What a Brew-ha-ha!

Three years ago, we decided to further our proud commitment to local North Carolina products by dedicating our draft beer program to beers brewed in our great state. Our guests have given this program an unqualified thumbs up. So, in honor of North Carolina Beer Month, we want to share some of our favorite homegrown ales and lagers, all of which are featured at various times in our restaurant.

North Carolina’s Original Craft Breweries

Big Boss
Big Boss

Our three mainstay beers—Red Oak Amber Lager, Bad Penny Brown Ale and Carolina Pale Ale—represent some of the original (and larger) craft breweries in North Carolina. Red Oak, started in Greensboro, prides itself on a commitment to German Beer Purity law in all of their brews.  Big Boss, along with making great craft beer, is at the forefront of creative packaging and label designs; the brewery’s beer names and logos are inspired by WWII bomber art.  Our other year-round beer, the popular Carolina Pale Ale from Carolina Brewing Company in Holly Springs, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Newer Breweries in Asheville, the Triangle and Johnston County

The past three years have seen incredible new growth in the state’s craft brewing industry.  Some of the biggest national names in craft beer—Oskar Blues and Sierra Nevada—have opened locations in the Asheville area, and New Belgium will be opening an Asheville brewery soon.  The Triangle has seen several new breweries open recently, too, and the region is giving Asheville a run for the money as the beer capital of the South.  We recently visited some of these breweries to get to know a little bit more about the beers we serve.Johnston County, an area known for illegal moonshine, has entered the legal craft beer market.  In February 2013, the first legally produced beer was made in Clayton by Deep River Brewing Company.  Since then, they have made some of our favorite creative brews, including the marshmallow and sweet potato JoCo White Winter and the amazingly refreshing Double D’s Watermelon Lager.

Just down the road in Smithfield, Double Barley Brewing opened its doors. As with many of these breweries, Double Barley Brewing started with a homebrew: Cheryl Lane bought her husband, Larry, a homebrew kit for his 40th birthday, and after a brief stint in the attic, it became the catalyst for Double Barley.  They have created some bold and flavorful beers like Steak Cake Stout, so named because it is sweet enough for a dessert beer and bold enough for a steak; and Thrilla in Vanilla, a porter flavored with hundreds of pounds of hand-split vanilla beans soaked in Jameson.

Draft Line Brewing Co.
Draft Line Brewing Co.

Aviator Brewing Company in Fuquay-Varina welcomed a new neighbor, Draft Line Brewing Co., just down the street.  Their selection includes tropical fruit notes in their Australia and New Zealand-hopped Graf Pale Ale and the refreshing Bavarian-style Hemmings Pilsner.

Apex saw the opening of its first brewery last April, when Brüeprint Brewing Company opened its doors.  Founded by a water treatment scientist with a passion for the culinary arts, the name is inspired by this mission statement: “Better than a recipe, a brewing blueprint combines science and great culinary skill to create a Brüeprint.” Their rotating seasonal beers are based on the sports seasons—Zambrüni Lager for hockey, Brüe Diamond IPA for baseball and (our favorite name) Brüe 32 Pale Ale for football.  They have also invited bartenders from both of our locations to participate in brewing a beer later this year. We’ll keep you updated!

Brüeprint Brewing Company
Brüeprint Brewing Company

Women in Brewing

Before the industrialization of beer, brewing was the realm of women. Two breweries that have opened over the past three years show a return of female involvement in the brewing arts.  Raleigh Brewing Company became the first brewery in the state with a woman as majority owner. Its most popular beer, Hell Yes Ma’am, takes its name from a story about owner Kristie Nystedt, who wanted a Belgian golden-style beer. She faced pushback from the brewer, but when the brewer finally tasted it, he said, “Hell Yes, Ma’am!” to brewing the beer, which has since become their flagship brew.

