It might seem that 17 kegs would contribute to forgetfulness. But for Sean Lilly Wilson, founder of Durham's Fullsteam brewery, the numerous barrels of beer tapped last Friday the 13th are "something to remember."
Amounting to more than 2,000 poured pints, the brews marked the first day of business at the brewery's new tavern, Fullsteam R&D (726 Rigsbee Ave., 682-2337, www.fullsteam.ag), at an event that coincided with the fifth anniversary of North Carolina's increased cap for alcohol levels in beer. Led by the grassroots organization Pop the Cap, the movement broadened the market for craft breweries like Fullsteam to make their beers in state. R&D, which stands for "research and development," offers Fullsteam's "plow-to-pint" inspired beers.
With at least a year's worth of press and anticipation—last month the brewery began selling its beer in growlers at the Durham and Carrboro farmers markets—Fullsteam's initial beers, including Carver, a sweet potato lager, and Hogwash, a porter intended to complement barbecue, already have quite a following.
Wilson says that as the brewery gets its bearings, a slew of experimental one-offs will be available at the R&D bar. It's a quirky space that bears eight shadowboxes at its base, each filled with materials from The Scrap Exchange. In the future, R&D's offerings will grow to include wine, soda and food. You can try new brews at the tavern Wednesday through Sunday.
If there's a downtown Raleigh restaurant you've been itching to try, now's a good time. The second annual Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week (www.dinedowntownraleigh.com) continues through Sunday, Aug. 29. At least 29 restaurants are offering three-course prix fixe dinners for $20 or $30, depending on the venue. Ellen Fragola is one of the event's organizers. "It provides a critical mass into downtown, it showcases our culinary talent, and it allows people a chance to try a variety of great food at a great deal," she says. Visit the website to view a list of participants and their menus. Reservations are recommended and can be made for most venues at www.opentable.com.
By October, expect to find another new restaurant in downtown Raleigh. Dickey's Barbecue Pit (www.dickeys.com), a chain that began in Dallas, Texas, in 1941, and has two locations in the Triangle (200 Crossroads Blvd., Cary, 233-5801; 5318 New Hope Commons Drive, Durham, 419-1101), will open a third restaurant at 170 E. Davie St. Gregory Woloszczuk, whose family owns three North Carolina locations, says to expect "grab-and-go" options at the Raleigh eatery, including egg and cheese burritos with an option to add beef brisket that has been hickory-smoked on-site overnight.
On Saturday, Aug. 28, visit Johnny's of Carrboro (901 W. Main St., 969-0031) at 6 p.m. for a Down East fish fry fundraiser. A plate of Carteret County fish and a local side will cost $10, and all proceeds will help fund travel costs for the Slow Food Triangle's delegates to Terre Madre, the international gathering of Slow Food growers, chefs and activists held in Turin, Italy. For information, visit www.slowfoodtriangle.org.
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