Nestled in tightly under the stairs, hiding in plain sight is Downtown Raleigh’s State of Beer. It’s a small, well designed, well decorated, well organized bar that doubles as a sandwich & bottle shop. It’s owned & operated by the same trio of guys behind Busy Bee Cafe & Trophy Brewing & Pizza Co (both of which are past & future stops for CBR), so that’s where you’ve seen that glassware before.

Walk in to be greeted by spinning vintage vinyl & a wall of glassware, ready-to-be-filled crowlers and a mesmerizingly beautiful draft rig (Dug may even whisper sweet nothings into your ear, if you’re lucky). There are 12 taps, all rotating with nothing standard so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a style you’re into, even if you don’t recognize the beer.

Once you’ve selected your imbibing tool, you’re free to casually walk around and browse through the to-go options. The bottle shop selection is compact, yet powerful. Prices are definitely higher here than a lot of other places, but the good side of that is things will sit here longer than they do at a lot of other places. When everyone in Raleigh was out of Event Horizon? You could find it at SOB, as long as you didn’t mind paying a bit more.

State of Beer also boasts one of the larger import selections in the area. Need your Bon-Chien or Duchesse De Bourgogne? They’ve got you covered. Of course, you couldn’t call yourselves “State of Beer” in NC and not have a ton of local offerings. You’ll find pretty much everything released from places like Olde Hickory and Steel String, but you’ll also see some of the more limited releases from the smaller breweries like Burial.

There’s a cooler in the back if can’t afford the luxury of waiting for ice or the magic of refrigeration to do their thing. Heck, you can even get your local cold brew coffee or kombucha fix here as well.

I mentioned food earlier and, in my opinion, this is a crucial feature that sets State of Beer apart from most shops/bars. Suggesting to my wife that we go to a bar on a rare night out while my parents watch the kid?  Not exactly the home run it is in my head. Add a cheese plate to the mix and all of sudden it’s the perfect pre-dinner stop. Feel like having a sandwich AND a beer at lunch? Here’s a new option.

There’s also ample seating outside to eat outside or sip and people-watch on Hillsborough St.

It feels like just yesterday the growler laws were changed and you could leave your favorite bar w/ draft to go. SOB offers a to-go option…just a newer, fancier one. The Crowler is a 32 oz. can that can be filled with just about anything on tap, pressurized and sealed to sit in your fridge until you’re ready to drink. Lighter, cheaper and sans extra deposit costs. Quite the invention.

State of Beer is in downtown Raleigh, on Hillsborough St. Follow them on Twitter & Facebook (us, too!) for upcoming events & beer deliveries. It’s open every day and is a relaxing spot for working w/ a beer, eating w/ a beer or just chatting w/ a beer. Heck, it could just be you and the beer w/ absolutely nothing else, who are we to judge?

There are more shots of the State of Beer experience below. Have a favorite shop/bar you’d like us to feature? Let us know on Twitter @NCBeerReviewor via email.