Who would have thought that you could use a Greater Raleigh craft beer to give yourself a simple facial and it work? The Umstead Spa director Carolyn Doe did and knows it will work! The yeast in beer works to balance the pH of the skin and targets the bacteria that causes breakouts.

Doe shared this simple facial recipe on The Umstead Hotel and Spa’s website, all in celebration of N.C. Beer Month. Cheers!

N.C. Beer Facial:


  • For oily skin: two tablespoons of egg whites
  • For dry skin: two tablespoons of egg yolks and a vitamin E capsule
  • Two tablespoons of your favorite N.C. beer


  • Wisk together and apply to the skin with a cotton ball
  • Allow to dry for about 20 minutes
  • Apply a wet, warm towel to loosen the mask
  • Rinse well until the entire mask is removed

(Caution: If you’re allergic to any ingredients noted in this recipe, please omit.)

Celebrate N.C. Beer Month in Greater Raleigh! Check out visitRaleigh.com/beermonth to read about the area’s 16 breweries, Beer Month events and more.

How are you celebrating Greater Raleigh Beer Month? If you haven’t attended a beer dinner, make reservations for the upcoming Crank Arm Brewing dinner on Thurs., Apr. 17. Executive chef Chris Hylton of ORO Restaurant & Lounge has prepared a delicious menu paired with Crank Arm Brewing’s N.C. beers.

The first course for the beer dinner includes a shrimp quesadilla with jalapeño, cilantro and mango salsa. The dish will certainly pair well with Crank Arm Brewing’s Unicycle, a crisp American-style Pale Ale that is brewed differently each time with a featured hop.

If you are a sriracha lover, chef Chris’ second course is for you. He will prepare a sriracha crusted salmon with pickled red onion and grilled heirloom tomato. Crank Arm Brewing’s Reflector should balance out the spice of the dish. This beer is a medium-bodied Irish red ale. The Reflector’s low-hop profile allows this malt-forward ale to shine through with its caramel and roasty flavor.

The third course includes spiced chicken with a banana fritter and pineapple. The spice and fruit notes of the dish should pair well with Crank Arm Brewing’s Rickshaw Rye, an American-style rye IPA.

Finally, dessert will satisfy your sweet tooth. Enjoy a salted caramel brownie with pretzel crust, fudge, caramel and vanilla ice cream. One of my favorite Crank Arm Brewing N.C. beers is the Motivator, which will certainly be a sweet ending to the meal. The Motivator is a medium-bodied imperial oatmeal stout with locally sourced Videri Chocolate Factory cocoa nibs and Café de los Muertos dark roast coffee.

Don’t miss out on the Crank Arm Brewing N.C. beer dinner at ORO Restaurant & Lounge. Call 919.239.4010 to make reservations.


Greater Raleigh Beer Month is in full force and so is the beautiful spring weather. So, how can you celebrate? Start tasting! Greater Raleigh breweries are brewing excellent India Pale Ales (IPAs), a hoppy beer style within the broader category of a pale ale. I encourage you to visit one of the following breweries to sample a local N.C. IPA.

One of the oldest breweries in Greater Raleigh, Carolina Brewing Company, first started brewing its IPA as a seasonal Summer IPA in 2005. The beer was such a hit that Carolina Brewing Company decided to make it available year round in 2006. A very sessionable IPA, it is 5.4-percent ABV and has a nice malt background to balance the citrusy bite from the Crystal hops.

Deep in the Umstead Industrial Park, Gizmo Brew Works released the Pitch Hitter, a rye IPA with heavy-handed additions of Simcoe and Chinook hops. Hurry out to the taproom to try this limited release “prototype” beer. If you love earthy notes and subtle sweetness, the Palisade Wasp IPA is a great choice. The Palisade Wasp IPA conveys a strong floral aroma with a hint of tangerine. Its complex flavor imparts apricots, flowers and an earthy, grassy bitterness, accentuated by a clean, dry finish.

Located behind Hillsborough St. in Raleigh, Raleigh Brewing Company is creating a delicious IPA called the House of Clay Rye IPA. This IPA is rich with citrus, pine and tropical fruit from copious amounts of hops added late in the kettle and the fermentation tank. Rye notes sneak in with a sharp kick that really lifts the hops on your palate.

Lonerider Brewing Company‘s Addie’s Revenge was released this Mar. in time for N.C. Beer Month. An abundance of citrusy hops make up the nose and flavor of Addie’s Revenge. Addie’s Revenge is rounded out with pale vienna and crystal malts. Hurry! Addie’s Revenge is one of Lonerider Brewing Company’s Outlawed Releases and will only be available for a limited time.

loneriderOnly a few miles down the road from Lonerider Brewing Company, you’ll find Lynnwood Brewing Concern. Its Hop On Top is a West Coast-style American IPA with aromas of citrus, grapefruit and pine from the generous use of American hops. Hop On Top has a medium-high bitterness with a dry finish. Lynnwood Brewing Concern also brews the Hubris Imperial IPA. This beer is aggressively dry hopped with Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic hops, which produce aromas of citrus, pine, apricot and mango with a hint of a bready malt flavor. Grab a Hop On Top or Hubris Imperial IPA and enjoy some delicious food at Lynnwood Grill, too.

Crank Arm Brewing, located in downtown Raleigh’s Warehouse District is brewing the Rickshaw Rye IPA. This brew is an American-style IPA that gets a dose of spicy rye malt to add complexity. In addition, Crank Arm Brewing uses American variety Zythos blend and Nugget hops to give a unique flavor and aroma to the Rickshaw Rye IPA.

Located in downtown Raleigh, Trophy Brewing Company is conveniently close to Crank Arm Brewing. Trophy Brewing Company currently has a Belgian IPA on tap called the Biggest Flirt. The Biggest Flirt has a hazy and deliciously floral and tropical aroma from the late hop addition of Nelson Sauvin.

If you’re looking to have a brew with a view of the downtown Raleigh skyline, head to Boylan Bridge Brewpub. Hopped Off the Tracks IPA is Boylan Bridge Brewpub’s hoppiest offering bittered with Millennium hops. The malt flavor is sweet, medium bodied and balanced with the flavor of Warrior hops.

10172707_10152299078299367_1865083646_nAviator Brewing Company‘s HogWild IPA is a popular beer with a light malt backbone and big hop taste. HogWild is a West Coast-style IPA with an upfront hop flavor including Chinook, Cascasde, Columbus, Centennial, Willamette and Galena hops. Aviator Brewing Company also brews a HorsePower Double IPA, an over-the-top IPA hopped to the extreme and fermented so it is unsweet.

IMG_7580Perhaps one of the most well-known IPAs in Greater Raleigh is Big Boss Brewing Company‘s High Roller IPA. The High Roller IPA is a traditionally hopped ale based on the English style. Centennial, Cascade and Columbus hops are balanced by a sturdy malt backbone. A former “tap-room-only” beer was released to the market in early 2012.

If you’re in Wake Forest, visiting White Street Brewing Company is a must. White Street Brewing Company’s Hoptimist IPA is a hop showcase that spares no expense to impart a positive outlook to the most discerning hop heads. This glass-half-full IPA has notes of pungent citrus and earthy resins with an uplifting malt balance.

Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing in the heart of Glenwood Ave. is serving up its Elm Street English IPA. This American cousin of the classic English IPA is well-rounded and refined with a malt-forward character. Natty Greene’s dry hops the beer with three Oregon hop varieties, which have a fruitier flavor and a peach-like tone.

Located in Holly Springs, Bombshell Beer Company is brewing a session IPA with balanced notes of pine and subtle citrus. The Lost My Way IPA is a perfect beer to enjoy on a gorgeous spring day.

