What a great two years it has been, NoDa Brewing!!!

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!

1002131818.jpg

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!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Beers, Buds, Beards, and more Beers

Cat and I were looking through our Beer Cellar at all of the specialty beers and beers not sold in North Carolina that we had accrued on our numerous sojourns of the past six months or so.  We realized that we had some beers that had gotten mixed in that were not optimal for aging.  Either the ABV was below 7.5 or 8% or they were hoppy and we didn’t want to lose all of the hop aroma that makes them distinguishable.  Either way we decided it was a great opportunity to fill the fridge with these beers and have a get together with a few friends and discuss the different beers we wanted to enjoy, and in true Charlotte Beer Couple fashion, we threw in a few that could have sat in the cooler for a long time and a few fresh beers.  So we invited a couple friends over, Cat fired up the pizza stone and we proceeded to make some craft pizza, we actually use craft beer in the dough!

Who was in attendance, you ask?  Great question!  Charlotte has some fine palates when it comes to beer and the team we assembled represent some of these fine folks.  Anyone who drinks (as a group) a 3 Liter bottle of New Holland Dragon’s Milk deserves to be classified as a beer guy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

NICE!  Happy Birthday Rick!

beard group

On the top step, he isn’t that tall, is Robert.  Left to right in the middle are Willis, Dave, then Rick.  I enjoy sharing some good beer with these guys and the conversations that ensue from them are pretty radical.

So Cat started cranking out some awesome pizzas as we tried the first of our beers- a Kolsch from Ballast Point that I kind of spoke in a negative light of after getting home the other night from paying $13 for a six pack that was labeled “Pale Ale” on the can.  Sorry Ballast Point about that- I love your Hoppy and your Dark Beers but I wasn’t expecting that to be a Kolsch.  We started out with that beer because it is an easy ice breaker to the session of beers to come.  A good Kolsch and a good amuse bouche of beer.

The next beer that we sampled was Augustiner Brau Maximator.  This is a German Dopplebock.  Another friend of mine, Rich from Atlanta, is known to buy everyone sitting at the bar an Augustiner.  He always spoke of the Maximator, which is not available in North Carolina for no known reason other than the distributor doesn’t carry it.  So we were in Virginia a few weeks ago and saw it, so we bought it, of course!  The overwhelming consensus was dried fruit, cherry, raisin, prune, etc.  We all agreed there were nice hints of caramel and that the beer was very smooth with a nice uniform flavor because of the lager style.  Excellent suggestion, Rich!

Image

Next up….  Heavy Seas and Devil’s Backbone Land Ho!!!!!  This collaboration beer is RARE in North Carolina, as is any Devil’s Backbone beer.  I have read of them winning more awards at GABF than beers I can actually get my hands on to try.  So when we saw it in Maryland, we grabbed it!  Across the board we all agreed it was a complex dark lager (Black Pilsner to be exact).  Lots of roasty flavor with hints of chocolate or coffee that dissipate immediately finishing in a crisp refreshing manner.  Very unique and well brewed beer.

Image

Next we sampled the Dead Guy Ale from Rogue.  Everyone familiar with craft beer has had this beer but we wanted to reintroduce our palates to something we were comfortable with.  THEN we tried THE BEARD BEER!!!  A very limited amount of bottles of this American Wild Yeast Ale made their way into North Carolina.  There are probably some still available as many people’s curiosity does not overpower their reservations of a beer brewed with yeast that had grown in a human beard!  But not just any beard, this is the Brewmaster of Rogue, John “more hops” Maier.  He has had his beard since 1978 and has brewed over 15,000 beers since then.  As the bottle suggests, it is no wonder the perfect yeast for brewing lives in his beard.  And the beer….  a very easy drinking farmhouse style ale. Very light in color with hints of Banana.  Very refreshing and surprisingly great!

