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Hi-Wire Brewing Picks Durham for First ‘Fun Zone’

Six things to know about the upcoming project


Hi-Wire beer is about to flow farther across North Carolina — into a “fun zone.” Based in Asheville, Hi-Wire Brewing just announced the opening of its third taproom, affectionately dubbed the “Durham Fun Zone,” in Bull City later this year. With two production-focused taprooms already rooted in Asheville, this latest space will be the brewery’s biggest taproom yet. Owners Chris Frosaker and Adam Charnack are shooting for an October 2018 opening.

Here are six things to know about the Fun Zone:

It will be huge.
The indoor taproom will take up 8,844 square feet, while an outdoor, covered patio and beer garden will stretch across 1,678 square feet. Beer lovers can find the facility at 800 Taylor St. at the Golden Belt campus, a historic mill that was once home to textile and tobacco operations.

In Durham, Frosaker said, the taproom will be the focus, rather than production. Nonetheless, there is space for a potential pilot brewing system later on.

There’s a reason it’s landing in Durham.
“We’ve felt for some time like it’s a second home to us,” Hi-Wire shared on Facebook, and the Triangle area is Hi-Wire’s second-largest market (Western North Carolina is the largest).

Why is it called the Fun Zone?
The taproom will be decked out with full-sized shuffleboard courts, soccer pool tables (imagine giant pool tables on the ground, with astroturf) and table tennis, to start. There are also plans for leagues, like a shuffleboard league. Frosaker said they like to have fun in their taprooms, but haven’t been able to create that atmosphere on a large scale due to space limitations in their Asheville facilities.

“What we’re doing in Durham is kind of what we wish we could do in our current two taprooms,” Frosaker said.

What’s the deal with food?
Frosaker said they are hoping to offer a few options at the Fun Zone, like rotating food trucks based in Raleigh and Durham (a bunch have already reached out). And if a restaurant moves to the Golden Belt campus, he aims to offer that establishment’s full menu at the brewery as well.

For those visiting the Asheville breweries in the meantime, Hi-Wire guests will only find beer at the South Slope Specialty Brewery & Taproom, while the Big Top Production Facility & Taproom permanently hosts the Foothills Food Truck by Foothills Meats, which follows a whole-animal philosophy but also offers vegetarian options. “They have the best burger in town in my opinion,” Frosaker said.

Beers to try.
The Durham brewery’s 24 taps will flow with Hi-Wire’s full line-up of beers, from year-round to seasonal beers, and from specialty to sour beers. Also expect to find wines, local ciders and guest taps from Durham breweries.

Don’t know where to start? Frosaker said their top-selling beer is the Hi-Pitch Mosaic IPA (expect biscuit and grass notes, and a mild bitterness) and a must-try is their flagship Hi-Wire Lager, with a light, crisp and clean finish.

“Lagers are more difficult to make than ales,” Frosaker said. “I think it really shows off how talented our brew team is.”

This is just the beginning.
Hi-Wire indeed plans to open more taproom locations in other cities as part of a long-term business vision.

“We really think it helps when people can come in and physically experience our brand in our walls,” Frosaker said. “We love the idea of it.”