With Maria out of town it was just the dogs and I left to fend for ourselves in Charlotte, NC. The good news was that Charlotte has an up and coming beer scene and I needed a break from work. While North Carolina as a whole has created a great craft beer reputation, Charlotte hasn’t really embraced this until recently. So I decided that a mini beer tour would be the perfect way to see a bit of the city on a Saturday afternoon.
I started off at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery for some German style beer and what turned out to be an exciting soccer game in the UEFA Champions League final. Chelsea (an English team) was playing Bayern-Munich (a German team) so there were quite a few German fans rooting on their team. I enjoyed several Fruehbocks and OMB Coppers (Alt) while watching a full 120 minutes of action before a thrilling shoot-out sent the German fans away with a loss and good buzz.
After some food and a quick nap I headed out to NoDa Brewing to meet up with their “Director of Community Optimism”, Brian Mister. NoDa is a young brewery (opened in October 2011) but already has a great following and is located on the edge of the artsy North Davidson district. They have a cool outdoor area that was being partially used by a corn hole event to raise money for the local boxer rescue when I arrived.
I grabbed a beer and chatted with Brian for a bit before I headed outside with Ernie and talked to NoDa founders/owners Todd and Suzie Ford. Suzie told me about their journey from commercial pilot and accountant to micro-brewers that are getting such high demand for their hand crafted brews that they are already looking to expand production capacity. I can see why, because the beers were great! I had a NoDaRYeD Imperial Rye IPA that was bursting with rye hoppy flavor and their CoCo LoCo Chocolate Coconut Porter that had rich chocolatey aroma that was well balanced with the coconut sweetness.
Upon pulling up to NoDa I noticed that there was another brewery literally right next door. Birdsong Brewing Co. opened only a couple months after NoDa and was some what of a surprise to Todd and Suzie. It has turned out to be a mutually beneficial set-up as the two tasting rooms have created a beer destination area in Charlotte and with slightly different operating hours they a have nice overlap in customers.
I took the one minute walk to Birdsong to sample some of their beers and struck up a conversation with some locals. They all seemed to be really excited that Charlotte was building a craft beer reputation and community and not just through it’s breweries.
The heart of North Davidson hosts quite few beer bars and restaurants that Brian Mister and Erica Cline of NoDa Brewing were nice enough to show me around after they got off work. We hit up Cabo for some fish tacos and beer and Growlers Pourhouse for some snax (oyster shooters) before I had to call it night. Luckily Suzie informed me earlier in the day that I could park Stanley overnight in their lot to ensure a safe and fun beer visit in Charlotte.
My tour of Charlotte also ensured that I will have a three brewery lead on Maria for the foreseeable future as I am now at 197 and she is at 194.
I would thank Todd, Suzie, Brian and Erica for taking time to talk to me and making Ernie, Buddha, and I feel right at home.
More pics from my Charlotte trip: