The charming town of Winston-Salem has joined the ranks of other hip, hoppin’ Carolina boroughs with a brewery boom of their very own. Many have congregated in the same area, creating a bustling beers district downtown that are home to some of the best breweries in Winston Salem.
This makes it easy to create your own self-guided craft beer crawl, or simply choose a favorite and hunker down for a few pints. Having a brew is one of the best things to do in Winston Salem! You’ll find everything, from classic IPAs, porters, and pilsners, to infused farmhouse ales, sour saisons, and hazy hefeweizens.
With independent microbreweries more popular than ever, North Carolina has become known for its plethora of palate-pleasing pints available all over the state. Camel City has cultivated quite a beer culture in its own right, resulting in these emerging breweries putting out innovative flavors. Each has its own exciting feel and flavors to offer, and we love discovering them all the North Carolina city.
Side note, they all allow dogs, so feel free to bring a furry friend to enjoy your brew with you. Here are our top choices for the best breweries in Winston Salem.
Best Breweries in Winston Salem
Incendiary Brewing has taken home in the renovated Bailey Power Plant, giving the space an electrical and industrial feel. Where steam power was once created from coals, tasty brews are now created from hops. Their flagship beers are Shift, a New England IPA; and Shade of Lies, an Imperial Stout with Counter Culture coffee, toasted coconut, maple, and cinnamon.
However, their taps are constantly rotating with an exciting selection of porters, pilsners, and weisses. Get a flight to try a taste of their more innovative flavors, such as the Habanero Pale Ale or the Key Lime Coconut Sour.
The special outdoor space is called the coalpit, and it’s the best patio in town. They often host concerts and comedy shows, but mostly it’s where beer drinkers sit to enjoy the sunny, hip surroundings just below the old railroad tracks. It’s a family-friendly establishment, so kids are welcome and often playing while adults sip their stress away.
If you feel hungry, don’t fret, they are surrounded by restaurants in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem and you are welcome to order from any of them. We recommend the NY Pizza place just next door as the perfect combo for your cold one.
Wise Man Brewing
We believe Wise Man is not just one of the best breweries in Winston Salem, but in the whole state. The atmosphere is enticing, you can tell just from walking in it’s something special. The walls are adorned with colorful street art-style murals from local artists, and the roof is covered in solar panels.
The building itself is over 100 years old and used to be an Angelo Bros. warehouse that has since been beautifully refurbished. The beers have the labels and names to match this vibrant and vibey decor. Each one is named after a wise man, for example, the Mountain Calling by John Muir or Body Electric by Walt Whitman.
The brewmaster has a PhD in chemistry, giving them a unique perspective on brewing. He named the establishment after the famous Plato quote, “He was a wise man who invented beer.”
They have many local food trucks frequenting their space, so there’s always plenty of good food to chow down on. They even have an Art-o-mat, an upcycled retro cigarette vending machine, now selling small pieces of art for a few dollars. There are less than 200 of them in the world, and each one is unique. An art installation in themselves, they were actually created right in Winston-Salem.
Wise Man also offers complimentary brewery tours on Sundays, so go to get a peek into the science behind their best beers.
Fiddlin Fish Brewing
Fiddlin Fish has grown quite the following since their 2017 opening in downtown Camel City. Located in a renovated tobacco warehouse, it’s fitted with an artistic flair. The taproom interior is decked out with art from the area, and reclaimed wood. A fresh fiddlin guitar mural adorns the wall as the centerpiece, painted by local legend Hieronymus.
You can peer into the steel frame windows to watch the magic happen behind the beer scenes. Their That Fish Cray New England IPA is a hoppy masterpiece to be sure. It’s a 15 barrel brewhouse. On tap you’ll find traditional offerings and their flagship brews, along with a selection of seasonal and more experimental styles.
Go for a gulp of each, with a flight served on a hand-carved fish tray. The Slanted Shed food truck can often be found right outside serving up Carolina-style seafood favorites. The owners have a passion for craft beer, cultivating community, and paddling your own path.
With many big screens, it’s a great spot to catch the game with a cold pint. Tap room trivia is a regular occurrence and always a rollicking good time. They also host live music on their spacious covered patio. Fiddlin Fish embraces the Carolina spirit and we love what they’re creating.
This brewery began with three friends who all come from strong backgrounds in the beer scene, and had a daring dream. Joining the ranks of Wise Man and Fiddlin Fish, this newcomer has added to the brewery-dense arts area, now named Industry Hill.
In what was once a storage space for old NASCAR vehicles, is now a hip haven for hop heads. The decor is minimal and feels like a breath of fresh air, with a bright and airy ambiance. The two-toned bar top is especially beautiful in the space. They have a rotating food truck lineup, with plenty of local heavy hitters in the roster, such as Don Express.
They focus on open fermentation techniques and feature many Belgian style beers. We have to say, we’re a sucker for a cute can and boy do they deliver. They’ve aimed for the brewery to be a beacon of modern design and discovery, and in doing so, have stood out from the crowd. Their culture of artists of many mediums within the company work to elevate the brand and pioneer the industry.
