Apr 18, 2016 - Food and Drink

A beginner’s guide to Charlotte craft beer

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Whether you’ve lived here for years or you’re a Queen City newcomer, there’s one thing you’ll learn sooner or later – Charlotte loves craft beer.

With breweries and specialty beer shops popping up all over the city, craft beer has quickly become core to Charlotte’s identity. But if you aren’t familiar with craft beer, the whole scene can be a little intimidating.


I’ll admit, before I moved to South End three years ago, I had little interaction with craft beer. In college, the go-to was Natty Light (shudder) but I would occasionally dabble in some Blue Moon (fancy). Now, I live within walking distance to three breweries and I’m a total craft beer convert.

You, too, can become a Charlotte craft beer  enthusiast. To aid you in your path to craft beer nirvana, here’s a handy guide:

If you regularly order Michelob ULTRA or Bud Light…

Sycamore Brewing’s ‘Southern Girl Blonde’ – 5.1% ABV
Southern Girl is an easy-to-drink American blonde ale, perfect year-round. Drink it out on Sycamore’s patio and bring your furry best friend.

Triple C Brewing Co.’s ‘Golden Boy’ – 4.5% ABV
This golden-colored ale offers a toasted malt character and slight Mt. Hood hop flavor. Translation: this is nice, refreshing beer you should drink on a hot summer day.

Cheers to Kelli. #triplecbrewing | #macsspeedshop | #doitforkelli

A photo posted by Triple C Brewing Co. (@triplecbrewing) on

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s ‘Southside Weiss’ – 5.4% ABV
Southside Weiss is a smooth, refreshing unfiltered wheat ale. It offers citrus notes and a subtle, wheat-inspired sweetness. Pro tip: enjoy it with one of OMB’s large soft pretzels with beer cheese.

If you’re more into Sam Adams…

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s ‘Copper’ – 4.8% ABV
OMB Copper is an authentic Dusseldorf-style “Altbier.” This easy-drinking lagered ale is brewed with Bavarian hops in strict accordance with the German beer purity law (yeah, that’s a thing).


Legion Brewing’s ‘Dos Amigos’ – 5% ABV
Unfiltered and unafraid, this rustic lager is brewed with a traditional decoction-style mash to add a light, toasted malt aroma and flavor. Pro tip: after brews, head across the street to The Diamond for dinner.

NoDa Brewing Company’s ‘Ramble on Red’ – 5.2% ABV
Described as a “red ale with character,” this beer features the unique combination of rye malt and Belgian Special B grains with Challenger hops. Want a behind-the-scenes look at how craft beer is made? NoDa’s North End location will start offering brewery tours this spring/early summer.

If you like fruity flavors…

Sugar Creek Brewing Co.’s ‘Raspberry White Ale’ – 4.4% ABV
Offered seasonally, this beer is based on a traditional 14th-century Belgian recipe revived by the brewers at Sugar Creek. It’s made with more than 500 pounds of fresh raspberries and offers a clean, yet subtle, tartness.

It's a Raspberry kind of day! #Cheers

A photo posted by Sugar Creek Brewing Company (@sugarcreekbrewing) on

The Unknown Brewing Co.’s ‘Ginger Wheat’ – 5.1% ABV
Creamy and smooth, this wheat beer has a light citrus flavor with just the right amount of ginger. Sip on this while you play ping pong in Unknown’s tap room.

Wooden Robot Brewery’s ‘Thicket as Thieves Blackberry Sour Ale’ – 5.1% ABV
This beer is a sour farmhouse ale brewed entirely with local malt from Riverbend Malt House. It’s then re-fermented over one pound per gallon of blackberry puree for delightfully tart flavor.

If you are really into coffee…

Wooden Robot Brewery’s ‘Good Morning Vietnam’ – 5.0% ABV
This coffee vanilla blonde ale was brewed in collaboration with Charlotte’s Enderly Coffee. It’s made with fresh-roasted Madagascar vanilla beans. This one’s a personal fav.

