Tour Charlotte’s Booming Brewery Scene
Sip your way through Charlotte’s craft beer scene on an experiential beer tour.
by Kristen Moore
With more the four dozen breweries in the region, Charlotte’s overflowing with ways to explore the local craft beer scene. Go beyond the taprooms on one of these experiential craft beer tours through the Queen City.
Van & Bus Tours
One of Charlotte’s first beer tour companies, Charlotte Brews Cruise opened in 2013 as an extension of Brews Cruise out of Asheville, North Carolina. The organization now offers tours in nearly a dozen cities across the country. On a 3.5-hour tour with Charlotte Brews Cruise, you’ll visit three Charlotte breweries, taste plenty of samples (approximately 12 to 15 or about three pints), go behind-the-scenes where the beer is made and talk to the brew masters who make the beer. An in-van cooler is available for sealed growler, bottle or can purchases made at the breweries. Public beer tours are available every Friday and Saturday throughout the year. Private tours (great for special occasions or team builds) can also be scheduled.
In 2017, three Charlotteans decided they wanted to help show the world how awesome the Queen City’s craft beer scene is, so they bought an old school bus, named him George (after King George III of England, husband of Queen Charlotte—the city’s namesake), and the rest is history. Partnering with 25 breweries across the area, Charlotte Brewery Tours takes participants on a 4-hour exploration around the region, visiting three breweries, learning about the history of the breweries and the beer process, and enjoying a beer at two of the three stops. The tour guides are also standup comedians, so expect a lot of laughs. The public Brewster tour is offered various days each week (check the calendar for exact dates). Charlotte Brewery Tours also offers special experiences like concert shuttles, tailgating events and private group tours.
Brew Ha-Ha Tours are offered in the Charlotte, Concord and Lake Norman areas by Charlotte Special Events Group. The all-inclusive tour includes visits to three or four unique breweries, two souvenir pint glasses, door prizes, and food at a local restaurant either before or after the tour. Transportation is provided on a luxury motorcoach and led by professionally trained guides.
Pedal for Your Beer
All aboard! Join a certified Trolley Pub conductor on this eco-friendly, pedal-powered, 14-person trolley available for private tours or mixer tours. The Trolley Pub can be rented for a variety of events, like birthday parties, bachelor/bachelorette parties or just a fun night out with friends. Tours include the driver, a cooler on board and use of the sound system. Participants pedal to help power the pub, but the conductor has an electric motor to help with hills. Tours are available daily, and routes with stops at local breweries and restaurants are customizable through Uptown, South End and NoDa.
Experience Charlotte beer a completely different way on the city’s first 15-person pedal-powered, open-air, eco-friendly party boat on Lake Norman. Led by an experienced captain, all cruises are two hours and depart from Waterstreet Seaport in Cornelius. Private tours are available for up to 15 people or guests can book individual seats on an open cruise (minimum of six required). While the boat doesn’t stop at breweries, participants can BYOB, so stock up on local cans before you set sail. The catamaran is powered by pedaling, but there is a solar-powered motor to help if needed.
Explore Charlotte’s beer scene by bike. Cycle your way from brewery to brewery in the South End neighborhood on a Bike & Brews tour with Charlotte NC Tours. Tours are offered daily at 3 p.m. A guide, bike and helmet are included, but beer is on your own.
Other Ways to Explore Craft Beer
Private, customized brewery tours can also be set up with transportation companies, like Five Star Limousine, CLT Express or Queen City Party Charters.
Social Bike Rides
Many local breweries and biking meetup groups organize weekly bike-and-brew rides across the area. Check Work For Your Beer's calendar for more information.
Individual Brewery Tours
If you only have time to stop at one brewery, most offer weekly tours of their facilities. The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery offers tours at 2, 3 and 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and NoDa Brewing Company offers tours on Thursdays and Fridays at 6 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Many breweries also offer tours upon request.