Image

At this point we are getting REALLY excited about the evening.  More pizzas to balance the beers as they are poured.  What is next?  Only the Stone Lucky Bastard!  With the Hops and IBU’s classified, one can only guess what this beer may be like.  Hint: Stone = Hops and a good amber color most of the time.  This beer was pretty easy drinking with a great flavor with hints of malt.  I got some pretty nice hop flavor but not everyone thought the hops were pronounced.  We all agreed that it was rich, caramel, and spicy.  Several people thought the hops were exactly what you would expect from Stone while others thought it was less hoppy.  This beer (per Stone) was supposed to be enjoyed by the end of January.  Therefore my aging of the beer might have dulled the hoppiness.  In conclusion we all loved the beer, yet had somewhat different flavors and aromas from tasting it.  Pretty typical of Stone if you ask me.

Image

Then there was Belgium.  We can not exclude Belgian Beers as they are unique and fun.  So we sampled Trappist Rochefort 6.  This is a Belgian Trappist Ale that is a great introduction to Belgian Ales.  What is the difference between a Trappist Brewery and an Abbey?  Good question!  Trappist is run by Monks, Abbey is created to model a Trappist Brewery without the Monks.  The beer was a slightly fruity, slightly yeasty, slightly sweet, slightly everything well balanced beer.  Overall good but underwhelming.

Image

Maybe the highlight of the night, Dos Cocoas from Terrapin!  This is a re-release of the number 4 beer in Spike’s Side Project Series at Terrapin.  By popular demand they remade this beer.  Thank Goodness!  Chocolate Heaven!!!  This is an amazing Chocolate Porter that several of us said tasted like Liquid Bliss without the peanut flavor.  If you see this on the shelf- buy it, then email me and I will give you my address.  Easily one of my favorites of all times!  One person said it tasted like those chocolate oranges they sell around Christmas time.  Killer Beer, Spike!  While we are talking about Terrapin- they are now available in Virginia! And if you see the Recreation Ale- UM, BUY IT!  It is the best Pale Ale I think I have ever had!

Image

What is the Dank Tank and where can I find it???

Image

Well that is the tank that didn’t need to be removed during expansion because it wasn’t in the way.  Nick, the Brewmaster, was allowed to keep the tank, provided he only used it for SPECIALTY brews.  Since that is his passion he obliged and we have The Dank Tank!!!  You can visit the Sweetwater Brewery next time you visit Atlanta as it is located just outside of the Downtown Atlanta area.  As you can see by the picture they were brewing “Some Strange” when I took this picture in March.  I was on the brew floor filling 25 casks of tasty suped-up beer with Nick and some other friends! Some Strange…..  A Black IPA!  Love these? Do you?  This beer had amazing balance between the roasty dark flavors and the hops.  Neither was overpowering.  I would actually call this a perfectly balanced hoppy dark ale!  We all loved it and wished we had more to enjoy.  Awesome brew, Nick and company!!!

Image

Next up was Blue Mountain Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Hollow Imperial Stout!!!!  The only regret I have is not finding any of the batch that got infected and turned sour called The Sour Devil!!!  I looked everywhere!  Anyone got any extras laying around?  That would have been amazing!!!  But the brew that the brewery INTENDED for us to get originally is pretty epic anyway!  We all agreed the beer was in the Bourbon Barrels for long enough but not too long as it gave it a nice bourbon flavor without overpowering the beer.  I love a good Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout so long as you are still aware that it is a beer you are drinking. Otherwise give me a Woodford Reserve on the rocks and some SEC Football and I am happy, not long now until football!  Anyway we all liked this beer and considered it to be a drinker and not just a sipper.  Bourbon hit you up front and then subsided as you got to also enjoy the taste of this smooth finishing subtle chocolate stout.  Cat said it made her sad to drink it because then it was gone.  I loved that line and thought it was a perfect description of saying good bye to this beer we brought back from up north.

DarkHollowFront

The last beer we sampled was Brew Dog’s Tokyo!  This is an 18.2% alcohol beer that would be illegal to sell in the great state of North Carolina.  Thank goodness our friend Ryan brought this back from his Ireland trip!  This is a Scottish beer brewed as an American Imperial Stout.  If you are confused, that’s alright.  I was too!  This beer starts out ultra sweet and finishes strong on the alcohol but smooth.  18.2%!  I expected it to climb off the table and kick me in the face!  Didn’t happen.  Much smoother than that.  Several people said they tasted mincemeat, like the pie.  Cat and I both compared it to a Port Wine, A fortified sweet wine one would serve with dessert.  This started a discussion as several of our friends were unfamiliar with Port Wine.  Thank goodness we were able to pull a bottle out of the fridge and give everyone samples!  Then we realized we had some left over cupcakes!!! The night before our good friends Mitch and Ally had an engagement party and Cat made the cupcakes, chocolate and Kahlua!!!  Now everyone understood the correlation between the Tokyo and the Port Wine.

