We caught up with our awesome neighbors, Pour Taproom to chat all about things brew. Read on to see how Pour originally got started plus what are some of their favorite beers.
12 hours in Durham, where would you go? If it were a Saturday morning, I’d visit the Central Park Farmer’s Market – it’s full of originality – handcrafted artisan products local to the area. The food truck scene there is also legit. I’d then stroll over to Pour to cool off with a selection of 64 taps (shameless plug ;). Siesta would entail a walk through 21c gallery around the corner; followed by a stroll through the Sarah P. Duke Gardens and a walk to take in the grandeur of Duke Chapel. Sundowners poolside at Unscripted; dinner at one of the amazing restaurants downtown – too many to mention. Catch a show at one of the great Durham venues (DPAC, Carolina Theatre, Motorco). Top off the evening with a visit to the Parlour for late night ice-cream.
Top 3 spots for feasting? Durham has such a fantastic foodie scene – from restaurants to food trucks. Having lived abroad for several years, I’m a big fan of fusion foods from different cultures – Viceroy (Indian), Dashi (Asian fusion), and Goorsha (Ethiopian) – all within the downtown radius!
Go-to-spot for that much-needed drink? (Besides Pour, of course!) Besides Unscripted of course, we like Alley 26, Bar Virgile and Viceroy. If you’re a fan of spicy cocktails, Goorsha has a mean ginger jalapeno margarita that’s worth experiencing!
What are some of your favorite beers? New England-style IPAs are definitely hot right now. Both Fullsteam and Durty Bull came out with terrific IPAs in this style this summer. I also love Imperial IPAs — Trophy’s Double Death Spiral has been one of my “go-to’s”, it’s balanced and bold, plus brewed with local NC honey.
What three words best describe Durham? Genuine. Generous. Growing.
The 4 of you have spent the last decade working as aid workers among refugees in places such as Darfur, Ethiopia and Uganda. How has that impacted your business philosophy? For us, it’s always been more than just about slinging beer. We value community above everything else, as that’s the bedrock for the health of a village or a nation. it’s significant for us that we’re situated at the literal center of Durham. We want to add value to the amazing Durham community, by providing a space where Durhamites of all walks can come together in a fun and lively environment, by providing a venue for local musicians and artists to display their talents, and by giving back to causes and organizations striving to make a positive impact in this city.
Tell us the story behind how Pour Taproom first got started. I worked as a bartender during college at one of Chicago’s flagship microbreweries, Goose Island. That experience really gave me a love for craft beer. After a decade in overseas humanitarian work, I was looking for an opportunity to do something entrepreneurial, and started chatting with a friend of mine, Nate Tomforde, who started the first Pour in Asheville back in 2014. I always thought Pour would be a tremendous fit for the Triangle, given the great craft beer scene here. One thing led to another, and here we are!
How has it been building a business with your friends? It’s been a remarkable experience. We each share such a unique set of experiences that translates into a restaurant management philosophy that fuses a lot of humor. In a way our friendship feels more like brotherhood at this stage.
How did you get started beer world? I grew up in Chicago. Out of college, I started bartending at Goose Island’s Brewpub, which was Chicago’s flagship microbrewery at the time. The brewpub released over 70 different styles every year. It blew my palette wide open and it was there I learned a genuine appreciation for craft beer.
When you first had the idea to launch Pour Taproom in Durham, you were all living in 3 different countries. How were you able to come together and make this location happen? We were all accustomed to remote management in aid work, so we coordinated the launched of the taproom almost entirely virtually. For most of that pre-launch phase, we were spread out across 14 different time zones. The first time we all met together in Durham was late in the process. That was the first time we had all been in the same space with our spouses, kids. We ate, drank, and dreamed together. It was pretty special.
What made you decide to open in Durham? Community. Durham is a place that’s open, changing. And with that definition we followed a gut intuition that this was the time and place to open. We’ve been blown away by the welcome we’ve received from the business community here in Durham, as well as the Bull City love everyone here has shown us.
How do you decide which craft beer, ciders and wine to serve? I sample a lot 😉 I also follow a lot of craft beer bloggers and social media accounts to see what’s trending, what styles are in demand, etc. At the end of the day, we pride ourselves in having something on tap for every palate. So if it’s a bourbon-barrel-aged stout, or a kettle sour (and everything in between), we got it!
What was the most exciting part about opening Pour Taproom Durham? One of the first things we hoped to do was bring music onto the plaza as a platform for local artists. It’s been amazing to see up and coming artists perform live on the plaza. It’s significant to be one of the first businesses to operate out of this historic building in a long time.
Pour will also be offering food- what are some of your favorite dishes? My favorite dishes at the moment are the tasting boards – it follows our model for self pour in the sense that you can select from many items what kinds of savory or sweet elements you want to compelement your beer choice..
How is the beer scene in Durham compared to your other national locations? It’s defined by quality, and it’s growing. We’re entering a saturation point nationally as it pertains to craft beer, and that means quality brewing will really be the key differential.
Where do you see Pour Taproom in 5 years? As with Durham, I see us thriving. As Durham goes, so do we, since we’re at the literal center of the city. We’re thrilled to be neighbors with Unscripted, and the upcoming openings of Jack Tar Diner and Neomonde. I really see the plaza being the place where people want to be.
Best piece of advice on the key to success? People Matter. Regardless of whether your intentions in a location are short term or long term, taking time to sit with people you love or don’t yet know. To eat with people, share a good drink with them. Relationships are the foundation for success.
Looking to check out Pour Taproom? Book our Room to Brew Package & enjoy vouchers to their taproom+ take home 2 of their signature beer glasses. 🍻