totally fucking works. The downside for everyone I know is that it led me to believe that I, too, can pull off a song in that register. (Note to readers: I cannot.) It has been exposed to death by now, but I still love it. And its remixes.

17. The Rapture - No Sex For Ben
This song is so obviously a jokey B-side, but those tend to be some of my favorite songs by bands (see: Spice Invaders by The Spice Girls, Rednecks by Blur). It's goofy, has a sweet groove and is one of those songs I always play at parties.

18. True Pseudo - Freaking Me Out
Wanna have a disco-punk-electro freak out? I mean a really booty shaker, sweat out the energy jam? This is it. Turn it up, face the mirror and show me the hair-ography. This song deserves to be blasted at any indie dance party worth its salt.

19. Little Boots - Stuck On Repeat
LITTLE MOTHERFUCKING BOOTS. When I first saw Lady Gaga, I just assumed that her songs would sound exactly like Little Boots. They didn't. I like the Gaga, but Little Boots, holy hell. You are a pop genius. Although she had a big hit with Remedy late in the year, this song had *me* stuck on repeat. I have embarrassed myself singing and dancing to this song more than once. Just try not to sing along. Oh, and download ANY remix you can get your hands on of miss boots. She is remix-ready.

20. The Pneurotics - Sirens
A less-well known local, but deserving of praise, The Pneurotics released their sophomore effort this year. Full disclosure, I was privvy to some early tracks and have a very close relationship with this record. However, this song, since the first time I heard Rich McLaughlin play it at Jack Sprat, has found its way into my ear and heart. It's a proper jam. If you like it, check out Happy Song too. It's all on iTunes.

21. Bear in Heaven - Lovesick Teenagers
Last, but certainly not least, is Bear in Heaven, with a song that to be perfectly honest, I *hated* on first, second, third listen. But then, something happened. I had to hear this off-kilter, possibly pitchy song with a driving bassline. It's so simple. It's so dull. But it is an EARWORM and it will get you. You will march with it, I promise.

Download the a zip file of the whole mix here.
(Bands, I know a lot of you, so you can e-mail me if you are unhappy with the fact that I am sharing your tunes and I will take them off the mix)

So yeah, by no means is this list complete. If you're at all interested in great music from the Triangle, I'd also recommend checking out the Indy's 40 Essential Triangle Tunes. They obviously are locally exclusive, have 40 whole songs picked out and there is some (but little) overlap between our lists. Overall, I'd say it's a good sampling of the music of the area, if you care. :)

Next week, I'm compiling a list of vegan NC beers! E-mails have been sent!