A city with rich history and relaxed beach culture, Wilmington, North Carolina, has an incredibly diverse array of things to see and do. Aside from its pristine beaches, lighthouses, beautiful architecture, and breathtaking scenery, this coastal gem is a certified “beery beachside getaway.
Wilmington was named “Ranked one of the top “15 best cities in the US for beer drinkers” and named one of “America’s Beeriest Beach Towns” even though there are many breweries near the coast.
Currently, Wilmington has 16 breweries, but what’s more surprising is the creativity and the personality of each brewery. So before you explore the bottom of Wilmington’s pint glasses, let this article help you plan your brew-cation. Cheers!
1. Wilmington Brewing Company
Want to take your passion for craft beers up a notch? Wilmington Brewing is known for selling home brew supplies and conducts weekly brewing demonstrations for beer enthusiasts. What started as a humble home brew supply store selling a couple of craft brews on the side has become a prominent name in Wilmington’s craft beer scene.
This charming brewery has an extensive taproom, a quaint patio, outdoor space where you can enjoy cornhole games or chill out with your friends, family, and even your dog. With a rotating selection of 15 delicious craft beers on tap, it’s impossible not to leave without carrying a can or a home brew kit with you.
- Crowd Favorite: Tropical Lightning IPA, a West Coast Style IPA with nicely blended hops and citrus flavors tipping at 7.4%ABV
Hours: Open Mon-Wed 11am-9pm, Thur 11am–10pm, Fri & Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-8pm.
Address: 824 S Kerr Ave, Wilmington, NC 28403
2. Broomtail Craft Brewery
Innovative and stylish with a passion for sustainability, Broomtail Craft Brewery combines scientific principles, artistic expressions, and nature to create unique yet flavorful craft beers. Tucked on the city’s north side, Broomtail has a warm and friendly neighborhood brewhouse vibe. It has a cozy taproom and outdoor seating where you can enjoy various styles and flavors of craft beers on tap.
Whether you’re craving beers during a hot summer day or looking to relax with a cold one on a weekend night out, Broomtail is the perfect place to enjoy great brews with your family, friends, and fur buddies.
- Crowd Favorite: Acerbic Ecstasy IPA, a hop-forward Hybrid IPA tipping at 6.2% ABV
- Highly Recommended: Moe-Beer, a brown ale with 5.5% ABV
Hours: Open Tue-Thur 4pm–9pm, Fri 4pm–10pm, Sat 2pm-10pm, Sun 1pm-8pm, Mon Closed.
3. Waterline Brewing Company
Fresh craft brews, river views, and history. Waterline Brewing Company should be on top of your brewery tour Wilmington, NC list. Housed in a historical 1940s warehouse, imagine sipping your craft beer in this family-friendly brewery while enjoying the sweeping views of the Cape Fear River and Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.
Waterline offers a wide variety of exceptional craft beers on tap and uses modern and traditional brewing techniques to create brews for everyone. But if you’re not into craft brews, why not sip on a glass of wine or cider as you listen to live music or take advantage of one of their many events held at their outdoor beer garden.
- Crowd Favorite: Kolsch, a subtly sweet, refreshing Kolsch with a clean finish. 5.3% ABV
- Highly Recommended: Coffee and Cream, smooth and creamy with 6.5% ABV
Hours: Open Tue-Thur 3pm–9pm, Fri 3pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-8pm, Mon Closed.
Address: 721 Surry St, Wilmington, NC 28401
4. Flying Machine Brewing Company
If coffee, craft beers, and biking are right up your alley, the Flying Machine has your back. This new brewery in Wilmington, NC, is located on the Cross City Trail and offers great coffee for people on the trail during the earlier part of the day. It features two floors, an outdoor patio, a colossal taproom with Steam Punk touches, and a free-standing staircase.
What sets Flying Machine apart is its flavorful, yet approachable handcrafted beers brewed the old-fashioned way. With 30 unique beers on tap, food trucks on site, and exciting events, Flying Machine isn’t just a brewery. It’s a lingering experience.
- Crowd Favorite: Electronic Fog, a Hazy IPA with hints of grapefruit and pineapple. 6.3% ABV
- Highly recommended: Be sure to look for the bocce ball course. Get the best view of the artificial lake on the outdoor patio.
Hours: Open Mon 4pm–9pm, Tue-Thur 4pm–10pm, Fri 12pm-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-9pm.
5. Hi-Wire Brewing Wilmington
Come one, come all to one of the best names in Wilmington’s craft beer scene, Hi-Wire Brewing. Located in the heart of Wilmington’s Soda Pop District, this new brewery in Wilmington, NC, has a warehouse set-up with a circus-themed taproom. Its expansive indoor and outdoor seating area features various games and events that everyone will enjoy.
Known for its creative and barrel-aged beers, Hi-Wire carries 21 easy-drinking lineups of balanced drafts, small batch releases, and wines. So if you want to grab a drink and bring your kids or dog along in a fun and inclusive environment, Hi-Wire will Brewing will never disappoint you.
- Crowd Favorite: Bed of Nails, light and well-balanced Brown Ale with a dry finish. 6.1% ABV
- Highly Recommended: Try a flight to taste test the taps and find your new favorite brew.
Hours: Open Mon-Thur 3pm–10pm, Fri & Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-9pm.
6. Flytrap Brewing
Want to unwind in a place where music, bites, and fresh craft brews abound? Flytrap is one of the most popular micro breweries in Wilmington, NC. Located in the historic downtown area, Flytrap is a go-to place for locals and visitors to enjoy craft beer, live music, and artworks from local artists.
Flytrap specializes in American and Belgian-style ales with a constantly rotating draft list. Its beer garden has a charming and serene setting where you can spend time with your kids or relax with a pint of beer as your dog gets some free treats. Food trucks are available on-site if you need some grub for your brews.
- Crowd Favorite: Hoppy Tripel, a hoppy Tripel with a clean finish. 8.2% ABV.
- Hop-py Note: Flytrap has regular donation-based beer events for local non-profits.
- Fun Fact: Flytrap is named after a carnivorous plant whose only native habitat in the world is within a 60-mile radius of Wilmington, NC.
Hours: Open Mon-Thur 3pm–10pm, Fri 3pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-11pm, Sun 1pm-8pm.
Address: 319 Walnut St, Wilmington, NC 28401
7. Wrightsville Beach Brewery
Forget about the hustle and bustle of the city and hop on a free brewery tour Wilmington, NC, in Wrightsville Beach Brewery. Named one of the “6 Breweries with Meals that Rival Their Beers” by Our State Magazine, this eco-conscious brewery serves equally delicious brews and fresh local seafood. Enjoy the homely vibe at Wrightsville Beach’s taproom and order a flight or pint from its 40 ever-rotating fresh craft brews on tap. Drink and dine with your family and friends at its expansive bar and scenic beer garden.
Beyond its exciting events and atmosphere, Wrightsville Beach Brewery is committed to giving back to its community and environment by patronizing local micro-farmers and regularly donating proceeds to different non-profits.
- Crowd Favorite: Kölsch Krush, a refreshing and easy-to-drink Kölsch tipping at 4.8% ABV
- Highly Recommended: Try the Fried Oyster Bites and the Tempura Cauliflower.
Hours: Open Sun-Thur 11am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11am-11pm.
8. Front Street Brewery
Wilmington’s OG watering hole. A brewery tour Wilmington, NC, is not complete without a visit to its original craft brewery, Front Street Brewery. Located right in the heart of downtown Wilmington, this 27-year-old brewery-cum-restaurant is housed in a historic building.
Apart from its building’s rich history, part of Front Street’s appeal is its warm interiors and wooden floors that give off a homey vibe for family gatherings or a get-together with friends. Swing by and try its extensive list of delectable food and award-winning craft beers. Or be amazed at the sight of its large bourbon and whiskey selections waiting to be served.
- Crowd Favorite: Port City IPA, Wilmington’s original IPA since 1995
- Highly Recommended: Try the famous Pulled Chicken Nachos
Hours: Open Mon-Fri 11:30am–10pm, Sun 12pm-8pm.
Address: 9 N Front St, Wilmington, NC 28401
9. Edward Teach Brewery
Ahoy, mateys! Let’s go on a craft beer adventure aboard Edward Teach Brewery. Paying homage to the pirate, Blackbeard, aka Edward Teach, this brewery carries a pirate theme throughout its interiors and menu. It has a ship-shaped bar on the first floor, while the second floor resembles a ship’s rigging.
Order a flight or pint on the patio while indulging in the picturesque views of the gorge. In addition to its delicious craft beers on tap, you will fall in love with Edward Teach Brewery’s tasty mimosas, beer floats, and fresh coffee. So if you’re looking for a quick beer and an extraordinary place to go, just look for the Blackbeard’s flag around Brooklyn’s Arts Center.
- Crowd Favorite: Teach’s Peaches, a refreshing peach-flavored wheat beer with 5% ABV.
- Highly Recommended: Devil’s Son, a summer drink with 6.5% ABV
Hours: Open Mon-Thur 1pm–10pm, Fri & Sat 12pm–12am, Sun 12pm–8pm.
Address: 604 N 4th St, Wilmington, NC 28401
10. Mad Mole Brewing
Solar-powered craft beers, anyone? One of the must-visit micro breweries in Wilmington, NC, Mad Mole Brewing is the first and only solar-powered craft brewery in Wilmington. Aside from committing to sustainability, Mad Mole has many other things to love. One is that you’ll witness the entire brewing process run on solar energy while sipping your favorite craft brews at the taproom. Two is its sunny beer garden where you can bring your dogs and let them smell the sea breeze. Three is the city’s favorite food truck fares that serve enticing food to pair with your brews. And, of course, the unforgettable taste of its 12 craft beers on tap as well as its adorable beer names.
- Crowd Favorite: Boston Mole Party, a super refreshing hazy IPA packed with 6.9% ABV
- Fun Fact: Mad Mole was recently named America’s favorite solar-powered microbrewery.
Hours: Open Mon-Wed 4pm–9pm, Thur 12pm–10pm, Fri & Sat 12pm–11pm, Sun 12pm-8pm.