Retrying Crank Arm Brewery in Raleigh, NC

crank arm outside

“Let’s go to Crank Arm. I hated it.”

Never thought that I would say those words to my husband. Honestly, we had written off Crank Arm in Raleigh, NC when we tried it several years ago after it had been written up in a prominent publication. I can’t remember the exact one; it may have been one of New York Time‘s travel articles. When we tried it, we thought all the beers tasted the same and didn’t offer the dimension in flavors like Trophy Brewing or LoneRider. But we kept hearing our friends rave about how good the beer was there.

bike at crank arm

So that is how I found myself telling my husband a couple of Sundays ago that we should retry Crank Arm. And to be honest, it wasn’t as bad as I remember.

Crank arm beer list

We got the flight of Crank Arms staple beers: Whitewall (Belgian Wheat with Citra), Unicycle (single hop ale), Rickshaw (American Rye IPA), Darkways (dark Saison with blackberries), and Eat Sleep Bike (extra special bitter).

flight Crank Arm

While three of the beers still has a similar flavor profile, I truly enjoyed Whitewall and Unicycle.  I would honestly go back and order the Whitewall again. The finish of the Whitewall wasn’t bitter, and the Citra hop gave it great citrus notes, making it the perfect beer to drink on a warm Sunday afternoon.

Their seasonal beers seemed to be more daring in their flavor experimentation.  I wanted to try PomsAway, a pomegranate Saison, while we were there, but the keg blew before I had a chance. I like breweries that aren’t afraid to play with unique flavor combinations, and I really believe that is an area where Crank Arm shines.

crank arm crowd

Also, Crank Arm has done a great job of decorating; the decor only enhances the beer’s brand. Bicycle parts adorn the wall. I especially like the mounted handlebars that mimic deer antlers. Even the tables have bike elements. The large window, which mimics the look of a garage door, makes the space feel open and relaxing. On a warm day, their outdoor area is very inviting.

Crank Arm inside

 I also really like how you can see the brewery’s “guts” while you are drinking the beer. The back of the tasting room is large silver cylinders, and you can see the brewers checking on the beers. One of the brewers chatted to me for a minute when I had walked by. Crank Arm does give free brewery tours every third Saturday of the month, and the tours last about 45 minutes. However, with the way the tasting room is laid out, you can sit back with a pint and watch the beer-making action live.


Like most North Carolina breweries, Crank Arm doesn’t serve food; however, there are great food places within walking distance of Crank Arm. I know a lot of breweries don’t care if people bring food in as long as it is from a commercial kitchen, but I don’t know what Crank Arm’s stance is on this.

All in all, I am very glad we went back to retry Crank Arm, and I truly do see us going there again.

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