Raleigh Brewing Company
Raleigh Brewing Company

In Holly Springs, Bombshell Beer Company became the first brewery to be owned solely by women. The Bombshell story began with Ellen Joyner, whose passion for homebrewing began more than a decade ago. Michelle Miniutti joined Ellen in her brewing endeavors, and the seed was planted for what would become Bombshell Beer Company.  Jackie Hudspeth eventually joined the other “Bombshells,” and in 2013 they opened their brewery with a line-up of great beers.  A few of our favorites include two great wheat beers, Hey Honey Hefewiezen and Dunkelwiezen; and their rotating Dirty Secret Stout series, which has included a Dry Irish, Coconut and Russian Imperial styles; as well as the year-round flagship Pick-Up Line Porter.

It has been a great three years for craft beer in North Carolina.  Our state is at the forefront of beer making in the South, and new breweries are opening every month.  Come in and see us at Lucky 32 – we’ll help you celebrate North Carolina Beer Month with some hand-crafted, local libations and a great meal to boot.

Chris Marusa
Bar Manager
Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen Cary

For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index:http://lucky32southernkitchen.com/recipes/

Hickory Dickory Dock: Part one of our new beer & food series

A couple years ago we launched a new series of beer dinners at Lucky 32, where we highlight six brews from a local brewery and pair each of  them with a dish. It’s been a blast, and so many wonderful folks (old friends and new) have attended. April kicked off beer month in North Carolina, so our most recent dinner was particularly special. We featured Olde Hickory Brewery, a favorite brewery of ours, that we had been eager to share with our guests for some time.

The genesis of conceiving a beer dinner starts with the brewery and its beer, and is a matter of figuring out what the beer needs in order for it to be balanced. It’s important to us to feature breweries with personality — breweries that have a lot in common with what our guests want to experience. A story, a great personality, and of course great beer are all very important. We then choose a date, and then cipher through the brewery’s beer portfolio to figure out which six beers we’d like to feature. It’s a progression of lightest to heaviest; gradually increasing the hops, and ending with something sweet, or malt-forward, such as a porter or stout. We learned that the best way to pair food with beer is by featuring lighter beers with lighter fare, such as salads and seafood. Then as the hops intensify in the progression of the beers you can make the food spicier or more substantial in heft. High gravity beers that are low in hops pair wonderfully with cheese.

We were amazed at how many styles of beer Hickory Brewing offered and how many styles they executed well. So it seemed fitting that we feature them for one of our beer dinners. We always want to feature beers that are unique, and/or seasonal, so after sampling many beers and scribbling down copious tasting notes, the menu started to take form.

Charred Octopus Salad with White Beans, Smoked Tomatoes, and Rosemary, paired with the Ruby Lager. Tasting Notes: Guests found the octopus to be ultra tender, as their knives sliced into it like butter. They savored its wonderful smoky elements, from the char of the octopus and the smoked tomatoes. They found it to be incredibly light and refreshing, with the frisee and the lemon, and the crisp Guinness-style Ruby Lager that accompanied it equally refreshing.

We wanted to start with a salad, and because of the crispness of the Ruby Lager and its lingering sweetness, knew we could do something hearty and vegetal, but that the pairing would benefit from a little bitterness in the dish. We decided on a charred octopus salad with smoked tomatoes, white beans and rosemary, over a bed of frisee. Since there are minimal hops in this beer, by having frisee and lemon, and charring the octopus, we achieved a bitterness in the food that helped cut the sweetness in the beer.

Curried Lamb Samosas with Coconut Chutney and Dal, paired with the Bee Student. Tasting Notes: This was one of the most praised dishes of the evening. The buttery pockets of flaky pastry dough practically dissolved on the tongue, and guests found that all of the dish’s components worked really well together. The beer — brewed with local honey — was a delicate one, full of notes of floral and citrus.

For the next course we wanted to do an appetizer or a soup. After some brainstorming, we thought it would be cool to do individual pies, and decided on lamb samosas. We used puff pastry for the dough and made a curried lamb filling with potatoes and English peas, and lamb from Border Springs Farm. That was the foundation of the dish, that was meant to pair well with the Bee Student — a honey beer made in conjunction with Appalachian State’s brewing studies program. The dish begged for a sauce and an accoutrement to round it all out, so we served it with a coconut chutney and a dal with crimson lentils.

