Beer Scout: Tasty Beverage Co. opens on the South Slope

TASTY HERE OR TO-GO? South Slope's Tasty Beverage Co. serves every beer it stocks on-premises or to-go. Photo by Thom O'Hearn

The tap lines are now flowing at South Slope’s newest tasting room. But this time there’s a twist. It’s not a brewery.

When you walk into Tasty Beverage Co., there’s a bar and bartender to your left. There are also some picnic tables and window seats. Then, to your right, there’s a massive amount of beer — bottle after bottle on shelf after shelf. Along the back wall, there’s a cooler spanning half the room. There’s a register and an employee or two ready to help out.

“The way I explain it is we’re not just a beer store and we’re not just a bar. … We’re Tasty,” says Johnny Belflower, the owner of Tasty Beverage Co. “It’s what I wanted in a beer store: I want to be at a shop where I can try anything there. And I want it to be a place where it’s comfortable to hang out.”

To that end, every beer available in four- or six-packs is also sold as singles and can be consumed on premise. Belflower says for the singles, there’s a minimal markup when there’s any at all. The prices on the shelves also include tax.

The beer itself is a mix of American craft and imports — almost all Belgians. Belflower says he’ll be carrying everything he can get his hands on in Asheville and in North Carolina, so expect plenty of local beer as part of the mix.

The bar features a rotating cast of 10 beers on draft and a small selection of bottles the employees are excited about. “Oftentimes we’ll try to have a new beer in bottles on draft at the same time so you can try it before you commit to a bottle,” says Belflower. Tasty will sell 10-ounce or 16-ounce pours depending on the beer style.

As for food, Belflower says not to expect anything on day one, but it is part of the larger plan. “We’ll eventually have light bar snacks and we’ll sell local meats and cheeses,” says Belflower. Oh, and if you’re tagging along for an early afternoon tasting and prefer coffee instead of beer, Tasty will have that covered as well.

“Other beverages certainly fit very well within our mission. We sell Slingshot iced coffee in Raleigh, and I imagine we’ll sell 1000 Faces [based out of Vortex Donuts] iced coffee here.” Belflower says anything is fair game as time goes on. If a local company is producing something liquid, they’re interested. “Anyone involved in the beer or beverage industry, we’re here to promote them,” says Belflower. “If there’s a local company making bitters, I want to know about it.”

Belflower says to expect a grand opening and then events of all sorts once the store is off the ground.

“At our Raleigh store we have a group bike ride every week, and every Tuesday we promote Trappist beers. We also celebrate the full moons, partner with other local businesses for events and partner with breweries for tastings. … Really we just try to do a lot of fun things to celebrate life.”

Tasty Beverage Co. is at 162 Coxe Ave. Check the website or Facebook page for details on a grand opening event. Hours of operation are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

Sharpen the Blades Saison Fest

Last year, the inaugural Sharpen the Blades fest showed that Burial Beer wasn’t just serious about beer — it could host events with the best of them too. On a chilly, rainy day, crowds packed the inside space and outside patio sampling saisons from across the state.

This year, on Saturday, May 2, expect more of the same but on an even larger scale. Burial’s new beer garden is open, greatly expanding its outdoor capacity, and it will be welcoming saison-lovers starting at noon.

Burial’s Jess Reiser says to expect 27 saisons, including breweries from around the corner (Green Man and Twin Leaf) and across the state (Haw River Farmhouse Ales and Trophy Brewing). A commemorative 6-ounce tasting glass will be sold for $5, and then pours of each beer will run $2 per selection. Food will work in a similar way: Just order and enjoy one of the first plates of Elliott Moss’ new Buxton Hall barbecue.

Music starts at 4 p.m. and includes sets from Octopus Jones, Hermit Kings and Gold Light.

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About Thom O'Hearn
Thom O’Hearn is a writer, book editor and homebrewer. Twitter: @thomohearn

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