Two years ago this week NoDa Brewing opened its doors to the public. Todd and Susie Ford, along with Head Brewer Chad Henderson set out on an extremely risky venture, risking their retirement savings to invest in a brewery in an unproven craft beer market. Let’s turn back the clock two years. OMB had been open for two years and making some good quality German style Lagers. John at Four Friends was making some small batch local ales, the Queen City Red was the most popular. Birdsong, Triple C, Heist, The Unknown Brewing Company, and Free Range were all not on the radar at that time for the craft beer lover. And other than a few bottle shops, we were still a “Bud Light Town.”
Owners Todd and Susie Ford
In October 2011, I, and many other Charlotteans, try Coco Loco for the first time. WOW!!! That is a really awesome beer- not like anything else in the city at that time. The Ramble on Red was great, Hop, Drop, and Roll was a legitimate IPA that could stand up to the boldness of a west coast IPA with the freshness we could not enjoy on the east coast until Greg Koch and the crew at Stone came out with the “Enjoy By” Series. Coco Loco won the Silver Medal at The Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado for Robust Porter category in the first year of the brewery’s existence! In addition, NoDa Brewing, for those followers not in North Carolina or familiar with the brewery, presents a NoDable series each Tuesday. This is a pilot batch of some experimental or new beer every week for 104 weeks now. Now THAT is some creativity! Of course EVERYONE at the brewery gets involved in coming up with these ideas and this is one of the reasons the brewery is always coming up with new ideas. Some of the beers that have come from this are the Midnight Madness (Cascadian or Black IPA), The NoDajito (Belgian Wit with Mint and Lime- yes, it tastes like a Mojito). The former is Cat’s favorite. The latter is my least favorite they have ever made. It sold like crazy and I appreciated the originality, just not my style of beer. That being said we are always looking to see what is next because of the diversity with which they are able to develop a wide assortment of awesome beers.
So as two years have gone in the books, the staff at NoDa has grown as has the demand for their beer. Scott and Lindsay do an amazing job representing the company and are two of the most beer savvy people I know. The production and delivery group have grown as well. The relationships have changed and strengthened as us restaurant managers have grown into the craft beer movement. When NoDa brewery opened just two years ago I was still not fully involved in the craft beer movement as I was just learning to like beers with flavor. For this I personally owe NoDa Brewing a big Thank you! And for all of the AMAZING beers on tap for the Anniversary, I also owe NoDa a big Thank you. Rum Barrel Aged Gordegous was my favorite. Bourbon Barrel Aged Gordegous was Cat’s favorite. Or was it Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Coco Loco, or 2012 TriUmphant? Who knows- amazing beers!
So what is to come??? How about cans!!! NoDa started canning beer on October 2, 2013. They will have a full canning line installed in the brewery over the next few months but in the mean time are canning beer through a third party canning truck. Super fresh and Super Awesome!
Above is a picture of Charles proudly displaying the NoDa cans the first day they were canned.
One thing is for sure. NoDa Brewing has helped put Charlotte on the map. The passion they all show for the beer they make is symbolized by the small note on the window from inside that faces the tap room that reads, “Smile, we get to make beer!” Yes you do! And the only thing better than that is that we get to drink that beer! Keep making beer NoDa, and we will continue to drink it anytime we CAN!
By the way, I hear that some of the very special brews they brought out for the anniversary celebration are still available at the tap room, so go try those limited batches before they run out!