Alan, one of my friends from college, lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter. Portland is known as "Beervana" due to the large number of breweries in the area, including Widmer, Rogue, Lucky Labrador, and Tugboat. Since Alan moved to Portland, I have made two trips out to visit. While I haven't had the opportunity to take a grand tour of breweries, I have visited several bars and brewpubs and sampled many of the local offerings.
A few months back, El and I traveled to Boston to attend the wedding of her cousin. While there, I toured one of the meccas of beer, the Boston Brewery, home of Samuel Adams beers. In addition to Sam Adams, Boston is also home to the Harpoon Brewery.
I don't think there is any argument that Portland and Boston are two of the top cities for beer in the country. However, I would contend that Raleigh is quickly climbing that list. I recently enjoyed three beers from separate breweries in the Raleigh area. The names of those beers sound like the plot of an epic western. The female lead, Betty, and her family live out on the range in the badlands known as Devils Tramping Ground. One day, while Betty has made the trip into town for supplies, a gang of outlaws visit the family homestead where they cruelly murder everybody. When Betty returns home to the brutal scene, our heroine takes up her shotgun to become an avenging angel.
The first beer was Aviator Brewing Company's Devils Tramping Ground Tripel. Aviator is located in Fuquay-Varina which is a suburb south of Raleigh. The brewery was started out of an airport hanger, hence the name. Devils Tramping Ground is a Belgian-style tripel which are always interesting. At 9.2% ABV, it is a big beer, and the taste is sweet and malty.
The second two brews are ones that I have had before. They are two of my favorite beers and two of my favorite styles of beer. Both breweries are located in Raleigh proper. Shotgun Betty from Lonerider Brewing Company is Hefeweizen and is a good example of the style. The taste is fruity and spicy. Then there is Angry Angel from Big Boss Brewing Company. Angry Angel is a Kölsch-style ale which I particularly enjoy.