Charlotte Beerfest at BB&T Ballpark on Sept. 20

Charlotte Beerfest at Knights Stadium

When the Charlotte Knights’ BB&T Ballpark was built, myself and other beer-minded people wondered when the beautiful new venue would host a beer festival.

Well, we have our answer: the Knights’ ballpark will host the Charlotte Beerfest on Saturday, Sept. 20 (that’s a week before Charlotte Oktoberfest, tickets for which go on sale Aug. 1).

Tickets for the Charlotte Beerfest are on sale now. General admission tickets are $50 and get you a sampling glass and unlimited sampling from 5-9 p.m.; VIP tickets are $100, and get you all of that plus entry at 4 p.m. to try more limited beers, premium seating, private bathrooms and a festival t-shirt.

The festival’s brewer lineup is populated by a good amount of big beer (including “crafty” brands like Goose Island, Blue Moon, Magic Hat and Leinenkugel’s), and there will be themed stations around the ballpark that include Corona Find Your Beach and a Yuengling Pittsburgh Steelers Tailgate section.

Several NC craft breweries have signed on as well, though. These include The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, D9 Brewing, Foothills Brewing, Natty Greene’s, Oskar Blues and more. When asked if the brewer list was complete, festival organizers told me that they hoped to add more — especially those from Charlotte — soon.

There will be live music throughout the day as well, with the festival being headlined by Blues Traveler. Simplified and Charity Case will round out the musical offerings.

And speaking of charity, a portion of the festival’s proceeds will benefit Ace and TJ’s Grin Kids as well as USO of North Carolina.

For more info, follow Charlotte Beerfest on Facebook and Twitter.


Films on Tap at Heist Brewery – July 22, 2014

Heist Brewery on Tuesday, July 22 will host Films on Tap, a new group that aims to pair “local beer & amazing short films from the greater Charlotte area.”

Tickets for the inaugural event at Heist Brewery can be purchased at the door for $10. The ticket also includes a flight of the brewery’s beers, each paired with a specific film by that film’s director, who will introduce the beer and film.

The screening starts at 7 p.m. and should last an hour or so. The following five films will be shown:

  • Like Rats in a Trap, a film about a 1904 flood at the Reed gold mine. Directed by Scott Lazes and G.S. Koch.
  • Shelter 5, a film that focuses on a group of post-apocalyptic survivors in a bomb shelter. Directed by Aaron Longstreth.
  • Test of Uncertainty, a horror comedy centering around a pregnancy test . Directed by Carl Lechner.
  • Juice, a music video for Ancient Cities that features a hero trying to save a princess from a “red-headed Bojangles’ eating king.” Directed by William S. Davis.
  • The Bishop Boys, a film about a family that knocks over convenience stores together. Directed by Andrew Huggins.

Follow Films on Tap on Facebook for more info and to keep up-to-date with future events, which they hope to host quarterly at local breweries.

Harvest Fest Homebrew Competition at Triple C Brewing Co.

Triple C Brewing is accepting entries to its Harvest Fest homebrew competition from now until Sept. 19. These beers will be judged on Sept. 20, and the first and second-place winners will be brewed on the brewery’s pilot system and served at the Harvest Fest on Saturday, Nov. 1. Details for that festival are forthcoming, but count on a lineup of live music and a food truck being parked outside.

To qualify for the competition, beers must be brewed with one of the following:

  • Half the grain bill must use Riverbend malt
  • Half of the hops used must have been grown in NC
  • Locally-grown fruits, veggies, herbs, etc.

Whatever you choose, make sure that Triple C can get those same ingredients should they need to brew your beer. And due to time constraints, lagers and sours will not be accepted.

Two bottles of the beer should be shipped to or dropped off at the brewery before Sept. 19, with labels wrapped around the bottles with rubber bands. You can register for the festival here.

Triple C Brewing Harvest Fest

White Elephant Bottle Party at NoDa Brewing

NoDa Brewing is hosting a white elephant bottle party at 6:45 p.m. on Monday, July 21. The brewery has done several of these events, which work much in the same way as a traditional holiday white elephant party: just wrap up a big bottle of beer (22-ounce or 750 mL) and bring it to swap with others. If you don’t get a chance to wrap your bottle, the brewery will have some brown bags available.

