Team: Fayetteville Woodpeckers
Affiliate: Houston Astros (Class A – Advanced)
Ballpark Basics: A ballpark well worth the wait
Fayetteville had to wait a couple of years to get their team. After the Carolina League agreed to expand by two teams in 2016 Fayetteville did not yet have a ballpark ready for them (Kinston was the other expansion team) so they played for two years at Jim Perry Stadium on the campus of Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC. The team and the ballpark were definitely worth the wait.
Situated a couple blocks off of Hay Street, the main drag through downtown Fayetteville, you would hardly notice it was there except for the lighting structures that jut out into the sky. Segra Stadium is shoehorned between two separate train tracks which pass behind each outfield wall. However, the Woodpeckers have really made the most of the space allotted, so you don’t notice the size limitations as you walk around the field. The wrap around concourse is wide and open to field so you won’t miss any action as you grab some food or a drink. There are also multiple places for groups to congregate including berm seating behind the left field wall, a section with large plastic rocking chairs in left/center, Healy’s Bar in right field (see below), and an elevated deck right next to Healy’s where you can play a game of cornhole/bags while still being able to see the field.
Best Spot for Beer:
The Woodpeckers don’t skimp on the beer options, and have a focus on multiple local breweries. Southern Pines Brewing and Highland Brewing each get their own cart while Foothills Brewing gets an entire bar dedicated to its beer behind home plate. With all of these options, your best bet is to head out to Healy’s Bar in right field. With multiple options for seating as well as multiple local options on tap. This was easily one of the most popular spots during our visit.
We were excited to get to Fayetteville for a game. The early reviews were very positive and the ballpark lived up to the hype. The town also appeared to be just as excited. Hours before the game we saw multiple groups out with Woodpeckers gear. After attending our first game at Segra Stadium we can say that the excitement was definitely warranted.
Huske Hardware House
Brew Basics: A once bustling center of the community, born a hardware store, finds new life as a brewery.
No matter how long you’re planning on staying in Fayetteville, there is one clear place to start your visit. The center of town is easily identifiable with a large traffic circle, statue? and large classic architecture. This little downtown area mixes a business district with shops and restaurants, and the main street (Hay) that cuts through it runs from the start of this portion of town down several blocks to the railroad tracks and baseball stadium area. There is actually more than one brewery on this route, we were going to try both, but were distracted by a Thursday night summertime concert in the street, so we just ended up with time for one.
Huske Hardware House, located on the far end of Hay Street near the tracks is a classic old building with a 115+ year history. Once the main hardware store in the area, this two story building was given a third level addition sometime before 1970. Years later, the conversion from hardware store to brewery really makes good use of the significant square footage. Now setup in a two story fashion, the top floor is an open, loft style with a modern railing, slightly more intimate seating and a walkway to a glass enclosed brew works. The main floor has high ceilings and thanks to the loft aspect of the second floor, it just feels expansive. Add in two large bay windows (accented by a bunch of colorful pillows with happy looking dog faces) and a large, covered outdoor area, and you may have trouble deciding where to sit.
The heavy, ornate, wooden bar is a statement piece in itself. It had a heavy roof -type overhang due to the floor above, which has been decorated with small Italian lights and the large mirrors lining the bar back add to the expansive feel. The bar seating is traditional and runs the length of the bar itself. Despite having two large groupings of taps, and a long list of in house drafts, many of the kegs were tapped with nothing left to replace them and so we were unable to try several of our first choices. However, they had just enough (7) to make a complete flight, so we ordered up and settled in:
Hay St. Helles (5% ABV) Golden lager color, white lacing. Not much of a bouquet or palate to start, it’s a standard lager. As it warms, the flavor is more solid, still standard lager with a hint of sweetness and just a little tart. More to it than a typical domestic beer, but would be a popular choice for someone not wanting to deviate too far from the macros.
Lemon Hibiscus Tart (5.2% ABV) A strong gold color, just a half a hue brighter than the Helles. Smell is “wow”; bright, floral and sugared lemon. Taste is smooth, like lemonade with a twist. No lacing or head.
Sledgehammer Stout (6.7% ABV) Dark coffee brownish-black color with a chocolate malt palate that’s lightly roasted in the finish.
Peck (5.2% ABV) Listed as an amber beer, this pours the same bright golden shades of the Helles or the Lemon Hibiscus, just with no head or lacing, and more carbonation. Light, easy drinking the finish is where you’ll find the biggest flavor which is overall slightly sweet malts. This beer was brewed specifically for the Woodpeckers, and (one could assume) for mass consumption during long innings on hot days.
Mango-Rita Tart (No ABV provided). Most pale of the seven beers in our flight, with soft white lacing. It smells of tart yeast and the palate is that of a faitly bready, yeasty beer. It is tangy, but it’s not on the same pucker level as one might be looking for in this age of sour beers. Our least favorite.
Killaman Irish Red (5.2% ABV) Again, no lacing or head but pours the ruddy brown color of a true red ale. Not much smell and this holds true in taste as well until the end when it suddenly blossoms with strong, sugary-toffee notes.
Brickhouse IPA (7.1 ABV) Same golden color that we’ve mentioned three other times so far, but the Brickhouse stands out as the best of the bunch. This IPA is not too hoppy, but still pronounced with steady florals and a slightly fruity finish.
Huske Hardware House Restaurant & Brewery
405 Hay Street
Fayetteville, NC 28301