(336) 525-6383 • 103 E. Front St. Burlington, North Carolina
Burlington Beer Works begins year three with optimism after a challenging 2020

Burlington Beer Works begins year three with optimism after a challenging 2020

As Burlington Beer Works Brewery and Restaurant wrapped up a highly successful first year in downtown Burlington last March, its immediate future looked far less certain. The global pandemic was shutting down businesses – especially restaurants and bars – across the nation. As the March 30 anniversary of the Beer Works’ first year approached, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper ordered restaurants to close for inside dining and drinking.

And no one could even begin to guess when things might reopen.

Burlington Beer Works Brewery and Restaurant quietly marks first anniversary

Burlington Beer Works Brewery and Restaurant quietly marks first anniversary

A little more than a year ago I sat across a table from Tracy Schmidt for the first time. It was also my first time inside Burlington Beer Works Brewery and Restaurant, which was preparing to open after years of planning, fundraising and preperation. Schmidt had just returned from Raleigh with the state license to sell alcohol. Next up would be an event as part of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day festival followed by the official opening on March 30, 2019.

Burlington, Elon downtown food and drink operations lead during coronavirus situation

Burlington, Elon downtown food and drink operations lead during coronavirus situation

When North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper decreed Tuesday morning (March 17, 2020) that bars and restaurants statewide close for dine-in or in-house service in response to the rapidly spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) it was probably no major shock. Other governors took similar action after a weekend pre-St. Patrick’s Day spree of jammed bars in major cities like Chicago, New York and Nashville. It was a scary display of poor judgment during a pandemic.

Burlington to Denver and Back

Burlington to Denver and Back

Our head brewer, Jeremy Hunt recently returned from attending the 2019 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver, Colorado, where over the course of several days, he donned Burlington Beer Works swag, engaged in some industry research, sampling various craft beers from all over the U.S. and hatched a plot on how to get his hands on some more equipment.

Every year the city of Denver, Colorado is inundated with legions of craftsmen and beer geeks, gathering to recognize the country’s best interpretations of the many diverse beer styles. This year’s festival was the 33rd iteration of the Brewers Association (BA) hosted event. The judges evaluated more than 9,497 entries from 2,295 breweries, representing all 50 states and its territories.  

Awarded were some 318 gold, silver and bronze medals to 283 different breweries in over 107 categories, covering the 174 different styles of beer and their relevant subcategories. It was a pretty good year for North Carolina, where some of our neighboring favorites: Hi-Wire, Wooden Robot, Wise Man and others, received medals in some very competitive categories.

Check out the GABF winners here.

There was a noticeable “clicking of the cogs” in the brewery on Monday after Mr. Hunt punched in for work and we’re excited for the new recipes that he will be cooking up into the New Year. Rumor has it that our little cooperative brewery will be entering the GABF next year! Fortunately, that leaves a number of pints to be had until October 2020 rolls around, so do keep an eye out for some intriguing new offerings in the coming months as we anticipate Jeremy’s tap rotation.  

We’ll be ready to pour you one or two or….Cheers! 

Beers and Bulldogs

Beers and Bulldogs

Our team at Beer Works would like to congratulate former Front of House Manager, Andy Fleming, on his appointment as an athletic trainer to the University of Georgia Bulldogs football program. The “call” came a couple of weeks ago and we can’t adequately express the pride that we feel for having had Andy as an integral part our work family these past few months. 

After acquiring his Masters of Sports Science from Florida State University and working for the Gators football program at the University of Florida, we always knew that his knowledge, galvanizing smile and natural ability to lead, would yet again be recognized and highly recruited by another top-notch institution like Georgia.

“I love the teamwork and effort that everyone, gives day-in, day-out, to Tracy, the restaurant, our community and member-owners on making this idea come to fruition.” 

He leaves behind an elevated standard of customer service and work ethic that our current team members and future prospects will continue to adhere too. His vigor, straight-forward and systematic approach to finding success in and out of the brewery will be greatly missed, especially on those random Monday nights. However, we will not miss his never-ending “dad jokes” and hope that the Georgia heat will clear him of these humors.

Our crew is looking forward to this year’s football season in hopes that, just maybe we’ll get a chance to see our old friend and colleague on the sidelines of a televised SEC game. Cheers to our favorite “Dawg”, whose glass of IPA was always “half full.” We thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for Burlington Beer Works.

Where in the world is your most favorite place to be? Honeymoon house in Key Largo, Florida, watching sunsets 

What was the name of the last book you read? “Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff” by Chip Gaines  

Person you would most likely ask to dine with you at BBW? My wife Kelly and our dog 

What style of beer would you prefer to drink at BBW? Hoppy-Any IPA or Pale Ale that Jeremy is brewing 

What is your favorite menu item at BBW: Glencoe Bird and mixed greens 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Starting a family with the love of my life, wherever we are at the time, loving what we do, and eventually taking plenty of road trips. 

Name one accomplishment that you are most proud of: Staying strong 

One word to describe yourself: Lively 

Advice for younger generations: Keep on track every day, taking in every moment that passes by. This is what will form your future self. Respect family, friends, and all this around you. Attack every day with focus and determination on accomplishing your goals. Concentrate on yourself and well-being. If you don’t, who will? Keep an open mind, this is when you learn the most-even if you don’t think you are.

Fare thee well “Big C”

Fare thee well “Big C”

It hasn’t been quite two weeks since we last said goodbye to one of our anchor servers, Catherine “Big C” Pendry. No one would have ever thought that her ten weeks at Burlington Beer Works was in fact, her first experience in the food and beverage industry. The Fairfax, Virginia native and Elon graduate always carried herself as a level-headed professional, displaying a degree of initiative and gumption that truly is hard to find in even in seasoned hospitality professionals.

“Working at Burlington Beer Works allowed me to grasp the importance of a team-focused structure. If one of us was hurting, we were all hurting, so it was important for all of us to work together effectively, especially on extremely busy nights.”

Sadly, she leaves us for a few weeks of vacation time with her family before setting off to Morocco for two years of service with the Peace Corps. Her hope is to acquire funding for a library with proper internet access to better educate the children of rural Morocco. We have no doubt that her ambitious work ethic and understanding of team dynamics will allow her to succeed at any project proposal she initiates while serving abroad.

Our team at Burlington Beer Works is forever grateful to you “Big C” and we look forward to supporting you with all of your future endeavors. We raise a glass of American Wheat in your honor. A heartfelt thank you and good luck.

Where in the world is your most favorite place to be? Rabat, Morocco

What was the title of the last book you read? “I Was Told to Come Alone” by Souad Mekhennet

Person you would most likely ask to lunch at BeerWorks? Alice Paul (Women’s Rights Activist)

What beer would you drink while you were there? American Wheat

What favorite menu item would you order? Glencoe Bird

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Most likely as an academic professional, teaching History with a focus on understanding the societal impact of social norms and how it effects the way we record our history.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? I published an independent study and presented it before a human rights commission at the United Nations. “Queer and Shear Moroccan Societal Norms Impact on Queer Women” https://digitalcollections.sit.edu/isp_collection/2636

One word to describe yourself: Focused

Advice for younger generations: History is important

By the numbers: Putting 129 days into perspective

By the numbers: Putting 129 days into perspective

Schiller had it right when he declared that “love and hunger rule the world” after reflecting on the last 129 days where our community driven project has served some 3300 gallons of beer, just over 6000 burgers, and seeded the smiles of 15,000 plus guests in such short period of time. Yes, the numbers are correct and maybe just a bit understated, but I mean, business is good and we continue to exceed our projections each month.

Our General Manager Tracy and team continue to work round the clock (hours will not be discussed) to fine-tune our processes and recipes that will continue to cement Burlington Beer Works as the premier dining destination in downtown Burlington, NC. Chef Kyle is busy developing a forward-thinking menu with daily specials consistently rolling out of the kitchen during lunch and dinner service. Please follow our social media links for updated postings. Our head brewer Jeremy is ready to keg another 480 gallons with a few interesting brews soon to be tapped, while Bar Manager Greg is cultivating our unique wine list and is definitely somewhere thinking about his next cocktail creation.

We have to mention that none of these numbers could have been accomplished without our 2200+ member owners, whose continued support drives Burlington Beer Works forward. Their frequent visits, constructive feedback and good, old-fashion “word of mouth marketing” continues to produce a steady stream of new patrons from Alamance, as well as our neighboring counties who, “heard about us from a friend”.

If we could quantify the dedication and passion for what is being accomplished right here and now at Burlington Beer Works, then we could put that into perspective, but we’ll let your next dining experience dictate those numbers. Our team will continue to drive this cooperative forward, 1 beer, 1 burger and 1 smile at a time, so long as our community remains hungry and yeah, thirsty too.

We look forward to serving you soon.

There’s a new chef in town: Hiring Kyle Wilkerson a coup for Burlington Beer Works

There’s a new chef in town: Hiring Kyle Wilkerson a coup for Burlington Beer Works

Kyle Wilkerson got his first look at kitchen operations for Burlington Beer Works on June 25. At the time he was interviewing for the position of executive chef, which would become open in July. Wilkerson, one of the top farm-to-table chefs in North Carolina, would be an interesting and perhaps an exceptional hire for the microbrewery and restaurant, which had opened in March. Tracy Schmidt, general manager of Burlington Beer Works and Wilkerson thought it would be a good idea for him to visit the restaurant and kitchen, look around and meet the staff.

Burlington Beer Works Brewery and Restaurant quietly marks first anniversary

Updated: What’s on tap at Burlington Beer Works

About a week and a half ago, on March 16, Burlington’s much-anticipated downtown brewpub took part in a street festival held to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, or rather St. Patrick’s Day weekend. To call the soft opening a success would be significant understatement rivaling the observation that Duke is winning a lot of close basketball games lately and that Zion Williamson is becoming somewhat better known outside Durham.