Charlotte has the second-largest craft beer scene in North Carolina, with over 20 breweries calling the Queen City home. Two of those, NoDa Brewing and The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, are some of the highest-producing breweries in the state. Enjoy your suds responsibly with this list of some of the best breweries in Charlotte.
As Charlotte’s oldest brewery, OMB’s outstanding feature is its eight-acre, German-style Biergarten. The German influence extends to honoring Germany’s purity guidelines for their beers, sausage-heavy cuisine, and the name, derived from a region of Germany where Queen Charlotte was born. Tours of the state-of-the-art brewery have been dubbed some of the best in the nation.
Situated in Charlotte’s historic arts and entertainment district of North Davidson, or NoDa for short, this brewery focuses on small-batch brews and customer feedback to guide their creations. Every Tuesday, NoDa Brewing taps a new taproom-only release, coined their NoDable series, with the promise to never pour the same brew twice. Try a Hop Drop ‘N Roll (an IPA), their most popular beer.
This brewpub doubles as a restaurant featuring wood-fired, upscale pub grub to pair with their Belgian-inspired brews. Heist’s open, rustic space has a loft area overlooking the brewery operations, a wraparound bar, and large garage doors opening to their spacious courtyard that puts their beautiful brick building, a former textile mill, in full view.
Another Belgian-focused brewery, Sugar Creek decided to focus on this beer style because Belgian brewers were rule-breakers. This approach has led to a raspberry white ale and potent Dubbels and Tripels. Taking over Olde Mecklenburg’s original taproom, Sugar Creek’s owners transformed the space with a striking ceiling of long shipping rope, reclaimed wood, and beautiful chandeliers to create what they describe as “maritime steampunk.” Its inspiration came from one of the founders’ time as a United States Merchant Marine.
Another Charlotte brewery with a huge outdoor area, Sycamore Brewing attracts active folks thanks to its location off of Charlotte’s Rail Trail, keeping it full of runners and bikers pre- or post-workout. Weekends can get pretty busy, especially on Food Truck Fridays, and at least one food truck sets up shop each day in the beer garden.
The intricate wooden bar at this neighborhood brewery serves as its most striking feature, and the community has been so responsive to Legion’s beers and atmosphere that renovation of a second location in the South Park area has begun. Fans of honey-brewed beers should try the Graham Cracker Amber or Imperial Winnie the Brew, made with 120 pounds of raw clover honey. Free tours happen every Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm.
One glance at Unknown Brewing’s website, and their commitment to being adventurous becomes apparent, especially considering they once brewed a beer with honest-to-goodness food-grade scorpions from Thailand. Quotes from Hunter S. Thompson and pictures of skydivers and streakers give a glimpse into their culture, and they encourage fans to become part of their Fearless Society to be in the know about events and releases. The stripped-down space has few chairs but does contain a ping pong table and arcade games, plus lots of neon green, their signature color.
A large glass wall separating the modern taproom and production facility serves as the focal point of Triple C’s space. Folks seeking out a smoked beer—not easy to find in Charlotte—should order the Grill Fiend, their flagship smoked amber ale, or go for their 3C IPA, a bronze winner at the Great American Beer Festival.
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