3. High Point
For the Beer Issue, we’re ranking our cities based on their suds. And we really wanted to give High Point a better slot because Liberty Brewery & Grill is the longest-running existing beermaker in the the three cities — predating Natty Greene’s and Foothills by years while Red Oak moved out of our coverage area to Whitsett. Still, it’s the only place officially making beer in High Point until XII Tribes Brewing nails something down, so the Furniture City remains on the bottom of the list.
Natty Greene’s, Greensboro’s brewery, was a juggernaut from the moment it opened on the corner of Elm and McGee streets back in 2004 amid a small but burgeoning downtown scene. They’ve since expanded with a brewpub in Raleigh and a bottling facility by the coliseum. With Pig Pounder coming on strong, the opening of Gibb’s Hundred Brewing down the street from Natty’s this week and the eventual realization of Preyer Brewing, Greensboro’s ranking should rise in the future.
Foothills Brewing was the first serious beermaker in the Camel City’s modern era, coming on in 2005. But behind a great roster of beers, fabulous brewpub and a little moneymaker known as Sexual Chocolate it grew large very quickly, swallowing the Carolina Blonde line and buying a massive bottling and brewing facility in the city. Hoots, in its first year, has placed its beers all over the Triad. And Small Batch Brewing, another newcomer, is becoming everything a boutique brewery should be, solidifying First Place for Winston-Salem.