Brunswick Forest’s (Not Sherwood’s) Brewery
Brunswick Beer and Cider, an offshoot of Wrightsville Beach Brewery, is Leland’s first major brewery, and it’s a hit.
Many who see the letters BBC think immediately of that TV station in Great Britain, land of Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham. But while you’ll probably run into a band of Merry Men and Merry Women at Brunswick Beer and Cider (BBC) in Brunswick Forest, you’re not likely to come face to face with the actual Maid Marian, Friar Tuck or Little John.
Unless BBC brewers Neil Blake and Dustin Wilson name their beers after them, that is. Opened in the fall of 2022, Brunswick Beer and Cider, housed in a massive 11,500-square-foot building, is starting to put the pedal to the metal.
Principals Judd Watkins and lifelong friend Will Cameron grew up selling Silver Queen corn on the roadside. Now they are partnering on Brunswick Beer and Cider. They are clearly determined to make the place a magnet for everyone in the Leland/Wilmington catchment area. When I asked Manager Ian Phillips about the cost of getting BBC up and running, he just smiled and said, “A lot.”
But the owners are committed to success. A versatile and impressive food menu offers a variety of victuals in an airy, comfortable setting (hint: try the Beer Battered Cauliflower with the Thai Chili sauce). And you can quaff from a wide menu of beers. Most of the suds are currently from partner Wrightsville Beach Brewing, but two ciders and a West Coast IPA called Western Cypress have emerged from the tanks so far. My sources tell me there’s a lager waiting in the tanks to make its appearance, too.
BBC’s Dry or Die Cider will probably appeal to those who enjoy a drier, crisper brew, while the I’m Currantly Blue Cider, made with blueberries and currants, will probably please the wine/prosecco/spritzer crowd.
The missus raved about her WBB Cobia Kolsch, which paired superbly with the aforementioned cauliflower. The Western Cypress IPA is a nice example of the classic West Coast IPA style. It’s nicely balanced, and while there’s a solid malt backbone, the hops are the stars of the show. There’s also a 10% WBB Belgian Tripel called Beach Trip that is exceptionally well done.
Ian Phillips indicates that when the BBC is up to full speed, he expects at least 20 taps will have the BBC stamp.That should keep the patrons happy – and Blake and Wilson on their toes. The brewhouse where they will toil is a showplace in itself, and the kitchen that generates the food is absolutely huge.
The cognoscenti seems to have already discovered the place and are making it a regular stop. We ran into Dana and Jack Hamilton of Hamilton Realty at the handsome handcrafted wooden bar. That piece, along with bar tables and chairs, was created from re-purposed barn wood by five local craftsmen.
The couple with the thriving and popular real estate business were happy to see a place like BBC in such proximity to so many homes and businesses in the Leland area.
Considering the various events that Phillips is planning for the space and its surroundings, the more beers the brewers can offer, the better. With an outdoor dining area set overlooking a lawn and a fountain, the BBC may well be a destination in itself for those residents of Brunswick Forest, who won’t have to travel far to get there. That outdoor seating area will likely be a prized spot almost all year round in this mild climate.
While many of those folks may be “seasoned citizens” who enjoy good food and good beer in a classy, yet comfortable, environment, the BBC will also appeal to the 25- to 40-year-old crowd looking for a good place to meet up with friends, grab some food, snag some brews and interact with each other.
If weather limits the use of the outdoor seating area, the interior is plenty big. The place even has a Special Events room where you can stage a private party or get married, if you’re so moved.
It’s in Brunswick Forest, not Sherwood Forest, and you might want to get there before the Merry Men and Women from around the countryside learn of its existence.
Want to go?
Brunswick Beer and Cider
1313 S. Dickinson Drive, Leland
Photography by Leigh Roberts