A 2020 survey found North Carolina in the top ten for the number of craft breweries. Asheville is the east coast hub for craft breweries, and Wilmington has blossomed in the past few years. And in between it all, Fayetteville has quietly added a few craft breweries of their own.
Of course, it’s only five breweries. But every city must start somewhere. Scattered throughout the city, the breweries include restaurants and cozy places to enjoy a few fantastic craft beers. Learn the story of each location and what to expect when you get there.
Map of Fayetteville Craft Breweries
How to use this map: Click the icon in the top-left corner to open the Map Legend, then click on any of the legend items to display more information. If you have a Google account, click the star beside the map’s name to save this map to your account, then access the map from your smartphone during your trip.
Bright Light Brewing Co.
After a year of renovating a downtown space, Bright Light Brewing Co. opened in 2017. Starting out with just three barrels in the small space, the company has since expanded to ten barrels in an entire production facility two blocks from the taproom.
The taproom is a large industrial space with painted concrete floors and exposed steel beams. Grab a seat at a high-top table or sneak around the corner to find a row of black metal tables outside. You can experience their beer in a flight or order by the glass when you find something you like.
Vernardo “Tito” Simmons-Valenzuela made a pact with a friend while serving in the US Army, trading free beer for life for a homebrew kit. Tito spent years perfecting his recipe to produce Blood Orange Kolsch. Partnering with fellow Army soldiers Jerry Hall and Eric Whealton, they opened Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom along the I-95 corridor about twenty minutes from downtown Fayetteville.
It would be better to describe the location as a campus – brewery and taproom, Napkins Restaurant, and outdoor flea market. Inside the cavernous taproom, glass-paneled garage doors can open on moderate days. Thick wood tables with metal stools are spread across the painted concrete floor. Outside, metal tables and chairs are spread across a gorgeous patio covered in the shade of fabric sails hung from a trellis.
Napkins Restaurant has a simple menu of appetizers, burgers, and sandwiches, but every item on the menu is savory to the last bite and pairs perfectly with their craft beer. The “restaurant” doesn’t have indoor seating, instead, taking orders through a window where your food is eventually picked up.
Early morning crowds descend upon Dirtbag Ales for a flea market on the weekends. Live music plays in the distance as people browse tables chocked full of anything people want to sell. If you don’t want to hassle with the crowd, that’s fine – just come later and enjoy the food and craft beer on the patio.
Gaston Brewing Company
When Army veterans Troy and Trish Rassmussen and Darrin and Susan Jones opened Gaston Brewing Company, they knew they wanted it to be more than just a taproom. “We wanted a craft casual gourmet food concept, sort of like a food truck, but without the truck,” Troy Rassmussen told The Fayetteville Observer in 2018. After an extensive renovation that moved the brewery to the back of the building, food was added to their menu.
Appetizers include made from scratch Jalapeno Popper Balls. The flatbread pizza can be topped with chicken, pepperoni, sausage, or bacon. Burgers are the most popular items on their menu – the Southern Bacon Jam is topped with homemade pimento cheese and bacon jam, and it’s just as mouthwatering as you imagine.
The downtown brewery has lots of seating for visitors. Lightweight aluminum chairs and wooden stools surround tables and the bar. A few tables sit outside on the wide city sidewalks beneath the shade of market umbrellas. It’s okay to linger for awhile – they have a lot of beers to sample, and the food is worth every bite.
Heckler Brewing Company
Opening in 2020, Heckler Brewing Company is the youngest brewery in Fayetteville. “Chief Heckler” Danny Miller wanted to open a friendly neighborhood brewery on the city’s north side, and he succeeded.
The space won’t win any awards for design or spaciousness. It’s small with only a few tables and less than half a dozen seats at the bar. But it’s a cozy kind of small, a place where family and friends can hang out and enjoy peaceful conversations. The brewery doesn’t offer any food to go with their craft beers, but guests are more than welcome to order from Scrub Oaks next door and bring it back to the brewery.
Mash House Brewing Company
Opened in 2001, the Mash House Brewing Company is the largest craft brewery in Fayetteville, producing about 1,400 barrels of beer annually. In 2012, Clayton native Reuben Stocks joined the Mash House family as brewmaster. Stocks keeps about half a dozen craft beers on tap and has a list he rotates through seasonally.
Like many other breweries in town, the brewing company also features a full kitchen. Rob Masone spent time at the Mash House as an executive chef early in his career, a job now held by Robert Hartwell. The menu features appetizers, entrees, burgers, and sandwiches.
Reservations are required on weekends at the Mash House. The dining room area of the restaurant features white tablecloths and a casual upscale atmosphere. On the bar side, though, high-top tables are first come, first served every night of the week.