The quaint town of Tarboro has become quite the destination for a culinary experience with the presence of On The Square. It was no surprise that when Inez and Stephen Ribustello opened Tarboro Brewing Company, it became a hit. Inez and Stephen dreamt of opening a brewery in Inez’s hometown, so it all fell into place when they found the perfect building and location, right at the corner of the town commons in a former car dealership. The Ribustellos enlisted the help of Tarboro native, Franklin Winslow, to help them begin creating recipes and the brewery was born. The first two beers tapped were the Town Commons American Ale and the Nana’s Roof Belgian-Style pale ale on February 16, 2016. When the brewery opened on June 4, 2016, there were four TBC beers on tap, two wines, and two guest beers.
The brewery is just another reason to bring people to Tarboro, which is exactly what the Ribustellos hoped. On a Saturday afternoon, people can be found watching sports on the big screen, playing corn hole outside while waiting for their food truck order, or socializing with new and old friends. It is a great spot for kids with the foosball table, ping pong table, and space for them to create artwork on the chalkboard wall painted by Inez’s father, Rusty Holderness.
While on my visit, I observed the energy in the taproom on a Saturday afternoon. There were people visiting from Greenville who were checking the brewery off their bucket list after trying the beer for the first time at an eastern North Carolina restaurant. These folks had a reservation at On the Square later, so it was exciting for me to see people who made a day trip out to explore the town thanks to TBC and the restaurant. Local patrons floated from table to table, checking in on each other, asking about each other’s families, or talking about upcoming plans. I also appreciated that the bartender had a great way of connecting to all patrons in the bar. From the regulars to those who were new to TBC, and he delightfully shared stories about his love of the brewery.
TBC has such a casual environment that makes you feel right at home when arriving. It’s no wonder “crafted to bring you home again and again” is printed on every can. It was so fitting to see the atmosphere that was created at the taproom and the community that the brewery is fostering take on the motto of home. I took a friend who had never been to eastern NC before, and she kept commenting on how friendly everyone was and how everyone welcomed her just like they had known her for years.
Y’all, the beer selection at TBC is great. I asked Inez what gave them inspiration for their beer. She said “Our beers are not intended to be the hoppiest, the highest in alcohol or the most exotic. Our mission is to make approachable styles with great drinkability and an affinity for food. Just like our labels, we are trying to make beers that are true to their style.” Inez said her favorite beer is Nana’s Roof, a Belgian-style pale ale. This beer was named after Inez’s grandmother, the original Inez, who wrote a check to replace the roof on the new brewery. She was instrumental in helping establish the first brewery in Tarboro with her donation. This beer is also brewed with local honey from Reverend Joyner’s Conetoe Family Life Center. Stephen and I have the same taste in beer because our favorite is the Seed Spitter, a salted watermelon goze ale, made from 1300 pounds of fresh watermelon. This beer is perfect for a warm, summer day and would be great to have on hand for a cookout. Other beers at Tarboro Brewing Company are Town Commons American Ale, First Ryed Ale IPA, and Downtown Abbaye Belgian-Style Dubble Ale.
The beer is crafted to bring you “home again and again” is truly more than a motto. The atmosphere, the community, and the product makes TBC a true gem in the region. Inez said “We love our small town, and we love the people who live here. While it has been an uphill battle getting opened, we feel so supported by everyone in our region and our great state. The NC Brewers Guild has been a great advocate for us, and we are grateful for their tremendous support. The space has always been meant to be a community gathering space, and we are watching it actually happen every single day.”
I definitely recommend ordering a flight for your first visit and getting a 6 pack of your favorite to go. I can’t think of a better afternoon than sampling TBC brews and ordering lunch from one of the food trucks.
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I hope y’all had a great weekend! Don’t forget to link up with Biana and me for weekending!
This article originally appeared in Eastern Living Magazine.
P.S. Check out some of my favorite small towns to explore this summer here.