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Red Oak Brewery Lager Haus & Biergarten: A Taste of Bavaria in North Carolina

Red Oak is a flavor-filled destination, having grown from its humble origins as a brewpub in Greensboro to become the top craft brewery in North Carolina, complete with a lager haus and biergarten offering top-notch Bavarian lagers. Travel there with PullOverandLetMeOut to this popular brewery in the Tarheel state.
A woman sipping coffee outside
Hi, I’m Anna Marie. I’m a wife, mother, Irish dancer, and pug mom living in North Carolina. I also love to travel. Come along for the ride! If you see something you like, don’t be afraid to say, ‘Pull over and let me out.’

Red Oak Brewery Lager Haus and Biergarten is conveniently located just a stone’s throw off Interstate 40/85 in Whitsett, North Carolina. Tucked about midway between Burlington and Greensboro, its impressive structure is visible from the busy highway. An important member of the Tarheel state’s burgeoning craft brew scene, Red Oak has a storied past that dates back to 1979 and is famous for its strict adherence to traditional Bavarian brewing techniques as well as the 1516 Law of Purity. As such, Red Oak is more than just a spot to grab a brew but is an actual taste of Bavaria in North Carolina. Having driven past more times than I can recall, I was delighted to finally have the time to say pull over and let me out! Here is what I discovered.

Red Oak Brewery History

entrance arch over the road at Red Oak Brewery
An impressive entrance to Red Oak Brewery in Whitsett, NC.

A quick visit to the Red Oak website’s “about” page takes readers on a journey to the auspicious beginnings with Franklin’s off Friendly, and the fascinating tale of Red Oak’s growth and transformation. At a time when everything was trending towards casual dining and steak houses, they bucked the trend and opted to turn Franklin’s into a brew pub. But not just any brewpub.

After visiting more than 100 microbreweries and brewpubs, the team at Red Oak made a pivotal decision. Instead of crafting English-style ales like the majority of brewpubs and larger manufacturers since they are easier and cheaper to brew, they would brew lagers.

Red Oak Lagers

Lagers are the most popular style of beer in the world. To learn to craft fine lagers, they went to Germany. Since then, their lagers have been crafted utilizing a system of brewing that hales from Beraplan in Munich. Red Oak follows strict guidelines that have been around since the sixteenth century. They use only malted barley, hops, water, and yeast. Moreover, to protect that delicious rich flavor and mellow taste, they don’t filter or pasteurize their Bavarian Lagers.

Red Oak’s popularity was practically instantaneous. Within no time of opening that first brewpub, they were selling their beer to other locations in the Greensboro area. By the early 2000s, they were brewing full-time and in search of space to grow.

two lager filled lager glasses and people clinking them together in a toast.
Red Oak Brewery crafts premier Bavarian-style lagers.

12 Acres along I-40/85 in North Carolina

Today, Red Oak has a sprawling campus that welcomes visitors to explore, learn, dine, sip, and relax. Guests can’t help but be impressed upon arrival as they drive under the extraordinary arch leading to the parking area. Once parked, enter through the massive gate adorned with squirrels and acorns and step inside what promises to be a one-of-a-kind beer experience.

A large metal gate that is open.
The gate at Red Oak features squirrels and acorns.
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The Red Oak Brewery follows the 1516 Bavarian Law of Purity on all of its lagers. Dating back to Duke Wilhelm IV, the law is the oldest of its kind governing food and beverages. The Law of Purity is a way of life at Red Oak and each lager comes with the seal assuring it is authentic Bavarian-brewed.

Visiting Red Oak Brewery Lager Haus & Biergarten

A flight of sample craft beer.
A flight of six lagers brewed by Red Oak.

For our visit it was a chilly late January afternoon so we sampled our beverages in the Lager Haus. Stepping up to the bar, we ordered a flight. The flight consists of six lagers and is a wallet-friendly $11.

