Start in the historic NoDa neighborhood, just north of Uptown. It’s an old textile center reborn as an arts district, and is now a beer haven. Embark on your own unofficial pub crawl, exploring each of the unique spots, which are all within a 1 to 1.5-mile radius of one another.
Your Beer Breakdown:
- Start with the World Beer Cup Gold Award-winning Hop, Drop n’ Roll IPA at one of NoDa Brewing Company’s newest taproom on N. Tryon Street.
- Hop over to Birdsong Brewing Co. for a pint of Jalapeño Pale Ale or Fake Plastic Trees and live music on their expansive patio.
- Fuel up on the beer cheeseburger at Heist Brewery, which is born from a special house blend of brisket, porterhouse tail and chuck, and wash it down with a San Fran Disco Pale Ale.
- Check out the 1960s brick machine-fabricating warehouse in which Free Range Brewing is located, and enjoy a cool glass of Cream of the Crop cream ale.
- Try a cask ale from the 1936 refurbished hand-pump beer engine at Growlers Pourhouse, where you can also enjoy frosty drafts, raw oysters, handmade sausages and other pub fare.
- Head to Salud Beer Shop, where you can pick up a growler, create your own six-pack of local beers or try one of the rotating beers created in the in-house, 1-barrel-system nanobrewery. Grab a bite at FūD at Salud to accompany your brew.
- Choose from one the 30-plus craft beers and play a game of life-size Chess at VBGB Beer Hall & Garden, located in the AvidXchange Music Factory just outside of NoDa.
While most of these stops are so closely located that they’re walkable, grab a cab, call an Uber or catch a Lyft ride to AvidXchange Music Factory.
On your second day, explore more local creations in historic South End, which began as a cotton mill and gold mining district in the late 18th century. Hop on the LYNX Blue Line light rail and make your stops at the block-by-block spread of breweries.
Your Beer Breakdown:
- Post up on the back patio of Sycamore Brewing with a pint of the 2015 Great American Beer Festival award-winning Southern Girl Blonde lager or The Salty Coconut Red Ale.
- Stroll across the street to Lenny Boy Brewing Co. for an Herb’s Pale Ale or a glass of kombucha; Lenny Boy is the Southeast’s only producer of certified organic kombucha.
- Try Triple C Brewing Co.’s 3C IPA, which won the bronze medal in the 2015 Great American Beer Festival.
- Grab a bite from the Twisted Eats kiosk inside Wooden Robot Brewery, and pair it with the Good Morning Vietnam light blonde ale.
- Head a bit south, to LoSo (Lower South End), for a Mocha Java Porter at Sugar Creek Brewing Company.
- Tour Charlotte’s oldest brewery, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, whose Mecktoberfest swept the gold medal in the German-style märzen category at the 2015 European Beer Star International competition in Germany.
- Enjoy bottles, cans, growlers and drafts of local beer at Good Bottle Co., or take them home with you to sip later.
- Pop in Craft Growler Shop and Tasting Room for local provisions, like cheese and charcuterie, snagging craft beer from local and regional breweries for your fridge.
- Peruse the vast selection of craft beer and bottles, and order soup, salad or a sandwich at Rhino Market & Deli.
- Finish off the day at The Unknown Brewing Co., leaving the seasonal Ginger Wheat beer to linger on your palate.
Again, proximity is the name of the game; most of these stops are within a mere 1-mile radius of one another. If your feet are failing you, hop on the LYNX Blue Line light rail, rent a Charlotte B-Cycle bike or call Uber, LYFT or a cab.
Kick off day three of your tour de taps in eclectic and edgy Plaza Midwood. From there, head south to reach more of the Charlotte area’s enclaves, like SouthPark, Pineville, Ballantyne and Fort Mill, which are filling up with their own brews.
Your Beer Breakdown:
- Visit Legion Brewing, the first brewery in Plaza Midwood, for a sample of the house favorite Juicy J IPA.
- Pop over to neighbor The Common Market, a modern-day general store that stocks local craft bottles and cans and dishes up tasty sandwiches, wraps and more.
- Head south, stopping in the South Park district at Brawley’s Beverage, where you can pick up Boo’s non-alcoholic beer for your dog, a cold one for yourself and knickknacks, like Ping-Pong balls and funky posters.
- Across the street, enjoy a round of local, hard-to-find suds at Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse.
- Make a pit stop at Three Spirits Brewery, where the Red Moon Rising Amber Lager reigns supreme.
- Further south, check out Pintville, which features local, state and national beers in the heart of historic Pineville.
- Shift gears to Ballantyne to taste any of the 100 taps of craft beer, cider, kombucha, wine and more at Growler USA.
- Round out the day a bit further south, in Fort Mill, South Carolina, to sip on Full Spectrum Brewing Co.’s Graphite Porter.
Since you’re heading south, you’ll cover quite a few miles. Call a cab, Uber or Lyft, or ride the CATS bus line (check out the schedule and stops first).
North of the city, the Lake Norman area touts more than shimmering waters and stunning dockside views; its own burgeoning craft beer borough has come to life. Spend your final day exploring it.
Your Beer Breakdown:
- Start at waterside D9 Brewing Co., with a taste of the Hukuna MatataTropical IPA, and a bite from one of the various food trucks featured each Saturday.
- Make your next stop at Ass Clown Brewing Company and be wowed by the Chocolate Sea Salt Stout.
- Join a game of darts or foosball as you sample Bayne Brewing Company’s namesake Pale Ale.
- Spread the love to more North Carolina beers at The Cork and Cask, which offers dozens, including local favorites, on tap. Refill your tank on one of the tasty house appetizers.
- Make Fido’s day by letting him join you while you tap a cold one at Lucky Dog Bark and Brew
- Head to Lake Norman Brewing Company for a pint of the aptly named Pontoon Pale Ale.
- Experience brewing newbie High Branch Brewing Co., where the Big Sister American Double IPA pours continuously.
- Transport yourself from Huntersville to Hogwarts when you sip on Primal Brewery’s inventive Not So Harry Porter.
- Put a cap on the day at Crafty Beer Guys, where you can not only drink a draft, but also pick up ingredients and take classes to homebrew your own creations.
To easily shift gears between each of Lake Norman’s many enclaves, consider gathering a group and booking a party bus or limousine with Queen City Party Charters or a mini bus, SUV, Hummer or limousine with CLT Express.
A la Carte Tours and Adventures for Any Day:
If you’re less inclined to sit back and sip at a brew hub or taproom, embark on a spirited adventure. Try one of these handpicked a la carte options to get you on your feet (or on wheels) while you taste what’s on tap.
Tours and Adventures: