Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bottle shop owners give back to local pet shelter

c/o Ellen McKim
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH ... 

By Jennifer Primrose | June 28, 2017
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown

In this edition of Five Questions With … we reached out to Ellen and Bruce McKim, owners of BottleMixx bottle shop in north Raleigh to discuss how they use their love of animals and entrepreneurship to help local animal shelters – by raising money, hosting fundraisers, fostering and serving on the Board of one of Wake County’s oldest no-kill rescue organizations.
 

As we wrap up this month, we hoped to shed a little more light on our local animal shelters. We featured Purr Partners Feline Rescue and our own Triangle Around Town mascot, Waffles. We also featured a blog on a new cat café coming to Raleigh. It only made sense to now feature local entrepreneurs who support our community and our furry ones among us.
 

c/o Ellen McKim
Ellen and Bruce originally hail from Pittsburgh, but have also lived in the California Bay Area and northern New Jersey but have called Raleigh home for the past 17 years. Bruce spent 10 years in retailing before moving to sales and eventually became a National Account Manager for a large multi-national supplier. He then got his real estate license in 2008. In addition to the usual real estate work he also flipped homes and bought and renovated homes that they still have as rental properties. 

• Related Story: Raleigh couple plans to bring first cat café to town.

Ellen spent the first 2 years of her career in retailing then spent the next 22 years in the pharmaceutical industry in various sales and marketing positions until she retired in 2010.  After enjoying 2 years of retirement together, the McKim’s opened BottleMixx, a popular craft beer and wine store in North Raleigh. 

We first met both Bruce and Ellen at BottleMixx as we tend to frequent the local bottle shops in Raleigh. Aside from the vast selection of beer and wine, tasting events and really incredible anniversary parties, the one thing that struck us the most was the tip jar that lay atop of the bar. BottleMixx generously matches patron’s tips, dollar for dollar, to local animal rescues.

The McKim’s are currently the proud parents of three dogs, all rescues. Sissy is a 14 year old Border Collie mix and was rescued from the Wake County Animal Shelter. Nugget is a 10 year old terrior mix, rescued from the SPCA of Wake County and Indy is a 10 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback mix from a friend of theirs who was fostering for the Franklin County Animal Shelter.  We caught up with Ellen to learn a little more about their advocacy and love of animals.


BottleMixx has been giving and matching all the tips the business has made since 2012. How much money have you donated to local shelters thus far, and how do you decide on a shelter? Since we opened in October, 2012, we have donated $56,300 to local animal rescue charities. At BottleMixx, Bruce and I personally match all tips left by our customers and donate them to Second Chance Pet Adoptions. Prior to Second Chance we gave a total of $25,000 to the SPCA of Wake Co. We originally started donating the tips to the SPCA of Wake Co., since that is where we got Nugget, but once we hit the $25,000 mark, we thought it was a good time to "share the wealth" and change charities. Over time, we became friends with members of Second Chance and after doing our research decided we were comfortable changing our charity of choice to Second Chance Pet Adoptions. They receive no federal funding and with only 3 paid employees are an organization supported primarily by volunteers.




Ellen is now on the board of Second Chance. How did this come about? Once we selected Second Chance as our charity of choice, more and more volunteers and Board members started frequenting the store. Bruce and I got to know them better  and grew to like even more what they stood for when it comes to animals. I was approached by the President, Dave Ballesteros and Vice President, Bonnie Millis, to join the Board in August, 2015, and was approved in October, 2015. I thought, in addition to giving money, being on the Board was another way we could contribute. In addition to being on the Board, Bruce and I volunteer at and host fundraising events and we also foster dogs while they wait for their forever homes. We have fostered 7 dogs in 1.5 years.


You see so many commercials on TV with neglected dogs and cats. What can we do as a whole to really help prevent this? We can donate, sure, but what are other things people can do help? In my opinion, the impactful thing that can be done is spay and neutering your pets. Most of the homeless dogs and cats are in the position they are because of over population. This takes a lot of education, because many people in the community do not think it is that big of an issue or do not have the money for the procedure. Education to raise awareness is the only way things will change.

• Related Story: How shelter cats changed our lives: Purr Partners.

