Hopping Into Fun with Raleigh’s Funguys Brewing

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Photo of Carly Brango by Josh Manning.


Nick and Carly Brango embarked on a quest for a warmer climate, bidding farewell to Pittsburgh’s chilly winters and setting their sights on Raleigh’s vibrant beer culture. Drawn by their mutual love for sour beers and IPAs, the couple found their brewing haven in the heart of North Carolina’s City of Oaks—Funguys Brewing.

In April 2018, Funguys Brewing’s doors swung open to eager patrons, beginning a flavorful journey. Fast-forward six years and the brewery stands proudly on Paula Street, nestled on the outskirts of downtown Raleigh, a beacon for beer enthusiasts.

Reflecting on their migration south, Nick, Funguys’ head brewer, says, “We wanted to go somewhere warmer because I like wearing shorts, and you can’t wear them all year long in Pittsburgh.”

The brewery’s name, Funguys, is no mere pun on fungi’s social prowess. It actually originated from a whimsical doodle session by a former co-founder, coinciding with the burgeoning popularity of sour ales. Derived from the world of fungus and bacteria integral to sour beer production, the name struck a chord with the founders and has since become synonymous with Funguys Brewing’s identity. While the original label has undergone a transformation, the brand’s essence remains intact, aligning seamlessly with its evolving vision.

As Funguys Brewing continues to carve its niche in Raleigh’s beer scene, one thing is sure—the journey from Pittsburgh to Raleigh has been a brew-tiful one indeed. USA Today recognized the brewery as having the “Best Beer Label” in 2023 for its Methodical IPA and awarded it the title of “Best New Brewery” in 2024. The News & Observer also hailed Funguys as the “Best Eastern Triangle Brewery” in 2022. 

This April, the brewery celebrated its sixth anniversary. “We are excited to have made it to year six,” says Carly. “With overcoming the hurdles of the pandemic and its aftermath, we are always happy to share another year and beer with our customers.” The duo will kick off the celebration with six collaboration beers, ranging from IPAs to smoothies and shakes.

Carly Brango is one half of the duo behind Raleigh's Funguys Brewing. Photo by Josh Manning.

And speaking of collaborations, Funguys has been known to reach out to fellow brewers and share the camaraderie of making beer with others. “It’s an excuse to hang out with our friends in the industry and share our brewing procedures with each other,” Carly states. “It’s good for marketing and exposure in different areas, or even locally to help get our names out there in the market.”

For the recent anniversary, Funguys has collaborated with Heist Brewery (Charlotte), HopFly Brewing Co. (Rocky Mount), Corporate Ladder Brewing Company (Palmetto, Florida), Orchestrated Minds Brewing (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), Tin Barn Brewing (Chester, New York) and 450 North Brewing Co. (Columbus, Indiana).

Along the East Coast, Funguys Brewing has become known lately for their “smoothsicles” and “shakes,” a line which ranges from straight fruit-style drinks to dessert styles such as cheesecake, streusel and peanut butter and jelly.

“We recently started doing a lactose-free and gluten-free beer we call ‘shakes,’” Carly says. “They are milkshake-inspired, with flavors ranging from chocolate peanut butter, cookies and cream and Orange Julius. These styles are very popular for us and are taproom exclusives, so you must visit us if you want to try these unique brews.”

When Carly isn't holding down the fort at Funguys, she's usually spending time with her husband and head brewer Nick Brango. Photos courtesy of Funguys Bewing.

With winning awards, brewing nonstop and collaborating with breweries around the States, one would think Funguys has a vast team of individuals cranking the gears daily. But Nick and Carly do the majority of the work. Nick is responsible for most of the behind-the-scenes work, which includes management, writing the recipes, sales and distribution, and operating the canning line. At the same time, Carly is the one you’ll see running the taproom as its manager, as well as doing on-site work and bartending. “We both have several hands-on roles day-to-day to keep us operating smoothly,” she says. 

Funguys also enjoys giving back to the community and participating in several local nonprofit organizations. The duo has participated in charity golfing events and the popular Hops for Hope, which gives proceeds to the Children’s Flight of Hope. 

One organization that is particularly special for Funguys—especially Carly—is Women in the Industry. “Women in the Industry is a collaboration amongst several women-run and women-owned breweries across the country, each making beer for local women’s causes. Being a majority women-owned brewery, this was a special way to give back,” she says. 

Nick and Carly have high hopes for Funguys, which include expanding their distribution by brewing to the brew house’s maximum capacity. This means fans of the brewery who live in in cities like Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Greensboro will soon begin to see Funguys beer stocked inside their favorite bottle shops.   

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