Looking for Durham’s breweries and distilleries to find out how their products are made? We’ve got you covered! The Bull City enjoys a great reputation as a city to enjoy a night out. With its collection of universities, medical facilities, and technology resources, Durham has to accommodate all the different types of drink preferences. While Durham contains many bars where you can get a great cocktail, this article only features locales that make their product in the Bull City.
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While Durham’s breweries and cidery feature self-contained production and drinking facilities, Durham’s distilleries contain tasting rooms only. Based on a recent North Carolina law, look for drinking rooms to open soon (at which point we’ll have to go try some great cocktails!). We’ve provided an easy-to-take chart on facilities offering tours too in case you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look.
Barrel Culture Brewing & Blending
4913 S Alston Avenue, Website
If you enjoy sour beers, Barrel Culture is the place for you. But its claim to fame at this point has to be the beer slushies. Quietly tucked away a few miles from downtown, you have to know it’s here to find it. The inside is the fanciest of all of the breweries in town, with simple and chic decor. From what I saw, not dog and kid-friendly but you deserve a grown-up night sometimes. Food trucks are available on Saturday nights. They’re only open until 9 pm and closed on Mondays. Great for a date night.
Bull City Burger & Brewery
107 E. Parrish Street, Website
The solo food/brewery combination in town. Not only does Bull City make delicious beers, but it also has a full-service bar and a self-serve wine by the ounce machine. And the food, oh the food, enjoy delicious burgers and fries of all kinds. Kids can enjoy the indoor play area. Great for hungry groups of all ages and sizes who want more than beer.
They’re opening a taproom in late 2019 at South Square Mall which will also feature food. We can’t wait to see what’s next!
Bull Durham Beer Company
409 Blackwell Street
Not many beers can claim they’re brewed at a baseball field – but this one can! Brewed feet away from the Durham Bulls’ home plate, the brewery focuses on four flagship beers with some seasonals. No tours are available at this Durham brewery but nothing screams Durham like enjoying a cold brew while watching our home team on the diamond. There’s no taproom at this time.
Durty Bull Brewing Company
206 Broadway Street #104, Website
With a focus on barrel-aged and sours, Durty Bull has increased its local presence by hosting events. Food truck The Dankery moved in permanently so no more concerns about whether a food truck will be there. They hold a running club on Tuesday night (run a 5K), trivia on Mondays and comedy Fridays. Look for special events like viewing parties too.
726 Rigsbee Avenue, Website
The original! Fullsteam brought local to the craft beer movement. As the local pioneers, Fullsteam has set a high standard for others to follow. The local trend was continued when they expanded into having their own kitchen featuring small plates to more substantial fare. Fullsteam is dog and child-friendly. Located in the Geer Street area across the street from Motorco, Fullsteam is often at the center of the action and has assumed its position as a place where the community can gather. Great place to run into lots of people.
Fullsteam recently announced that it will be opening a second location inside Boxyard RTP in 2020. They’re a great addition to this new space for dining, entertainment, and shopping in the area.
Ponysaurus Brewing Company
219 Hood Street, Website
Ponysaurus is one of two major standouts in town when it comes to craft beer. Because of the amount of open area, and the frequency of food trucks, Ponysaurus is popular with families with children and dogs. Non-beer drinkers can enjoy a glass of wine. While the indoor space is limited, heaters and fans make the outside spaces usable during most of the year. Grab a bike and join the Pony Ride on the second Tuesday of every month. The other unique feature is the ability to rent a grill and host your own barbecue – popular with parties for kids (and adults) of all ages.
The Glass Jug Beer Lab
5410 NC-55 Suite v, Website
Originally a bottle shop and craft beer bar, patrons were thrilled when they opened their own on-site brewing facility adding to the number of Durham breweries. The Beer Lab (as the brewery is known) hails its name from the scientific community in the Research Triangle. Known best for making small-batch, one-off experimental beers, you’re never guaranteed to see a favorite every time you visit. But variety is the spice of life, right?
711 Washington Street, Website
Prefer something a little stronger? Visit Durham Distillery for locally made gin, vodka, and liqueurs. While Conniption Gin has been their flagship product, they also produce Cucumber Vodka and Dam Fine Liqueurs (chocolate, coffee, and mocha). Want to take their product to go? Canned cocktails of gin and tonic, vodka soda and rose spritz make it easy to take on outings. Learn about how they make their products and sample afterward. Look for a cocktail room to open soon.
4625 Industry Lane, Website
Honoring a long-time family tradition, owner Scott Russ returns to his family’s Irish roots by making Bedlam Vodka. A relative newcomer to the vodka scene, having opened only in 2017, Bedlam has made a name for itself by doing things just a little bit differently. Bedlam Vodka is made from rice and fully distilled from grain to finished product right here in the Bull City. The result is a white liquid that is smooth and drinkable even with just ice cubes. It is also the only vodka produced in the United States that is gluten-free, so now cider drinkers have an alternative. Look for their cocktail glasses in the store – they’re marked with lines for vodka, mixer, and ice. Fun story-telling and experience. Plan on at least an hour for your tour.
Mystic Farm & Distillery
1212 N. Mineral Springs Road, Website
“What is Mystic?” Fans of bourbon can taste the smooth product made locally. And when I say locally, I mean even the water used in the process comes from underground. The unique climate, corn, and wheat grown in North Carolina create a perfect mix for the ingredients in the bourbon and gin made here. The farm can be rented as a venue for special events. Mystic is the world’s largest solar-powered bourbon distillery and largest solar-powered distillery in North America. A second distillery facility is opening in Cherokee, North Carolina, in the Spring of 2020.
Bull City Ciderworks
305 S. Roxboro Street, Website
As the only cidery in Durham, Bull City Ciderworks was greeted with joy by those with gluten allergies and those who don’t enjoy beer. Ciders punched with flavors such as black tea and ginger aren’t like the overly sweet pre-packaged stuff. Plus Bull City is a great place to hang out. Food trucks will fill your belly. Bands entertain from the outdoor stage. Dogs and kids are welcome. Or enjoy a more laid-back experience with Sunday morning yoga (followed by a delicious pint of cider). Wednesday trivia nights are extremely popular and if you’d like to challenge yourself – bring a team of friends!
105 Hood Street #6, Website
If this historically important drink is your jam, then Honeygirl is for you. Honeygirl Meadery’s tasting room is only open Thursday through Sunday. Keep in mind that while these taste really sweet, they pack a punch so pace yourself! Honeygirl incorporates seasonal fruits, flowers, and herbs so you can experience seasonal flavors. A small bar area allows patrons to sit and enjoy a glass before making their purchase selection. Saturday afternoons tend to be more crowded because of the availability of tours.
So what’s your pleasure? No matter what your preference for alcoholic beverages, you’ll find a Durham brewery, distillery or other facilities to suit your tastes. We’re so lucky to have all these breweries and distilleries right in our town!
Annick, The Common Traveler