Taps and Snaps Launch Party at NoDa Brewing Company

Taps and Snaps Photography

Perhaps you’ve seen her behind the lens at local Charlotte breweries over the last years, or more recently at this year’s Charlotte Oktoberfest. Now Wendy Raymond, owner of Little Photography, is turning her hobby of beer photography into a specialty she’s calling “Taps and Snaps.”

You can join Wendy for the launch of Taps and Snaps at NoDa Brewing from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23. She will have some of her photography on display and will be on hand to talk a little more about the new venture.

Says NoDa Brewing’s Suzie Ford in a press release: “Wendy has a keen eye to capture that perfect moment without any major set up or planning. She just has ‘it’ and seems to be in the right place, at the right time, without getting in the way. She is a long-time craft beer-lover, and she understands the personalities of beers, brewers and craft beer fans, which allows her to get that special shot.”

A portion of the proceeds from Wendy’s sales of print photography go to charities that serve the homeless in the Charlotte metro area (and not just this Thursday, but always). A raffle with various prizes will help raise funds for Charlotte’s Urban Ministry Center.

For more information about Taps and Snaps, visit www.wlittlephotography.com/tapsandsnaps.


Charlotte Engineer Invents “World’s First Magnetic Bottle Hanger”

Having a tough time squeezing all that local beer into your fridge? One Charlotte inventor hopes to help with that.

Brian Conti, a design engineer and founder of Charlotte’s Spoke Design, has just invented what he calls the “world’s first magnetic bottle hanger.” It works like this: using a “very high bond” tape, you secure a plastic rail with three magnets to the inside ceiling of your fridge. Then you simply reach in and stick your beer’s bottle cap to the magnet, where it is suspended as if by magic.

Of course, it’s not magic. There’s a lot of science behind it, which is sure to comfort beer geeks worried that their pricey bottles could plummet to the shelves below at any minute. For one, each magnet is capable of holding 3.6 pounds, even though a 12-ounce bottle of beer weighs only a third of that. The tape used to attach the rail to the fridge’s ceiling is, in addition to being rated “very high bond,” also used for low-temperature applications.

But if anything points to the success of this project, it is that Conti has had several other successful Kickstarter projects. Conti’s STRONG LIKE BULL Magnets were successfully funded on Kickstarter in February of last year, ultimately surpassing his goal of $7,500 on his way to $57,507 raised. His next Kickstarter was for a custom-machined bottle stopper/opener called Bottlejak, which didn’t receive its funding.

Not one to give up at the sign of adversity, Conti launched a Kickstarter campaign for the big and burly STRONG LIKE BULL Bottle Opener just a couple months after that. This one, like the STRONG LIKE BULL Magnets, was successfully funded. And this past June, he revisited the magnets when he offered up a Kickstarter for STRONG LIKE BULL Throw Magnets. These are similar to his previous design, however they have a ring of rubber around them making them safe to toss at whiteboards, refrigerators, or wherever you might want to stick them. His goal on this Kickstarter campaign was $3,500, yet he ended up raising $13,344.

Clearly, Conti knows what he is doing where magnets are involved, especially if those magnets somehow intersect with the beverage industry. This latest Kickstarter campaign will help him have an injection mold made and purchase large quantities of many of the necessary components. At the time of this writing people have already pledged more than $13,500, and he has 23 days left to hit his goal of $20,000.


Remember, Remember, the First of November


“Remember, remember, the first of November: new breweries, beers and whatnot.
I know of no reason why this wonderful season should ever be forgot”. 

With apologies to Guy Fawkes, you’ll want to remember the first of November. Start your morning off at NoDa Brewing for their bottle release of Monstro, an imperial stout aged in Van Winkle Special Reserve bourbon barrels, at 10 a.m. Saturday morning. A food truck will be selling breakfast, which will be crucial for anyone drinking an 11.2 percent stout that early in the day.

