Bringing The Tobacco Road rivalry to your glass

Two breweries in two cities collaborate on a brew. News? Well, it is when the two cities are Chapel Hill and Durham, NC. The beer these accomplished breweries are tackling is a smooth offering amidst one of college basketball’s most bitter match-ups.

Only 10.8 miles separate the respective cities, but when it comes to college basketball, it can be a thousand-mile gulf. On February 18, 2015, Durham’s Triangle Brewing Co. and Chapel Hill’s Top of the Hill Brewery bridged the gap by brewing their first ever collaboration brew: A Beer Divided Pale Ale. Top of the Hill Brewery’s Aaron Caracci & Chris Atkins teamed up with Rick Tufts, Head Brewer from Triangle Brewing Company, to design the recipe. All three brewmasters have been nationally recognized for their brews. A Beer Divided is a hop-forward brew with enough malt character to balance out the mixture. It measures in at 5.5% abv.

“Our recipe creates a smooth, fantastic ale that craft beer enthusiasts will really appreciate. The smoothness of the brew is a welcome counterbalance to the emotions in our two towns this time of the year: friendly, but serious, ” says Rick. 

Top of the Hill’s proprietor and founder Scott Maitland adds: “Here in the Triangle we like being the best at everything, and that’s especially true for beer and basketball. Things can get intense on the court, but we all get together as fans and celebrate living in these two talented communities.” 

The beer was brewed at Top of the Hill Brewery on Feb. 18, 2015. The same day Durham played host to the season's first meeting between the UNC and Duke men's basketball teams. This brew will be served approximately 3 weeks later in preparation for the tip off of the second and final regular season game between these rivals. The beer will be available on draft at Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery and Triangle Brewing Company’s Pint & Plate, along with a few other select locations in Chapel Hill and Durham.

In addition to this collaboration beer, the breweries will be participating in a friendly wager on the March 7th game. The losing city’s brewers and owners will have to guest bartend at their respectful rival’s brewpub. Cheers, and let the games begin!

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Aaron Caracci measures out hops ("Carolina" logo obscured, but present). 

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Rick Tufts and Aaron Caracci test out the work in progress. Testing is the best part of the job. 

Scott Maitland and Rick Tufts prove that beer comes before some cases.

No grain no gain. 

Timothy "Doc" Harvey rakes out the spent grains. 

A Beer Divided will be ready for a full release, all 4000 gallons, on March 6th, just in time for the second Carolina-Duke matchup.

Chris Atkins vacuum packs the hops to ensure freshness. 

Chapel Hill mayor Mark Kleinschmidt joins the brewmasters for a toast to the brewing teams' collaboration--and maybe just a little taste of the goods.

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