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About- Chris Hilliard

Christopher Hilliard

Christopher Hilliard

Chris hails from Tar Heel country (Chapel Hill, NC). He enjoys reading, writing, listening to music, playing Dominion and chess, and discovering new beers, especially local brews. He'll drink any beer, but if he had his way, he'd stick to with dark beers and sours.

Posts By Christopher Hilliard

Brewery Bhavana | Patina Gold #1

April 26, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 1 min

Regret is hard to live with, especially when that thing was right in front of you. My story begins at Brewery Bhavana in downtown Raleigh. My wife and I attended one of their private parties where they served up some of their signature dishes and drinks. Edamame and ginger dumplings, pork and mushroom bao, an open bar featuring many of their core brews and if that weren’t enough, at either end of the room they popped bottles of barrel-aged beauties. To try it all, you either had to be super lucky or a pushy jerk. For better or worse, I was neither. So, I missed out on a beer that I thought would be gone forever: Patina Gold #1, a peach and apricot sour aged for four months in a Cabernet foeder.

Fortunately, Bhavana had the good sense to produce more. Even more fortunately, I found a bottle of Patina Gold sitting in the dusty back room of Chapel Hill’s Bottle Rev. Given the price ($14 a bottle), I had to think twice about buying it, but only twice. The regret from earlier, missed opportunity was gnawing at me.

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Bull Durham Acquired by R&D Brewing

February 15, 2019 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

On January 10, 2019, Bull Durham Brewing Company came under new ownership. And R&D Brewing, located on Capital Blvd in downtown Raleigh, became the proud new owners.

Before we get into that, let’s talk about Durham and its minor league baseball team, the Durham Bulls. Thirty-odd years ago, the Durham Bulls became part of popular culture with the release of the Susan Sarandon/Kevin Costner/Tim Robbins film “Bull Durham.” If Rotten Tomatoes can be believed, it’s safe to say people like it. I would say it has its moments.

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Preyer Brewing Co. | Undercurrant

December 20, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 1 min

It’s been a season of surprises in North Carolina. First, we have one of the biggest December snow storms I’ve ever seen. Then, I discover a new brewery — Preyer Brewing — that managed to fly under my radar for the past 3 years.

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Brewery Bhavana | Cellar Door No. 3

October 25, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

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.

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Lonerider Brewing | For A Few Hops More

September 7, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 1 min

We’re hitting the end of a hot North Carolina summer, which means we can look forward to the days being less hot, humid, and sticky. Hopefully you haven’t let the weather change many of your plans this year. But when you do venture outside, I recommend taking with you Lonerider’s new dry-hopped American wheat ale, For A Few Hops More.

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Beer & Book Club | Annihilation & Double Helix Wild Blonde

July 5, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

Welcome to the next installment of Beer and Book Club! Today, my good friend Ben and I discuss Jeff VanderMeer’s genre-bending, science fiction-ish novel Annihilation (buy it here). Along with it, we’ll drink Double Helix, a Belgian-style blonde ale produced by Twin Leaf Brewing out of Asheville, NC.

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Burial + Other Half | One For Me Helles Lager

May 16, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Somehow I’ve managed to go years without reviewing a single thing from Burial Beer Company, one of the better-known, Asheville-based brewers in North Carolina. Today we make an end to that with One For Me, Burial’s collaboration Helles Lager brewed with Other Half Brewing out of New York. Read More

Vecino Brewing Company Celebrates Grand Opening with Cinco de Vecino

May 5, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

YesterYears is a thing of the past. YesterYears Brewing, I mean. And from its ashes rises Vecino Brewing Company.

This very weekend, even as I type this, the room is full of patrons, a musician in the corner, and bartenders and food runners and dish collectors (oh my), all of whom are here for Vecino’s grand opening weekend celebration, Cinco de Vecino in Carrboro, North Carolina.

