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Brewery Bhavana | Cellar Door No. 3

Brewery Bhavana | Cellar Door No. 3
Christopher Hilliard

Confession: I never wanted to be a beer snob. In fact, I fought it. But I wouldn’t be writing this if I succeeded.

I started drinking craft beer because I didn’t know better. All I knew was I liked it better than the macros. Before long, I was drinking craft beer because I did know better. Words like “boozy” and “barnyard” and “mouthfeel” entered my vocabulary. At bars, the hunt began with the most expensive. I researched the history of lambic and pilsner and bière de garde. And to complete my snob-ucation, I joined a beer club.

“What a waste…”

“What a waste,” 21-year-old me would have scoffed. If I’m honest, he would have been right. He would not have appreciated the intricacies of barrel-aging and brett cultures—couldn’t have. He would have sneered at sour beer, turned his nose up at barleywine. Truthfully, he didn’t know what he liked about beer (besides alcohol).

Now, I do. Here’s a good example: Cellar Door no. 3 from Raleigh’s Brewery Bhavana.

The Brewery and the Beer

First, some background. Brewery Bhavana is one of the hottest spots in Raleigh. Friends who live in Raleigh talk about it like some sort of mecca that you have to go to. In a beautiful, open space in the heart of downtown, Bhavana boasts exquisite food and some of the best beer I’ve ever tasted. So enamored was I that when I heard they were starting a beer club— Cellar Door —I jumped at the chance to join. The price of admission was higher than anything I’d spent on beer before, but a quick cost/benefit analysis showed it to be not only reasonable but favorable.

Cellar Door no. 3 only reaffirms that decision.


Photo courtesy of Chris Hilliard


ABV: 6.2%

The third in a line of twelve exclusive beers, no. 3 is (to borrow from the label) “an elegant blend of three Sauvignon Blanc wine barrels; a golden sour with hints with tangerine, soursop, pink peppercorn, and citrus zest.” I haven’t quite reached the tier of snob necessary to tease out all of these flavors, but here’s what I do notice: the inviting amber color, the subtly funky scent, the fruity tang and mild, peppery bite, and the medium body and dry finish. Overall, Cellar Door no. 3 is a citrusy, well-balanced golden sour, right up the alley for a proud snob such as myself.

I would encourage you to check it out, but it’s for club members only. You’ll have to make friends with one of us. Better yet, join the club!

Feature image courtesy of Brewery Bhavana.

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