Eat & Drink

Round-Up of Charlotte’s Award-Winning Craft Beers

Charlotte’s got a lot of breweries, sure—but did you know the Queen City is also home to dozens of award-winning craft beers?

NODA Brewing - Photo by Kyo H. Nam

It feels like new beers are being released all over the greater Charlotte area every day of the week, from hop-forward IPAs to funky sours and beyond. But in addition to these innovative new brews hitting taps near you, did you know there are also award-winning brews to be found in cans and kegs all over the city?

Here’s a round-up of the locally brewed beers that have received national (and some even international) recognition in the craft beer community:

Birdsong Brewing Co. - Photo by Kyo H. Nam

Birdsong Brewing Co.

Be Easy Berlinerweiss
2018 NC Brewers Cup, Bronze Award Winner

This traditional German-style Berlinerweiss is refreshing, tart, and easy-drinking at just 3.5 percent ABV.

Honey Pie Double IPA
2015 Best Seasonal Beer, BOB Awards

In this limited release brew, a solid malt foundation is complemented by a generous amount of locally harvested honey, with a unique blend of hops will deliver aromas of honeydew and grapefruit.

Lazy Bird Brown Ale
2015 NC Brewers Cup, Silver Award Winner

This smooth, sessionable American-style brown ale boasts a rich mahogany color and hints of coffee and chocolate. Take note of the mild citrus hop flavor paired with pleasant aromas of roasted malt.

MexiCali Stout
2014 Best Beer for the Dark-Beer Love, BOB Awards

A strong coffee and cinnamon aroma complements this beer’s smooth chocolate taste, along with just a hint of chili spice.

Blue Blaze Brewing

Pink Blazer Hefeweizen
2018 NC Brewers Cup, Gold Award Winner

This traditional, unfiltered German-style wheat beer offers subtle flavor notes of pineapple and spice from the noble hops.

Yellow Blazer Kolsch-Style Ale
2018 NC Brewers Cup, Bronze Award Winner

This classic German golden ale boats a mild, sweet malt balanced with a subdued spicy flavor from German hops.

Divine Barrel Brewing

The Big Lubelski
2018 Great American Beer Festival, Silver Award Winner

This Polish style Gratzer is brewed with 100 percent oak-smoked wheat malt and Polish Lubelski hops. It is mildly sweet and bready with a restrained bitterness and a clean oak smoke finish.

Heist Brewery

Brockwell
2016 World Beer Cup, Bronze Award Winner

Brockwell is a light bodied, yet flavorful Dark English Mild with subtle roasted toffee flavors, accentuated by a light carbonation.

Legion Brewing Company

Sláinte
2018 World Beer Cup, Silver Award Winner

A medium-bodied stout with a creamy mouthfeel, deep maltiness and a clean, dry finish. Roasted barley contributes strong coffee notes and a touch of cocoa.

#CharlottesGotALot

Lenny Boy Brewing Co.

Bock Street Boys
2019 and 2015 Best of Craft Beer Awards, Bronze Award Winner

This brew, named as a nod to one of the ‘90s most popular boy bands, is a malty German Doppelbock featuring bready and toasty flavors.

Dat Pale Ale
2016 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Silver Medal Winner
2019 Beer Army Awards, Gold Medal Winner

This pale ale is hopped with Simcoe, Azaca and Citra hops and fermented with Lenny Boy’s house ale yeast for a crisp, clean ale with a refreshingly bitter finish.

Life In The South
2019 and 2015 Best of Craft Beer Awards, Bronze Award Winner

The addition of grits to this Southern staple lager defines the beer’s body and creates a crisp and easy-drinking brew.

Tangerine Dreamz
2018 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Silver Medal Winner

A Belgian Witbier infused with tangerines, chamomile, lactose and coriander, this is a creamy, fruit-forward ale with a citrus finish.

NoDa Brewing Company

Coco Loco Robust Porter
2012 Great American Beer Festival, Silver Medal Winner

Accented with toasted coconut and cocoa nibs, this dark and full-bodied beer is a year-round offering and one of the first three beers NoDa Brewing ever made commercially.

Gordgeous
2018 Great American Beer Festival, Gold Medal Winner

Instead of using those pumpkin beer staple spices of cinnamon and nutmeg, NoDa Brewing use real pumpkin, cardamon, cloves, allspice, brown sugar and ginger for a unique twist on this traditional fall beer style.

Hop Drop n' Roll
2014 World Beer Cup, Gold Medal Winner

This intensely hoppy IPA is made with five different varieties of hops, as well as a blend of multiple malts, for a balanced brew that is packed with flavor.

Pilot Brewing

Jen's Grodziskie
2018 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Silver Award Winner

This sessionable, light-bodied ale combines an oak-smoked flavor with a clean hop bitterness at just 3 percent ABV for a pleasant, easy-to-drink brew.

Jen's Smoked Rye Amber
2018 Beer Army Wars, Bronze Award Winner

This 5.5 percent ABV smoked enhanced amber ale features a rye malt character balanced by the addition of smoke and hops.

Raelle's Brown Ale
2018 Beer Army Wars, Silver Award Winner

This 5.6 percent ABV brew is a malty, yet hoppy, dark brown ale boasting heavy chocolate notes.

Rachael's Old Ale
2018 Beer Army Wars, Bronze Award Winner

A 7.5 percent ale that is balanced, malty, and warming, ideal for cold winter nights in front of a roaring fireplace.

Rachael's Trappist Single
2018 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Silver Award Winner

This Single is pale, bitter and well carbonated, with a fruity-spicy Monastery Ale yeast character, a spicy-floral hop profile and a grainy-sweet malt palate.

Sugar Creek Brewing - Photo by Kyo H. Nam

Sugar Creek Brewing

Biere De Garde
2016 US Open, Gold Medal Winner
2016 NC Brewers Cup, Gold Medal Winner
2016 Best of Craft Beer, Gold Medal Winner
2017 NC Brewers Cup, Silver Medal Winner

This malt-forward Belgian-style beer offers hints of caramel and candied apple in addition to a floral aroma from the French Strisselspalt hops.

Belgian Dubbel
2018 US Open, Gold Medal Winner
2018 Best of Craft Beer, Gold Medal Winner
2018 Beer Army Wars, Gold Medal Winner
2015 US Open, Silver Medal Winner
2017 NC Brewers Cup, Silver Medal Winner

Brewed in traditional Belgian style, this Dubbel boasts flavors of plum, raisin, clove, cherry, brown sugar, and caramel, with a warm boozy finish.

Sugar Creek Pale Ale
2016 NC Brewers Cup, Gold Medal Winner
2018 Beer Army Wars, Gold Medal Winner
2015 Alltech Cup, Silver Award Winner

Hoppy with subtle citrus and pine flavors, this drinkable pale ale is made using a unique combination of malts for a medium-bodied ale with a dry finish.

Sugar Creek Raspberry White Ale
2019 Best of Craft Beer, Silver Medal Winner
2018 Beer Army Beer Wars, Bronze Medal Winner
2017 Best of Craft Beer, Silver Medal Winner
2016 US Open, Gold Medal Winner
2015 Alltech Cup, Bronze Award Winner

The first thing you’ll notice about this beer is its vibrant pink color. The second thing you’ll notice is that it’s bursting with flavors of raspberry—which makes sense, since it’s made using over 500 pounds of fresh raspberries.

Sycamore Brewing

Southern Girl Blonde Lager
2015 Great American Beer Festival, Bronze Medal Winner

This golden-hued beer is balanced and easy drinking, with a malty sweetness and subtle notes of melon and berry flavors.

The Dreamchaser’s Brewery

Bend an Elbow
2018 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Bronze Medal Award Winner

This 5.9 percent ABV traditional farmhouse style ale is brewed with spelt, wheat, barley and rye for a spicy, aroma and an extra dry finish.

Crazy Socks Lager
2017 Beer Army Beer Wars, Silver Medal Award Winner

A craft twist on a traditional American lager, this 5 percent ABV beer is brewed with Zuper Saazer hops for a subtle spiciness.

Decibel Level
2018 U. S. Open Beer Championship, Gold Medal Award Winner

This 6 percent ABV India Pale Lager (not the more commonly seen India Pale Ale, you’ll notice) is heavily dry-hopped with Centennial hops. It boasts bright citrus flavors and a clean, crisp finish from lager yeast.

Footbridge
2017 Beer Army Beer Wars, Silver Medal Award Winner

This 6.5 percent ABV west coast style IPA is brewed with Simcoe, Comet, and Citra hops to create delightful pine and grapefruit aromas and a dry finish.

Red Rider
2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Bronze Medal Award Winner

This 7 percent ABV red IPA has a complex malt bill complemented by hops and honey that the brewers added to the boil. It is then dry hopped with Chinook and Cascade hops for additional hoppy flavor.

TJ’s Ale
2017 Beer Army Beer Wars, Silver Medal Award Winner

Called “TJ’s Ale” because it was inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s original beer recipe, this beer is an old English ale with the addition of molasses. It’s easy drinking at 5.6 percent ABV.

#CharlottesGotALot

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

Fat Boy Porter
2017 European Beer Star, Gold Award Winner

This 8.3 percent ABV baltic porter is bold, full-bodied and dark, featuring flavors of raisins and prunes and a rich maltiness.

Hornet’s Nest Hefeweizen
2017 Great American Beer Festival, Bronze Award Winner

A classic German beer style, this traditionally brewed Hefeweizen is opaque but light and easy drinking, offering notes of banana and clove.

Mecktoberfest
2015 European Beer Star, Gold Award Winner
2012 Great American Beer Festival, Silver Award Winner

A Märzen-style amber lager, Mecktoberfest is brewed in the traditional German Oktoberfest style with Munich malt and noble hops for a fresh, smooth beer-drinking experience.

The Unknown Brewing Company

4.5ish Anniversary Ale
2018 Beer Army Wars, Gold Award Winner
2018 Best of Craft Beer, Gold Award Winner

Brewed in honor of The Unknown Brewing Company’s four-and-a-half year anniversary, this barrel aged golden sour was aged in wine barrels with green figs for a complex, oaky, funky brew.

Bright Ass Tank Top
2018 Beer Army Wars, Gold Award Winner
2018 Best of Craft Beer, Gold Award Winner

This tart, boozy gose is barrel aged in 18-year-old Nicaraguan rum barrels and finished with fresh key limes.

Scratch N’ Sniff
2018 Beer Army Wars, Bronze Award Winner
2016 Carolina Beer Championship, Gold Award Winner

As the name suggests, this is an aromatic IPA made with a whopping seven hop additions of Citra, Azzacca and Lemon Drop hops. Despite the tremendous amount of hops added, the brew itself is light and easy drinking (though certainly on the bitter side).

Venture American Stout
2017 American Brewers Palate, Gold Award Winner
2017 Carolina's Championship, Gold Award Winner
2017 New York International, Gold Award Winner
2017 Beer Army Wars, Gold Award Winner
2017 US Beer Championship, Gold Award Winner

This classic American stout is medium bodied with notes of chocolate, boasting a light roastiness and a smooth malt backbone, as well as additions of west coast hops for a balanced finish.

Thirsty Nomad Brewing

Pride of Tallwood
2018 Beer Army Beer Wars, Bronze Award Winner

This classic English Bitter is sessionable and smooth, malty with a hint of an earthy, spicy hop aroma.

Sweeney
2017 Beer Army Beer Wars, Gold Award Winner
2018 Beer Army Beer Wars, Silver Award Winner

An English Brown Porter with a roasty flavor and aroma, as well as a dark brown color with a thick tan head.

Thai Breaker
2017 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Gold Award Winner
2018 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Bronze Award Winner

This American Wheat Ale is packed with flavor—not surprising, considering it’s brewed using aromatic American hops, lemongrass, ginger, and Thai Basil.

Weissenschild
2017 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Bronze Award Winner

This light, cloudy, American version of a wheat-based beer offers a banana aroma followed by flavors of bread and lemon.

Town Brewing Co.

Emotional Support Badger
2018 NC Brewers Cup, Gold Medal Winner
2019 Beer Army Beer Wars, Gold Medal Winner

A flavorful amber ale brewed with English malt for notes of toasted bread and caramel, balanced by English Challenger hops as well as Cascade hops for an earthy aroma.

#CharlottesGotALot

Triple C Brewing Company

3C IPA
2015 Great American Beer Festival, Bronze Medal Winner

The name “3C” comes from the three C’s of hops this IPA is brewed with: Citra, Centennial, and Chinook. Expect aromas of citrus and passionfruit and, of course, a beer jam-packed with hoppy flavor.

Wooden Robot Brewery

Rèserve Dorèe de Pêche '18
2018 World Beer Cup, Gold Award Winner

This sour golden ale was aged in French Oak Chardonnay barrels for three years before being re-fermented on local Carolina peaches. You’ll notice a unique balance of stone fruit and funky characteristics to complement the rich, fresh fruit notes.