Then head to Unknown Brewing for their own release of “La Jordana del Escorpion en Fuego Hacia la Casa del Chupacabra Muerto,” a 10.1 percent ABV Mexican imperial lager brewed with agave nectar, serrano peppers and 99 real scorpions. From 1-3 p.m., they will have a Mariachi band playing and free “Day of the Dead” face painting. Juan Taco will be parked outside.

While you’re in SouthEnd, you’ll want to move on down to Sycamore Brewing, which will open their doors from 2-9 p.m. (I’ll have a little more on what you can expect next week).

Sycamore’s neighbors at Triple C Brewing will also be hosting their Harvest Fest and oyster roast. Tickets are $25, which includes one beer, oysters, and a $5 donation to Friendship Gardens. The Josh Daniel/Mark Schimick Project will play from 5-8 p.m. ,with oysters at 6 p.m.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. On Halloween night, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery will tap Fat Boy Baltic Porter and host a Halloween costume contest. Bottles of a barrel-aged version will be released in January, when a breakfast and bottle share will accompany the release.

Also on Halloween, Birdsong Brewing will tap Mexicali Stout, its fall/winter seasonal brewed with cinnamon, chili spice and coffee from Charlotte’s Central Coffee Co.

Triple C Brewing to release “The Dude Imbibes” on Saturday, Oct. 25

Assuming you aren’t shomer Shabbos, you’ll want to throw on your favorite robe and head down to Triple C Brewing on Saturday, Oct. 25 for the release of The Dude Imbibes, an imperial milk stout aged for six months in rum barrels before then being aged on coffee beans. The bottles will be released at the taproom at noon, but at 11 a.m. they will kick off the morning with a bottle share and brunch from the Hot Box food truck.

Bottles of the beer are $13 each, and in the days after the release some will start to trickle into local bottle shops and even some out-of-town accounts across the state.

Triple C Brewing The Dude Imbibes

USNWC Autumn Zipline and Dine with Bottle Shops

USNWC Zipline and Dine Autumn

The U.S. National Whitewater Center usually highlights breweries as part of its Zipline and Dine events, but for the Autumn edition they are inviting representatives from local bottle shops to come pour four seasonal beers each. You’ll start your night by flying down five different ziplines and two roped bridges before rappelling down to a fireside dinner, where representatives from the bottle shops will be on hand to talk to you about their beer selections.

Here is the full schedule and beer list for each of the four events (note that the event with Crafty Beer Guys is already sold out):

  • Wednesday, Oct. 15: Salud Beer Shop will bring Fonta Flora Brewery Oktoberfest, Stillwater Artisinal Ales Autumnal, Tröegs Brewing Hop Knife and Deep River Pumpkin Pie Porter.
  • (Sold Out) Friday, Oct. 17: Crafty Beer Guys will bring Dogfish Head Punkin, Big Boss Harvest Time, Olde Mecklenburg Mecktoberfest and Southern Tier Pumking.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 22: Good Bottle Co. will bring Pisgah Pumpkin Ale, Asheville Brewing Papa Icky’s Oktoberfest, Fullsteam Fearrington’s Fall Apple Rye IPA and Green Man Brewery Harvester Ale.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 29: Vintner Wine Market will bring Fullsteam Rocket Science, Birdsong Brewing No Quarter Porter, Lenny Boy Brewing Burn Down Brown and Wicked Weed Jack O’Hammered Pumpkin Ale.

Find more information and register for these events here: http://usnwc.org/zipline-dine-autumn-edition/.

NoDa Brewing to release Monstro on Saturday, Nov. 1

NoDa Brewing will release Monstro, an 11.2 percent imperial stout that has been aged in Van Winkle Special Reserve bourbon barrels, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1. The 22-ounce bottles will retail at $18 a piece in the taproom only, and are limited to one case a person. Though they won’t have a final bottle count until they bottle the beer, it will be a limited release. There will be live music and a food truck serving up breakfast the morning of the release.

