Photo Courtesy Mike Donohoe
Behind Bars is BACK and this time we’re chatting with Mike Donohoe from Session Beer Market, on the south side of town. Session just celebrate their two year anniversary. They’re a bottle shop with an extensive selection in bottles and cans, and a humble but impressive draft list. Go say hi to Mike!
AT: What is your favorite thing about bartending?
MD: The metal bottle opener thing has a loop at one end and I’ve gotten pretty good at spinning it around my finger. I’m pretty sure I’m the first person to do this, and it’s pretty fun. Oh and the people you get to connect and make memories with over the years are pretty rad too. Last week I actually performed a wedding ceremony for two people that I met doing this.
AT: Do you have any advice for current or future craft beer bartenders?
MD: It’s really cool to develop that dynamic with a patron where you can guess what they’re going to order every time, but they’ll almost always be more appreciative if you can open up new styles and ideas for them. It’s fun and rewarding to help people find new “usuals”. Its really satisfying (for both you and the patron) when you can get someone to go all the way from Miller Lite to barrel aged stouts.
AT: If you were a beer which one would you be?
MD: Tough one. I would probably be Bells Hopslam. Bitter, still has a few long-time fans, and every year you think “it was probably better last year”.
It’s Wilmington’s OG craft beer bar’s sweet 16! Join Cape Fear Wine & Beer on Sunday, July 7th for their weekly Beer Church and help them celebrate with Moody Tongue Brewing our of Pilsen, Chicago, Illinois. There will be commemorative glassware (with both CFWB & Moody Tongue logos), t-shirts, and a very delicious beer list.
We got to talk to Maaike Brender à Brandis, co-owner and President, about the day.
AT: 16 years! How exciting. What have you learned?
MBàB: In 2003 neither of us had been in the beer industry. So we basically had to learn everything. Everything about beer, about permits and payroll. But a left-brain partnered with a right-brain can accomplish anything. Now it’s more like maintaining a well-oiled machine.
AT: Why did you decide to pair up with Moody Tongue:
MBàB: We decided to partner with Moody Tongue because we had a great relationship with the sales rep, Brad Davis, from the years he was with Shmaltz. And, of course, the beer is great!
AT: What new things can we look forward to from you guys in the coming year?
MBàB: We’ve recently replaced our old school chalk draft boards with tv’s synced with our Untappd beer list. A goal is to continue providing our customers with the best beer list in town, with the freshest hazy IPA’s, the funkiest sours, the crispest pilsners. We’re also partnering with local and regional charities for our beer churches.
Visit their website capefearwineandbeer.com, and keep an eye on Facebook for current and future event updates!
While the Port City is becoming more and more well known for its breweries, did you know that its comedy scene is just as dynamic!? And since beer and laughter go hand-in-hand (or pint-in-hand), naturally the two have married up in Wilmington.
If you subscribe to our email newsletter, then you’re already aware of the opportunities to go check out comedy at Wilmington Breweries. And if you don’t subscribe you should, and take a peek at the Wilmington brewery and bottle shop comedy round up we made for you.
Bombers Beverage Company
108 Grace Street, Wilmington, NC 28401
Every Friday Bombers hosts an open mic at 9p so that local comedians can flex their funnies and customers can get their giggle on. It’s called Bombs Away! and hosted by The Regretful Villains. If you stop by Bombers between 6 and 8p on Fridays, you can get in on the weekly wine tasting to further lubricate your laughs.
Waterline Brewing Company
721 Surry Street, Wilmington, NC 28401
You can join the folks at the Brewery Under the Bridge one Wednesday a month for Gruff Goat Comedy. It’s a free show featuring three comedians under the bridge (no trolls, please). Customers can sip a delicious, local brew, enjoy a food truck, and laugh the night away. It’s a great mid-week pick-me-up.
Check 6 Brewery
5130 Southport-Supply Road, Southport, NC 28461
The North American Comedy Brewery Tour regularly stops at Check 6 Brewery in Southport and you should, too. There’s a $20 entry fee (so make sure to pick up tickets before, in case it sells out), but the laughter to follow is priceless.
Port City Brew Bus
Comedy not enough to entice you? What if we add wheels? Jump on the Port City Brew Bus with three local comedians and cruise to Wilmington Breweries where you can sip local suds. The comedians will do their best to lift your spirits (and if they don’t do it, the Wilmington beer sure will). You can expect some fun & games on the bus and then quick 10-15 minute sets once you land at the breweries.
