Eat & Drink

10 Ways to Explore Craft Beer in Charlotte

Here are 10 ways to get your fill at more than four dozen Charlotte breweries.

Sycamore Brewing - photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

The Charlotte area is home to more than four dozen breweries in operation or 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 10 ways to explore the craft beer scene in the Queen City.

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.

Take a selfie

The Charlotte area’s breweries are filled with selfie and Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. Pose, pint in hand, with the giant classic tractor that paves the entryway to Free Range Brewing. Or snap a picture in the Bojangles’ Coliseum chairs (where concert-goers sat decades ago to cheer on icons like Elvis and Bob Dylan) that NoDa Brewing Company has collected and placed in the back of the taproom.

Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

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 brews. Sugar Creek Brewing Company is Charlotte’s only brewery crafting the Biére de Garde style of beer—brewing eight different specialty malts imported from France.

Taste a Great American Beer Festival winner

At the helm of Charlotte-area breweries are brewmasters constantly striving to make works of art with 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.

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 food trucks-galore on Fridays; Sycamore is a host location of the city’s beloved Food Truck Friday event.

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-sized Jenga at Birdsong Brewing Co.

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.

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 Amor Artis Brewing.

Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

Perfect your Warrior poses over pints

A handful of breweries, like D9 Brewing Co. and Heist Brewery, 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 cheer to moments of Zen.

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.