european-inspired brasserie, belgian brews + brunch
by Sammi with Offline
What: A Belgian-inspired brewery and European-style bistro with an unbeatable year-round patio
When: Taproom | Wed-Thu 5p-10p; Fri 4p-11p; Sat 12p-11p; Sun 12p-9p
Brasserie | Wed-Fri 5p-9p, Brunch Sat + Sun 12p-3p; Sat 4p-9p; Sun 4p-8p
Why we love them:
- They just added a brasserie, which offers super approachable (and affordable) European-inspired menus that span from weekend brunch through dinner + dessert.
- They’re badass local brewers making their own Belgian-inspired beer in-house, plus they’ve got a surprisingly sizable wine list that pairs phenomenally with their fare, and plans to add liquor into the mix soon!
- They’ve got an ultra-cozy outdoor patio complete with fire pits and comfy couches that’s extremely fam and dog-friendly.
- Their chef-forward dishes are easily customizable, from gluten-free to vegetarian to any restrictions you’ve got!
Neuse River Brewing & Brasserie 101
You probably already know and love Neuse River Brewing Company for their Belgian-inspired beers, their airy space tucked away in Five Points, and their famous Reggae Sundays. But this long-loved local gem just got even better with the addition of a full-blown brasserie.
That’s right, the beloved local biz that turned an old firetruck storage center into an industrial-chic brewery has once again transformed their space to add a cozy dining room and an open kitchen behind their existing bar. From here on out, they’re not only bringing boozy brews to your table.
After nearly five years of success in the brewery scene, Neuse River’s owners, Ryan and Jennifer Kolarov, recruited their longtime friend and seasoned chef extraordinaire Steven Jankowski (I.E. the former executive chef serving the Governor’s Mansion in South Carolina to friggin’ boot) to expand their repertoire with European Bistro-style fare, a way larger wine list, cocktails, and ciders galore.
Taking influence from France, Germany, and the Netherlands, Belgian food is famously rich, indulgent, and (needless to say) absolutely delicious. This menu, we assure you, is no exception. Serving both dinner and weekend brunch, Neuse River is triumphantly bursting through the boundaries of your run of the mill brewery experience to serve classed-up comfort food that’s so desirable, they’ve had folks camp out in their cars, waiting to get in the door since they debuted the brasserie.
And who could blame them? Before you even walk inside the brasserie, you’ll be welcomed by their year-round patio that’s lined with handcrafted picnic tables, fire torches, and pits, and is fam and pet-friendly as ever.
Just try not to get *too* drawn in there, because inside, you’ll also find A+ hygge vibes: rustic brick walls painted white, warm wood, and a dining space lined with butcher block tables sourced from a local farm all make for a seriously desirable neighborhood spot.
What to order
Diet-Destroying Small and Large Plates
If there’s one take away from our list of faves, it’s that they’re pros when it comes to potatoes. From their Roast Potatoes smothered in imported french Raclette to the superbly crispy french fries that are a match made in heaven for a side of beer cheese, just know you’re going to be disappointed going anywhere else for this starchy God-sent.
Another shareable fave? The PEI mussels, which come in a rich cream sauce made with white wine, garlic, leeks. Thankfully, it comes with grilled bread, so you can sop up every last drop of sauce and spare yourself the embarrassment of licking the bowl clean in front of everyone.
Spot anything that features duck on their menu and order it immediately. We went for the straight-up pan-seared Duck Breast, which features roasted jalapeño grits and shaved brussels sprouts with a honey thyme reduction—it’s ducking delicious (thanks for the autocorrect pun, Siri).
Vegetarians should go for the Falafel. Yes, it’s a bit of a departure from the otherwise Euro-inspired menu, but it’s so fluffy and flavorful, you might just make your tablemates jealous.
Brunch at a brewery? Sign us up. And we’re not the only ones on board. Weekend brunch is hands-down their busiest time (for good reason), with folks squeezing into community picnic tables and camping out at the bar.
Why? Because their brunch’s got southern classics down (shoutout to their bomb NC Shrimp + Grits made with Tasso cream and caramelized onion), as well as fare from across the pond. The English Breakfast, for example, is a fan fave complete with fried eggs, Irish bangers, bacon, ham, baked beans, sautéed mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, and toast.
Dangerously Decadent Desserts
You already know they’re all about all things Belgian, so it’s no surprise they do an exceptional Belgian Waffle. It’s made with a special Belgian candy sugar that gives ’em a signature crispiness that you just can’t get from an ordinary Eggo.It’s also topped with macerated berries and a chantilly cream so good, you’ll want to eat it by the spoonful.
House-Brewed Beer, Wine, and Cocktails
They focus on Belgian-inspired ales and IPAs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like to get funky from time to time. Keep an eye out for their experimental brews and contemporary takes on traditional Belgian brews. And on the subject of funky, their staff mixologist has been known to blend different beers together to find the perfect pairing for your meal. Ask ’em, and prepared to be blown away by the concoctions they come up with.
Have you ever been to a brewery that has a superb wine list? Probably not, but it’s just another reason to fall in love with this spot that’s truly second to none. They’ve put some serious TLC into curating a divine wine list that far exceeds any standard selection (it’s also European-inspired) and is meant for pairing with their European-style eats.
And even though they recently increased vino lineup, it’s been so popular, they’ve got it in the books to double it again (huzzah!).
- There are five other craft breweries within a one-mile radius (so this spot is basically begging for a bar crawl).
- They’ve got a secret kids menu that features wholesome options like a burger, grilled cheese (and ham), and other extremely delicious (and approachable) items.
- While their menu already boasts plenty of allergy-friendly options, it’s also super customizable to cater to any dietary restrictions—just ask!
- Ask ‘em to help you blend some of their brews to pair with your food.
- Word on the street is their cocktail license is on the way. Stay tuned to see what cocktails they start shaking up.
- The staff’s shared their menu must-haves (and some hacks) with us:
- Get ANYTHING Duck and know you’re going to be blown away
- Sub tomato instead of ham on the Croque Monsieur for a quick vegetarian fix
- Ask for a side of house-made Beer Cheese with your Fries
- For the ultimate hangover cure order the English Breakfast, it’s basically a plate loaded up with tons of hearty proteins.