BlackJack Brewing Company in Raleigh is a new brewery with owners who have a lot of experience in brewing great beers. One of the three owners spent 10 years as the head brewer at Abita and also worked as a brewer for Big Boss down the street. Open only a couple of months, this brewery already feels established. The “Brew Crew” and I walked to this brewery from visiting Sub Noir just a few hundred feet away. This brewery is also less than a third of a mile from Big Boss, but since the streets in this primarily industrial section of Raleigh doesn’t have sidewalks I’d advise caution when drinking and walking down the not-so-well-lit road. Unlike some Raleigh breweries parking is not a problem at BlackJack, Sub Noir or Big Boss.
It is my personal belief that if you are going to choose a pirate theme for your brewery you should go all in. I mean fully commit to the theme. As cheesy as that might seem (I’m sure some would see it as such), I see it as fun. This brewery does just enough that you notice the theme but it isn’t in your face (to my slight disappointment). The patrons and staff near my friends and me were subjected to about fifteen minutes of pirate ascents and phases. There was plenty of “Aaarrrgggghhhs!” and such. Going to a brewery should be fun, and I believe we embraced that concept and had a great time.
The taproom is a warehouse-style area with a few bar games, ski ball and foosball to name a few. The taproom has plenty of room for live music and some outdoor seating available on the porch area. Food trucks frequent this brewery, and the establishment is dog-friendly. At the time of our visit the taproom was lightly staffed but the one bartender working the Friday night we were there was doing a good job of keeping everyone’s cups filled. One of the brewers was hanging around but seemed to have less interest in chatting about their beers (which is unusual for a brewer). This brewery does sell flights of four for eight doubloons (or dollars); however, they had nine beers on tap so we ordered two and negotiated the purchase of a single sample for two dollars more.
The beers at this brewery are the real treasure, and you won’t have to use a map to find a good one. We really enjoyed several of the selections a few worth mentioning are as follows.
- Black Sails Pale Ale: Yo Ho Ho, this is a great flavorful pale ale with a hint of caramel which explains the attractive red color. Often pale ales are less than complex. This beer has a pleasant aroma and a hint of pear.
- Barking Irons IPA: A very well-balanced IPA that is easy to drink (maybe too easy). I was glad to notice a nice malty mouth feel that gives this IPA a clean finish. This beer will make you shout “Splice the mainbrace!”
- ArrrAmber Ale: Oh how I love ambers! This one is malty like I like it! Plus it is perhaps the most fun amber to order.
- BowSprit Bock: Great summer time beer! I wish I had bought a growler. This was my favorite of the beers we sampled at this brewery, although it was a close call between several of these brews. However in the end we felt this beer was shipshape.
This is a fun place to order a pint or two and your friend are bound to have a fantastic time. I’d encourage you to give this North Raleigh Brewery a try and share your experience with us.
Michael Cole lives in Sanford, NC, and loves great food and beer. His taste tends to favor malts over hops so he’s an avid fan of ambers and dark beers