Turnip Roots & Shoots, Sea Island Red Peas, and Boiled Peanut Succotash, paired with the Table Rock Pale. Tasting Notes: The turnip roots and shoots were tossed in vinegar, and reminiscent of collards; the succotash was studded with sweet corn kernels and sweet potato; and the red peas (similar to lentils) were in a smoky ham broth, with the tenderest of ham hocks. It was the end all-be all of veggie plates.

We’ve been trying to incorporate more vegetables in our dishes. We had gotten some positive feedback about having a vegetable course in the past, so opted for a hearty dish of three down-home vegetables that would all pair well with a pale ale. Turnip roots and shoots, Sea Island red peas with ham hock broth, and boiled peanut succotash are all things we’ve had on our menu, or featured as our vegetable of the day. All three complement each other well, and really stand up to the Table Rock Pale Ale, which has a nice bite to it.

South Carolina Squab with Dirty Rice and Chipotle-Spiked Jus, paired with the Black Raven (a black IPA). Tasting Notes: This dish was another big hit among guests, who were pleasantly surprised by the rich savoriness of the succulent bird and creamy green pepper studded Carolina Gold rice. It packed a bit of a punch too, from the chipotle jus.

For the entree we wanted to do something off the beaten path. We’d never served squab at Lucky’s and the concept was alluring, especially since it was something we’d never attempted before. I figured we could do squab with a black IPA if the seasonings were appropriate. We seasoned the squab with our fried chicken seasoning, roasted it, and served it atop some Carolina Gold dirty rice, with a rich chipotle jus. The dirty rice was earthy and provided grounding to the dish, and by having the chipotle in the jus, it elevated the spice and balanced out the hoppiness of the Black Raven.

Tasting Notes: This lovely cheese plate featured creamy, slightly funky hunks of Chapel Hill Creamery’s Hickory Grove cheese, kale flowers (in the broccoli family), grilled naan, and wild ramps. It was paired with the Irish Walker, a sweet, malt-driven beer.

Any big, funky cheese is fantastic with a barley wine, so we got a little whimsical and selected Chapel Hill Creamery’s Hickory Grove cheese with Olde Hickory’s Irish Walker beer (a limited-release barley wine). We had come across some ramps, so we grilled them and served them alongside some kale flowers and some naan, which helped cut the rich creaminess of the cheese.

For the sweet finale: Flourless Mocha Grand Marnier Cake with Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream, paired with the Hickory Stick Stout. Tasting Notes: Guests loved the airy texture of the decadent cake, the ice cream made them nostalgic for their childhood, and they found the stout to be the perfect complement, with its notes of chocolate and orange.

For the final course, I wanted to showcase the Hickory Stick Stout, which had a nice nuttiness to it, and wasn’t too heavy, pairing it with a chocolate dessert that wasn’t too rich seemed like a good plan. We made a flourless chocolate cake with cold-brewed Counter Culture coffee, and Grand Marnier, and served with orange creamsicle ice cream, and the ice cream really helped balance everything out.

Ultimately, the goal is for attendees to leave sated – mentally and physically. There are always new flavor combinations to taste and ponder. We want folks to tell all of their friends about the amazing experience at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, and make plans to return.

For more: See our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index: http://lucky32southernkitchen.com/recipes/

Here’s to the land of the long leaf pine: Lucky’s guide to NC Beer Month in April

Greetings, salutations and craft beer libations to you and yours as we christen April – North Carolina Beer Month. The Old North State has tapped this month as the first annual event, toasting craft brews across the state from mountain to sea.

In the last five years, North Carolina has thrust itself onto the national craft beer stage, “with more breweries than any state south of Pennsylvania (73 and counting), according to the New York Times.” So we put together a few thoughts to guide you through this glorious month:

  • How to drink a beer like a Boss (forget the frosted glass)
  • How to choose the best foods for your beverage
  • The long form ode to the long leaf pine, the state’s official toast
  • Links and information to our NC Beer month events

“The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate. ” ― NC native O. Henry

April 1- 30 |

Beer Companion Menu in Greensboro and Cary shows which NC Craft Beers we’d pair with Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen dishes.