There are many shelters out there that do a great job at getting fundraising events known to the public. SAFE Haven for Cats, Second Chance Pet Adoptions, SPCA of Wake County, to name a few. But there are some of the smaller shelters out there that need money to keep feeding and housing the animals. What do you think are some things these places should do to try to reach a wider audience? Smaller organizations have to work hard at the grass roots level. Just getting the name of your organization known is not an easy thing. Local events, no matter how small, raise awareness and name recognition of these organizations. Also, a social media presence is imperative. It is a way to reach a lot of people for very little money. Sharing, forwarding and re-tweeting is a great way to spread the word.

2016 Art to the Rescue Second Chance Pet Adoptions Fundraiser                               Photo by: Dathan Kazsuk

Since the two of you are pet lovers, what would be some tips you would give to someone looking to adopt a shelter cat or dog? If you currently do not have a pet, I think the main thing to do would be to foster first. This allows you a way to see the realities and responsibilities of owning a pet. The other thing would be to have realistic expectations about your lifestyle, financial situation and time that you will have for an animal. For instance, everyone thinks puppies are cute, but they are a lot of work. They are high energy, chew and need to be potty trained. If the adopter does not put in the time then animals are sometimes returned or abused because of their behavior, but it is not the animal's fault. Also, adopters need to be sure they adopt an animal that is a size they are comfortable with and can handle and are animal or child friendly if they are in the home.  These are living beings that require care and only want our love.  We should give them the best that we can and ultimately both will benefit.

Did you know? Second Chance Pet Adoptions is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year!
 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Vertical Challenge: 3-year flight of Divine Llama's Chardonel

Divine Llama's Chardonel vertical challenge.

By Dathan Kazsuk | June 21, 2017
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown

If you ask me what I like the best about Chardonel – well, I couldn’t tell you. I do know that its a hybrid grape made by crossing Seyval and Chardonnay. I know it originated up north at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Other than that, there is not much more I can tell you, because it’s not a grape I’ve tasted a lot of here in North Carolina.

But several years back we were wine tasting at Divine Llama Vineyards in East Bend, and for some reason I like what I tasted. Not sure if it was a mixture of other wine flavors messing with my taste buds, but I thought I tasted something that felt barrel aged. Yes, I know wine is barrel aged, but this had more of a whiskey or bourbon taste to the wine. Because of that, we bought a bottle of the 2013 Chardonel.



We made up special tasting notes just for the evening.

A year passed and we were back at Divine Llama. We bought the 2014. I didn’t get the “bourbon” taste that year, but we still thought the wine was good. Another year went by, and yup, you guessed it, we picked up the 2015 bottle.

And what’s crazy about us continuing to buy this wine is that I really don’t care for the taste of Chardonnay – which essentially is 50 percent of this wine. And now we’re going to have some fun.

What do you do with three years of Divine Llama’s Chardonel sitting in the wine cellar. But of course, you conduct a 3-year vertical tasting with your next door neighbors! So I crafted up some wine-tasting notes, brought home some cheese and opened up all the bottles.
 

As we sat around the living room, I opened up the first of the wines – the 2013 Chardonel. This was not what I remembered. I actually think the wine might have turned. The four of us all got a smell of nail polish remover right from the first sniff, which made it kind of difficult for my neighbor, Claudia, to even finish. The rest of us finished our wine, but it was rather difficult to rate. To be honest, the polish remover smell mellowed later that night making it a little easier to drink – but still wasn’t what we were expecting.


During the evening we took down notes, and examined the color of all three years.

Next, we opened the 2014, and with a slight relief, the wine was fine. We now finally got to taste the Chardonel the way it was suppose to be. The color of the wine was light in appearance, and we got several different opinions on the smell. From berry, to floral, to even hints of vegetal. Then we all agreed, upon tasting the 2014, that this was a tasty wine. The two Chardonnay drinkers liked the characteristics and the non-Chard fans also liked the tropical hints of melon and passion fruit on the taste buds.

We finally opened up the 2015 Chardonel – and just like the last one, we all enjoyed this wine. Looking over our tasting notes, this was our favorite wine of the evening. The dominance of citrus of floral on the nose, and the subtle taste of melon and honeysuckle finished rather nicely. This was the first bottle finished between the four of us.


Our takeaway from this tasting was that maybe we shouldn't have sat on the 2013 Chardonel for 4 years. Other than that, we all seemed to enjoy the Chardonel from Divine Llama. And it left us wanting to explore other North Carolina or regional wines made using this hybrid grape.