BrewDogTokio11.2oz__89415.1314683990.1280.1280

I just want to say THANKS on behalf of Cat and myself to our friends for coming over and sampling some beers, the breweries for the amazing beers they made, and the readers for following us and reading our posts!  Keep drinking local, keep drinking craft, and keep making a difference; one can (o.k. or bottle) at a time!  Without you guys the craft beer movement would not exist!  Cheers!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Birdsong Defines Craft Beer in The Queen City

If you live in or visit Charlotte and haven’t tried any of the beers from Birdsong Brewery, all I can say is GO THERE!  Birdsong Brewing is located literally right next door to NoDa Brewing, who also make some awesome beers.  We usually make a trip out of it and hit both as we can not ever seem to go to one without visiting the other to see what imaginative beer is being produced in both brew houses.  In addition to these neighbors is Heist Brew Pub right down the street combining craft beer and fancy pub food: Ahi Tuna Lollipops, not brats and pretzels.  This Craft Beer destination is located in the North Davidson area of Charlotte- about a mile or so North of Uptown, which is Downtown until you have lived here at least 6 years.  This quaint area of town is known for its music, art, food, and as of the last year and some change, awesome beer.  

Image

I say Birdsong Defines Craft Beer in The Queen City for several reasons.  It is a large group of friends, eight owners, that got together and created this Brewery.  They all serve different roles from Brewing, Bartending and booking live music, to sales.  The Head Brewer, Conor Robinson just turned 25 years old last week.  To say that his best days of brewing could easily still be in the future would not be foolish, nor would it be foolish to say that the beers are already ahead of schedule. 

About the beers you say?  Yes.  The beers.  My personal favorite is The Free Will Pale Ale- combining English Fuggle with American hops to give it a perfect balance and awesome drinkability!  In addition the same exact beer with some fresh jalapenos added to it is the Jalapeno Pale Ale.  Some seeds are added to provide some heat to the beer but only mild heat.  This beer pairs perfectly with Buffalo Wings or Tex Mex food because of the pleasant flavor of the jalapeno without intensifying the Scoville Units, or spiciness, of your dinner.  Cat’s favorite is The Lazy Bird Brown Ale, and I have to admit I love this beer as well every time I try it.  I am a sucker for Cascade hops.  Add that at the end to a deliciously chocolate, caramel, brown ale.  Amazing Beer!  The Higher Ground IPA is one of my favorite IPA’s as it is very approachable yet very complex.  A few of the seasonal beers worth noting are the Mexicali Stout, a strong coffee, chocolate, chili, and cinnamon stout that many believed stole the show at the Charlotte Brewer’s Festival at The Neighborhood Theater back in January.  Hopefully more of this is available this year as it was a home run!  Birdsong has many other beers they offer including a wheat with cherry and plum, a dark rye, a Wit with Thyme, and a Belgian Abbey Ale (which they currently have aging in red wine barrels with cherries called The Pride)!  And then there was the Saison.  I am not going to go the store and pick up a six pack of saisons.  I don’t actually know that many people that would.  However, I like to try everyone’s saison because I believe it is an opportunity to get inside the brewers head and see what they are envisioning and what they are capable of.  Saisons are that one category (love em or leave em) that brewers struggle with how much of what yeast, proper Saison yeast or other yeast, to blend together to get their followers to enjoy.  Some, very few use all Saison yeast.   This difficult balance is what determines the drinkability of the beer and The Up On The Sun Saison has that drinkability and an awesome balance of spicy and sweet.  Conor’s creativity is evident through this beer and the Doin Thyme Wit that encompasses some Belgian yeast as well as fresh Thyme. Another example of Birdsong’s creativity is that they are planning to make a sweet potato beer instead of the more traditional pumpkin beer that many breweries make for the fall. (Or July!) This culinary creativity is not too surprising considering Conor studied Baking and Pastry Arts at Charlotte’s very own Johnson & Wales Campus.  I repeat, defining craft beer in The Queen City.

