On my recent trip to North Carolina we made it a point to venture out to the town of Saxapahaw, on the shores of the Haw River, to visit a brewery I had long been desirous to know: Haw River Farmhouse Ales.
Haw River Farmhouse Ales is located in a corner of the century-old building of the historic Saxapahaw Spinning Mill. The building is shared with a music venue, a coffee shop, an artisanal butcher (try the braunschweiger!), and the Saxapahaw General Store, which serves as a general store cum souvenir shop cum restaurant cum meeting place for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and other visitors who venture down the country lanes to Saxapahaw.
Haw River Farmhouse Ales is tucked into a 3000 sq ft space on the lower level at the west end of the building. There you’ll find the taproom, and visible through a set of windows behind the bar, the 10-barrel capacity brewhouse.
The Haw River brewery is not a big one, but they do a lot with what they’ve got. The brewery displays a sense of place by tucking its outside seating between the remains of thick concrete walls and by incorporating elements in the taproom that give a nod to the building’s industrial past.
That aesthetic extends to the beers, which often feature local ingredients – North Carolina-grown grains, berries, and muscadine grapes, locally-roasted coffee, and even Carolina Reaper chiles!
That combination produces some really nice beers. One, I have mentioned previously: the 2018 Saxy Machismo quadrupel with ancho chiles and habaneros.
On this visit I tasted several others, of course. My two favorites were JavaQue and Hiverna,
JavaQue is a velvety smooth 7.1% abv cream stout, infused with Peruvian coffee, smoked malt, and bacon from the butchery next door.
Hiverna is an 8.2% abv Winter Harvest Saison brewed with winter squash and sweet potato, and finished with Sichuan peppercorns, coriander, and cinnamon. It was a good, solid, saison which finished really nicely, with those spices not overpowering anything else but lingering after each swallow
Haw River Farmhouse Ales is well worth checking out should you find yourself in the Durham or Chapel Hill area.
Haw River Farmhouse Ales
1713 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Rd,