Skytown Beer Company
4712 New Centre Drive, Wilmington, NC 28405]
Slack’s Stand Up show will be returning to Skytown Beer Company on Saturday, July 13th at 8pm. The last one was standing room early, so make sure to get there early. Skytown’s beer is the real star of the show, but their food is also not to be missed. Never had deep fried gravy balls? Well you’re not getting any younger, so now’s the time.
This week we’ve got Amanda Bowman joining us from Fermental! Check out what she has to say about being a Wilmington craft beer bartender.
AT: What’s your favorite thing about bar-tending/selling beer?
AB: I like being able to pick just the right beer for someone, even if they weren’t exactly sure what they were looking for. Figuring out what they do and don’t like, making suggestions, then watching them try, and like, something out of their comfort zone is rewarding.
It’s also fun when you get to know what your regulars like and they trust you to just pour them something you know they’ll love.
AT: Do you have any advice for current or future craft beer bartenders?
AB: I would say familiarize yourself with as many different styles and flavors as you can. Taste everything, even if you don’t like a particular style, as it will help to make recommendations.
Staying on top of trends is also helpful.
AT: If you were a beer, which one would you be?
AB: A fruited gose–a little sour, a little sweet, and a little salty.
Beach Boots: An Evening with the Pink Boots Society
This Friday at Fermental, join the Wilmington Chapter of the Pink Boots Society for an evening of celebrating women in beer!
I’m a little biased this week, since I’m one of the Chapter Leaders of PBS Wilmington, but I can also guarantee the event is going to be great. We’ve got some beers coming from the Biere de Femme festival, which happened earlier this year at Highland Brewing in Asheville, and was hosted by Pink Boots NC. We’ll also be featuring several beers from local area breweries that are either brewed by women or at breweries owned by women.
My personal favorite is Light Urple–a collaboration beer that I had the privilege of brewing with some of the ladies from The Crooked Lotus in Sneads Ferry, and Bill’s Front Porch in Wilmington. It’s a Belgian pale ale brewed with honey, butterfly pea flower, and the proprietary Pink Boots hop blend from this year. It’s dry, hoppy, and a beautiful, rich purple color.
Come hang out with me and the other ladies at Fermental from 5-10p this Friday. Trust me–we’re a hell of a good time.
If you’d like information about Pink Boots Society, or have questions about joining, please visit pinkbootssociety.org or reach out to me, Joan, at email@example.com.
Here is a link to the Facebook event
What better way to celebrate Cape Fear Craft Beer Week than a *free* shuttle to scoot you around and sip local liquid!? The Port City Brew Bus is doing just that this Saturday, March 23 from 11 am to 5 pm. Two different buses will be running two independent routes, both of which are starting downtown.
Read on to learn about the Hop On/ Hop Off brewery shuttle routes and what I would get if I got to ride the buses that day! ( And don’t forget to tip your driver!)
Starting/Ending at Bombers Beverage Company: Bombers is arguably one of my favorite bottles shops in town for definitely two, but possibly more, reasons–the selection is great and the people who hang out there are amazing. (To be fair, the owners are two of my best friends…I got married there, after all.) It would behoove you to just pick Kyle or Sunni’s brain and ask them what you should drink. They’ve never lead me astray.
Edward Teach Brewery: I’m a big fan of a fruit beer, so I would definitely go for Teach’s Peaches, a peach wheat ale. It’s perfect for our imminent spring, and the brewery does a great job of introducing fruit without presenting cloying sweetness.
Broomtail Craft Brewery: Get a Moe Beer. It’s a super delicious brown ale named after a very sweet dog, and they’ve had it on draught since day one.
The Sour Barn: The sister brewery to Broomtail is a fabulous mecca for fans of sours. The blackberry gose came out most recently. I only had a pint, but I could have easily (responsibly) had a pitcher.
Flytrap Brewing: My very, very favorite beer (maybe in the city) is Hoppy Tripel. It’s a dangerous one since it creeps up over 8%, but since you’ll be at the end of your tour and I KNOW you’re not driving home, you’ll be fine.
New Anthem: I recommend closing your eyes and pointing at the draught board at New Anthem and ordering whatever you land on. You won’t be sorry. I had a pour of The Feels today and loved it.
Waterline Brewing: This tour is going to be great for hop heads. The Waterline Black IPA is awesome. It’s roasty, hoppy, and clean, and I highly recommend drinking it. I think it’s fabulous.
Wilmington Brewing: One of my favorite things to do is drink a Tropical Lightning from the source, but if you’re nervous about it being too boozy, try a Beach Time Session IPA.
Wrightsville Beach Brewery: At the end of a long day (whether or not it includes a long day of drinking) the first and last things I want are the same–a good, crisp lager. The Lame Street Lager from WBB is perfect.