We’re always looking for fun — and free — things to do as a family. But typically, these events are geared to our youngest member of the family, 11-year-old Caroline.
So when my frugal friend Carolyn mentioned free tours and sampling at a local craft brewery, we jumped at the chance to take an adults-only field trip with our 21-year-old son, Andrew, who is home from college ever-so-briefly before heading out for a summer internship.
Not only did we get a behind-the-scenes education in craft brewing, but we got to sample the six beers that Carolina Brewery currently has on tap at its Pittsboro, N.C., location. The brewery’s original location is on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.
Led by brew master Nathan Williams, the free tours and tastings are offered the second Saturday of every month at noon and 1 p.m. Click here for more information.
My guys were so excited you would have thought I had gotten them free tickets to see Dave Matthews in concert. This was their kind of freebie.
As the tour began with an explanation of barley and hops, the brew master poured us all generous glasses of a golden ale called Sky Blue. We sipped on that as we moved from the mash tun to the beautiful copper kettles to the fermenters and filters.
After taking a peek inside the cooler, we each tasted the five other beers currently on tap: Copperline Amber Ale, Flagship India Pale Ale, Oatmeal Porter, Alter Ego and to Hell n Bock.
I loved the Sky Blue, but most of the rest were too strong for me. A beer connoisseur I am not. But my guys savored each one. My husband gave high marks to the Flagship IPA, while my son put his stamp of approval on Alter Ego.
We are also now official members of Carolina Brewery’s ”Brew Crew,” which will get us invites to special events and private beer tastings. Additionally, we are participating in the brewery’s frequent diner’s program, which will reward us with meal discounts and other perks.
I just love local businesses that go out of their way to make their customers feel special.
While we don’t spend a lot of money on dining out, the Carolina Brewery’s casual, fun atmosphere — and, yes, the lure of a free beer now and again — has successfully won our business twice in the last month alone when special occasions cropped up in our family.
Never underestimate the power of the freebie.