Image

So what brings us to Birdsong on THIS day to write THIS article?  Simply our love of good craft beer, local sustainability, and the opportunity to meet and hang out with others that value the same principles, and good beer, as we do!  Birdsong and the Charlotte Beer Cast crew decided to get together today and brew a clone of Heady Topper from The Alchemist Brewery in Vermont.  This, from what I hear, over the top double IPA is super piney, but those lucky enough to have tried it almost all love it.  Beer Advocate gave it a 100 and it packs 120 IBU’s!!!  The version brewed at Birdsong on the pilot system today is called Tribute. I can’t wait to try some of this 10 gallon batch when it’s ready!  Look for updates on Facebook and Twitter for when this will be available.  Listen to the podcast on Charlotte Beer Cast, visit the tap room at Birdsong Brewing, and most of all, enjoy the beer!!!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Pirate’s Life for Me

So after hitting three breweries in the Norfolk, Virginia Beach area we headed up the Eastern Shore of Virginia- spotting a key location in the future on our way!!!

Green Flash Coming Soon!

Green Flash Coming Soon!

Green Flash, a giant San Diego Based Craft Brewery making some of the most interesting and awesome craft beers in the world, is constructing a brewery in Virginia Beach. The Brewery is set to open in 2015 as ground-breaking will start this year on this 100,000 barrel brew house. The brewery will be located right outside the gates of Oceana Naval Air Station and 15 minutes from the beach in order to model the original location near Top Gun. We are very excited about getting some more of the amazing beers of the Hop Odyssey Series!

Our adventure continues as we head towards Baltimore- avoiding some newer craft beer hot spots like Williamsburg, Richmond, Fredricksburg, and the D.C. area for obvious traffic reasons and heading straight for the treasure chest- Heavy Seas Beer! We literally passed right by the brewery while our GPS told us we had arrived.  Only a small sign in an industrial park plants the “X” on the treasure map.  After turning around and inspecting the front door to ensure that we were in the right place, we had arrived!!!  On a side note, we later learned the brewery is undergoing another expansion and reconstruction and a hospitality area  with an outdoor patio and seating area are part of the future plan.

Heavy Seas current tap room

Heavy Seas current tap room

Upon entering the brewery we were met by one of the brewers who had previously worked at Terrapin, a personal favorite to many of us.  He awarded us with our pint glasses for sampling the bounty.  We had been informed that Hugh Sisson, the founder of Heavy Seas, would be guiding the tour when we called to book it a few days before.  I must stop the story to tell you all to call ahead- weeks ahead if you can as these tours will fill up.  As we got our first beer I looked around the room and spotted Hugh.  We immediately approached him and introduced ourselves.  His passion and charm were evident from the first words as he took the two of us back to the barrel aging room where a shipment of Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrels had recently arrived and were awaiting being filled.

As the general tour began Hugh started out with a welcoming speech that resembled the Lord’s Prayer in a Pirate accent and all about beer.  This was a great way to get everyone even more excited as we wound our way through the bottling line and then subsequently the brew house.  Hugh told us from the beginning that he had a choice to make- brew the beer or be the face of the company.  He chose to let others do the brewing- based solely on his personality it was a wise choice!

Part of the Heavy Seas bottling line- complete with pirate flag!

Part of the Heavy Seas bottling line- complete with pirate flag!

Every brewery tour we go on we learn something new.  Every brewer emphasizes a different aspect of this very complex process.  Hugh explained the bottling process in much more depth than we had heard prior so we really enjoyed that.  After that we took a tour of the brewery, as it now stands.  Construction is set to begin soon on the next expansion.  Hugh passed out Hops as if giving Communion in a Catholic Church; I said “Amen.”  It was really awesome seeing somebody who had been through so much in the craft beer movement still be so passionate about giving a kick-ass tour to people who may not even be in a place where they can buy and support his product on a regular basis.  After the tour was over we spoke with Hugh about the state of craft beer and what the future may or may not hold.  As we spoke we enjoyed all of the usual suspects including Loose Cannon- one of our Favorite IPAs,  Powder Monkey Pale Ale- named after the smallest guy on the ship who had to carry the gunpowder through live gun fire to the cannons during battle.  If he survived the shift, he certainly deserved a beer!  And to top it off a cask of Red Sky at Night with some fun fruity adjuncts.

