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?

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 Brewery - Photography by Justin Gollmer

Key Lime Kolsch
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Honorable Mention

With a hint of graham cracker sweetness, this 4.3 percent ABV Key Lime Kolsch is pleasantly tart with a lingering finish and a bright ribbon of key lime flavor.

Jalapeño Pale Ale
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Honorable Mention

This 5.5 percent ABV brew starts with a Free Will Pale Ale, then adds in a hefty dose of fresh-picked jalapeño peppers with the seeds removed, so you can enjoy a subtle flavor and aroma without the heat.

Be Easy Berliner Weisse
2018 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Bronze Award Winner

This traditional German-style Berliner Weisse 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 North Carolina 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 - Photography by Cody Hughes

Pink Blazer Hefeweizen
2018 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Gold Award Winner

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

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

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

#CharlottesGotALot

Divine Barrel Brewing

Neighborhood: NoDa

Beer Flavored Beer
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Silver Award Winner

If you need tasting notes on this American Lager... please reference the beer name! A crisp, clean American Lager that’s beer flavored.

The Big Lubelski
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Gold Award Winner
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 - Photography by Jamey Price

Heist Brewery

Neighborhood: NoDa

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 - Photography by Kyo H. Nam

Penguin Pilsner
2020 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Silver Award Winner

This flagship American Lager features US-grown Saaz hops lending it a mild, floral aroma.

Sláinte
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Bronze Award Winner
2021 Best of Craft Beer, Bronze Award Winner
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.

Lenny Boy Brewing Co. - Photography by Jamey Price

Czech Please
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Honorable Mention

A crisp, dry hopped Pilsner balanced with a clean, light flavor profile.

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
2019 Beer Army Awards, Gold Medal Winner
2016 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Silver 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 to drink 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.

#CharlottesGotALot

NoDa Brewing Company

Neighborhood: NoDa

Hop Drop n’ Roll American IPA
2021 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Gold Medal Winner
2014 World Beer Cup, Gold Medal Winner

This West Coast style IPA hits you with a ton of juicy hop flavor that shines out from a substantial and complex malt backbone.

Coco Loco Robust Porter
2021 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Bronze Medal Winner
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
2020 and 2018 Great American Beer Festival, Gold Medal Winner

Instead of using the usual pumpkin beer spices of cinnamon and nutmeg, NoDa Brewing uses real pumpkin puree, cardamom, cloves, allspice, brown sugar and ginger for a unique twist on this traditional fall beer style.

Maibock
2021 U.S. Open Beer Championship Bronze Medal Winner
2020 Great American Beer Festival, Silver Medal Winner

This Maibock is a pale lager with the full-flavored breadiness of a Bock, but with less caramel sweetness and roast notes, balanced to perfection with German hops.

CAVU
2021 Great American Beer Festival, Bronze Medal Winner

Cavu is a light-colored ale that presents itself with hints of tropical fruit and citrus from west coast hops, then finishes clean and bright… like a cool breeze on a summer day.

Lager Days
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Bronze Medal Winner

A crisp, easy-drinking lager with slight hints of hop flavor, this lager is the perfect balance of simple and complex.

#CharlottesGotALot

Hazy Skies Hefeweizen
2021 Great American Beer Festival, Bronze Medal Winner (Top 5 Most Entered Categories)
2020 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Bronze Award Winner

A pale, refreshing German wheat ale with a dry finish, fluffy mouthfeel, and banana-clove character that is brewed with three different types of wheat malt.

Harvest Saison
2020 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Bronze Medal Winner

A traditional Saison brewed with biscuit malt, roasted whole sugar pie pumpkins, brown sugar, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg and ginger.

Pub Ale
2021 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Gold Medal Winner

An English Style Pale Ale that is perfectly balanced between malt and hops for an easy drinking session ale.

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

Sugar Creek Brewing

Neighborhood: LoSo

Belgian Dubbel
2021 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Silver Medal Winner
2018 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Gold Medal Winner 2018 Best of Craft Beer Awards, Gold Medal Winner
2018 Beer Army Wars, Gold Medal Winner
2017 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Silver Award Winner
2015 U.S. Open Beer Championship, 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 Pilsner
2020 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Gold Medal Winner

This lager is exceptionally delicate, brewed using a traditional decoction mash with a single-ingredient grist of the finest Pilsner malt available. The result is a gleaming, golden-colored beer with a mellow yet full-flavored malt body.

