Make this your year of Charlotte beer.
The Charlotte area is home to more than two dozen craft breweries, and 15-plus more are in planning. These brew hubs are certainly known for their beloved signature suds, but they’re serving up much more for guests to enjoy. Here are 16 ways to get your fill at Charlotte breweries in 2016.
1. Host a hoppy hour. Crops of breweries can be found by the block in hip neighborhoods, like South End and NoDa, where young professionals and millennials abound. Be the office hero by suggesting happy hour at a brewery close to Center City. Try Wooden Robot Brewery or Sycamore Brewing.
2. Have a drink with your furry friend. Charlotte-area breweries are famous for their “come one, come all” philosophies, where they welcome both kids and dogs. Hang out on the sunny back patio and have a drink with your fury friend at Triple C Brewing Co., where the owner’s Labradoodle, Maggie, can be found greeting guests of the two-legged and four-legged variety.
3. Try something exclusive. Sure, ingredients like sweet potatoes, spicy peppers and coffee make for special pours, but Charlotte’s breweries are doing even more exceptional things with cold ones. Sugar Creek Brewing Co. is Charlotte’s only brewery crafting the Biére de Garde style of beer, which is brewed using eight different specialty malts imported from France.
4. Taste a Great American Beer Festival winner. At the helm of Charlotte-area breweries are brewmasters constantly striving to make works of art of their craft creations. And it hasn’t gone unnoticed; local beers are earning the recognition they deserve. Taste why NoDa Brewing Company’s beloved Hop Drop n’ Roll IPA is a gold medal winner.
5.Take a selfie with the Free Range Brewing tractor. Local brewers’ mission statements are translated through their taprooms’ distinctive decor and the materials and ingredients they source. Free Range Brewing’s farmhouse approach to sustainability is reflected in the incorporation of local fruits, vegetables and herbs in its beers and in the reclaimed décor of its taproom, including an old tractor out front, which begs to be used as a photo prop.
6. Refresh your palate with kombucha at Lenny Boy Brewing Co. As the creative brewing craze gains steam in Charlotte, so are its breweries’ sipping options. Lenny Boy Brewing Co., North Carolina's only certified organic microbrewery, also makes kombucha – a popular fermented tea said to have mythical healing properties – and has carved out an additional name for itself as the only certified organic kombucha maker in the Southeast. Try local favorites like the Good Ol’ Ginger and Lost Rose.
7. Pair a beer with a food truck bite. Charlotte’s breweries know that craft suds lead to savory cravings. Fortunately, breweries and food trucks go hand-in-hand here. Try a killer sandwich or Southern side at one of the food trucks parked out front of Sycamore Brewing on the weekends. And have your pick of trucks-galore on Fridays, when Sycamore is a host location of the city’s beloved Food Truck Friday event.
8. Change the way you do weekends. Locals and visitors have fallen in love with the community vibe and the unique setting of each brewery in Charlotte, but more importantly, they've developed a strong preference for the homegrown beer churned out by each. Start the day with a Charlotte favorite, brunch at Heist Brewery, and then take advantage of the proximity as you hop over to Free Range Brewing and beyond for a day that satisfies craft cravings.
9. Play a board game at Birdsong Brewing Co. Gorgeous, picnic table-laden patios, cozy fire pits and taprooms stocked with games of all types are just a few of the extras on tap at breweries in Charlotte. Grab your friends and a few flights and challenge them to a throwback round of giant-size Jenga at Birdsong.
10. Go behind the scenes at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. Visitors of the Queen City’s assorted brew houses can enjoy insider access to back-of-house operations that illuminate the fascinating craft beer creation process. Among the many offered at area breweries, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s tour was named the best in the nation by USA TODAY 10Best readers in 2014.
11. Go beyond city limits. With brew houses that dot the blocks of Charlotte’s various neighborhoods and craft havens that flow from the city's South Carolina suburbs to the banks of Lake Norman and beyond, beer lovers can tour the city one sip at a time. Go north for a cold one at Cabarrus Brewing Co. or south for one at Full Spectrum Brewing Co.
12. Perfect your Warrior poses over pints. A handful of breweries, like D9 Brewing Co. and Bayne Brewing Company, host regular public yoga classes right inside their taprooms or on their sprawling lawns. Grab your mat and head to the largest, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Yoga on Tap event, where hundreds of yogis cheers to moments of Zen.
13. Hop on a brewery tour. As craft beer continues to dominate more and more of Charlotte’s cultural scene, the city has become a proud host of year-round brewery tours. Take a Saturday Brewery Tour with Charlotte Brews Cruise or climb aboard the Trolley Pub Charlotte to sip and pedal your way through the city’s craft beer scene.
14. Taste Charlotte’s best at an annual fest. Charlotte hosts more than 20 beer festivals each year, including Charlotte Oktoberfest, the Moo and Brew Craft Beer and Burger Festival, Tuck Fest, and the North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival, which is coming up on May 6 -7.
15. Take home more than a pint glass. Charlotte’s breweries aren’t just using their local brews to flavor one-off cocktails and tasty bites. Triple C Brewing Co.’s beers have been infused into foamy soaps created by local line Small Keys. Pick them up in scents like Smoked Amber at 7th Street Public Market. And prepare your jewelry box for Noda Brewing Company’s plans to use its beer cans to make cool, fashionable necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
16. Drink for a good cause. Charlotte’s breweries have strong philanthropic ties to the community. Join The Unknown Brewing Company’s inaugural 'Live Without Boundaries’ Cornhole Tournament' on April 30. The event is a fundraiser for the Arc of Mecklenburg County, an organization that helps empower individuals with developmental disabilities to live their lives without boundaries.
(In celebration of NC Beer Month, this five-part content series about Charlotte as a beer destination features facts and information that help tell the story of the city’s burgeoning craft beer scene.)
High resolution photos are available for download here.
About the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA)
The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) works to deliver experiences that uniquely enrich the lives of our visitors and residents. Through leadership in destination development, marketing and venue management expertise, the CRVA leads efforts to maximize the region’s economic potential through visitor spending, creating jobs and opportunities for the community. Brands supported by the CRVA include the Charlotte Convention Center, Time Warner Cable Arena, Bojangles’ Coliseum, Ovens Auditorium, NASCAR Hall of Fame and Visit Charlotte in conjunction with the region’s destination marketing brand, ‘Charlotte’s got a lot.’ For more information about Charlotte, visit charlottesgotalot.com.