Bands, Brews, and BBQs at Carowinds

Carowinds Bands Brews and Barbecue

Fresh off the heels of their Taste of the Carolinas festival, Carowinds is now hosting “Bands, Brews, and BBQs” on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning July 31 and ending August 16.

Each day, different bands will play between 12-4 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. As for the beer and barbecue, there will be booths throughout the park and you simply pay by the pint (or pulled pork, as it were). There’s even a booth that will feature 24 different flavors of regional barbecue sauce, but of course you’ll need only one: a good Eastern N.C. vinegar-based sauce (I’ll wait for the barbecue battle to play out in the comments).

The breweries that will be pouring in the park are as follows:

  • Holy City Brewing
  • Blowing Rock Brewing
  • Legal Remedy Brewing
  • Benford Brewing
  • Catawba Valley Brewing Co.
  • Lonerider Brewing
  • Aviator Brewing
  • Natty Greene’s Brewing
  • Sugar Creek Brewing

Fillmore Craft Sessions returns on Saturday, July 11

Fillmore Craft Sessions
Last October, The Fillmore held the first of its seasonal beer festivals that it is dubbing “Craft Sessions.” The “Summer Sessional” version of the festival will be held from 5-9 p.m. on Saturday, July 11, promising a mix of local and national craft breweries and an old school hip hop playlist.

Local food trucks will be parked out back as well, selling a variety of dishes. As for the beer, expect homegrown favorites like NoDa, Birdsong, Sycamore, Unknown, Wicked Weed and Fonta Flora, plus larger brands like Stone Brewing, Founders Brewing, Bell’s Brewery and Lagunitas. There will be a few one-offs as well, such as Unknown Brewing’s Opening Act IPA and Birdsong Brewing’s cask of Higher Ground IPA with jalapeños in it. I’ll have more on some of these special beers next week, but all told there will be 40 breweries in attendance (you can see the full list on the Facebook event page).

Tickets for the event can be purchased at the box office or at Salud Beer Shop for $35 (or $40 at the door). They can also be purchased online, where a service fee and tax brings them to $41.98 each.

The Great NC Beer Map

This site has a pretty narrow focus: beer in Charlotte. Be that as it may, I broke that focus last year when I wrote about The Great NC BBQ Map, a project by Amanda Fisher and Paul Bright.

It wasn’t too great a leap, since the duo behind EDIA Maps is based out of Charlotte. The two are also homebrewers and active in the Carolina Brewmasters homebrew club. Plus, what goes better with beer than barbecue?

Clearly Fisher and Bright agree. No justifications need be made for sharing the news of their next project, The Great NC Beer Map. The map will feature more than 160 craft breweries, festivals and general information about brewing.

And just like their previous map’s Kickstarter, they’ve got some great pledge rewards. For $10, you can get a sticker and a map (the latter signed, if you wish). There are a variety of different rewards going up from there, including posters, coasters, exclusive beer dinners and the chance to brew with a variety of NC breweries.

The Kickstarter campaign runs through July 24.

Cabarrus Brewing Co. announces location at The Gibson Mill in Concord

Cabarrus Brewing Company in Concord, North Carolina

Cabarrus Brewing Co. announced today its plans to build in Concord’s Gibson Mill, which is currently home to a large antique mall. The mill is made up of two large buildings with a 15,000-square-foot building between them, and it is here that Cabarrus Brewing Co. will build. In March, High Branch Brewing Co. announced plans to build in a 1,400-square-foot space inside the mill as well.

Up until May, neither brewery would have been able to operate a taproom out of the mill — zoning didn’t allow for it. Steve Steinbacher, one of the owners of Cabarrus Brewing Co., began working with the city’s planning department in January to come up with a text amendment that would allow breweries to operate taprooms and sell beer on premise.

With that amendment now passed, Steinbacher has signed a lease in the Gibson Mill and is on the cusp of ordering his three-vessel, 15-barrel brewhouse.

“Cabarrus county has a very rich textile and manufacturing history,” Steinbacher said. “We have old mills everywhere. Some are falling down and dilapidated shells, and some are being repurposed.”

The Gibson Mill is squarely in the latter camp. Right now, The Depot at Gibson Mill is home to rows upon rows of old antiques and memorabilia that draw visitors from all over.

“It’s already really becoming quite a destination, not just during the weekend but during the week,” said Steinbacher.

Plans for the design of the taproom are still being finalized, but Steinbacher foresees an open floorplan that leaves in place many of the building’s historical elements. He points to San Diego’s Mission Brewery, whose building was once home to a Wonder Bread factory, as an inspiration.

“The interior of that space is eerily similar in terms of what our building will look like,” said Steinbacher.

