910 N. Lake Park Blvd.
Carolina Beach, NC 28428
The drive-thru. a 1930’s invention that truly signifies the American spirit and attitude: total convenience and swift results. While at times we bitch and moan about waiting 10 minutes for our “fast food,” the concept of the drive-thru still entices us. When we hurry to work in the morning and just need a quick, warm hash brown to munch on or hot coffee to wake us up, the drive-thru is there to sate our appetites during commutes.
Though Big Macs are a part of American life, beer is, too. Combine the two, or at least the concept of how hurried folks buy their Big Macs, and the outcome is Brew Thru in Carolina Beach. Having first originated in the Outer Banks back in the late ‘70s, the Carolina Beach location opened in May 2009. Store owner John Childers explains it’s “the original drive-thru convenience store, where you can actually drive into the store and be waited on by our ‘cartenders.’”
Yes, it’s true. Customers drive through the store, as rows of coolers align either side, along with snacks, ice, tobacco products, kegs and even tchotchke beach memorabilia like t-shirts. In the coolers aren’t only bottles of water and soda, but the finer adult beverages so many associate with beach lounging.
Outside of the establishment, the building resembles the colors and architecture of a car wash. When pulling through, customers are greeted with a huge selection of craft beer, domestics and imports, and a friendly cartender who aims to provide a unique and personal experience. Anyone who’s in a rush to get home after a hard day’s night will find Brew Thru’s to-go convenience top notch. “One of the things we really love about North Carolina is that it is one of the top states in the craft beer movement,” Childers says.
Presently, the Carolina Beach store carries 50 different craft beers and they hope to keep expanding in that department. “Just in the last couple years, we have seen customers come through who previously only drank domestics, gradually move into the more complex flavors of craft beers. It is really exciting watching the change and seeing our customers’ knowledge increase. At the store, the staff and managers continuously educate themselves, so that we can make suggestions and recommendations to customers who want to explore the world of craft beers.”
While the staff pays accolades to breweries like Heavy Seas (Baltimore, MD) and SweetWater (Atlanta, GA), they are not shy about praising many of North Carolina’s fine beers. Mother Earth Brewery out of Kinston, NC, is a top choice for Brew Thru employees. The store also carries North Carolina breweries such as Highland, Duck-Rabbit, LoneRider, Natty Greene and more.
“I feel that craft beer is more of an experience, taste, the mouth feel, the aroma, the subtle ingredients and spices that are brewed into it,” Childers explains.
Lately, many people are boasting the taste of LoneRider. Two words: Shotgun Betty. Who she is exactly doesn’t matter; drinkers only need to know that she is delicious. Childers agrees that Shotgun Betty is a great German wheat (or “weizen”), containing a significant amount of malted barley.
LoneRider opened their doors and outlaw ales to the public in Raleigh back in January 2009. Since, their reputation for quality craft beers has risen. They offer Peacemaker Pale Ale, Sweet Josie Brown Ale and the Deadeye Jack Porter. Considering Shotgun Betty, the LoneRider crew warns that once she takes hold, there’s no going back. It seems now, especially during these sweltering summer days, that prophecy has been fulfilled.
The Shotgun Betty bottle features a dark-haired, buxom Betty, sporting a sexy cowboy hat and her trusty shotgun. When pouring the Hefeweizen, a hazy gold color fills the glass with a white, cloudy fluff head on top, which dissipates quickly. Like a proper hefe, the aroma smells of wheat, with light hints of clove. When drinking the beer, its body is not overly carbonated (which I personally think is great), yet the flavor mixes with a supple blend of banana. There are some tiny notes of citrus, but it’s not overpowering. To add more, throw in an orange peel or two.
It goes down very easy, yet the sharp flavors in the brew will wake up the palate like gunfire in a cowboy duel. Naturally, Brew Thru, among other local bars and stores, carries the sassy beer! Give it a try.