April 18 Beer School & Book Signing with Mystery in Cary


How to drink a beer like a boss

Know what you are drinking.

Learn the differences between ales and lagers (most beers from NC are ales). Learn what to expect from certain styles, then explore styles that are comparable to those you enjoy. This primer on beer styles will go a long way to setting you up for success.

Temperature is everything. If you’re drinking from the bottle, warm up an ale a little bit with your hands. Lagers are great at refrigerator temperatures – around 40F. Closer to “cellar temperature” is the ideal temp for ale, about 45 to 50 degrees F. There’s a misconception that people in England drink beer warm, at room temperature — not true. They usually drink it at ale temperature, which is a little closer to cellar temp.

If you’re pouring the beer into the glass, warm up the glass from the outside. Just hold your hands around the glass, warm it up a bit. Your body can’t process the full flavors of cold things. That’s one big reason cheap beer is served ice cold: You can’t taste the undesirable flavors, your palate is numbed.

Pour down the center of the glass, about 3 quarters of the way. Let the head and beer rest, and let the carbon dioxide dissipate, because CO2 will mask the flavor too. Once the head goes down, pour in a little more. When you get down to the last swig in the bottle, swirl it around before you pour it into the glass to get that last bit of yeast settled at the bottom of the bottle.

Smell the beer. Taste it, roll it around your tongue and swallow, get the general impression of the beer. Don’t just don’t think in terms of bitter. Bitter might be the most recognizable quality but there are citrus notes and hops which give it a floral, vegetal flavor.

Pause. Take a bite of your food. Then take a sip of your beer and notice the difference because one changes the other.

Take notes. Keep a piece of paper and pen handy and take notes of the flavor. The right food with the right beer should be a “2 + 2 = 5 experience.”

April 1-30 and features festivals, beer tastings and dinners, beer specials and other events celebrating the state’s beer.

So what’s the big hoppin’ deal? A short history

2005 | The NC craze started when the Pop the Cap Law passed. Sean Wilson, a master’s grad from Duke University, led the movement. He and 34 of his closest friends started a petition to the state legislature to repeal the law that set an 6%ABV cap on the amount of alcohol you could put into beer (Sean went on to establish the plow to pint Fullsteam Brewery in Durham).

2005 – 2009 | As a consequence of this newfound latitude in producing and selling beer in NC, we had several entrepreneurs suddenly very interested in selling beer. North Carolina got a kind of late start compared to California and Oregon. The beer craze overtook the West coast in the 90s. We started around here sometime in the early aughts (2000s).

2009 – 2012 | What we lacked in timeliness, we made up for with enthusiasm. In the last five years there’s been a groundswell of groundbreakings on craft breweries. Five years ago there were about 20 craft brew houses, there are now 72, according to ncbeer.org

Fall 2012 | With exponential growth, last fall North Carolina Division of Tourism decided to christen April 2013 as the first annual NC Beer Month. They reached out to breweries and hoteliers and said, “please plan events for April because we’re going to do a national push.” So we did.

We’ve been embracing the beer pairing dinner for over three years now. We decided the food here at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen is a lot more casual; and rich and spicy food goes well with beer. It’s what we enjoy drinking culinarily, and our dinners don’t compete with the events happening at our hotels.

Subscribe to Lucky’s Beer Month Twitter List: Our favorite NC brewers and bloggers to follow during beer month.

A word about taste: Location doesn’t affect beer; a brewer’s influences do.

West Coast is a style, usually used to describe a beer that is not British style. There is no NC beer style, but certain breweries are endeavoring to utilize local ingredients to tie their beer to the terroir (Fullsteam), rotate all of their offerings each season like a chef or designer (Mystery), brew Bavarian-inspired lagers (RedOak), or make solid beers in classic styles (Highland).

Food Republic’s beer and food pairing chart

A perfect match: Pairing brews and food

Mostly, what a person looks for when pairing any beverage with food is a “True-to-style” beer/ wine/cider.

