We live in Durham-ish, so of course we’ve been to Triangle Brewing Company’s Pint & Plate at Brightleaf Square. But we revisited it again. Just for you. In fact, we’ll send you the bill.
We typically pop in to Pint & Plate in the early afternoon or on weeknights, so it hasn’t always been busy, but there are always a few grad students studying (What are you thinking? You can’t study at a brewery!) or folks popping in for a growler. The pints of Pint & Plate opened at the end of 2013, and the plate opened in early 2014.
The food is a definite improvement: there’s a “Pint of Bacon” and some pretty awesome chorizo burgers that fit well with their beers. And we got amazing (free!) cupcakes from smallcakes in Durham. A bartender’s better half has been making some amazing cupcakes with Triangle Beers, including their stout and White Ale. The cupcakes are moist, have delicious icing, are beautifully decorated, and even if nobody told you they were made with beer, you would wonder what the “secret ingredient” was in these cupcakes. We think Triangle should add these to the regular menu for sure. Everyone likes cupcakes. (If you don’t, you are just wrong.)
On Saturdays at 1:30 p.m. there are $3 tours at the “Brewery-brewery” at 918 Pearl Street with tastings. But alas. The bad at Pint & Plate: there is no tasting flight, just pints. Sorry, you can’t hide from a committed relationship here. So we’ll have to put them as “Last in Flights.” The good news: they have some stand-out beers, so they aren’t Last in Beers by any stretch, and the bartenders will give you a sip, so you don’t wind up with a pint that isn’t for you. They have beers in restaurants and bars throughout the Triangle (particularly the 8% ABV Strong Golden and the IPA). But our favorites include:
- Habanero Pale Ale: It is a spicy kick-in-the-behind beer. We both wanted to order it today but didn’t (sad, pints only, so we had to branch out), but I recently ordered a pint at the Hillsborough BBQ Company. The Habanero Pale Ale pairs well with the Eastern style vinegar-based barbecue sauce with red pepper flakes. A must-try combination.
- Beer Divided Pale Ale: This collaboration with Top of the Hill Brewery in Chapel Hill was released in March. It had a marshmallow nose with a malt mellow flavor: sweet on the front, with some hops at the finish and came in right about 5% ABV.
- Lambic and Cherry Lambic: These two 6.5% beers should be reviewed together, as the lambic is the base for the cherry version. As I mentioned before, I like a good fruity beer. (In fact, now is a good time to mention Triangle’s Fruit de Passion Belgian that was not on tap today but is like an Edible Arrangement fruit bouquet, except that somebody might actually want one. Or more than one. And it’s cheaper than an Edible Arrangement.) The cherry didn’t have the “fake” cherry cough syrup taste some cherry beers do, but instead more of a maraschino liqueur flavor. But of the two, I took the Lambic for the pint. It was like Nerds candy: some sweet, tart fruit with a long-lingering finish. I’m not big on segregating beers by gender (fruit beers aren’t just for women, and if you are a guy and don’t drink ciders, that is definitely your loss), but this was a “manly Lambic.”
- Best Bitter: The 4.2% best bitter is a light beer with a slight creaminess; easy drinking and like most English bitters, not really that bitter. So stop by Triangle for a pint. Or a growler. Just not a flight.
Virginia Fitt lives somewhere on the border of Orange County and Durham city limits, and loves risk-taking brewers who use local ingredients, sours, Bretts/wild ales, strange collaborations, and all good beers.