Divine Llama
4126 Divine Llama Ln 
East Bend, NC 27018

Monday, June 26, 2017

Brewery Profile: Neuse River Brewing Company


Neuse River Brewing Company

518 Pershing Road, Raleigh

Phone: (919) 916-5961
Web: www.neuseriverbrewing.com
Owners: Ryan and Jennifer Kolarov, David Powell, Ethan Barbee
Head brewer: Nathan Gastol
Brewing system: 20 barrel
Year established: 2015
Flagship beer: Riverkeeper's Wit; Caleb's High Noon; Biere de Neuse
Hours: Wednesday-Thursday: 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.; Friday: 5 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Saturday: 12 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Sunday: 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Parking: Street parking
Wi-Fi: neuseriver1
Dog friendly: Yes. 
Stickers: Yes; Free/$2

Beers on draft: 10 beers on draft
Pints/costs: $5 to $6
Flights: $10 for four 5-oz. pours
Cans/bottles for sale: When available
Growler/howler fills: Yes
Crowler fills: Yes
Wine available: Yes
Food: Local food trucks
Within walking distance: Nickelpoint Brewing Company
Sampled during our visit: Riverkeeper Wit; Tamarind Sour; Passion Fruit Sour; Streamside Citra; Bobbi Brune; Mouton Noir




Did you know: Five percent of all sales of the Riverkeeper’s Wit are donated to Sound Rivers Organization who guards the health of the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River Basins. And Caleb’s High Noon, the Imperial IPA, is named after Ryan and Jennifer’s son, and Laila’s Midnight IPA is named after David Powell’s daughter.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Raleigh couple plans to bring first cat café to town


By Jennifer Primrose | June 20, 2017
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown

Over the past several years we've noticed a new trend with our furry little felines. And that trend is the rise in cat cafés across the U.S. - including right here in the Carolinas. Being cat lovers, and even having people suggest we ourselves entertain the idea of starting up our own cat café in the past, got us thinking. What exactly goes on at a cat café? Would our cat Waffles be invited in for a spot of tea or cup of coffee? It was time to investigate, the best we could, without having ever visit our first café - yet.


Step 1. What is a cat café? Where's the best place to start? Wikipedia, of course!


"A cat café is a theme café whose attraction is cats that can be watched and played with. Patrons pay a cover fee, generally hourly, and thus cat cafés can be seen as a form of supervised indoor pet rental."

As we dug a little deeper into the interwebs, we learned a lot about this latest trend, that made its emergence back in 1998, but mostly in China and Japan. The first North American cat café opened its doors in 2014 and since then, this phenomenon has taken off, including right here in the Triangle. And now, Sarah Newton and Arthur Hailey are planning to open the first ever cat café in downtown Raleigh, Purr Cup Café. There is also a cat café planned for Wilmington, The Scratching Post, as well as in Charleston, Pounce Cat Café, which will also be a wine bar.


To bring our readers the best inside scoop on this latest trend, we caught up with Sarah Newton to find out what they have planned for Purr Cup Café and exactly where they are in the planning stages.



What made you decide you wanted to pursue opening a cat café in Raleigh and how do you think it will be received? Upon my retirement from my seven year ballet career with the Carolina Ballet, I wanted to devote myself to a meaningful project that would give back in some way. Ever since I learned that cat cafés existed and were popping up around the United States, I thought starting one would be the coolest thing ever. I left the ballet in May 2016, and since then cat cafés have continued to spread all over the country. This inspired me to just go for it. Raleigh is an exciting city that is friendly to new ideas and Raleigh, as well as the Triangle, has been growing so much I knew it was ready for a cat café. So far it has been received really well, so I can only imagine that will continue. Our number of social media followers has been steadily growing and everyone we talk to is super excited.

You are teaming up with Meow House Cat Rescue. How did this collaboration come about? We are lucky to have some great rescues in our area, and they are all awesome in their own way. I began reaching out to rescues a little over a year ago because I had some extra time on my hands over the summer and wanted to use that time helping cats. I was originally attracted to Meow House Cat Rescue because they were very flexible and had opportunities that fit my schedule. The more I got to know them, the more I loved them. They are a small organization and don't have any big money making events, but they give every cat a chance, no matter how "unadoptable" they may be. They take on many special cases and cats that need extra love and medical attention. They are also a foster based organization, so I knew the cat café would be a huge help in getting their cats more exposure and helping them find homes for more cats.