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Beer & Book Club | Already Dead

April 10, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

Ben and I are back for another installment of Beer & Book Club (NC chapter)! After our last meeting in the UK, we’ve hopped back across the pond into the good ol’ US of A. Manhattan, New York, to be precise. There we met Joe Pitt, the enigmatic, vampiric protagonist of Charlie Huston’s pulp, noir, detective novel Already Dead. To complement our discussion, we drank Blood Orange Wheat from New Sarum Brewing out of Salisbury, NC. Read More

Brewery Bhavana | Boult Imperial Kvass

March 20, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Drinking beer is as much an adventure as an education. At least, for me it is. For example, just the other week I discovered yet another new style, the kvass, a traditionally Slavic beverage, brewed with rye bread that is low in alcohol (≤1%) and slightly sour. A quick read on Wikipedia informed me of kvass’ long, historic journey from the Middle Ages to modern-day.
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Beer & Book Club | The Remains of the Day

February 6, 2018 | Avg. Reading Time: 5 min

Fear not, fellow PorchDrinkers, I have returned with my friend Ben for the next installment of Beer & Book Club. We’ll discuss Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day over a couple of pints of Old Speckled Hen, one of the most British beers you can get your hands on. Read More

Big Boss Brewing | Saints on Raspberries

December 15, 2017 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Raleigh’s own Big Boss Brewing is at it again with a limited release of Saints on Raspberries. A tart, fruity twist on their Flanders red-inspired Saints & Sinners, Saints on Raspberries is another feather in the cap that is their foedre-aged “Strange Cargo” series. The twist? Six extra months in wine barrels soaking up raspberry essence. Now, without further ado, the beer.

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Beer & Book Club | The Work of H.G. Wells

November 9, 2017 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

This installment of Beer & Book Club takes us to England, turn of the 20th century, where we immerse ourselves in three of H.G. Wells’ most recognized works: The War of the Worlds, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and The Time Machine. To complement the discussion, we’ll indulge ourselves with a fine specimen of a milk stout, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout.

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SweetWater Brewing Co. | The Pit & The Pendulum: Cherry

October 4, 2017 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Things of late have been eventful for me, dear readers. A new home, a newborn nephew, and now my first foray into SweetWater Brewing Co.’s The Woodlands Project. The Woodlands opened its doors around this time last year (October 2016) and ever since has served as HQ for SweetWater’s barrel-aging program where they produce small-batch “funky, sour, or otherwise awesome beers.”

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The Unknown Brewing Co. | 3.5ish

August 23, 2017 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

The next stop on North Carolina’s sour beer train takes us to Charlotte, home of The Unknown Brewing Co. This summer they released 3.5ish, a gueuze-inspired lambic-style ale, to celebrate three-and-a-half years (more or less) of beer brewing. Read More

D9 Brewing Co. | Systema Naturae 4th Edition

August 16, 2017 |

D9 Brewing Co. hits on all cylinders with their Systema Naturae program. As a reminder, Systema Naturae “emphasizes the exploration of scientific processes and ingredients exhibited throughout the natural world.” What that means in practical terms is they embrace a … Read More

Terrapin Beer Co. | Blueberry Thyme Saison

July 17, 2017 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

ABV: 9.1% | IBU: 22

We’re well into summer in the southeast United States. That means it’s hot, sticky and, depending on your locale, it can be pretty miserable outside. What better way for a beer fan to fight the oppressive heat and humidity than with a bright new brew? Let me assure you, there is no better way. This one comes all the way from Athens, Georgia, and the famous Terrapin Beer Company.
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Beer & Book Club | American Gods

July 5, 2017 | Avg. Reading Time: 4 min

Fellow readers and PorchDrinkers, I apologize for my extended absence. You see, I’ve been reading a big book; more than 500 pages of fantastical mythology weaved with American sensibilities. I’m talking, of course, about Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

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Ponysaurus Brewing Co. | Bière de Garde

May 9, 2017 | Avg. Reading Time: 2 min

Featured image courtesy of Ponysaurus Brewing

ABV: 6.3%

How many of you have tasted a bière de garde? I bet not many. Up until recently, I was included in that bunch. Truthfully it’s not the most common of beer styles in the U.S., and in North Carolina, it’s even rarer. As a matter of fact, I can think of only one brewer (no doubt there are more) who produces this style of beer: Durham’s own Ponysaurus Brewing Co. Read More

Big Boss | Oak-Aged “Strange Cargo” Trio

March 20, 2017 | Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

We at PorchDrinking are no strangers to Big Boss. They’re one of Raleigh’s best and brightest breweries. But we are strangers to their new oak-aged “Strange Cargo” trio. At least we were, until now. Read More