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Tap Takeovers in Charlotte

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America

To celebrate its seven-city Beer Camp Across America (BCAA) festivals this summer (which culminate in the Aug. 3 festival at the new brewery in Mills River, NC), Sierra Nevada is releasing a mixed 12-pack that includes a dozen different beers brewed in collaboration with breweries across the nation. The 12-pack includes the following 10 bottles and two cans:

  • Myron’s Walk Belgian-Style Pale Ale, a collaboration with Allagash Brewing Company
  • Tater Ridge Scottish Ale, a collaboration with the Asheville Brewers Alliance
  • Electric Ray India Pale Lager, a collaboration with Ballast Point Brewing Company
  • Maillard’s Odyssey Imperial Dark Ale, a collaboration with Bell’s Brewery
  • Torpedo Pilsner, a collaboration with Firestone Walker Brewing
  • There and Back English-Style Bitter, a collaboration with New Glarus Brewing Company
  • Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout, a collaboration with Ninkasi Brewing Company
  • Yvan the Great Belgian-Style Blonde, a collaboration with Russian River
  • Chico King Pale Ale, a collaboration with 3 Floyds Brewing
  • Alt Route Altbier, a collaboration with Victory Brewing
  • CANfusion Rye Bock, a collaboration with Oskar Blues Brewery (CAN)
  • Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock, a collaboration with Cigar City Brewing (CAN)

In addition to purchasing the 12-pack, you’ll have the opportunity to try the beers at a series of tap takeovers and tasting events throughout Charlotte.

The following tap takeovers will feature all 12 of the beers on tap, along with other beers from Sierra Nevada beers or their collaborating brewers:

  • July 17 at Mac’s Speed Shop South Blvd: The first through the door at this kickoff event will receive a commemorative BCCA glass and t-shirts. Two tickets to the Aug. 3 festival in Mills River will also be given away.
  • July 23 at Flying Saucer: Glass and t-shirts to the first people through the door; two tickets given away to the Aug. 3 festival in Mills River.
  • Aug. 1 at Duckworth’s Huntersville: Glass and t-shirts to the first people through the door.
  • Aug. 22 at Epicentre Rooftop 210: There will be a silent disco with “collaborating DJs.” On tap will be the 12 collaboration beers as well as six additional Sierra Nevada beers.
The following tasting events will feature 1-3 of the collaboration beers, with other rare kegs on tap and variety packs for sale:

  • July 22 at Good Bottle Co.
  • July 24 at Salud Beer Shop
  • July 25 at Cork and Cask in Huntersville
  • July 31 at Custom Home Pubs
  • Aug. 6 at Common Market Plaza Midwood
  • Aug. 6 at Common Market SouthEnd
  • Aug. 15 at Summit Coffee in Davidson

Five Myths About NoDa Brewing’s Hop Drop ‘n Roll

NoDa Brewing Five Myths About Hop Drop 'n Roll

It’s been about three months since NoDa Brewing beat out 223 other IPAs to win a gold medal at the World Beer Cup for their Hop Drop ‘n Roll. Doing so immediately launched them into the national spotlight, and they’ve been doing what they can to keep up with demand since. Winning gold was a great achievement, not only for NoDa Brewing but for the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina. Many local beer geeks, who have known all along how great the beer is, were thumping their chests with pride and validation. Others in the months since, however, haven’t been so appreciative.

In fact, lately many have been calling or e-mailing NoDa to complain about the beer’s dwindling availability in light of its newfound rarity. After hearing several nasty complaints, rumors and outright lies, co-founder Suzie Ford decided it would be best to address some of these by sitting down with myself and Charlotte Magazine’s Matt McKenzie (whose resulting piece you can read here).

So with that, let’s get to it and address five myths about NoDa Brewing’s Hop Drop ‘n Roll.

1. Hop Drop ‘n Roll is being discontinued. 

This is the rumor with the least merit, but the one that Suzie most wants to put to rest. Why would the brewery discontinue a beer that they have brewed since day one, right after it won pretty much the highest accolade possible? The truth is that the folks at NoDa Brewing would love nothing more than to brew as much Hop Drop ‘n Roll as the people can drink.

Someone heard this rumor and bought out one of the Total Wines to the tune of five cases. That’s a lot of beer that other people could have enjoyed. It’s a vicious cycle; the beer is already in high demand, and now people are snatching up more than they would have otherwise.