Are you enjoying N.C. Beer Month? I know I am! N.C. Beer Month is an excellent time to experience new beers brewed right here in Greater Raleigh. I think local beers are especially delicious when paired with creative food. Check the Greater Raleigh Beer Month calendar to find out about Greater Raleigh breweries partnering with restaurants in the area to offer exclusive N.C. beer dinners during Apr.

I attended Flights @ The Renaissance‘s beer dinner with Big Boss Brewing Company on Apr. 3, which was an excellent way to spend an evening out with friends. I arrived to Flights early to watch the chefs prepare the dishes and to discuss how they came up with such a unique menu featuring wild game.

IMG_8625Executive chef Dean Thompson and executive sous chef Anthony Zinani told me they spent days making preparations for six courses using wild game. They sat down together sampling Big Boss Brewing Company beers and created a unique menu, which definitely wowed the diners.

IMG_8632Dean Thompson and Anthony Zinani are talented chefs. They were both on the Flights team, who won Competition Dining‘s Fire in the Triangle Series in 2013. If you’re visiting Greater Raleigh, make plans to experience their talent at Flights. Flights is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal in the luxurious setting of the Renaissance Raleigh Hotel at North Hills.

IMG_8619Chefs Dean Thompson and Anthony Zinani started off the Big Boss Brewing Company beer dinner with an interesting take on ballpark food. Instead of your traditional corndog, the chefs presented the diners with a gator boudin corndog, fries, Lusty Monk mustard and house pickles. The dish paired well with an easy drinking beer, Big Boss Brewing Company’s Hell’s Belle. Hell’s Belle is a subtle but complex ale that produces a clean, spicy citrus finish and is available year round.

IMG_8658The chefs intrigued diners with interesting dishes like antelope chops, a boar chile relleno and more. Along with most diners at my table, I tried goose for the first time during the Flights beer dinner. The chefs created a goose mousse in brioche along with a salad including mango tangerines and almonds. Big Boss Brewing Company’s Centaur paired with the goose moose. The Centaur saison is dry hopped with Mosaic and has a citrus presentation, which went along well with the mango tangerines in the salad. The Centaur is only available in Mar. and Apr. and is part of the Alpha Team beer series, so hurry out to Big Boss Brewing Company to give this beer a taste!


IMG_8662One of the crowd favorites of the evening came at the end of the meal. The chefs prepared an amazing banana tiramisu with raspberry sorbet, caramel and duck bacon. The dessert paired nicely with Big Boss Brewing Company’s Big Operator, a seasonal, full-flavored black ale. The beer is infused with raspberry in addition to a locally roasted cacao from the local Escazu Artisan Chocolates. It culminates with a dark raspberry and chocolate finish, which paired perfectly with the raspberry sorbet and savory duck bacon.

IMG_8747Make plans to visit Flights for dinner one evening. After a great meal at Flights, pay a visit to Big Boss Brewing Company to relax on the patio or play pool in the tavern over a few brews.

This is a continuation of “Picture This: Greater Raleigh Wall Murals, Part I.” Have we named your favorite version of urban art yet? Be sure to tell us if we’ve missed one!

The side of Side Street Restaurant & Catering Service: A tour of quaint Historic Oakwood will bring you to the long running Side Street Restaurant & Catering Service, which features an old Coca-Cola mural on the side of its building. The restaurant is also open for Dec.’s Candlelight Tour of the neighborhood.

cokeHidden Mural at Edna Metz Wells Park: Off the beaten path in a park on the edge of Cameron Village lies a striking mural, supposedly of Edie Sedgewick the original Warhol Factory Girl. Walking trails meander through the mature trees and over the stream.

edna metzNorth Carolina State University’s Free Expression Tunnel: Built in 1939, this tunnel was made accessible and rededicated by the university in 2006 with a plaque that says, “Express Yourself!”

free expression2The Color Wall: North Carolina State University’s kinetic light sculpture Color Wall was first installed in 1972. Described as a “symphony in light,” the mural projects from behind a glass wall facing Hillsborough St. on the first floor of D. H. Hill Library.

color wallMission Valley Cinemas: The Avent Ferry Rd. side of the movie theater at Mission Valley was painted by a high school art teacher who is said to have painted himself into it somewhere.