We found a spot at a table and began sampling. Hummin ‘Bird, Noble, 1516, Red Bird, Red Oak, and Old Oak. Each one has a distinctive flavor but if I had to pick a favorite, I can’t. They are all delicious. That’s a huge compliment coming from someone who doesn’t drink much beer.

In addition to the delicious flight, we thoroughly enjoyed the upbeat atmosphere in the big hall. This is a popular gathering space and many small groups were enjoying the day. Some were watching basketball on the numerous screens, others were braving the outdoors and the Biergarten.

banners hanging from a ceiling
The spacious Lager Haus is an ideal gathering place.

The Biergarten

We strolled through the Biergarten and noticed some folks enjoying a beer by the firepit. Others sat in the sunshine at one of the numerous tables available.

It was a little too chilly for us but that only inspires me to plan a return visit in the spring or summer. The spacious outdoor area is replete with seating and tables suitable for a warm weather beverage break.

an outdoor biergarten in winter.
The Biergarten offers ample outdoor seating and even a dog-friendly space.

Food at Red Oak Brewery

The Red Oak Wurst Haus serves up a small sampling of brats and franks. Likewise, what would German beer be without a pretzel? Soft Bavarian Pretzels come with Beer Cheese and are the perfect complement to a pint.

Guests can also enjoy grabbing a quick bite to eat from one of the food trucks on hand. While we were visiting, there was a taco truck serving tasty menu items. Oh, and there is a small dog area too where well-behaved leashed furry friends can join the fun.

an outdoor food stand
In addition to the Wurst Haus, there is a regular line up of food trucks that can be found at Red Oak.

Tips for Planning Your Visit

They do offer tours of the brewery. These tours last about an hour and conclude with a 45-minute tasting in their private 1516 Taproom. It’s a fantastic walk through of the process, and the history, and gives outstanding insights into this precise and historic brewing method. You will need to visit their website for ticket prices, times and dates. And of course, you must be 21 years old.

There is also a gift shop where visitors can purchase beer to-go, glassware, t-shirts, and other merch to commemorate their time at the brewery.

Red Oak Brewery is open Wednesday through Sunday. On Wednesday through Friday the hours are from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm. On Saturday, they are open 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm. However, it’s always a good idea to confirm before venturing out.

a sign that is a clock that says Red Oak Time
Red Oak Brewery is open Wednesday through Sunday.

What I Liked

There is much to like about visiting Red Oak Brewery Lager Haus & Biergarten. And while our visit was impromptu, I am delighted I finally took the opportunity to visit. This is a bright, cheerful gathering space that caters to a casual crowd and serves outstanding and authentic Bavarian lagers. That being said, all visitors must be 21 and older. Keep that in mind if you are traveling with youngsters.

My one regret is that our visit was so spontaneous. We had already eaten a big lunch. Next time, I plan to savor something from the Wurst Haus. Likewise, as a big history geek, that tour is calling my name out. I need to visit again and take the tour!

Is it for everyone? Probably not. However, even if you think you don’t like the taste of beer, you may surprise yourself. The reason I like sharing a flight with Jason is that inevitably there is one or two that we try that either he doesn’t like or I don’t like too much so it works out. That didn’t happen this time.

We liked them all!

Red Oak Lagr Haus sign
Red Haus Lager Haus makes a great NC itinerary item.

A Superior NC Craft Brew

North Carolina’s craft brew culture is thriving, thanks to trailblazers like Red Oak. There is something so enjoyable about a beverage with a story and a commitment to the old ways of brewing it that has a special allure. That holds true with travel as well. We go places to learn their stories. So, when searching for a unique narrative that will quench your thirst for flavor imbued with heritage, Red Oak Brewery, Lager Haus, and Biergarten in Whitsett, North Carolina is a winning itinerary item.

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Red Oak Brewery Lager Haus & Biergarten: A Taste of Bavaria in North Carolina

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