Picking Favorites From Our First Year

FirstInFlights.com celebrates its one-year anniversary today. We have not yet achieved our ultimate goal of visiting every one of North Carolina’s breweries, but we’re well on our way. In honor of our first anniversary, let’s take a look back at some of our personal highlights from Year One.

Mike’s Picks:

Top Five Brewery Hangouts

1. Haw River Farmhouse Ales (for me, they were simply the best all around)

2. Gizmo BrewWorks (great beer and cool place to hang with friends)

3. Sugar Creek Brewing (my favorite Charlotte brewery)

4. Draft Line (kind of a man cave, always a good time)

5. D9 Brewing (comfortable place with unique beers. Three sours!)

Top Five Brewery Outdoor Spaces

1. Good Hops (great beach vibe)

2. Wicked Weed (great place to drink good beer)

3. Outer Banks Brewing Station (great fun family-friendly space & a windmill)

4. Fainting Goat (I’m a sucker for a good patio)

5. Steel String (great downtown front porch)

Top Five Brewery Service And Staff

1. Carolina Brewing (they keep it simple and keep you happy)

2. Check Six (they treat you like you are on vacation, and you likely are)

3. Southern Pines Brewing (great service, great beer, worth a trip)

4. Sugar Creek (even when busy, they take time for you)

5. White Rabbit (very personable, good service)

Top Five Brewery Foods

1. Trophy Brewing (hard to beat good pizza and they have both!)

2. Outer Banks Brewing Station (bison burger — it is perfect)

3. Aviator (BBQ nachos go great with good beer!)

4. Bull City Burger (burger with duck fries)

5. Heist Brewery (tapas are so good!)

Virginia’s Picks

Beers of the year: 

Wicked Weed, Cherry-go-lightly (Runners up: Genesis, Medora, Oblivion)

D9, Systema Naturae (Runners up: Our Town Brown, Viking Fraoch, Whiskers on Kittens)

Mystery, Melioxos (Runners up: Alexandre, Faulkner, Filigree, Western Star, NC Gose West, Phileas Fogg, Dragon’s Breath/Punisher)

Fullsteam, Paw Paw Belgian Style Tripel 

Haw River, Major Arcana, The Bifurcation Project: Coconut Curry St. Benedict’s Breakfast Stout 

Crank Arm, All Mountain Milk Stout with Mint

Breweries of the year:

Most Fun: Draft-Line Brewery, Mystery Brewing, Good Hops Brewing, Wedge Brewing, Wilmington Brewing

Best Food: Bull City Burger & Brewing, G2B, Wicked Weed

Up & Comers Watch List: Burial Beer, Flytrap, The Unknown, Ponysaurus, Four Saints

Aaron’s Picks

Best Place To Beat Your Little Brother-in-law At Lots Of Games: Wilmington Brewing Co.

Best Sours: Wicked Weed’s Funkatorium. (Runner-up: D9 Brewing)

Best Food, Friendliest Staff, and great risk-taking beers: G2B (may it rest in peace and live on in our hearts!)

Best Local Hangout, Best beer variety: Mystery Brewing (where the beer menu is entirely seasonal, and extensive)

Best Mural Of Magnum P.I. & Chunk From The Goonies: Burial Brewing Co. (absolutely loved their beers too — fantastic risk-takers, very bold, very good)

Beers of the Year:

1. Haw River Rusted Plow saison

2. G2B Coconut IPA

3. Mystery’s Phileas Fogg saison (with juniper, sage & chili)

4. Haw River javanog cream stout

5. Wicked Weed’s Cherry go lightly

6. Burial Camulet Strawberry Rhubarb Grisette

7. Fullsteam’s Common Good

8. Crank Arm All Mountain Mint Milk Stout

9. Steel String Sailor’s Warning Grisette (apparently I’m into Grisettes now!)

10. Ponysaurus Biere de Garde

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