P1150773“Cary, Then and Now”: Once a grocery store, Sorrell Paint and Wallpaper in downtown Cary (at the intersection of Harrison and W. Chatham) has a wall that is covered with all things Cary. Singer Clay Aiken was added as the mural was created during the time of his American Idol appearance. Cary residents are known to point and share parts of the piece during downtown events, and CaryCitizen featured the wall in its Scavenger Hunt a couple of years ago.

sorrel mural1

History of Wake Forest: Created by Franklin Academy High School at The Cotton Company, a refurbished cotton warehouse turned shopping center that offers more than 50 specialty shops and an art gallery showcasing the work of local artists and designers.

wake forestWake Forest: Another public art piece from Franklin Academy comes from senior Marissa Banks who wanted to show how public art can enrich a community. Her work also includes contributions to the pastoral scene outside of Franklin Academy Elementary School and the firefighting mural inside Fire Station #3 on Forestville Rd.

photo 1

Written by Free Spirit, Kristy (who can be a Creative Genius, Fashionista or Lifelong Learner, depending upon the day of the week). Follow her online.


Rock 'n' Roll Marathon1. Rock ‘n’ what?

The inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon & ½ Marathon presented by WRAL benefiting The V Foundation for Cancer Research–a road race in Raleigh featuring 12,500 runners and 30 bands and cheerleaders lining the race course to keep energy levels through the roof. A free concert at Red Hat Amphitheater gets underway once runners start coming through the finish line.

1b. I know that – I’m running!

Awesome! Welcome to Raleigh and good luck, then. Check out visitRaleigh.com for visitor information including restaurants and attractions. Also visit the Visitor Information Center in downtown Raleigh at 500 Fayetteville St. to have a local expert answer your questions.

2. When? Where? 

Sun., Apr. 13–runners take off at 7am. Race start line is at the corner of W. Davie St. and S. Salisbury St. in downtown Raleigh. Both the marathon and half marathon finishes will be at the corner of Davie St. and Fayetteville St. in downtown Raleigh. See the full course here: http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/raleigh/course


3. So, post-race concert?

Runners take off at 7am, and bands will play all along the course all morning. In Red Hat Amphitheater, Love Canon takes the stage at 8am. They’re a bluegrass 80s band. At 10:15am, the medals ceremony will take place to recognize the day’s top runners, and then at 10:30am the headliner band plays. New Politics, a Danish punk rock band with recent U.S. mainstream hits “Harlem” and “Tonight’ You’re Perfect” will help race finishers celebrate their accomplishments into the afternoon. Southern roots band Old Habits will take things to the end of the event, 3pm.


3b. Where can I park? 

You’ll find this participant and spectator parking information helpful: PARKING INFO.

4. Come out and support on Sun.–got it. Anything else?

Yes! The Health and Fitness Expo will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center on Fri. from noon-6pm and Sat. from 9am-5pm. More than 80 exhibitors will be there handing out free samples and showing off the latest and greatest in running gear, sports apparel and nutrition.

On Sat., come out for the live music on S. Salisbury St. directly in front of the convention center. Bands will be on stage from 11am to 6pm, and beer vendors will be onsite as well. The weather forecast is terrific–you won’t want to miss out.

rnrblog25. How do I keep up with everything going on this weekend? 

Well, social media is your best bet. On Twitter and Instagram, check out the hashtag #RnRRAL. Post your photos and updates using that to get in on the action. Follow @runrocknroll on both Twitter and Instagram, and check out their Facebook page if that’s your thing, too. Locally, follow the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance on Twitter at @raleighncsports and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau at @visitRaleigh.