Monstro is the name of the giant whale in Pinocchio. In the beer world, rare beers that merit an Ahab-like chase are known as “whales” or “white whales,” and with a small bottle this one should certainly qualify. The beer was available at Brawley’s Black and Blue earlier this year, and it was one of the first kegs to kick. I can vouch that it is an excellent beer.

The beer will be a blend of two different batches: one was brewed in November of 2013, the other in March of 2014. Those batches have been aging in 12-year-old barrels that once held Van Winkle Special Reserve, a highly-acclaimed bourbon, ever since.

The label reads:

“Neptune said to the sea there should be a terrible Monstro, born from its darkest depths. It should stout with the strength of a whale. This is that beer, of toasted barley mass, rounded out by the vanillas, molasses and oak of bourbon barrel aging. Enjoy the deep.”

Edit: I initially reported that Monstro was aged in Pappy Van Winkle barrels, however this is not the case. The barrels were actually used to hold 12-year Van Winkle Special Reserve, a bourbon that — like Pappy Van Winkle — is in the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery family and produced by Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Sycamore Brewing to open on Saturday, Nov. 1

Justin and Sarah Brigham have been working hard for many months now to open Sycamore Brewing, a new brewery right around the corner from Lenny Boy Brewing in SouthEnd. They recently announced that they will open their doors on Saturday, Nov. 1.

I’ll have more on what you can expect a little closer to that date, but for now go ahead and make plans to be there. Having seen a little of the taproom and had some of their beers, I can say I think you’ll really enjoy the spot and their offerings.

New Belgium’s Clips Beer and Film Tour hits Charlotte Friday, Oct. 3

New Belgium Clips Beer and Film Tour

Once again, New Belgium is bringing its Clips Beer and Film Tour to Charlotte’s Independence Park from 7:30-10:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3. The event features 17 of the brewery’s beers and a variety of short films, and it all benefits local nonprofits Charlotte Area Bicycle Alliance and Trips for Kids Charlotte.

The event itself is free and open to the public. Beers will be $5 for a 12-ounce beer or $1.25 for a 3-ounce sample, and you can choose from the following: 1554 Black Lager, FOCOllaboration IPA, Gratzer, Gruit, La Folie, Le Terrior, Rampant Imperial IPA, Snapshot Wheat, Tour de Fall, Trippel, Yuzu Berlinerweiss, Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout, Fat Tire, Ranger and Shift.

The films will begin around 9 p.m. Feel free to bring your own food, blankets and chairs. Find more information about the Charlotte stop here.

Upcoming Fall Beer Festivals

Charlotte Beer Festivals

In recent weeks, I saw several people joking about how odd it is to celebrate Charlotte Oktoberfest in September. Historically, though, this has always been the case – Oktoberfest is a celebration leading up to and through early October, but it has always started in late September.

And now that Charlotte Oktoberfest is in the books (and what a great time that was), we can look forward to a few more beer festivals this fall.

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Mecktoberfest – Friday, Oct. 3 and Saturday, Oct. 4

Mecktoberfest isn’t just the name given to OMB’s award-winning Märzen — it’s also the brewery’s yearly fall festival, now in its sixth year. This will be the first festival at the new facility, which has more space than ever for anyone looking to grab a beer and hang out underneath the tents in the new biergarten. If you want to visit the brewery that Friday and Saturday, you’ll need to pay $10 to enter. This also gets you a beer and three live bands, including the Holzhackern Tyrolean Band. For designated drivers and those under 21, entry is $5.

Gastonia Grizzlies Pumpkin Beer Fest – Saturday, Oct. 4

Pumpkin beers are so popular, it was only a matter of time before we had a whole festival devoted to this fall seasonal. This is actually the second year for the Gastonia Grizzlies Pumpkin Beer Fest, which features lots of Oktoberfest beers and others with tickets at just $25 (get a commemorative t-shirt for just $10 more). Tickets can be purchased here, and if you plan to go act fast — at the time this post was published, only 57 remained.

South End Hops Festival – Saturday, Oct. 11

Held at the corner of Mint and Carson, the inaugural South End Hops Festival will feature beers from Adams Beverages as well as a handful of local breweries like OMB, Unknown Brewing Co, Lenny Boy Brewing and D9 Brewing. General admission is $35 in advance ($40 the day of), and gets you in from 2-6 p.m. A VIP ticket option is available for $50 and gets you in an hour earlier, plus private seating, restrooms and a “few choice beers that have been reserved for VIP ticket holders.” There will be live music from Of Good Nature and Heroes At Last, and local food trucks will be on hand selling a variety of foods. Tickets: http://www.southendhopsfestival.com/.

Fillmore Craft Sessions – Saturday, Oct. 18

The Fillmore will host the first of its quarterly “Craft Sessions” on Saturday, Oct. 18. General admission tickets are $35, while VIP tickets — which get you in an hour early and grant you access to exclusive beers and food — are $75 (there are fees when purchased online, but none if you go through the box office). The brewery list is still being finalized, but you can expect to see the following breweries: NoDa, Triple C, Big Boss, Catawba, Howard Brewing, Natty Greene’s, Foothills, New Belgium, Thomas Creek, Founders, Bell’s, Lagunitas, Troegs, Stoudts, Oskar Blues, Ommegang, Boulevard, Green Flash, Brooklyn, Green Flash, Southern Tier, Starr Hill, Terrapin, Victory, Left Hand, Stone and Great Lakes. This will be a smaller festival, capped at around 1,200 people.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Brewers Ball – Saturday, Oct. 25

The fourth annual Brewers Ball, put on by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Charlotte Chapter, features a variety of local beers and food samples from Charlotte restaurants. Individual tickets are $75 ($29 tax deductible) and VIP tickets are $125 ($58 tax deductible), with the latter getting you early admission, a VIP tasting glass, an exclusive VIP seating area and a goody bag. Naturally this event is more expensive than most festivals, though it’s clearly for a good cause. This year’s event will be held at Discovery Place. Get your tickets here

Harvest Fest at Triple C Brewing – Saturday, Nov. 1

Triple C Brewing will host their Harvest Fest and oyster roast on Saturday, Nov. 1. A couple months ago, the brewery invited homebrewers to submit beers brewed with local ingredients, with the winners being brewed on the pilot batch. The two winning beers – Joe Domm’s Riverbend Rye Porter and Benjamin Scholl’s The Berry Witty One — will be on tap at the festival. Tickets are $25, which includes one beer, oysters, and a $5 donation to Friendship Gardens. The Josh Daniel/Mark Schimick Project will play from 5-8 p.m. ,with oysters at 6 p.m. A link for tickets will be available soon.

Release the Funk 2: Electric Funkaloo – Saturday, Nov. 15

Salud Beer Shop and New Belgium are once again putting on the festival for lovers of all beers sour, wild and funky. Tickets for this festival are higher than most at $65, but that’s a bargain considering the cost of sour beers and the breweries attending this year’s event, which include lots from North Carolina as well as funkmasters like Cascade, Crooked Stave, Allagash and, of course, New Belgium. Tickets: http://www.saludbeershop.com/sourfest/.

Charlotte Radiology’s Pink Pint Night at NoDa Brewing

Charlotte Radiology Pink Pint Night at NoDa BrewingCharlotte Radiology is once again kicking off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a Pink Pint Night at NoDa Brewing from 4-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 1. This is the third year that the two have partnered on the event, which features live music, food trucks, raffle prizes and, of course, the pink pint. In this case, it’s none other than Breast Friends, a tart cherry Berliner Weisse.

Even better, a portion of every beer sold will help fund mammograms for uninsured women through the Carolinas Breast Cancer Fund. Screenings are essential to saving lives, as 1 in 8 women is affected by breast cancer.

You can schedule a mammogram at Charlotte Radiology online or by calling 704-367-2232.