I ducked under the awning of Wayward Brews on a rainy Thursday evening. Having heard about this unique Winston-Salem bar and coffeeshop only a few weeks ago, I felt compelled to try it.
A couple unaccompanied teens passed as I entered. They sipped coffee drinks, a part of the business model I’ve seen at places like Camino Bakery. But Wayward Brews is less coffeeshop — there are no baked goods — and more bar, making this the perfect place for groups with mixed interests in caffeine and alcohol.
Under twinkling lights in the front windows, a half-dozen folks relaxed at tables and couches, quietly sipping their drinks and eating takeout dinner from local restaurants in this strip mall off Peters Creek Parkway. It’s a far drive from the center city, to be sure — past the Goodwill, beyond a Walmart and a country club I’ve never even heard of — but this southern outpost draws a lot of locals and has a decidedly chill, family-friendly feel.
Coffee drinks range from the usual espresso and lattes to some frozen creations, but Wayward Brews specializes in North Carolina beer and wine.
Craft beers tend to follow the seasons. Right now, there’s a lot of light-colored stuff: wheat ales (some fruit-flavored), witbier and IPAs. Most of the breweries at Wayward are recognizable, but taps rotate constantly. A couple weeks ago, Appalachian Mountain Brewing, Blowing Rock Brewing and Skull Camp were big; now, it’s Brown Truck in High Point, Preyer in Greensboro, Brueprint in Apex and Huske Hardware in Fayetteville.[pullquote]Celebrate Wayward Brews’ one-year anniversary on Saturday from 3 to 11 p.m. at 5078 Peters Creek Pkwy. (W-S). Although tickets aren’t required, $25 advanced tickets get you a pint glass, first pour, endless pizza and wings and freebies from local breweries. Visit waywardbrews.com or find it on Facebook.[/pullquote]
A small chalkboard to the side of the bar lists bottles and cans of typical watery beers like Miller Lite, Michelob Ultra, Blue Moon and PBR — just in case your friend or family member doesn’t go for craft.
Wine includes various vintages from Shelton, Childress, Old North State, Skull Camp and Weathervane, plus one I hadn’t heard of before: Sanctuary out of Jarvisburg, NC.
In addition to glasses, half glasses and pints, flights are available for both beer and wine. Beer flights are generous five-ounce pours at reasonable prices. Wine flights come three for $12 or five for $15.
Just before close, the café/bar’s phone rang. A concerned mom was looking for her teenage son. He’d missed curfew and was in big trouble.
The barista/bartender said he’d left a while ago. I could’ve told her he was probably on his way home, finishing his coffee drink with a friend.
Despite the sexy name, Wayward Brews is actually about as family-friendly as you can get.