Neomonde Cafe & Market (North Raleigh) is starting a new special: Wednesday Wine and Dine. Make sure you make plans to attend the first event!

If you’ve ever been interested in trying new wine from Lebanon and beyond, this new special is definitely for you! Beginning Apr. 16, Neomonde Cafe & Market will feature a weekly Wine and Dine evening. Wine and Dine is your perfect opportunity to try a new type of wine along with some delicious food. This special will include half-priced bottles of wine of your choosing and a $5 sampling mezza plate.

Wine and Dine Neomonde is known for its traditional Lebanese appetizers, some of which will be available on the Wine and Dine mezza plate. One of my favorites is the award-winning hummus with fresh pita bread. The hummus is extra creamy with the perfect amount of garlic and lemon juice. I also enjoy other options like the grape leaves stuffed with rice, tomato and Mediterranean spices. No matter what you sample, I’m sure you will enjoy the many options Neomonde has to offer.

labneh-and-grape-leavesMake plans to attend Neomonde’s new Wine and Dine event. It’s a great deal, including wine and a delicious Mediterranean sampler. Plus, you can shop around Neomonde’s grocery section for food to take home with you! You’ll find everything from fresh baked breads to Lebanese sweet treats.

Herons at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary is hosting a cider pairing dinner on Apr. 17. Come out to this special dinner, which pairs cider with executive chef Scott Crawford’s cuisine.

Cider is a food-friendly beverage and the menu for the dinner looks amazing! Plus, Chef Crawford’s food will certainly be delicious. He is well-known throughout the region for his elegant cooking and was a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Award, “Best Chef: Southeast.”

Reservations for the dinner cost $85 per person, excluding tax and tip. A reception is at 6:30pm, followed by a four-course dinner with cider pairings at 7pm. Call 919.447.4000 for reservations.

This special dinner features locally sourced ingredients from the region’s outstanding purveyors. Check out the menu below:

Border Springs Lamb Carpaccio
Rappahannock River Oysters, Basil-Mustard
Foggy Ridge Sweet Stayman Cocktail

First Course
Carolina Mountain Trout
Blue Crab, Fish Skin Crackling, Fennel Broth
Foggy Ridge Serious Cider

Second Course
Smoked Veal Sweet Breads
Hickory Barbecue, Charred Ramps, Fava Beans
Foggy Ridge First Fruit Cider

Main Course
Heritage Farms Pork
Tenderloin, Rillettes, Trotter, Chicharrones
Foggy Ridge Handmade

Earl Grey Tea Cake
Roasted Apricots, Linzer, Warm Honey Caramel
Foggy Ridge Pippin Gold Apple Port

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, N.C. Beer Month! N.C. Beer Month is a time to celebrate the craft beer industry along with culinary creativity. Many Greater Raleigh breweries are partnering with restaurants in the area to offer exclusive N.C. beer dinners during Apr.

I attended Midtown Grille‘s beer dinner with Raleigh Brewing Company on Apr. 1, which was an excellent way to kick off this special month. I sat next to Raleigh Brewing Company’s production manager and brewer John Federal. We enjoyed talking about the delicious food and beer pairings throughout the evening. It was also interesting to hear about upcoming N.C. beer events and special brews John is working on this month.

RBC DinnerBack in the kitchen, executive chef Scott James was busy preparing a five-course meal to pair with Raleigh Brewing Company’s beers. Scott James is an excellent chef and I’ve had the pleasure of dining at Midtown Grille multiple times. If you’re visiting Greater Raleigh, you must add Midtown Grille to your dining list. Located in North Hills, Midtown Grille is the perfect place to relax over a guaranteed delicious meal.

Midtown GrilleChef Scott James started off the Raleigh Brewing Company beer dinner with a colorful, tangy and earthy dish. Salt roasted local beets were served with oranges, sorghum, chèvre, pistachio and mache. The presentation was beautiful and the dish paired well with Raleigh Brewing Company’s American wheat beer, The Big Squeeze. Every batch of this beer is brewed with two pounds of blood orange peels. The Big Squeeze is available from Apr. until Sept. at the brewery and is perfect for a hot N.C. summer.

