Nicknamed the Queen City, Charlotte and its resident county are named in honor of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who had become queen consort of Great Britain the year before the city’s founding. A second nickname derives from the American Revolutionary War, when British commander General Cornwallis occupied the city but was driven out by hostile residents, prompting him to write that Charlotte was “a hornet’s nest of rebellion”, leading to the nickname The Hornet’s Nest.  Consider your learned…

As some of you may or may not know, but my best friend T lives in Charlotte NC.  He decided to move down there in 2002 because he thought the streets were paved with gold and that he would have a great life.  Since moving there, he now has great employment, a wife, a beautiful little girl and a child to be named later.   Anyways, the joke is on him because Charlotte’s craft beer movement is several years ahead of us in Buffalo…so…..I’m depressed now. 😦

Anyways, my wife and I usually try to make one trip down to Charlotte once per year to visit him and his family.  My wife was especially pushing for a trip down there because she wanted to see Natalie Merchant  play with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra after missing the show when she played locally.  Thankfully, the same weekend she was playing in Charlotte also happened to be the tail end of Charlotte Craft Beer Week too.  (I love it when a plan comes together…)  We could talk about the food we ate, the concert, my friend but this is my drinking blog, so let’s get to the good stuff….beer.

The weekend was kind of a pain in the ass with our flights going to and from Charlotte.  Our flight to Cleveland was delayed due to snow in the greater cleveland area, which they then put us on a direct flight to Charlotte….almost three hours later.  Stranded…I decided to try my hand at this white whale…

  • ABInBev Bud Light Lime ~ Light Lager ~ 4.2% ABV ~ 2.34 /5 Rating

After landing, grabbing our rental car, finding food and checking into our hotel, it was too late to hit to head out to Taco Mac for the special event that they had going on for the evening.  When in Charlotte and late at night, Duckworths is always a great reliable craft beer stop.  Duckworths is one of the premier craft beer bars in the county with a huge diverse tap selection and great food.

From Duckworths, we headed over to a newer Charlotte establishment called World of Beer.  This place was really nice ad they featured 8 coolers filled with bottles and roughly 50 taps, with 15 taps designated for local Charlotte breweries.  The bar itself is a long winding bar that is L shaped, plenty of tables around and a small outside patio just off the sidewalk.  While there, I was able to take my shots at these beers…

After saturday lunch, we went to one of my favorite small breweries, Ass Clown Brewing Company . I had been to their original facility about a year after Matt first opened up.  I loved his beers because he was making unique combinations of beers that no one else was doing and killing every single one of them.  Every beer that he made was outstanding and unique, so I was really looking forward to this part of the trip because Ass Clown had moved into a bigger brewing facility with an appropriate tasting room.  Although I liked the new place, the beers just didn’t seem to pop like they had previously.  Please don’t get me wrong, every beer we tried was still good but definitely down a notch on the flavor profile…but still good enough.

…an interesting thing was that when we are at Ass Clown, I ran into the head brewers of Kueka Brewing and Rooster Fish Brewing there.  While not exactly a brush with greatness (other than those guys meeting me, of course), it was just funny to run into a couple of brewers from the finger lakes region of NY, down in North Carolina on a random weekend.

From Ass Clown Brewing, we headed back to Charlotte for a stop at Triple C Brewing.  Triple C is another one of Charlotte’s newer breweries given that they have been open for a little over one year now.  While their building is a solid brick building with a good sized tasting room, the beers themselves were rather pedestrian and nothing outside the box.  While nothing that we tried was bad by any means, it was a very typical lineup with a stout, blonde, red ale, pale ale, and two IPAs.  Here is what I tried while there…

From Triple C Brewing, we made the short drive over to The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery for a couple more before heading downtown for the concert that night.  Olde Meck is really Charlottes first real craft brewery, as they have been in business for just short of three years now.  The stigma about Olde Meck is that they brew strictly german style beers following Reinheitsgebot (aka German Beer Purity Law of 1516).  The tasting room at Olde Meck is set up as a old world german beer drinking hall, with flags of the different german regions hanging from above and long picnic tables.  Mecktoberfest had won the silver medal at the 2012 GABF for the catrgory of German Style Marzen.  I sampled on these great offerings while there…

On sunday afternoon, we headed to lunch at Queen City BBQ in downtown for some smoked meats.  The place is very wide open with an elevated bar, a side bar, and plenty of open seating.  Their food was decent, although their Worlds Best Macaroni n Cheese was probably not the best in the world, but the meats were very good, nice smoke to them and their in house sauces were decent.  One of the reasons why my buddy took us here was for their beer selection too.  While I didn’t go for anything crazy, I did want to drink an old reliable friend who I don’t get any distro on, so I couldn’t pass it up…

After lunch, we headed over to a new beer bar called VBGB Beer Hall & Garden.  This place is set up in a new music park with a really good sized ampitheater and several other music bars around it.  The place is very spacious with long, high tables, a M shaped bar, a side room with several tables, a huge outdoor patio (covered with a heated tent in the winter) that features several ping pong tables, cornhole and a large sized chess board on an elevated platform.  Behind the back of the patio area, they were working on the construction of a dozen sand volleyball courts.  Unfortunately, when we went, more than half of their taps were down due to a compression issue.  Thankfully, one of the available choices was…

Inspired by their beers, we had to ever over there now.  NoDa Brewing Company is located in an industrial section of Charlotte on the northern side of the city.  Their tasting room is a decent sized one with about 15 tables and about a dozen stools at the bar.  We also ran into the guys from Kueka and Rooster Fish again too and chatted about the doings of the Finger Lakes Brewing Trail.  My only slight against Noda was that they refused to fill growlers that weren’t their own.  Unfortunately, I only had Bruery growlers that I was planning on filling and mailing back to California fro my buddy Matt.  Noda also holds onto the other Charlotte brewery that also earned a medal at the 2012 GABF.  They had earned a silver medal with their CoCo LoCo, an american styled porter made with toasted organic coconut….oddly enough, there was no silver medalist in this category last year, just two silver medals and a bronze.

Directly across the street from NoDa Brewing is Birdsong Brewing, another newly opened Charlotte brewery.  The tasting room is a little smallish and cramped, they do have a nice sized front patio with many tables and couches.  We were a little pressed for time unfortunately, so we didn’t get to stay very long.

While the trip was fun, it was also exhausting as sleep was at a minimum for the weekend and our return flights were a fiasco on their own, with flight delays and having to run from plane A to plane B in 20 minutes in different terminals in Newark.

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