Unlike many brewery owners, Steinbacher is not a homebrewer with dreams of going pro. He has brewed before, but doesn’t consider himself an avid homebrewer by any means. He’s just had a taste for and interest in craft beer for years. For the brewing, he will turn to Jason McKnight. If you’re familiar with your Charlotte beer history (shameless plug), you might remember that McKnight once brewed for The Mill Bakery, Eatery and Brewery during the 1990s. Now, the Siebel-trained brewer is once again picking up the mash paddle.

“A lot of people have been egging him to get back into the game,” said Steinbacher. “We’re thrilled he’s going to be a partner in this business.”

Joining Steinbacher as a founding partner is also Keith Griffin. As far as potential beers, Steinbacher said to expect good representations of traditional styles without getting “too out there.”

“We’re really going to focus not just on the beer, but the environment,” said Steinbacher. “We want this to be a really big showcase for Cabarrus county.”

To keep up with Cabarrus Brewing Co. as they build the brewery, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.



The Unknown Brewing Co. to release Hospitali-Tea in cans

The Unknown Brewing Co. Hospitali-Tea Cans

As I walked up to The Unknown Brewing Co. last night I found Brad Shell not in the brewery, as is usually the case, but manning the big outdoor fireplace out front. As you might imagine given the weather, it wasn’t for warmth – Shell was using the makeshift grill to cook three huge chunks of beef for a staff meeting.

It was fitting since I’d come to talk to Shell about Hospitali-Tea, a beer I first had at the brewery’s Charlotte Smoke-Off last year.

“We first made Hospitali-Tea as a gimmick or a joke for our Smoke-Off festival,” said Shell, as he sprinkled seasoning and drizzled sauce over the sizzling sirloin. “It went over really well. We had so much demand we decided to put it on draft.”

The beer, an amber ale brewed with black tea and orange blossom honey, became a popular choice in the taproom last summer.

“And then everyone was like, ‘I want to take this with me to the beach, I want to take it to the ball game, I want to take this hiking,’” said Shell. “It just seemed like a natural fit to come out in July.”

This year, the brewery will put Hospitali-Tea in cans, with six-packs hitting shelves around the third week of July. Before then, however, they will be releasing bottles of “1.5ish,” a beer that was brewed for their first anniversary but needed a little more time in the barrel. The beer is a Belgian-style red rye aged and soured in French oak cabernet barrels with strawberries and vanilla beans. This one’s waiting for the screen-printed bottles to come in, but will be available shortly after that.

The brewery is also partnering with the Fillmore by brewing a beer called Opening Act IPA that will be released on July 11 at the Fillmore’s Craft Sessions. This will be the venue’s second Craft Sessions, which will be a quarterly event at the Fillmore.

Other news at Unknown includes an attempt at breaking a Guinness world record and planning for another Day of the Dead beer (more on those later). Shell has also built a new pilot system out of three stainless steel, 55-gallon drums, so expect to see more small-batch beers in the taproom.

Custom Home Pubs to hold grand opening on Thursday, July 2

Custom Home Pubs

Earlier this year, it was announced that Elevation Church planned to purchase the shopping center that housed its Matthews campus.

That shopping center was also home to Custom Home Pubs, a bar with a small bottle shop and an assortment of home bar necessities like kegerators and CO2 tanks. Founder Geoff Goss quickly had to look for a new location.

He found that a few miles north at 1640 Sardis Rd. N., in the Galleria Shopping Center off of Independence Boulevard. It was the second move for founder Goss, who opened the store in SouthPark before moving it to Matthews years ago.  His new location will have a dozen taps (up from eight), a slightly-larger bottle selection, lots of local brewery memorabilia (t-shirts, stickers, hats, glassware, etc.) and the bar from Sankey’s, the restaurant that Goss operated beside Custom Home Pubs.

There will be no food served at Custom Home Pubs, however Goss said customers can have food from nearby Boardwalk Billy’s delivered to the bar.

The bar will hold a grand opening celebration on Thursday, July 2 from 6-9 p.m. The taps will be pouring “rare Charlotte draft beers,” and attendees can enjoy unlimited samples for $20 (with $10 going back to The King’s Kitchen, which is supplying food for the event).

Unlike the bar’s popular monthly tastings, this event does require that you pre-purchase a ticket by calling 704-315-5223 or


Pintville Craft Beer to open in Pineville

Pintville Craft Beer Bar

Natasha Young and her husband, Sam Delbrouque, had been thinking about opening a craft beer bar when she walked by the empty space at 329 Main St. in downtown Pineville.

“I told Sam, ‘You have to meet me here right now,’” said Natasha Young.

Exposed brick lined the interior walls of the 100-year-old building, and its 2,000 sq. ft. would give them plenty of room to house a bar and bottle shop. They soon signed a lease and now plan to open Pintville Craft Beer in the space in mid-July or August. While there are breweries and beer bars aplenty in Charlotte, Natasha feels Pineville is long overdue for its own local spot.

“There are so many craft beer places in the city,” she said. “But where we live, you have to drive 20 minutes to go get a craft beer.”