These classic styles, like a British-style IPA, a Milk Stout, or a Hefeweizen, were all developed over time to be part of daily life, meaning they go well with food; much like old world wines (which are often blended, as opposed to the California tradition of single varietal wines) were developed over the centuries to complement food, not to stand alone.

Similarly, many West Coast styles and anything with “Imperial” in the title — other than Russian Imperial Stout, which is a British style, that was exported to the Czars’ courts — is crafted to stand alone, and therefore more difficult to harmoniously pair with food.

Those bolder, hoppier styles tend to benefit from dishes that can match their intensity, but in a contrasting direction.

The beer supplies what the food doesn’t, and vice versa, in terms of being balanced on the

Infographic: Food Republic’s Beer Pairing Chart

And finally, the official North Carolina toast to go with your North Carolina brew.

“A Toast” The NC state toast
This toast was adopted by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1957.

Here’s to the land of the long leaf pine,
The summer land where the sun doth shine,
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,
Here’s to “Down Home,” the Old North State!

Here’s to the land of the cotton bloom white,
Where the scuppernong perfumes the breeze at night,
Where the soft southern moss and jessamine mate,
‘Neath the murmuring pines of the Old North State!

Here’s to the land where the galax grows,
Where the rhododendron’s rosette glows,
Where soars Mount Mitchell’s summit great,
In the “Land of the Sky,” in the Old North State!

Here’s to the land where maidens are fair,
Where friends are true and cold hearts rare,
The near land, the dear land, whatever fate,
The blest land, the best land, the Old North State!

For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index: http://lucky32southernkitchen.com/recipes/


Cooler heads prevail: Inverted beer float from Homeland Creamery

LOCAVORE’S DELIGHT: The Series # 12. Follow us all summer long as we explore the bounty of our region’s farms.


The best farm finds happen by accident, which is how we found this great recipe for Coffee Ice Cream at Homeland Creamery. The family farm provides all of Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen’s milk, half and half, heavy cream, buttermilk, and ice cream.

We were talking recipes and swapping stories by the ice cream counter at the farm store in Julian, NC when manager Terry Bowman shared this sweet treat. It’s just too good to keep to ourselves.

Homeland Creamery Cake Batter ice cream with a little Red Oak Hummin’ Bird Helles poured on top. Tweet this recipe.

Tastes just like coffee ice cream. Red Oak is available in select places in the growler size. One of these brews works well, too:

Duck Rabbit Milk Stout
Olde Hickory Stout Porter
Thunderstruck Coffee Porter

Find a Homeland Creamery ice cream distributor near you | click here

For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index:http://lucky32southernkitchen.com/recipes/

Beer Dinner | Reserve your glass, Greensboro

Corn Beef Sliders on Anna Mae Rolls. Catfish Pate’ on ciabatta crostini. Hickory-Smoked Rappahannock River oysters with house-made kimchi. “Cherry Wheat” Spiked Red Velvet Cake. We take a quick look back at pics from a recent Beer Dinner to help you get ready for the next one, Monday, May 7, 2012 in Greensboro, NC.

“This is just an example of the way we blow minds at beer school. Education with a mission,” our Lucky 32 chef says.

Beer & Cheese School Monday, May 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm in Greensboro | Sign up and reserve a seat.

Cost is $30 per person (plus tax and gratuity)
Advance reservations are required
Limited seating, so please reserve today by calling 336-370-0707

Hickory smoked Rappahannock River oysters in an NC-bibb lettuce with daikon-carrot kimchi topped with caesar dressing Carolina Catfish pate’ on ciabatta crostini from Loaf Bakery, marinated baby vidalia onions, and crispy capers (fried)
Carolina Catfish pate’ on ciabatta crusting from Loaf Bakery, marinated baby vidalia onions, and crispy capers (fried)
Corn beef slider (hormel all natural corn beef, local shittake mushrooms, caramelized onions, with green tomato chowchow, creole mayonnaise and provolone) on Anna Mae Cheddar Chive Rolls with purple sweet potato chips
“Cherry Wheat” Spiked Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting and cherry wheat coulis drizzled on top

For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index:http://lucky32southernkitchen.com/recipes/


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