Beets at Midtown GrilleChef Scott James definitely wowed the diners with creative dishes ranging from a unique take on shellfish and chips to Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork crispy pig head. One of the crowd favorites of the evening was the “Lamb Wimpy” paired with Raleigh Brewing Company’s House of Clay Rye IPA. On top of the lamb patty included onions braised in the House of Clay beer, port-salut cheese and sweet pepper piccalilli.

Lamb WimpyPastry chef, Jeanne Sutherin, stole everyone’s heart at the end of the meal. She prepared a lovely dessert with chocolate, hazelnut and salted caramel flavors. The dessert paired nicely with Raleigh Brewing Company’s Hidden Pipe, a porter including aromatics and flavors like cocoa, creamed coffee, espresso, molasses and a hint of blackberries.

Dessert at Midtown GrilleMake plans to visit Midtown Grille for lunch or dinner and don’t forget to try dessert! After a great dinner out in North Hills, take a short drive to Raleigh Brewing Company to end your evening over a few pints of N.C. beer straight from the source.

All photography by Felicia Perry Photography.

Art comes in all shapes and sizes. And downtown Raleigh features some of the coolest–on a grand scale. I’m talking about murals and other visual “urban art” that adorn the sides of area buildings and other landmarks. Over the years, these striking works transformed the landscape and provided eye-catching attention to what may have otherwise been just ordinary spaces. Some have been removed, while others stood the test of time. How many of these have you spotted?

The Cree Shimmer Wall: A reflective LED tree mural displayed on the side of the Raleigh Convention Center. The wall depicts an image of an oak tree and has become a symbol for Raleigh, the City of Oaks. The piece is made up of 79,464 light and dark aluminum squares that change shape and disappear as the squares flap in the wind. When the Barenaked Ladies played the Red Hat Amphitheater, they did a rap about the nearby Shimmer Wall.

Shimmering-wall-21Education Wall: Vernon Pratt’s 1992 piece, part of the Artworks for State Buildings (Education Building, Government Mall, off Wilmington and Lane Sts. in downtown Raleigh).

education wallArtspace: Once the city’s livery and later the Sanders Ford dealership, this 30,000-square-foot garage has been converted into artist studios where established and emerging craftsmen inspire and engage visitors in the visual arts process. It’s also the hub of First Fridays.


Butterfly Mural: This little building on Blount St. just sits in the middle of downtown amongst its larger counterparts. The design has faded over the years, but it’s still an interesting talking point.

butterfliesLincoln Theatre: The west-facing wall of Cabarrus St.’s Lincoln Theatre features a mural of Honest Abe behind the wheel of a Lincoln.

lincolnJohnson St. Mural: This piece was created on Raleigh’s Johnson St., across from the now defunct Hi 5 pizza place and sports bar.

johnsonCity Market: This mural on the edge of the City Market (Davie and Person Sts.) seems to be an ode to the agriculture of N.C. Check out the faces drawn into the fruits and vegetables.

city market“The Fantastic Sky Race”: The Raleigh Appearance Commission and the City of Raleigh approved a project in which students at the North Carolina State University College of Design created panel art for the parking garage at the corner of Davie and McDowell.

balloon boysTriangle Transit: The Dillon Supply Company building at the west end of Martin St. has been selected as the replacement for the current Amtrak station. The building features a 200-foot transportation-themed mural (including Trolley Pub) spanning the east and south facing walls of the property. A sign on the front car of the train reads, “Together we will place tracks to a future beyond anyone’s imagination.”

trainWatch for Picture This: Greater Raleigh Wall Murals, Part II coming soon…

Written by Free Spirit, Kristy (who can be a Creative Genius, Fashionista or Lifelong Learner, depending upon the day of the week). Follow her online.



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