Don’t mind the mess, Neuse River Brewing Co. is just putting the final touches on it’s brewery and taproom in the Five Points neighborhood of Raleigh, NC. It takes a lot to open a brewery. There’s finding a location with enough space for what you need to do (and grow into what you WANT to do). There’s buying the equipment, having it installed and numerous cosmetic tasks. The biggest hurdle is obtaining the countless number of permits and getting cleared to actually do your job. That’s the hurdle that Neuse River has been waiting on.

The good news is, WE won’t have to wait much longer. NRBC is slated to open in early August and I, for one, can’t wait.

Neuse River Brewing Co. is the brainchild of brewers Ryan Kolarov & David Powell. They recently moved from California and definitely exude that laid back, Cali vibe. Fret not hardcore NC lifers, they’re originally from around here. David’s a native North Carolinian and Ryan told us he happened to grow up in the neighborhood his brewery now lies.

In their time away, they expanded their horizons, learned new things and cultivated a love for brewing beer. Luckily, they brought all of that back to NC with them and we’ll all hopefully benefit.

NRBC plans to focus on Belgian styles and IPAs, but also get experimental. That last part is the part that excites me the most. NC is home to a LOT of breweries, but we’re also home to a LOT of breweries that find their niche in “traditional styles” and stay there. Don’t get me wrong, traditional styles have their place, but they don’t leave a lot of room for variation. If you’re like me, a lack of variation equates to boring.  So to hear they plan on using Brett, making sours/saisons and utilizing barrels (obtained through Ryan’s connections he made working with wineries/breweries in CA) was music to my ears.

In fact, while we were talking with them, they mentioned they were testing out an imperial saison and a west coast IPA for their first batches when they open. As far as opening, they hope to be ready to open their doors early August with a launch party later in the month or into September.

The taproom and bar are spacious, but my favorite features are the large, garage doors in the front, the windows in the back and the gigantic fan above. It was in the upper 90’s the day we visited, super hot outside. Yet, inside the taproom it was incredibly comfortable with a cross breeze that was reminiscent of, dare I say, being at a bar on the beach. You also have a view of the downtown Raleigh skyline from the windows behind the bar. That breeze and view, combined with the lighted NRBC sign on the wall, equals me sitting at the bar quite regularly.

Outside the front doors, you can’t help but notice the bright green garden. This is a community garden of herbs with the intention that you’ll grab some for dinner on the way home. A nice touch for that neighborhood feel.

Five Points has become a bit of a “brewery row” in Raleigh, with Big Boss, Blackjack, Sub Noir and Nickelpoint (which is just a few doors down from NRBC). You’d think with all of that competition so close that there would be some bad blood. Not so much in the craft beer community. You always hear about breweries helping each other out with grain or hops if someone is in need. According to Ryan and David, this neighborhood is no different. They all share ideas, materials and beers together. Who knows, this situation seems ripe for collaborations in the future. I wouldn’t mind seeing a yearly Five Points collab where a different brewery’s equipment is used each year, much like Olde Rabbit’s Foot was with Olde Hickory/Duck Rabbit/Foothills (disclaimer: this is an idea I totally just came up with…not a rumor I’m starting).

A lot of exciting things are happening in this neighborhood and we’re pumped to add these guys to the list. Now we wait patiently for that first pour!

Know of anyone else cool happening around our state? Let us know on Twitter @NCBeerReview or via email.