“You’re not allergic to peanuts, are you?” asks Will Satterfield as he passes over a sample of Out of the Lunchbox, a PB&J wheat ale by the Bruery. A sip of the stuff and you’re reminded of elementary school days when your mom packed your lunch and you caught the bus to school. Flowery notes of grape mix with nutty undertones to create a beer that’s at once familiar yet new, comforting yet exotic.
Craft City Sip In off New Garden Road in Greensboro is a lot like this beer.
Housed at the end of an established strip mall just off of Battleground Avenue, the craft-beer shop and taproom offers both the bizarre and plain delicious in a low-key, homey atmosphere.
Satterfield, who’s been working at the shop for the past two years, pours sample after sample, describing each with loving detail. He’s been in the business for a while and says that Craft City is a different kind of shop.
“The people in the neighborhood have a different mentality here,” he says. “It kind of slows down. People want to come in to relax and actually enjoy what they’re drinking instead of using it as a means to an end.”
Craft City, which is about a 15-minute drive from Hamburger Square, is a refreshing break from the bustle of some of the other beer joints and breweries that are housed in and around downtown. The more suburban location offers a quieter, chiller place to hang. Instead of rowdy college kids, older couples and families fill the space. And while some of the customers might not be hip to all of the new craft beers, Satterfield says that’s exactly why Craft City is successful.
“It works out well because we’re the only fish in this pond,” he says. “We try to help people find new things to try. Our job is to help you find a beer you’re gonna like while developing your palate.”
It seems the shop has filled a need in the area. On Aug. 11, Craft City celebrates its three-year anniversary with live music and a food truck. Satterfield says he’s looking forward to a busy crowd.
On a Tuesday evening however, a half-dozen regulars sit and chat while the rain patters outside.
René and Rick Zieg, a middle-aged couple who live near Friendly Center, say they’ve been making the trek to Craft City from their side of town for the past three years.
“We’ve made a lot of friends here,” says René. “It’s got a Cheers atmosphere to it.”
Rick, who’s drinking an IPA, agrees and says that the friendly staff and selection keep them coming back.
“We know all of the bartenders,” he says. “And if there’s not something on draft that you like, you can always find something in a can.”
The taproom has 12 rotating taps that change weekly and shelves of cans and bottles that can be enjoyed in-house or taken to-go. They also offer a robust wine selection.
The shop also recently obtained its license to serve spirits. For now, they’re focused on just scotch and bourbon and are even picky about serving those. Most are what Satterfield calls higher-end selections and include some from as far as Japan.
“You won’t find Jack Daniels or Maker’s Mark here,” Satterfield says. “We try to be intentional about what we offer.”
The cheapest glass of liquor costs eight bucks. And yet, the shop doesn’t emit an ounce of pretension. And the bartenders can be credited for that.
Josh Fowler, a graduate student at UNCG and recent transplant from Ohio, lives nearby and is visiting the shop for the second time in one day.
“The staff is really nice,” Fowler says. “I’ve only come in four or five times, but they know me by name.”
And isn’t that how the song goes?