Sam Delbrouque is a homebrewer who was exposed to great beer while living in northern France, just 20 minutes outside of Belgium. Since moving to the states, he and Natasha have owned and operated two restaurants.

While they will allow food to be brought in from the bakery next door as well as several new restaurants springing up around them, the two will focus exclusively on beer. They plan to have 24-30 taps, with one dedicated to nitro pours.

In addition to the taps, Pintville will also have a selection of bottles for sale.

To keep up with Pintville as they work toward their opening, follow them on Facebook.

Brewers Collaborate for the North Carolina Brewers Celebration

Gary Brown from Boondocks Brewing

Gary Brown, founder of Boondocks Brewing, measures out hops for the red IPA. The beer will be served at the NC Brewers Celebration at BB&T Ballpark on Saturday, June 27.

Representatives from breweries across the state met at NoDa Brewing this morning to brew a collaboration beer for the North Carolina Brewers Celebration, to be held at BB&T Ballpark on Saturday, June 27. The festival is presented by All About Beer magazine in conjunction with the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild.

The collaborative beer is a red IPA brewed with Pacific Jade, Equinox, Azacca, Chinook and Bravo hops, and it will be served at the festival as well as in the taprooms of participating breweries. The following breweries were in attendance to help brew the red IPA: Boondocks Brewing, Check Six Brewing, The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, Four Saints Brewing Co., Mystery Brewing, Natty Greene’s Brewing Co., Triple C Brewing, White Street Brewing Co. and Wise Man Brewing.

The festival will feature around 50 North Carolina breweries as well as several local farmers, retailers and beer stores. At a small “cask ale festival,” six NC breweries will pour a variety of cask-conditioned beers.

General admission tickets for the festival are $45 and include a 4-ounce commemorative glass and unlimited samples of more than 150 beers from 1-5 p.m. VIP tickets are $70 and provide the aforementioned samples, early entry at noon, a festival gift, and access to 20-30 limited beers not available to general admission ticket holders, plus access to private bathrooms and an air-conditioned lounge in the club level.

Tickets for the North Carolina Brewers Celebration are available at

North Carolina Brewers Celebration on Saturday, June 27

North Carolina Brewers Celebration

All About Beer Magazine, in conjunction with the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild, will present the North Carolina Brewers Celebration, held at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte on Saturday, June 27. The festival will feature around 50 North Carolina breweries, plus a small “cask ale festival,” samples from local farmers, retailers and beer stores.

General admission tickets for the festival are $45 and include a 4-ounce commemorative glass and unlimited samples of more than 150 beers from 1-5 p.m. VIP tickets are $70 and provide the aforementioned samples, early entry at noon, a festival gift, and access to 20-30 limited beers not available to general admission ticket holders, plus access to private bathrooms and an air-conditioned lounge in the club level.

Tickets for the North Carolina Brewers Celebration are available at

The Durham-based All About Beer Magazine also puts on the World Beer Festival events every year in Durham, Raleigh, Columbia, SC and Cleveland, Ohio.

Founders Brewing Beer Dinner in The Cellar at Duckworth’s Uptown

Sorry, but this beer dinner is sold out. 

The top two floors of Duckworth’s Uptown have now been open almost three months. Now, the new bar and restaurant is ready to open The Cellar for a five-course beer dinner with Founders Brewing Co. at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26. In attendance will be Jeremy Kosmicki, Founders’ brewmaster and the man whose name is on every bottle of KBS as “the amazing Kosmicki.”

The idea behind The Cellar, Rob Duckworth told me in February, is to offer a more intimate environment that caters to diehard beer geeks. Gone are the TVs that are so prominent upstairs. There are two 50″ screens, but they display information about the 20 beers on tap in The Cellar (including the ABV, the style, how much is left in the keg, etc.).

The beers down in the cellar are served in style-specific glassware, and at the appropriate temperatures. And The Cellar will offer a different menu than the floors above it, focusing on local ingredients and small plates.

Tickets to the Founders dinner are $50, with only 35 available. Call 980-939-1166 to order.

Here’s what they have planned for the Founders Brewing dinner on Tuesday, May 26.

First course:
Devil Dancer
Buttermilk Orange Shrimp Waffle Cone
Garlic Marmalade, Cilantro, Coconut

Second course: 
Backwoods Bastard
Espresso Rubbed Lamb Carpaccio
Cured beets, Backwoods Bastard Mustard, Parmesan

Third course: 
Randallized Mosaic Promise
Herb Crisp Local NC Tilefish
Octopus, Succotash, Bottarga Dust

Fourth course: 
BLiS Blast All Day IPA
BLiS Blast Lacquered Pork Belly
Pickled Pineapple, Lentils, Sundried Tomato

Fifth course: 
Chocolate Glazed Walnut Tort
KBS Ganache Glaze, House Marshmallow, Charred Banana