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Brunswick Beer & Cider

By Ruby Cline

Tired of having to trek over the bridge for a microbrewery experience? Finally, you don’t have to anymore. Perhaps you’re someone who doesn’t like beer at all though. Maybe, instead, you have a hankering for cider. Or not. We can all at least agree that everyone loves good food — maybe even with a side of live entertainment — right? Well, if any of the above sounds like you, make sure to check out the recently opened Brunswick Beer and Cider in Leland.

Broadening the scope of offerings in the incessantly booming areas up and down U.S. 17 in Leland, Brunswick Beer and Cider is a welcome addition to The Villages Town Center, located at the entrance of Brunswick Forest. It’s the first brewery in northern Brunswick County, boasts an expansive 13,000 square feet with seating for more than 200, and has an open and airy feel. Think high ceilings with drop lighting, exposed ductwork, sealed concrete floors and the coolest eye-catching floor-to-ceiling trees. The unique and multidimensional designs are made of scrap wood from the bar’s construction, wood from the owner’s dad’s workshop, as well as wood from its sister brewery’s bar construction at Wrightsville Beach Brewery.

The dining room and bar areas offer up beautiful water views, easily visible through the sprawling windows that make up most of the exterior walls. Those sights and expansive windows extend to the private event space that can accommodate up to 80, located at the front of the building, which is already booking up with holiday parties. To top it all off, they didn’t forget to include a spacious area for outdoor seating.

Now that the nip is finally in the air, outdoor seating might not appeal to you at the moment. Although, dog owners will rejoice in the fact that their furry friends are welcome there. Future additions to the outdoor space include a type of semi-enclosure to bridge the half walls and ceiling as well as having heat lamps brought in, so it’s not just usable during the warmer months.

Although, when the warmer months do arrive, the operators at Brunswick Beer and Cider have a few plans up their sleeve that are sure to entice the neighborhood, as well as help fill an apparent void in the area. “We’re going to have professional bocce ball courts built, and we’re planning on starting a league,” General Manager Ian Phillips said. “There’s been a big need for it in the area, but there’s nowhere to play. We’re currently in the process of getting bids to build the court.” Also on the docket for fair weather fun — plans to build an outdoor stage. They plan to have live music and host festivals and fundraisers, just as the Wrightsville Beach Brewery location does.

Owner Jud Watkins, founder of Wrightsville Beach Brewery, and his lifelong friend Will Cameron, laid the groundwork as the first brewery in Leland, though more are sure to follow. With Leland quickly becoming one of the fastest growing areas in the coastal Carolina region, it makes perfect sense to open up shop here. Though the pandemic delayed Watkins’ plans by a couple years, there’s no doubt the brewery will quickly make up for lost time.

While Brunswick Beer and Cider will have a similar feel and offerings as its sister location, Watkins plans for the menu to be tailored to suit its customers’ particular palettes, allowing Leland’s patrons to influence the trademark dishes. Handling all the discerning tastes with harmony will be Chef Paul Bosell, who will head the culinary direction of the food selections in order to offer the customers an array of unique menu items. All that said, look for possible menu tweaks in the near future that reflect what residents are inspiring Bosell to create. The most popular items on the menu right now include the much-loved pizzas, which they carried over from their Wrightsville location and which are also available in a gluten-free option. Next to the pizzas, Phillips added that the current best sellers are the Cuban sandwich and the Bar Smashburger.

Now that we’ve got the food covered, heading up the beer brewing side of things is Dustin Wilson, who was formerly with Catawba Brewing. He currently has three of his beers on tap, alongside some of the Wrightsville Beach Brewery’s favorites they brought over. Look for Wilson to release additional varieties in the near future as they complete the fermentation process. Neil Blake, previously lead brewer for Mad Mole Brewing, will be heading the creative direction for the cider brewing side of things, giving the restaurant a unique feature all its own.

General Manager Phillips was excited about the ribbon cutting ceremony the week of Thanksgiving announcing that they have two ciders ready to sell. Brunswick Beer and Cider has the potential to have a total of 32 different offerings on tap. With varieties started at various different times, it will give customers something to continually look forward to, namely what Wilson and Blake are going to offer up next.

Whether it’s right around the corner or you’ve got to take a drive, it’s definitely worth a try. Or, in my case, a definite repeat visit. (And likely another Cuban.)


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