Friday, May 15, 2015

Charlotte Breweries

On the first weekend of May, my girlfriend and I made a trip to Charlotte for her birthday.  It was my first time ever in the city and it was great to check out some different places.  Of course, with me being there, we did manage to stop at two breweries that were right next to each other (I swear the trip was for her).

A 15 minute drive from our hotel in the EpiCentre took us to Sugar Creek Brewing Company.  The atmosphere and bar for this place were very nice.  I would later find out this is the previous location of The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, so I guess they weren't starting from scratch?

They had a small menu of sandwiches and salads, which was all we were looking for.  The beers I sampled were Framboise, McColl's Wit, Father Franklin's Patersbier, and the Belgian Dubbel.  They were pretty average across the board for me, but they're pretty easy drinkers and I can definitely see the appeal to someone not quite as into heavier or hoppier beer styles.  The Patersbier was interesting, I've never had the style before.  I actually had the Pale Ale the day before in a bar shortly after we arrived in Charlotte, and was my favorite that I had from Sugar Creek

My one complaint about Sugar Creek would be the service.  We sat at the bar and were pretty much ignored for the majority of our time there and given little to no info on the beer.  It was not busy.  It was actually pretty dead with a few other people at the bar and one full table in the taproom.  The night before when I had the Pale Ale, the brewery toasted my check-in on Untappd (and later toasted all my other check-ins from the brewery) very shortly afterwards.  I guess I was expecting to meet an enthusiastic bartender or two if their owner or whoever takes the time to toast so many people on Untappd.

215 Southside Dr
Charlotte, NC 28217

Our next stop was the previously mentioned Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.  They do not distribute quite yet to Raleigh, but I had their beer once before at Beericana this past September.  This facility was incredible.  An awesome tap room, a huge beer garden with more bars outside, and an insane brewery that we were able to tour.  This is the kind of brewery you stay at all day and never think of hopping to another bar.  There was even a little kid's birthday going.  To the parents who celebrated their ten-year-old's birthday at a brewery, who was that party really for?

Our tour was simply awesome.  We were taken through the entire process, given an extensive history of the brewery, learned all about the owner, and where their inspiration comes from.  If you are ever in the area, I would highly recommend touring Olde Mecklenburg.  It was an all-around great time.  I had their flagship Copper Ale the night before and rated it as average.  They mentioned several times throughout the tour they have no interest in brewing American styles like west coast IPAs or imperial stouts, and they certainly stay true to their style.  At one point in the tour, we were given full pours of the Copper straight from the source.

I must've been caught up in everything because damn that beer was good.  It tasted infinitely better than the Copper Ale I had earlier.  Our tour guide was very upfront with the fact that this place was started with some serious capital from the owner.  As I mentioned earlier, there were previously located where Sugar Creek is now, a closet compared to this compound.  As for the beer, German styles are not nearly as enjoyable for me as some bigger American styles, but everything I had here was solid.  Before the tour I had the Fat Boy Baltic Porter and elsewhere in Charlotte had the Hornet's Nest hefeweizen.

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
4150 Yancey Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28217

Unfortunately, we were not able to make it to NoDa Brewing Company, or The Unknown Brewing Company (who seem to be everywhere I look in Raleigh), but that gives us all the more reason to return to Charlotte!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Beer of the Month - April 2015

My favorite beer from April did not come easily.  I had just worked 9 hours on a Saturday.  It was rainy and cold.  And along with a thousand drunk morons, we were packed like sardines on Fayetteville St in downtown Raleigh.  Brewgaloo 2015.

Ass Clown Brewing Company, out of Cornelius, had by far the longest line.  I've heard of Ass Clown many times, but have never tried them nor seen them on tap here in Raleigh.  Having arrived to the festival later than most because of work, and time not being on my side, at first my girlfriend and I passed on them in favor of some shorter lines.  After making our rounds for an hour or so, we decided we had to try it, despite the line somehow getting longer during this time.

To make our wait more bearable, I would run off and grab us more samples from some of the shorter lines and bring them back while my girlfriend saved our spot.  Veteran move.  We ended up getting three samples from Ass Clown between the two of us and I will say it was 100% worth the wait.  My favorite being the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout.  Awesome peanut butter aroma and flavor.  The chocolate taste was much light, but it worked for me.  I may be in the minority on this, but I liked it more than Sweet Baby Jesus.

Some other favorites from Brewgaloo:
-Ass Clown Orange IPA
-Pisgah Brewing Company GreyBeard IPA
-Fullsteam Coffee Is For Closers

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout (from Untappd)
Ass Clown Brewing Company
7.1% ABV, ?? IBU
Rate: 4.5/5