Todd Isbell, the brewmaster at High Point’s Liberty Brewery & Grill, and a coworker leaned against the bar top, their backs to the front door of Brown Truck Brewery. It made sense that they’d come here after a day at work for a pint, but not just because all of the beers were $1 off or because it was a Thursday. Brown Truck, as the city’s only other brewpub, is a welcome addition to Isbell and plenty of other High Pointers. But the reason is deeper than that, too.
Ian Burnett, the brewmaster and a co-owner here, had been by Liberty for lunch the same day. That’s how they do in High Point.
Burnett, who used to work at Foothills in Winston-Salem, started Brown Truck’s first batches in January. These days, there are seven house beers on tap — including a satisfying maibock, a dry-hopped Belgian pale and a saison — accompanied by three wines and a hard cider.
Unlike Liberty, Brown Truck doesn’t serve food, though food trucks such as PorterHouse Burger Truck and King-Queen Haitian Cuisine from Greensboro regularly pull up alongside the expansive patio.
And my, what a patio it is.
Especially in the summer months, it’s nice to have somewhere with a large, open-air patio such as this one. It’s as big as the taproom, at least in terms of seating, though that’s not including the brewhouse portion of the building. There’s even a raised platform that can act as a stage, and jutting window ledges where someone could rest a beer if there’s nowhere to sit.
Comfortable, abundant and well-arranged chairs and two L-shaped couches are really what distinguish Brown Truck’s patio. Sandwiched between the wall of the taproom — which still sports the mural of old rockers with a baby blue backdrop — and a food truck, it’s easy to ignore the busyness of Main Street out front. Otherwise the overwrought thoroughfare might be distracting, even though Brown Truck is set back a few paces from the road, and hopefully a line of bushes grows up to block some of the noise and sight pollution.
With school out, few twentysomethings could be found at Brown Truck, making the average age significantly older than the crowd that can generally be found at other Triad breweries, including Liberty, which usually brags a strong High Point University contingent.
Then again, the scene easily could’ve shifted once the sun disappeared, or on Friday and Saturday nights. The bar itself hits similar aesthetic notes — the unfinished wood, the mural — as other contemporary joints that cater to a younger set. And we are talking about a brewery.
The city of High Point hopes to retain more millennials, but young people aren’t necessarily the key to creating a sense of place or making a portion of the Third City cool. Brown Truck Brewery, Sunrise Books and other businesses clustered together in the Uptowne district are doing that on their own, though they could certainly use all the help they can get.
In the long run, that support will need to come primarily from locals in order to sustain anything. And as Isbell and Burnett are already proving, that High Point support is already underway. But considering that the two breweries are a mere six minutes apart, there’s no reason not to visit Hype Point and check out both.
Actually, most of the best things in High Point are in walking distance from Brown Truck — Kepley’s Barbecue, Mayberry Ice Cream, Sunrise Books, Blue Bourbon Jacks, Blue Rock Pizza & Tap, Blue Zucchini, Sweet Josephine’s and Emerywood Fine Foods. If the city slowed down traffic and made crossing the street easier, more like Tate Street or Walker/Elam in Greensboro, Uptowne could quickly become one of the Triad’s coolest commercial districts.
In the meantime, at least Brown Truck offers that patio, and solid beers to boot.
Visit Brown Truck Brewery at 1234 N. Main St. (HP) or find it on Facebook.