This was a super fun brewery tour that we highly recommend.  Call ahead- but if not, show up anyway.  Meet Hugh if you can- as everyone who loves beer should!  Enjoy some awesome beers from one of the smartest entrepreneurs in the craft beer business.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Post From the Road

We are currently heading up the Eastern Shore towards Baltimore, where later today we will tour Heavy Seas before heading to Merriweather Post Pavilion to see Phish. For the past several days, we have been visiting family in Virginia Beach, but we did manage to visit a few breweries, too!

Our first venture was to Beach Brewing Company, who has been open for about two and a half years. They had a small, cozy tap room and Sean behind the bar was outgoing and friendly. We both got the four beer flight.

The four beers they were pouring were Sandshark, a kolsch, Riptide, an altbier, The Kracken, their triple IPA, and Devil’s Take, a brandy-barrel aged imperial stout. Sandshark and Riptide were both awesome easy-drinking ales for summertime. The Kracken, coming in at 10.5 % ABV was surprisingly smooth for a TRIPLE IPA with no heat on the back end. The well-pronounced Amarillo hops gave a distinctive yet familiar flavor. Devil’s Take has the distinction of being the first brandy-barrel aged stout that we have tried. It had a rich fruitiness with hints of cherry and chocolate. 
We were able to talk with owners Justin and Kristin MacDonald, who let us know that they are about to expand into a larger space and increase production. We also asked them about their new neighbor in 2015, Green Flash Brewing Company. They were excited about the possibilities that a nationally recognized craft brewery would bring to the local scene.

Our next stop was O’Connor Brewing Co., where Kevin and his crew have been coming up with awesome exotic craft ales for three years now. Here I’m enjoying my personal favorite, the Great Dismal Black IPA.

image

O’Connor is also planning a move to a MUCH larger facility to accommodate increasing demand, especially for retail bottle 6-packs. Grocery stores in the Norfolk and Virginia Beach area carry a variety of 6-packs including the aforementioned Great Dismal Black IPA, Norfolk Canyon Pale Ale, Green Can Golden Ale, and Red Nun Red Ale. Other offerings include Spy Hop White IPA, El Guapo, an agave IPA, and O’Connor Irish Stout.
If you’re in Norfolk, be sure to swing by the tap room, and hopefully Johannes will be there to pour you a pint or a growler, and offer some great beer knowledge and conversation. He always remembers us when we’re in town.

Our last stop in the Tidewater area was Smartmouth Brewing Company, which opened just last year. We walked into a gorgeous modern tap room, with a glass partition showcasing the copper brew kettles. A large chalkboard covering the wall behind the bar displayed t-shirts and other swag as well as listing the current draft offerings. We both got a flight so we could try all 6 brews available.

All 6 were solid choices. The Alter Ego Saison, a mainstay on the tap wall, was Charles’s favorite. Very approachable, balanced, with a nice farmhouse flavor that wasn’t overpowering. Cat’s favorite was the Bandwagon Pale Ale, made with solely Citra hops. Super crisp and refreshing. Smartmouth offers a wide variety of styles, also including an amber, a cream ale, an IPA and a double IPA. This variety extended to the patrons in the tap room, which had an “everybody’s welcome” kind of vibe.