Related Story: How Shelter Cats Changed Our Lives: Purr Partners

Approximately how many cats will be in the Cat Lounge at any given time? And will adoptions be conducted there as well? All the cats will be adoptable and the adoptions will be handled through Meow House. We will have nine cats in the lounge. Any more than that, and we will have to register and be inspected as a private shelter. We spoke to the person in charge of these inspections, and he was super helpful. He would be glad to help us out and advise us, but would recommend we stick to nine cats and avoid the official inspection.


Arthur Hailey and Sarah Newton of Purr Cup Cafe 
c/o Sarah Newton
What type of events do you foresee in the future that would feature the cats? The possibilities for awesome events involving cats is endless. Caturday morning cartoons, kitty story time, yoga classes, movie nights, trivia ... you name it, we will do it ... with cats! We will also host private parties in the cat lounge.

What menu items will you be featuring? Will you be hiring a barista? Any baked goods? I have barista experience, and we will be hiring additional baristas. We will have a full espresso bar, so people can get any of their usual coffee shop drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos. We will also offer drip coffee and cold brew. We have not made a final decision as far as which coffee roaster we will use, but we will be using something local. We will also have a large selection of non-coffee beverages such as teas and bottled sodas and juices. Our baked goods will come from local shops and will be fresh each morning. We will definitely have cat treats as well!

So there you have it, the Cat Café. Our first question was answered, "No, Waffles, you can't join us at the café!"  

To follow along on Purr Cup Café's journey, be sure to follow them on Facebook at Purr Cup CafeInstagram at @purrcupcafe and Twitter and also be sure to check out their Indiegogo. There are some great incentives and perks for donating. 


And don't forget, this endeavor would not be possible without adoptable kitties! Check out those awaiting forever homes by checking out Meow House on Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Brewery Profile:
Big Boss Brewing Company

Big Boss Brewing Company in Raleigh.

Big Boss Brewing Company
1249 Wicker Drive, Raleigh

Phone: (919) 834-0045
Web: www.bigbossbrewing.com
Owners: Geoff Lamb and Brad Wynn
Head brewer: Bobby McInerny
Brewing system: 20 barrel
Year established: 2006
Flagship beer: Bad Penny, Hell's Belle, High Roller
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 3 p.m. - 12 a.m.; Friday: 2 p.m. - 2 a.m.; Saturday: 12 p.m. - 2 a.m.; Sunday: 12 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Parking: Paved parking lot, street parking
Free Wi-Fi: Yes
Dog friendly: Yes. Offers water bowels and dog treats
Stickers: Yes

Beers on draft: 22 beers on draft
Pints/costs: $4 to $5, some higher-gravity beers, $6
Flights: $8 for four 4-oz. pours
Cans/bottles for sale: Yes
Growler/howler fills: Yes
Crowler fills: No
Wine available: Yes
Food: Local food trucks, delivery menus
Within walking distance: Lynwood Brewing Concern; Sub Noir Brewing Company
Sampled during our visit: Blanco Diable with Cucumber and Lime Zest; Blood Orange High Roller; Foeder #2 with Cranberry; Bumps & Bruises with Guava; Space Mistress Saison

• Related Story: Find out how Big Boss' Blood Orange High Roller compared against other NC IPA's in our Sweet Sixteen IPA Challenge. 

Big Boss Brewing is one of Raleigh's oldest breweries, celebrating its 10-year anniversary in late 2016. It is the collaboration of Geoff Lamb and Brad Wynn, who has an extensive brewing experience with places such as Victory, Wild Goose and Native Brewing Company.

• Related Story: Bottle releases from Big Boss and Crank Arm breweries fill up weekend adventures.


Today you can find Big Boss in just about every grocery store in the state. Just head to the beer aisle in stores such as Publix, Harris Teeter, Lowe's Foods, Total Wine, etc. But if you're looking to try something that's not the mainstream, head to the taproom, where they serve up 22 beers on draft. There you can sample the Bumps & Bruises Gose series – while we were there they had a Strawberry, Guava and Pineapple variants. The brewery also offers its Strange Cargo Drafts, which featured a Belgian Dubbel, sour Blonde, an American Wild Ale, and a sour straight out of one of its Foeders.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Grand Rapids: Becoming a Beer City 'Brewsader'

Grand Rapids, Michigan – it has many accolades. It’s best known as one of the U.S. cities that’s won the coveted title, "Beer City USA." It’s also been voted as one of the "Top 16 Best American Beer Cities" by Thrillist and "America’s Best Beer Town" by USA Today. Not to mention being one of the "Top 10 Best Beer Cities" by Livability and HopCat is always on a list of most popular bars in the U.S.