Mocha Java Porter
2020 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Bronze Medal Winner

If you are a coffee and chocolate lover, you will enjoy this exceptionally smooth and drinkable beer with some mild dark fruit flavors, hints of roasted malt nuttiness, and a bittersweet dark chocolate coffee 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 U.S. Open Beer Championship, 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.

Sugar Creek Pale Ale
2018 Beer Army Wars, Gold Medal Winner
2016 North Carolina Brewers Cup, 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.

Biere De Garde
2017 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Silver Medal Winner
2016 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Gold Medal Winner
2016 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Gold Medal Winner
2016 Best of Craft Beer, Gold 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.

#CharlottesGotALot

Sycamore Brewing

Neighborhood: South End

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

#CharlottesGotALot

Yard Breather
2020 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Bronze Medal Award Winner

An East Coast style IPA brewed with Columbus, Citra, and Mosaic hops.

Cran Da
2020 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Bronze Medal Award Winner

This 4.8 percent ABV cranberry Berliner-Style Weisse is brewed with 300 pounds of fresh cranberry purée added.

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.

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.

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.

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

Mecktoberfest
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Bronze Award Winner
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.

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.

Devil's Logic Brewing - Photography by Cody Hughes

Hasty Generalization
2020 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Gold Medal Winner

Hasty generalizations can lead to missing out on this ESB. Coming in at 4.9 percent ABV, it has medium body and strong malt aroma highlighted by notes of caramel.

Control ALT
2020 Great American Beer Festival, Silver Medal Winner

This medium body brew has a slight toastiness with aromas of baked bread and a balanced bitterness.

Komunity
2020 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Bronze Award Winner

This Kölsch has a light body, fruity aroma, and balanced sweetness.

Crushing Pils
2021 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Gold Medal Winner

This light-bodied German-style Pilsner is dry and crisp, with medium bitterness and noble hop aromas.

Town Brewing Co. - Photography by Kate Magee

Barrel Aged Varsity
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Gold Medal Winner

This English Barleywine is aged in whiskey barrels and has an ABV of 10.9 percent.

Holographic Dreamscape
2020 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Gold Medal Winner

A Vienna-style lager, this beer is characterized by a malty aroma and slight malt sweetness.

Cruise to Nowhere
2019 and 2020 Great American Beer Festival, Gold Medal Winner

A contemporary Gose, this session Sour Ale is brewed with mango, passion fruit, guava, blood orange, and hibiscus.

Emotional Support Badger
2019 Beer Army Beer Wars, Gold Medal Winner
2018 North Carolina Brewers Cup, 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.

Triple C Brewing Company

Babymaker
2020 Great American Beer Festival, Silver Medal Winner

This IPA contains massive amounts of Amarillo, Azacca, Cascade, and Glacier hops in three different dry hop additions which provide intense fruitiness and spicy grapefruit hop aromas and flavors with low perceived bitterness.

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.

#CharlottesGotALot

Baller Beer
2021 and 2020 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Bronze Medal Winner

Named after the Cannon Ballers baseball club Mascot, this beer is a crisp, smooth lager brewed with local malt and toasted rice, and was created as a celebration of the spirit of the people of the Piedmont region.

Guava Lamp
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Silver Medal Winner

This European sour ale clocks in at a light 5.5 percent ABV and is a blend of 50 percent sour ale aged for over a year in French and American Oak Barrels, and 50 percent fresh sour ale with loads of fresh guava puree.

Sun Savvy Wheat
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Gold Medal Winner

This 5.1 percent ABV is brewed using both local and German malted wheat. This easy refreshing wheat beer packs in the flavor with citrus peels, toasted coriander and Nelson Sauvin Hops.

#DADGAMESTRONG
2020 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Bronze Medal Winner

Clocking in at a light and easy drinking 5.4% ABV, it's the perfect amber lager to accompany you whilst grilling the perfect steak, mowing the lawn, or telling stories about your feats on the old ball field.

Driveway Sesh
2020 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Gold Medal Winner

Clocking in at an easy drinking 5.1percent ABV, this beer is a little different and showcases the hot new hop variety Sabro, with Citra as a trusty sidekick and a cameo from El Dorado. It's a juicy and CLEAR session IPA that makes you think you’re drinking an orange creamsicle.