Try the Wild Child Farmhouse IPA or the Illuminator Doppelback, two of their tastiest creations, while the beer garden is perfect for enjoying a laid-back pint on a sunny day.
Foothills is the godfather of brewing in the area, and has three beloved locations around town. It’s one of the best breweries in all of North Carolina so you need to make your way here when in the city. It easily holds down the title of one of the best breweries in Winston Salem. They have a brewery and tasting room just outside of downtown, a brewpub in the heart of downtown, and a cafe next door called Footnotes.
Each one has their own unique identity and delights to discover. Their name was inspired by the majestic neighboring Blue Ridge Mountains. Their artwork is iconic and can be spotted all over the southern East Coast.
The brewery and tasting room offers a full free tour of the production facilities to learn more about their special brewing process. It’s located in an old manila envelope factory which has an expansive 48,000 square feet of space. In such an abundant area they store tens of thousands of barrels, bottle everything on-site, collaborate with other local breweries, and roast their own coffee beans for footnotes.
The tasting room has a warm and familiar feel, like walking into a big craft family. They often make beers to benefit their favorite causes, and are always hosting community events and donating dollars to local efforts. You will also find games, food trucks, and live music at this location. There are 28 different taps to try here, so your tastebuds will always be tantalized.
The brewpub features a full menu and a relaxed atmosphere. There are plenty of fun weekly events, like open mic night and trivia challenges, we especially love to stop in for Sunday jazz.
This location is known for their seasonal releases, particularly the famed Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout or Good Ship Wit. Their Hoppyum IPA is the stuff of local legends, and their taps are always rotating an extensive selection including People Porter and Craft Happiness.
Footnotes is the cozy cafe of your dreams. With a laid-back lounge feel, they offer a selection of their beers, coffee, tea, wine, and signature cocktails. It’s the perfect place to sit back and relax with a good book or a few close friends.
Small Batch Beer Co.
Small Batch began as Winston-Salem’s nanobrewery in 2014. Though they have grown in size and support, each beer is still brewed in limited quantities and with love. Every brew is made with a locally sourced ingredient, such as Blood Orange IPA or Percolator Mocha Stout.
There is always a vast and ever changing selection on deck. The energy of the establishment is easygoing yet elevated. It feels quaint and hip at the same time, with plenty of vintage flair and reclaimed wood.
Small Batch makes everything in-house fresh daily, with a focus on feeling specialty and handcrafted, and an added reminder that you’re worth it. They stand by the belief that superiority comes from simplicity.
The menu is full of creative pub food favorites. Their burgers are beloved by locals and visitors alike. Also their milkshakes are out-of-this-world, the Insta-worthy concoctions taste just as good as they look. This is our favorite place to say goodbye to self control and indulge.
Joymongers Barrel Hall
Located in Winston-Salem’s West End in a converted garage, we love the small town feel and big flavors at Joymongers. True to their name, they are serving up pints full of joy daily in an open and relaxed industrial space. Long shared tables line the inside, inviting strangers and friends alike to share a laugh and a pint.
The charming quirk comes in the form of a large mighty mouse flying from the wall, one of three in the world and the only one whose actual location is known. Originally started in Greensboro, this is their second Joymongers location, and it’s just as big of a hit as the first.
There is always a rotating selection of beers and food trucks at Joymongers. With a focus on unique infused flavors, there are many fruit profiles perfect for a refreshing pint, such as the Foederbier with Cherries and Blueberries. They also serve up the classics, and they do it well with options such as the Brux IPA.
It’s one of the few breweries dedicated to barrel aged beers. They use fresh bourbon and wine barrels for their process of creating over 17 available craft beverages. Less interested in production than other breweries, 95% of their product is served fresh everyday in the garage. You can sit inside with the garage door open giving a fresh breeze, or outside in the beer garden soaking up the sunshine. Either way you are sure to feel the joy.
Hoots Beer Co.
Hoots is an unexpected gem of West End Winston-Salem. They reflect the industrious community of the area through honoring old world traditional styles to create blue collar brews. It boasts a mellow wood and brick environment, featuring vintage arcade games, video games, and board games.
Peak into the portholes in the wall to see your favorite beers being brewed. They also have a satellite bar located in the downtown area, featuring a scrap metal installation art piece and an expansive patio for sunshine sipping.
They aim to make beer with love and magic, shrouded in mystery, and all with one goal to fulfill the prophecy, “you will enjoy the beer you were born to imbibe.” They see no boundaries when it comes to beer and want to pioneer new American classics and foster creativity in the science and art of beer. The building was originally the Hoots Roller Mill where flour was made.
The GasHopper IPA is a new fan favorite, however, we’re still dreaming of the Coconut Cream Ale. They host local food trucks like JJ’s Cuban Kitchen and Burger Supreme to pair perfectly with your nice cold pints.