Have you tried the new batch of Good Morning Vietnam yet? This batch of our coffee vanilla blonde ale was brewed using coffee from local roasters Enderly Coffee Co. and may be the best yet! Be sure to give it a try and let us know what you think. #cltbeer #cltcoffee

A photo posted by Wooden Robot Brewery (@woodenrobotbrewery) on

NoDa Brewing Company’s ‘Coco Loco’ – 6.2% ABV
This robust porter is deep, rich and delicious. It has a base of chocolate and brown malts and it’s balanced with sweet notes of organic coconut.

Heist Brewery’s ‘French Toasted Joe’ – 7% ABV
French Toasted Joe is an oatmeal stout brewed with coffee, maple and cinnamon. It’s rich and full-flavored with prominent notes of chocolate and dark coffee. Think of it like brunch in a beer glass.

If you aren’t afraid of a little kick…

Birdsong Brewing Co.’s ‘Jalapeño Pale Ale’ – 5.5% ABV
This unique beer is brewed with fresh, hand-cut jalapeños. It’s refreshing, crisp and—don’t be scared—not super spicy. Pro tip: it pairs well with the peanuts in Birdsong’s tap room.

Since you're not watching the #Panthers play today, swing by the tap room & have a proper #SundayFunday! We've got @librettosstreetpizza food truck on site from 1-6! #cltbeer #cltfood

A photo posted by Birdsong Brewing Company (@birdsongbrewing) on

Legion Brewing’s ‘Peppa King Porter’ – 6.3% ABV
Brewed using chocolate habaneros, ancho chiles and cocoa powder, Legion took a classic robust porter and kicked it up a notch. This one is both sweet and spicy.

The Unknown Brewing Co.’s ‘Vehopciraptor’ – 9.9% ABV
Available seasonally, the Vehopciraptor is a double IPA that packs a serious bite. It’s brewed with seven hop varieties and it’s not for the faint of heart. Just practice saying the name before you order.

If you are gluten-sensitive…

Red Clay CiderWorks’ ‘Queen City Common’
Clean and crisp, Queen City Common is Red Clay’s flagship cider. It’s semi-dry and lightly tannic with medium carbonation. It’s a little bit sweet and very easy to drink. Pro tip: In addition to its ciders, Red Clay always offers a few local beers on tap.

Lenny Boy Brewing Co.’s ‘Good Ol’ Ginger’
If you aren’t familiar with kombucha, it’s a non-alcoholic fermented beverage. It’s gluten-free and is actually supposed to be great for your immune and digestive systems. Good Ol’ Ginger is made with organic ginger and it’s only 15 calories.

Tap room draft selection looking strong! Open at 4pm stop by for some flights, pints, and growlers to go!

A photo posted by Lenny Boy Brewing Company (@lennyboybrewingco) on

Wooden Robot Brewery’s ‘Extra Good Gluten Reduced Pale Ale’ – 5.4% ABV
While this beer still has some gluten in it, it’s treated with an enzyme to reduce the amount. It still offers all the hoppy deliciousness of a regular pale ale, whether you are sensitive to gluten or not.

If you want options…

Craft Tasting Room & Growler Shop
Located in Charlotte’s Gold District, Craft is the perfect place to try out a variety of beers. It always has a great local selection, plus flight offerings. Order a flatbread pizza, too. You won’t be disappointed.

Sunday Funday #Repost @carolinas_sunshine with @repostapp. ・・・ This is one of my favorite places @craftgrowlershop Don't you wish you had this! #cheers #cltcraftbeer #cltpizza

A photo posted by Craft Tasting Room & Growler (@craftgrowlershop) on

The Beer Growler
While the Beer Growler mainly sell growlers (hence the name), it also offers flights and has a unique, rotating selection of both local and regional beers. If you find one you like, you can get a growler of it and take it home with you.

Want to try craft beer in the comfort of your own home? Try BREWPUBLIK. It’s a subscription service that allows you to get craft beer delivered to your door every month. Starting at just $20 a month, you can tailor your selections to your personal taste.

(Note: This content was co-created with Charlotte’s got a lot.)


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