And while the beer isn’t going away, however, you may indeed start to see a little less of it in the market. Which brings me to …

2. NoDa can brew more Hop Drop ‘n Roll at any time. 

Hop Drop ‘n Roll was first brewed in co-founder Todd Ford’s garage around five years ago. On such a small scale, Todd didn’t have to worry if he’d have enough hops — he just wanted to brew an IPA that rivaled those he tried every time he flew out West.

The big batches of Hop Drop ‘n Roll brewed at NoDa today require a whopping 72 pounds of Citra hops alone (with about the same amount of Amarillo). As its name suggests, Citra hops impart some of those really bright citrus and fruit notes into Hop Drop. The only problem is that the hop is a proprietary hop, and it is in extremely high demand.

“It is definitely the hottest hop out there,” said Suzie. “No one has any extra.”

Compounding this problem is that hops are contracted for the next year, meaning NoDa ordered this year’s supply last year, well before they won the award. They increased production of the beer after winning gold to meet demand, but after taking a closer look at their Citra inventory they decided to scale back and brew at a rate that they could sustain until the next year.

The brewery may luck out and be able to secure some more for next year, as breweries that can’t get as much Citra choose instead to order hot new hops like Equinox, Mosaic, Ella and Topaz. They will also get a little help from the centrifuge that they ordered last week. This device essentially clarifies the beer without the brewery having to filter it. It won’t make more hops magically appear, but it will allow the brewery to salvage more beer. It’s only natural that hops soak up some of the beer during the brewing process. But since Hop Drop ‘n Roll is such hop-heavy beer, a higher volume of beer is soaked up by the very hops that make it so great in the first place. Suzie told me that they recently lost 11-barrels of a 60-barrel batch to the hops.

Hops aren’t the only constraint; they are limited by time as well. Hop Drop ‘n Roll ferments for 10-14 days, and Suzie has actually had people ask why they can’t turn it over more quickly.

“If you push it and it can’t sit and dry-hop for a few days, it’s not the same beer,” said Suzie. “We will not rush a beer, and we will not put out a sub-par product. We don’t want to brew the heart and soul out of Hop Drop.”

3. NoDa is lazy. 

Yes, this has actually been a complaint leveled at the brewery.

There was a line of people waiting for the brewery to open the day after they won gold. The folks at NoDa knew they would have to work harder than ever.

And they did. Bars requested half barrels instead of sixtels, shops wanted 10 cases instead of two, and NoDa did everything they could to meet that demand.

“Literally overnight,” said Suzie of the interest in the beer. “The orders doubled that very next week.”

They have been working hard ever since. They have four brewers each brewing a 15-barrel batch of beer a day. Bart Roberts starts his day at 4:45 a.m. Chad Henderson follows, then Matt Virgil, and finally Brian Schonder, who typically leaves between 9:30-10:30 p.m. The brewery brews this way for five days a week, and they also do one batch every other Sunday.

4. Hop Drop ‘n Roll is the only beer NoDa brews. 

So maybe this one is less of a myth and simply something we take for granted. NoDa Brewing currently has nine beers in production, and that number will go up to 10 with the Gose that they’re tapping this Friday. Cans of Jam Session and CAVU are still plentiful. And remember their other medal-winner, Coco Loco? It’s as good today as it was when it received the silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival almost two years ago.

While these might not appeal to those looking for Hop Drop ‘n Roll’s hoppy punch, don’t fret: the brewery is currently working on a new IPA. It won’t replace Hop Drop, but it will serve as a nice alternative when it’s not available.

“We’re giving Woody and Wilcox a facelift,” said Suzie. “We’re going to make that a new IPA formula, something in between Jam Session and Hop Drop ‘n Roll. It’s going to be a nice alternative.”

5. Head brewer Chad Henderson cries in every other batch. 

False. Chad cries in every single batch of Hop Drop ‘n Roll.

Or so he joked when I was at the brewery the other day. Still, it’s not that far from the truth. No one’s literally weeping into these batches — at least not that I’m aware of — but they are doing everything they can to get as much of this beloved beer out into the market as they can.

“Be patient,” Suzie said. “We really are working as hard as we can. It hurts us as much as it hurts you.”

