You’ve heard of Charlotte. You may have even traveled through town switching planes at the Queen City’s heavily trafficked airport. But did you know it has one of the United States’ fastest growing craft beer scenes?
According to Fortune, Charlotte’s craft beer industry is exploding so rapidly that at last count the number of breweries in the region totals 20. For those of you counting at home, that number equals the number of breweries the Citizen Times lists for cross-state rival, Asheville.
While Charlotte is considered by many to be a corporate town, at least none of its breweries are satellite production facilities for pseudo craft breweries like Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues, or New Belgium. Instead, the city’s breweries are proudly neighborhood businesses quenching the thirst of locals and epitomizing what the craft beer movement is all about. While Charlotte may not be Beer City, USA like Asheville, it’s definitely Beer City, North Carolina.
Charlotte is worth more than just a pass through at the airport for the craft beer fanatic. The next time your travel itinerary includes CLT, book an overnight and explore the city’s craft beer scene. Here are 7 craft breweries that cannot be missed.
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
One cannot check out the Charlotte craft beer scene without paying homage to where it all began. When Olde Meck (as it’s called locally) first opened its doors in 2009, there wasn’t a single craft brewery in town. Thanks to the efforts of owner John Marrino, Olde Meck opened the floodgates to the current craft beer boom Charlotte is experiencing.
Olde Meck brews German style ales and lagers following the German purity laws. Copper is their flagship and a local favorite, but the Captain Jack Pilsner is worth a try for those of you’re wanting to remember what a pilsner should taste like. Olde Meck is also only one of two breweries in Charlotte that has a kitchen. The rest feature food trucks on most nights.
Sugar Creek Brewery
For more on your Charlotte craft beer history lesson, walk a half block to Sugarcreek once you finish a liter or two of lager at Olde Meck. Sugarcreek is located in Olde Meck’s original location and is truly where the current craft beer boom was born in Charlotte. Of course, history isn’t the only reason why you should visit Sugarcreek. They also brew some delicious Belgium inspired ales. From their Saison to their Dubbel, the only thing missing for an authentic Belgium experience are the waffles!
Sugar Creek Dubbel takes silver in Belgian Dubbel category at US Open Beer Championships beating notable competitors, including “Abbey” from New Belgium Brewing. A photo posted by Sugar Creek Brewing Company (@sugarcreekbrewing) on
Triple C Brewery
Triple C Brewery in Charlotte’s South End neighborhood is the perfect example of the city’s youthful vibrancy. Not only do they brew some amazing American style craft beers, but it’s also a neighborhood party on any weeknight or weekend afternoon or evening. The patio is filled with picnic tables, locals enjoying beer, and their four legged friends waiting for you to pet them.
Try the 3C IPA, winner of a 2015 bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival. Or, if you’re looking to spice up your night, try the Baby Maker Double IPA and perhaps make a friend…