#CharlottesGotALot

Emmer
2020 Great American Beer Festival, Silver Medal Winner
2020 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Bronze Medal Winner

If you want a beer with substance and a refreshing taste, Emmer Wheat is your beverage of choice. As a base beer, it’s a smooth tasting beverage with a little grit to it. It’s both rich in history – and rich in taste.

Euchre Golden Ale
2020 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Gold Medal Winner

This 3.8 percent ABV Euchre is a light, easy drinking Golden Ale with a touch of liberty hops. It’s a crisp, refreshing beer that is perfect for an afternoon break with your canine companion or for a gathering of friends.

Stinnes Helles Lager
2020 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Gold Medal Winner

This Munich Helles Lager is a beer of finesse, with delicate grainy malt notes and a whisper of the noble Mittelfrüh hops, that all together melds into a smooth and soft, yet subtly complex profile.

Protagonist - Southend Brewery

Sir Marcus- Southend Brewery
2021 Great American Beer Festival, Silver Medal Winner

This 4.1 percent ABV English ale is a light, fruity and toasty ale brewed using the parti-gyle method in order to celebrate English pub ales.

Air is Beautiful
2021 Great American Beer Festival, Gold Medal Winner

This 5.6 percent ABV Brett Saison is rested on macerated Florida kumquats with a secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces bruxellensis yeast.

Queen Charlotte
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Gold Medal Winner

This royal brew is a traditional Pilsner base hopped in the kettle with Zuper Saazer and Montueka, giving it a crisp, clean and elegant taste — just like the Queen City.

#CharlottesGotALot

Suffolk Punch Brewing

Neighborhood: LoSo

Pulp Prescription- NEIPA
2020 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Silver Medal Award Winner

This hazy IPA is double dry hopped with Citra, Lemondrop, and Motueka hops that produce a taste of pulpy orange juice and tropical fruit. This hazy IPA has over six pounds of hops per barrel!

Surette Saison
2020 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Bronze Medal Award Winner

This is a barrel-aged Sour Beer.

#CharlottesGotALot

Highly Dramatic NEIPA
2020 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Bronze Medal Award Winner

This New England-style IPA is an evolving brew currently on Version 14. Each version is made with a slightly different variety of hops including Wai-iti, Rakau, Lotus, Amarillo, Citra and Kohatu hops which makes for a light-bodied, tart and dry IPA.

Holy Bananas
2020 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Bronze Medal Award Winner

Now called Great Musa Hefeweizen, this 5.5 percent ABV is a great, refreshing beer with classic banana aroma and flavor from the Hefeweizen yeast strain used during fermentation.

#CharlottesGotALot

Apricot Habanero
2021 Great American Beer Festival, Bronze Medal Winner

This 5.2 percent ABV spicy wheat ale starts with the sweet taste of apricots and finishes with the assertive bite of habaneros; a perfect beer for some chips and salsa!

#CharlottesGotALot

Aislinn’s Amber
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Bronze Medal Winner

This 6 percent ABV Amber was created with an elevated hop profile. The blend of Cascade, Citra and Nugget hops balance out the rich, sweet malts to provide a peppy finish to this smooth, toasty ale.

#CharlottesGotALot

2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup - Brewery of the Year
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup - New Brewery of the Year

Cemetery Gates
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup,
Gold Medal Winner 2021 Great American Beer Festival, Bronze Medal Winner

Black as midnight and smooth as silk, this Smoked Porter is brewed with applewood smoked malt, chocolate, black, and crystal malts with a touch of oats for a rich, decadent mouthfeel. The subtle smokiness isn’t overpowering, and melds harmoniously with the Robust Porter base.

Three Hour Tour
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Gold Medal Winner

This Blonde Ale with toasted coconut, vanilla and a special blend of malts tastes like liquid coconut cream pie; a tropical escape in a glass!

Edge of Precipice
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Gold Medal Winner

This 5 percent ABV dry hopped Pale Ale is crisp and crushable, with notes of citrus, tropical fruits, candied orange, and sweet pine.

Juicy McJuiceFace
2021 North Carolina Brewers Cup, Silver Medal Winner

Low bitterness and tons of flaked oats provides a silky smooth body to support an obscene amount of Tropical American Hops in this New England/ Hazy IPA.

#CharlottesGotALot

Réserve Dorée 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 refermented on local Carolina peaches. You’ll notice a unique balance of stone fruit and funky characteristics to complement the rich, fresh fruit notes.