GIVEAWAY CLOSED. For all you #CLTbeer lovers out there, make it through this post and there’s a beer box giveaway at the end. I’m giving away Charlotte beer so keep reading.
Charlotte is booming with breweries. You know that unless you live under a rock. What I love about each of Charlotte’s breweries is that they bring something different to the table, or pour something different into the pint glass, if you will.
In honor of NC beer month (which is going on right now if you didn’t know), let’s talk about our favorite Charlotte brews. We’re going to take a journey through Charlotte from south to north and along the way I’ll share my favorite beers at each stop. Weigh in at the end in and have a chance to win a Charlotte beer gift box (because who doesn’t love beer themed gift boxes?).
Favorite Beer: Saison.
Runner up: Raspberry Wit.
Brewing the the style of Belgian Trappist monks, Sugar Creek brings Belgian-inspired brews to the Charlotte beer scene. We went in a kick in late winter where we were at Sugar Creek every weekend (they occupy Olde Meck’s former space on Southside Drive and have morphed it into something totally their own) and I’d like to start that again; their tap room is relaxed, they have friendly bartenders and free popcorn. Right around Christmas time they had a Mocha Java Porter, which had an incredible coffee flavor and was delicous. That was my favorite but I’ll give you another one because it’s not on tap anymore (Sugar Creek, bring the Mocha Java Porter back).
Favorite Beer: Copper
Runner up: Dunkel
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, or OMB, is Charlotte’s first brewery. They’ve been at it since 2009 and quench Charlottean’s thirst with traditional German brewskis. Their new Brauhaus and Biergarten are gorgeous and they have excellent sandwiches and phenomenal beer cheese made with their own beer. They also offer a side item made with cabbage that is very similar to AJ’s last name. On Tuesdays they have yoga on tap and when the weather is nice they host the yoga outside in the biergarten (which was really fun when I went last summer).
Favorite Beer: Up All Night Breakfast Porter
Runner Up: Baby Maker Double IPA
All of the Charlotte breweries are dog friendly and there are always a lot of four legged, furry friends hanging out at Triple C in South End (there are two run between the tap room and behind bar so they must be related to someone who works there). We went one Saturday and had the best time at a corner table in the taproom sipping on a variety of brews and rocking out to a fabulous cover band. If cover bands aren’t your thing (the shame if they aren’t) I recommend going on a night when OooWee BBQ is parked out back. Grab a barbecue sundae and something cold wash it down.
Favorite Beer: Burn Down Brown
Runner Up: The Mirage
I’ve only hung out at Lenny Boy once and I felt like I was hanging out in someone’s living room, which I loved. Lenny Boy’s brewing operation started soley with kombucha (the fermented tea touted by many for its digestive and probiotic benefits), but has Lenny Boy has expanded to become the only certified organic micro-brewery in North Carolina. Lenny Boy brews wild ales (the gluten free alcoholic counterpart to kombucha, whose tartness and flavor appeal to sour beer lovers) and organic brews.
Favorite Beer: The Salty Coconut Red Ale
Runner up: Serendipity Vanilla Session and Cloudy with a Chance of Peaches IPA
Sycamore is Charlotte’s newest brewery and they’ve entered the scene with a bang. They have probably one of the best patios in Charlotte and everyone in South End recognizes it because it’s packed every weekend. Don’t let the crowd deter you; get here early (or go on a weeknight) and hunker down at a table outside. They also recently opened two outdoor bars to help with lines, and you can order by the pitcher (a pitcher of beer is an excellent Midwest beer trend that Charlotte is just apparently learning about). They offer a lot of flavorful brews (coconut, peanut butter, peach, apricot, to name a few) and the beer actually tastes like the flavor they say it is. If you’re more in a wine mood, no problem. They offer wine and Prosecco on tap for your non beer drinking friends.
Favorite Beer: Tele-Porter
Runner up: Hospitali-tea
I’m a big Unknown fan. When I first tried their beer last year I didn’t like them all that much; but after spending some time at the brewery, meeting their people, seeing their passion and trying their new beers, I’m an Unknown convert (you can read all about my great experience at Unknown here). We haven’t been recently, but on my last trip Larry let us pull all of the tables (essentially rearrange his tap room) in front of the TV to watch the Panthers beat the Cardinals. That was a few months ago, so I’m overdue for a visit. The one MUST DO at Unknown is to take a tour with their brewer, Brad. It’s a truly incredible experience. Also they have a beer that’s brewed with scorpions (yes, that’s for real).
Favorite Beer: Mexicali Stout
Runner up: Jalapeño Pale Ale
Birdsong opened a new taproom last week and I’m the worst Charlotte beer lover because I haven’t been yet (and am very much looking forward to checking it out). When we drove past last weekend it looked like everyone was having a great time. I like Birdsong because it has a great vibe, the people are friendly and the beer is creative (Jalapeño beer! It’s unique and really tastes like you’re drinking a pepper and I can’t have more than one glass because it tastes like I’m drinking a pepper.) Once we met a cat in the taproom; the cat was on a leash and so well behaved and it truly inspired me to take our cat to a brewery on a leash (we haven’t done that yet, but I’m going to make it happen soon). Also I love all of their beer names; they like to name them after songs (Get it? Birdsong?).
Favorite Beer: Coco Loco
Runner Up: Hop Drop ‘n Roll
NoDa is probably Charlotte’s most notorious brewery, especially with their award winning Hop Drop ‘n Roll. It’s hard for me to rank Charlotte’s breweries because I like all of them and they each bring something to the table, but if I’m making brewery recommendations to friends or out of towners, NoDa is at the top of my list. A perfect Charlotte evening is spent over a few pints in NoDa’s taproom with dinner from the food truck parked out back. Also their run club is really fun and popular (the have 1,3 and 5 mile loops) but if you don’t like running and don’t like crowds, avoid Noda on Wednesdays.
Favorite Beer: Chocolate Pancakes
Runner Up: Fresh to Death
Heist brings an eclectic food menu, incredible Sunday brunch buffet and cocktail sensi to the table to make it stand out from the brewery pack. For a while, I just came to Heist for the food (being honest here), but they’ve recently upped their beer game (they have a thing called Flight School where every so often you can get a flight of small batches centered around a theme. We got the coffee beer flight and it was one of the best decisions we made that month). It’s still really hard to go to Heist and not order a cocktail. Stefan Huebner, cocktail sensi, is very passionate about his art of cocktail making and mixes up a lot of creative concoctions. Don’t forget to order food; I highly recommend the beer cheese with pretzel stix.
Ok now for the best part. I’m giving away a great #CLTbeer gift box to one of my readers from the kind people at Charlotte’s Got a Lot. The box includes a growler filled with beer from Charlotte’s Unkown Brewing and some other great goodies (a pair of #CLTbeer pint glasses, Triple C beer infused soap, a Lenny Boy hat, and a Beer of the Carolinas book by Daniel Hartiss). You must be 21 years of age and a North Carolina resident to enter. Cheers!
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What’s your favorite Charlotte beer?
**Thank you to Charlotte’s Got a Lot for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.
**The Charlotte metro area is filled with even more breweries than those mentioned here, and you can find a complete list (plus those opening soon) over at charlottesgotalot.com/craftbeer.