Olde Hickory Tap Takeover at Carolina Beer Temple

Carolina Beer Temple

Carolina Beer Temple will welcome Olde Hickory Brewery for a tap takeover on Thursday, July 10. They will have discounted pints as well as flights of the following beers:

  • Hickory Stick Stout
  • Olde Hickory Hefeweizen
  • Sam’s Wake Up Bitter Coffee IPA
  • Daniel Boone Bourbon Barrel-Aged Brown Ale

Lenny Boy tapping flagship beers on Friday, July 18

In a Charlotte Observer article a few months back, I wrote about Lenny Boy’s taproom expansion and the new flagship beers they will be brewing. They have had a chance to brew all of these beers on their new 3.5-barrel system, and they will be tapping them all together for the first time from 4-9 p.m. on Friday, July 18. This will also mark the first time the brewery has opened up for a Friday night. In addition to their kombuchas and wild ales, you’ll be able to try flights and drafts of the following beers (descriptions courtesy Townes Mozer, founder of Lenny Boy):

  • De La Wit 5.4% ABV, 13 IBU – The refreshing finish makes this Belgian Style Witbier quite thirst quenching, complemented by a nice bready malt backbone from the high percentage of wheat used. The addition of orange and coriander lends to the style to make this a perfect warm weather beer.
  • Herb’s Pale Ale 5.6% ABV, 40 IBU – American pale ale, blended with Perle, Cascade, and Simcoe hops. Lively carbonation with a dry, hoppy finish reminiscent of grapefruit.
  • Burn Down Brown 5.0% ABV, 18 IBU – Pale, crystal, and chocolate malt intermingle with tasty rolled, slightly smoked oats to deliver a delicious and mildly creamy brown ale.
  • No-Show Amber 6% ABV, 23 IBU (Crafted to reduce gluten*) – A blend of fine European pale malts, crystal, perle, and cascade hops a highly drinkable, rich amber ale that has been crafted to reduce gluten. This product may contain gluten. This product is made with ingredients that contain gluten. *Contains less than 10 ppm of gluten
  • The Mirage 8.8% ABV, 36 IBU – This classic Belgian Tripel showcases the fine pilsner malt, and belgian yeast we use. The two play together to bring you a soft malt character, with complex ester notes, and slight alcohol aroma. High carbonation helps this beer remain light despite its high alcohol content.

There will be some one-off beers as well, such as their 11-percent Belgian Quad called “70-Quad.”  Isaac Gay will be playing some original music as well as covers from 5-8 p.m., and there will be a food truck parked outside.


Lenny Boy Friday Night Event

Bacon Beer Blowout at The Unknown Brewing Co.

Anything worth doing, is worth doing with bacon. 

So says Brad Shell of The Unknown Brewing Company, which will be tapping six “bacon beers” during a Bacon Beer Blowout from 4-10 p.m. this Friday, July 11. In some cases the brewery has added cooked bacon after the beer has fermented, a technique they have dubbed “dry-hogging.” In others, ingredients that pair well with bacon are used.

The following beers will be on tap:

  • Jalapeño Popper Cream Ale, a cream ale brewed with jalapeños, bacon and cream cheese.
  • HopHog IPA, an IPA brewed with raw bacon in the boil.
  • SooOOO WeeEEE Heavy Scotch Ale, brewed with candied bacon.
  • Breakfast of the Gods, a Quad brewed with bacon, waffles and maple syrup.
  • Pigtail Pepper Wheat, a wheat beer brewed with coriander and black pepper.
  • Imperialist Swine, a bacon bourbon imperial brown ale.

Should you want to actually pair some of these pints with pork, the MasterBacon food truck will be parked outside.

Bacon Beer Blowout Unknown Brewing Company

Birdsong Brewing to release “Eat A Peach” on July 17

Birdsong Brewing Eat A Peach Release Party

Birdsong Brewing will host a release party for their summer seasonal Eat A Peach Pale Ale at the taproom from 4:30-10 p.m. on Thursday, July 17. The beer was so popular that it lasted but a fortnight last year, so the Birdsong gang has brewed twice as much this year. The base beer is a pale ale, to which the brewery added 300 pounds of peaches from Barbee Farms in Concord.

At the release party, DJ Jason Herring will be playing music and the Tin Kitchen food truck will be parked outside. The beer will be distributed to bars and restaurants starting the following week.