Beer is almost deified in Belgium, and with good reason: many of the beers are brewed in hallowed monasteries by monks, or sponsored by centuries-old abbeys. While there are no Trappist breweries in North Carolina, Rob Jacik thinks the state’s beers should be treated with the same esteem.
Where better to worship NC’s beers than at Carolina Beer Temple, the bottleshop/bar that Rob and his wife Megan will open early next year in Matthews (131-1C Matthews Station St). The name was inspired by their trip to Belgium, where they were amazed at how much beer was a part of Belgian culture. Gas stations carried beers like St. Bernardus Abt 12 and Rochefort 8, and bars served Belgian beers almost exclusively. That hardly seems surprising given the many world-class beers brewed in that country, but could this concept work in NC?
Rob thinks so. He hopes the store will have Charlotte’s best selection of beers from the Old North State, including many that are not easy to find in Charlotte. He plans to have between 8-16 taps, half of which will be devoted to beers brewed in NC. And pouring those beers? Cicerone Certified Beer Servers (once the staff is trained, of course).
“With 70 breweries currently in operation in North Carolina we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fantastic if North Carolina embraced its beer industry in much the same way as Belgium?'” Rob said. “In an attempt to elevate the beer scene in North Carolina to a similar level as Belgium we felt our store should resonate with a similar reverence for the beers made here.”
While Rob readily boasts about the state’s beer scene, he says he chose the Matthews area because “there really isn’t a good quality bottle shop that specializes in craft beer anywhere near the area.” He also noted wanting to be part of a downtown environment away from strip malls. One of Carolina Beer Temple’s neighbors will be Black Chicken Wine Cellar. Black Chicken sells some craft beers, but their main focus is wine.
“We fully intend to be great neighbors with the Black Chicken,” Rob said. “I’ve already spoken to several potential customers who love the idea of a fine wine shop next to a craft beer store. I think our stores will compliment each other very well (and there will be no wine sold at Carolina Beer Temple).”
Rob hopes to have Carolina Beer Temple open by mid-January to mid-February. Until then, keep up with the store’s progress on the Carolina Beer Temple Facebook page.