And with over 20 breweries nestled around Michigan’s second largest city, we knew we had to take the opportunity to explore what Grand Rapids and its breweries had to offer.

Through the help of Experience Grand Rapids, a local visitor’s bureau, all the breweries in the city can offer up a nifty passport for you to keep track of your destinations. The best part – visit eight of these breweries and get your passport stamped and you’ll receive a free “Brewsader” t-shirt to commemorate your adventures.

Let our adventures begin.




The Hideout Brewing Company 
This was our first stop of the trip. It looked pretty scary from the outside – like an abandoned dive bar – but don’t let looks deceive you. Inside we were impressed with the selection of beers on draft and the employees knowledge of North Carolina beer – primarily Wicked Weed and anything Asheville. As far as beers go, we sampled the Moll’s Cheesecake Milk Stout, Hazelnut Java Cement Shoe and a couple IPAs. 



Jaden James Brewery 
This brewery is housed inside what is known as Cascade Winery. While we were there we did a flight of beers and a tasting of Cascade’s wines. Although not bad, we felt they needed some improvement in both the wine and beer departments. Jaden James also offers up hard ciders as well as homemade root beer. Some of the beers we sampled that day included a sour beer, peanut butter porter, Russian stout, cherry hard cider and seasonal strawberry cider



Harmony Brewing Company
We made a quick stop into this neighborhood pub located in the Eastown area of Grand Rapids. A small-batch brewery, Harmony also features wood-fired pizzas as well as artisanal foods and crafted cocktails. Think something similar to Raleigh's Trophy Brewing's Morgan St. location. We ordered up a couple healthy sandwiches and a pint of beer. Jen had the Albius Vanilla Porter, and I forgot to log my beer into Untappd, but it was one of the best Flanders Red-style beers I’ve had in a long time.



Elk Brewing
Just down the road from Harmony is Elk Brewing. This brewery features a large outdoor patio with fireplace, while appearance inside is a bit rustic and a bit industrial. Elk serves up small bites such as salads, appetizers and paninis. The staff were very friendly as we discussed, yet again, North Carolina beers with everyone. We ordered up a flight which consisted of the Dank-alicious IPA, Rowster Coffee Porter, PB & J’ale’y, Oatmeal Stout and the Double Whammy IPA. Good beers and nice employees makes this a place we’d hit up again.



Brewery Vivant
Other than Founders and Grand Rapids Brewing Co., Brewery Vivant might be the next most known brewery in the city. Vivant claims it's the first LEED-certified microbrewery and the brewery is housed inside a refurbished funeral home. Yes, this place is awesome! Imagine sitting inside a dimly lit funeral home with outside lights casting colored hues through the stained glass windows as you enjoy Belgian and French-inspired beers. Plus the brewery offers European-style fare from its kitchen. There we split a flight that included a dubbel, a sour, a saison and an IPA. Anytime we go back to the city, we know Brewery Vivant will always be a must stop.



Grand Rapids Brewing Company
We were looking to eat at HopCat a couple buildings over, but with the wait being over 50 minutes, we walked right into Grand Rapids, sat down and ordered up food and beer. Along with some deep fried pickles we had several pints of The Fishladder IPA and the Downtown Dank, an Imperial IPA, which we brought home a couple bombers with us. GRB is your typical restaurant/brewery – service was good and the food and beer were above average. It’s a nice stop if the line to get into HopCat is too long.

 

Railtown Brewing Company
Railtown offers a variety of beers that are crafted on a 3-barrel brewing system. The name pays tribute to the old Hammond Station stop on the Michigan Central Railroad. This was one of our final stops of one of our evenings and the taproom was getting ready to shut down for the night. The owner was kind enough to let us enjoy a beer while he cleaned up and talked shop with us. Jen selected the Peanut Butter Cocoa Time and I had the Eh! Maple Porter. We didn’t spend much time in there, but the beers up on the wall seemed interesting. Maybe next time.
    


Founders Brewing 
This was like meeting your idol, and not being impressed after the visit. The view of the brewery from the outside leaves you in awe. The brewery fills up an entire city block! Once inside we sat down at a table and looked over the menu. I’m not a huge KBS fan, but to get it on draft at the source is a must. It was listed on the menu, but when I went to order it, it was gone – and so was the backwoods bastard. Essentially everything on draft was stuff we could buy at a bottle shop. The Porter, Centennial IPA, Double Trouble, Pale Ale, etc. I think the most “rare” item on tap was Mango Magnifico. The staff was very robotic, and acted like how you would expect a "huge brewery" to act. Would I go back again? Probably not. There are still over 12 other breweries in Grand Rapids that we didn't check out!

Yes ... we did get our shirts!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Brewery Profile:
Sub Noir Brewing Company

Michael Stagner of Sub Noir Brewing Company in Raleigh.
Michael Stagner's passion lies in sour beers.

Sub Noir Brewing Company
2039 Progress Court, Raleigh

Phone: (919) 480-2337
Web: www.subnoir.net
Owner: Michael Stagner
Head brewer: Michael Stagner
Brewing system: Half barrel
Year established: June 2013
Flagship beer: Eccentrica; Cassis; Zee Count
Hours: Friday: 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.; Saturday: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Parking: Paved parking lot
Free Wi-Fi: No
Dog friendly: Yes
Stickers: Yes

Beers on draft: 4 beers with 1 guest draft
Pints/costs: $6 to $7
Flights: No, but offers half pours
Cans/bottles for sale: No
Growler/howler fills: 32-oz fills (members only)
Crowler fills: No
Wine available: No
Food: No
Within walking distance: PineTop Distillery; Lynnwood Brewing Concern; Snoopy's Hot Dogs
Sampled during our visit: Violet Beauregarde; Cassis

The taproom at Sub Noir Brewing Company in Raleigh.
Guests at Sub Noir enjoy beers during Memorial Day Weekend.

If you're looking for a small boutique brewery that specializes in sour beers, you might want to head over to Raleigh's Sub Noir Brewing Company. Head brewer Michael Stagner operates the smallest brewery in North Carolina, or pretty close to the smallest, with his 1/2 barrel system. The brewery, however, has an incredible cult following looking to sample any of the new beers Stagner releases – just look at some of the lines he gets at local beer events such as the annual Brewgaloo festival.

A couple things that make this small boutique different than other local breweries is that Sub Noir does accept BitCoin – so if you're looking to spend your BitCoin money, go buy a beer or two there. Also, in the taproom is an assortment of classic video game consoles. From Nintendo 64 to the Nintendo Gamecube, hook up your favorite system and pick from over 60-plus games to play.

• Related Story: Sub Noir celebrates its 3-year anniversary.
• Related Story: Sub Noir celebreates 1-year anniversary with a bang 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Brewery Profile:
Lynnwood Brewing Concern

Lynnwood Brewing Concern's head brewer, Bill Gerds.

Lynnwood Brewing Concern
1053 E. Whitaker Mill Road, Raleigh

Phone: (919) 424-7533
Web: www.lynnwoodgrill.com
Owner: Ted Dwyer
Head brewer: Bill Gerds
Brewing system: 20 barrel
Year established: Brewpub/restaurant, July 2013; Taproom, Oct. 2015
Flagship beer: Hop on Top; Huberis (most popular)
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 4 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Friday: 12 p.m. - 1 a.m.; Saturday: 12 p.m. - 1 a.m.; Sunday: 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Parking: Paved parking lot
Free Wi-Fi: Yes
Dog friendly: Only on patio and outside; no dogs allowed inside taproom
Stickers for sale: $1

Beers on draft: 22 beers on draft; plus home-made root beer
Pints/costs: 9-oz. and 16-oz. glasses, ranging from $2.50 to $5.50-plus
Flights: $9 for four 4-oz. pours
Cans/bottles for sale: Yes
Growler/howler fills: Yes
Crowler fills: No
Wine available: Yes
Food: Local food trucks
Within walking distance: PineTop Distillery; Sub Noir Brewing Company; Big Boss Brewing Company; Snoopy's Hot Dogs
Sampled during our visit: Saison du Bois; Hop on Top IPA; 342 Pale Ale and 430 Pale Ale

A flight of beer at Lynnwood Brewing Concern.

If you're from the Raleigh-area, you probably already know about two of Lynnwood Brewing Concern's biggest accomplishments in 2016. Head brewer, Bill Gerds, along with brewers Andy Gallagher, Darryl Wells, Sarah Sinning and Ben Ames brought home two gold medals in the annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Those two beers include the Once you go Black IPA and the Drop Bear Australian Pale Ale.

If you've been to Lynnwood you know you can find something that suits your palate relatively easy – with a total of 22 beers on draft, ranging from IPA, Blondes, Porters, Stouts, Saisons and even a very easy drinking Raspberry Wheat.

One thing new to Lynnwood is the sour program they've began earlier this year with the release of Violaceous, a sour Belgium ale aged in Chardonnay barrels and black currants. For its second release, Lynnwood put forth Luciferous, another sour beer aged with apricots. While at the taproom, we talked with head brewer Bill Gerds, who shared with us the next release in the sour program – a Flanders Red aged with cherries. We can't wait for that release. The gang at Lynnwood would like to be able to release a new sour beer to the public every 6 to 8 weeks.

How Shelter Cats Changed Our Lives: Purr Partners

In loving memory of Mai-Tai, 2000-2012
This blog is in memory of our little girl Mai-Tai, who left us way too soon but who lives on in our hearts forever and in honor of all those shelter kitties seeking their forever homes.

In 2012 we lost Mai-Tai to kidney disease at the age of 12 years old. Two years later, in 2014, we lost Oreo to feline hepatic lipidosis at the age of 18. After Oreo’s loss, left behind were Sleestak, age 12 and Hamilton, age 11. The decision to adopt again did not come easily. Slee and Hamilton seemed lost without their matriarch but how would they adjust to someone new at their age. Several discussions around this topic occurred and then we finally decided to go meet some potential companions.

After no love connections, a friend posted this photo of this little girl to our Facebook page simply stating she needed a home.


Her name is Waffles and she was in foster care through Purr Partners. I do not know what it was about her. We gravitate toward black cats and tuxedo cats yet here we were looking at this photo thinking “maybe?” We soon contacted the foster family and went to go meet this little one and learned of her rough start to life.

Her and her sisters were rescued by Purr Partners and placed in foster care. One by one they got sick and one by one they crossed over the Rainbow Bridge, except Waffles! They all had feline panleukopenia, a very fatal disease, but clearly not for all! This little one has the same fight in her as Mai-Tai. She was placed in the hospital for up to a month before she was able to go back into foster care.

Our first meeting
When we first met her at her foster home she was busy. Busy playing with her toys. Busy running around the house. We said we’d think about it and went home and talked and looked over at our seniors wondering how they would handle a new baby in the house. Afterall, we were looking for at least a 1-year old and she was just 9 months old at the time. We decided to give it a go. She wasn’t getting any younger and unfortunately, teenagers/adults start to get overlooked and she was not one who enjoyed spending time in an enclosure at PetsMart with people tapping on the windows. Not this prima donna!

So, we adopted her and our house lit up again with activity and kitty drama. It’s wonderful! For months, she would bully her kitty big brother although I always warned her not to poke the “bear." Now he is in charge. She has actually got that boy up and out of bed and running around the house again. She adores Slee who wishes she would just go away. But I think she’s good for the seniors keeps them young! She’s even become Triangle Around Town’s unofficial mascot. I often wonder who rescued who when we brought her home. We often joke that it takes a village to raise a Waffles as we have also become good friends with her foster parents as well.


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Purr Partners Feline Rescue

Purr Partners was founded in 2009 and like other established shelters today, started with a love for animals, a couple of volunteers, no budget, but the drive necessary to take action and work with rural shelters where cats have less chance of survival and are overlooked and sometimes forgotten about. Just think, without Purr Partners, Waffles and her sisters would have had very little, if any, chance of survival and no one to fight for them.

Now, in just 8 short years, Purr Partners has grown to over 100 volunteers. The rescues are placed in loving foster homes where they are socialized and loved. They partner with PetsMart to showcase these cats with adopt-a-thon events on most weekends. In our case, we were fortunate enough to first meet Waffles in a home environment to see how she interacts with other cats and people. Which was good since she did not care for PetsMart.

Like other rescues, they could not do what they do without the dedication of its volunteers. Some of the volunteer roles needed are foster families, PetsMart cleaner, helping at adopt-a-thons, transportation, and fundraising. To consider volunteering with Purr Partners, click here for more information.

We decided that the best way to honor and remember Mai-Tai on her 5th anniversary was to sponsor a kitty in need of a home. We are currently working with Purr Partners on this so be sure to check back as we hope to feature a sponsored Purr Partner kitty in the hopes of finding him/her a new forever home.

To make a donation to Purr Partners, click here.