All in all, we’ve tasted some good brews on our travels this week, and there’s more good stuff to come! Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I know we will!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Embrace the Unknown

Last Saturday was the groundbreaking for The Unknown Brewery just south of the stadiums and Uptown Charlotte. Brad Shell brings a great deal of experience to the hottest brewery town in the South and people have been talking about this brewery opening for a few months; now it is becoming a reality. Having worked for Sweetwater, Terrapin, and Rogue we all know the beer is going to be excellent. What we don’t yet know is the full impact a brewery of this SIZE will have on the local craft beer scene. All are in agreement that the impact will be positive and this was obvious by the turnout from the other local breweries at the groundbreaking. As you can see by the picture below there is PLENTY of space to brew some beer in this facility on Mint street.

unknown 2
Brad hopes to have the Tap Room, pictured below, open for business around the start of football season, although the beer will be brewed at another location. Guests can walk the short distance from Bank of America stadium or the new Knights stadium to try some of the different beers that will be offered.
unknown 1
The Unknown Brewery, once up and running at full capacity will be a much larger operation than the current breweries in the area.  Rest assured this will help the other local breweries to grow as another quality beer will help put Charlotte on the map even more than it is now.  Charlotte has a great history of beer and the story is still being written, just ask Daniel Hartis, the author of Charlotte Beer, as he is already working on a sequel to the book. From Michael Brawley opening the first craft beer store to The Old Mecklenburg Brewery deciding to call Charlotte home, til now, when our first larger-production brewery is opening. These are exciting times and we all expect the bar will be raised with this new brewery opening. Having been a part of the craft beer scene in Charlotte for several years, we can safely say with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning that the best times are still to come. The existing Charlotte breweries are coming up with really awesome beers. Collectively, WE ARE ALL READY to step into the unknown.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Welcome to Huntersville, Duckworth’s!

Rob Duckworth opened the doors to his fourth store in the area this weekend.  Rob has been on the front lines of the craft beer movement since opening the first Duckworth’s in Mooresville in 2004. He brings a creative approach to supporting local and craft breweries, hosting fun events such as pancake breakfasts on the night of annual beer releases.

The new restaurant is set up with 112 beers on tap; and get this, ALL CRAFT BEER!!!   They do carry Bud and Miller products in bottles if that is your fancy.  I’m guessing if you are reading this it is probably not your fermented beverage of choice.  There are SO many great beers on tap that I could not list them all.  If you like Big Dark beers they have Foothills Sexual Chocolate, Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Siren Noir, Terrapin Moo Hoo, and Olde Hickory The Event Horizon!!!  If you are a hop head like myself then you can’t get enough of the selection of IPA’s and Double IPA’s.  To name a few of my favorites- Founders Devil Dancer, Stone Ruination, Moylans Hopsickle, Coronado Idiot IPA, and Triple C 3C IPA!!!  If you are a Belgian Beer drinker, you will find the best Belgian selection found anywhere- Chimay White Tripel, NoDa TriUmphant, Unibroue La Fin Du Monde, and the classic Curieux from Allagash!!!

In addition to all of these great beers, Duckworth’s has shown a devotion to supporting local craft beers from the beginning and they are getting rewarded by one of the hottest young breweries in Charlotte with the introduction of Birdsong’s Duckworthy Series, which will be a series of new beers exclusive to the four Duckworth’s locations.  The first of these is a session IPA at 5.5% alcohol by volume, which is an excellent beer.  They have also created a beer club,  a rewards program where the customers can earn points for trying different beers.  The rewards include trips to beer events and brewery tours as well as beer merchandise.  And it is FREE to sign up!  Note- the specific beers will change but the quality and selection will always be first class.

In addition to great beer, Duckworth’s serves up some of the finest Philly Cheesesteaks in the southeast to compliment great pizzas and an assortment of other traditional American cuisine.  The menu has something for everyone and I have not found anything I didn’t like thus far.  Fresh cut french fries are amazing as a side- get them boardwalk style (tossed in Old Bay Seasoning).

What else could you possibly want?  How about so many flat screen TV’s that you will never miss a minute of action in any game- check!  How about an iPad for a beer menu that will email you the beers you select that you would like to try- check!  How about taps on certain tables and taps on the wall that you can pour yourself- check!  How about an extremely friendly and helpful staff- check!  Nancy, the General Manager, and her crew have done an outstanding job with training the new staff as they are very knowledgeable about the food and the beers they offer.  Our overall impression of the staff would be excitement- they are eager to serve and very happy to be there.  This was the greatest aspect of our visits thus far and will guarantee our patronage for the foreseeable future.  To speak on behalf of the craft beer-thirsty residents of the Huntersville/ Lake Norman area- Welcome to Huntersville, Duckworth’s!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment