Sugar Creek Brewing Opens Friday, Sept. 19

Sugar Creek Brewing CompanySince The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery vacated their old building to move just down the street, the new tenants at 215 Southside Drive have been hard at work brewing and renovating the taproom. Now, Sugar Creek Brewing is ready to welcome the public to Charlotte’s first Belgian-inspired brewery.

The grand opening celebration will be held on Friday, Oct. 10 and Saturday, Oct. 11, however the brewery will be open every weekend until then starting this Friday, Sept. 19. Stop by to try their witbier, saison, dubbel and pale ale between 4-10 p.m. on Fridays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and 12-8 p.m. on Sundays leading up to the grand opening celebration.

As for that event, it will feature those beers as well as live music, barbecue, outdoor games and tours of the new facility.

Having had the chance to sample some of these beers a few weeks ago, I can tell you that Sugar Creek Brewing is poised to do big things here in Charlotte. I’ll have more next week in The Charlotte Observer.

FūD at Salud — Salud Beer Shop’s New Deli

Salud Beer Shop is expanding into the space next to them with a one-barrel nanobrewery and additional seating, as well as a new, appropriately-dubbed deli called FūD at Salud. The latter venture will be overseen by Jeff McElwee, who prior to joining Salud had spent four years at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar.

With beer in bottles, on draft and now produced at Salud, it should come as no surprise that FūD at Salud’s menu will feature many items made with beer. Pretzels and beer cheese is one such example, with the cheese being made with Jalapeño Pale Ale from their neighbors at Birdsong Brewing down the road. Beer will also find its way into mustards, pickles and jellies to be slathered on the various sandwiches (or waffle-wiches, if you prefer Belgian waffles to bread).

McElwee said that the deli’s offerings should help bring a quick dine-in or take-out option in the immediate NoDa neighborhood, and that they plan to offer delivery options as well.

They hope to open FūD at Salud in mid-October or early November (which should mean you can grab some food before or after Release the Funk 2: Electric Funkaloo). Look for more updates on FūD at Salud’s Facebook page, and check out the full menu below.

Salud Beer Shop Fud at Salud

Craft Beer in Bank of America Stadium: 2014 Edition

Craft Beer in Bank of America Stadium

For the last few years, the craft beer presence in Bank of America stadium has gotten stronger and stronger. And as more breweries pop up in Charlotte and the Carolinas, fans have in turn seen more taps in the stadium dedicated to these local beers.

From what I can tell, the stadium has one of the best selections of craft beer in the country. Last year , the stadium added a beer garden in section 101. This is one of the best spots to find a wide variety of craft beer inside the stadium, though below you can also find specific sections.

It’s always a pleasure to put together the annual “Beer in Bank of America Stadium” post, especially as a big fan of the Panthers myself. If you are headed to a home game to watch the Panthers play this season, I hope you’ll use the guide below to seek out craft beer in Bank of America stadium.

This year I’ve had some trouble getting as much detailed information as I had in last year’s post. I’ll continue to update the post as the season goes on, especially if the beer offerings change. And by all means, let me know if you find something I’ve missed.

Craft Beer in Bank of America Stadium

NoDa Brewing will pour Ghost Hop, CAVU and Coco Loco in sections 101 and 118. In sections 518 and 546, they’ll pour Woody and Wilcox, CAVU and Coco Loco. In addition to those drafts, they will also have cans of Hop Drop ‘n Roll and Jam Session in sections 105, 125, 521, 550. This year, you will also be able to find the cans around the club level and in the suites and in sections 105, 125, 521 and 550. This photo from Charlotte Magazine’s Matt McKenzie shows the NoDa cans and many other craft beers that can be found in the club level. You can find Hop Drop ‘n Roll in the following “market bars”: Street Market (section 139), Locker Room (308) Red Zone (336), North Lounge (50-yard club bar).

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery Copper and Captain James Jack Pilsner are in sections 101, 103, 118, 125, 502, 523 and 535.  Like NoDa, they also have packaged product (12 oz. bottles) throughout the entire club level and in “market” bars in the 100 and 500 sections. You can find Copper in the following “market bars”: Street Market (section 139), Locker Room (308) and Red Zone (336).

I’m working on getting the specific beers, but you’ll be able to find Foothills Brewing on the 100 level in 102, 138 and in the beer garden (section 101). On the 500 level, you can find Foothills in sections 504 and 523.

Beers and Bacon

There is a new bar in the southwest corner of the 300-level called “Beers and Bacon.” Helen Schwab at the Charlotte Observer wrote a little about the food you’ll find at this bar, as well as a few new signature dishes in the stadium (Hog Molly, anyone?).

Here’s the beer list you can expect at Beers and Bacon:

  • Avery Ellie’s Brown – $9
  • Avery New World Porter – $9
  • Sierra Nevada Torpedo – $12
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – $9
  • NoDa Brewing Coco Loco
  • NoDa Brewing Woody and Wilcox IPA – $9
  • OMB Southside Weiss – $12
  • Sam Smith Nut Brown Ale – $12
  • Sam Smith Organic Chocolate Stout – $12
  • Terrapin Hopsecutioner – $9
  • Terrapin Recreation Ale – $12
  • Terrapin Red Rye Mosaic – $15
  • Allagash White – $12
  • Allagash Black – $15

The Unknown Brewing Co. brews beer with 99 Scorpions

Unknown Brewing Scorpion Beer

Fresh off the heels of their Vehopciraptor release, the folks at The Unknown Brewing Co. have announced their second bottle — and it’s a doozy.

The full name of the beer is “La Jordana del Escorpion en Fuego Hacia la Casa del Chupacabra Muerto,” which roughly translates to “The Path of the Fiery Scorpion through the House of the Dead Chupacabra.”

The beer is a 10.1 percent ABV Mexican imperial lager brewed with agave nectar, serrano peppers and 99 real scorpions. It’s then aged on oak staves from tequila barrels.

Why scorpions? Founder Brad Shell asks why not? After all, this is a brewery that prides itself on stepping into the Unknown and encouraging others to do the same. When they first talked about aging this beer in tequila barrels, someone suggested they throw a single scorpion into one of the barrels. But Shell, perhaps channeling Hunter S. Thompson, said that “anything worth doing is worth doing with 99 scorpions.”

The food-grade scorpions were procured from Thailand, and added during the boil of the beer with the hops. While Shell is unsure of how the scorpions will contribute to the beer’s final flavor, he said he has eaten other bugs and gotten a light pepper flavor. In China, scorpions are skewered and fried on a stick — but of course this beer has a Latin flair, and as such it will be released on Nov. 1, which is the Day of the Dead. There will be death mask face painting and a Mariachi band at the release.

The Beer Exchange Bottle Share at Good Bottle Co. on Sunday, Sept. 7

The Beer Exchange Bottle Share at Good Bottle Co.

The folks at The Beer Exchange, a web app devoted to beer trading, will be hosting a bottle share out at Good Bottle Co. starting at noon this Sunday, Sept. 7. There will be football playing on TV, so feel free to bring a few bottles to share or just come up and enjoy some of Good Bottle’s drafts. All are invited — you don’t have to be a beer trader.

Triple C Brewing to bottle Space Cadet, The Force and The Dude Imbibes

Triple C Brewing has three new bottles on the horizon. Next week, they will brew their Space Cadet Black IPA, which will be bottled toward the end of September.

Release dates for the other two beers are tougher to nail down, as they are both aged in barrels and barrel-aged beers are ready when they’re ready. That being said, the brewery hopes to release the rum barrel-aged version of The Force Belgian Tripel toward the end of September or beginning of October. A few weeks after that, they’ll release bottles of The Dude Imbibes, an imperial milk stout that will spend six months in a rum barrel before being aged on coffee beans. They have done pilot batches of Space Cadet and The Dude Imbibes in the past, and they also recently tapped the non-barrel-aged version of The Force.

Follow Triple C Brewing on Facebook and Twitter for updates on these beers and more.

NoDa Brewing Releases Coco Loco Can Design

NoDa Brewing Coco Loco Porter Cans

NoDa Brewing Co. released the label for Coco Loco Porter, which they’ve brewed since they opened in October of 2011. Now, three years later, the beer will join Hop Drop ‘n Roll, Jam Session and CAVU as their fourth canned beer when it hits shelves in early fall.

The porter won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2012 (and since there was no gold awarded, that was the highest-ranked beer in the Robust Porter category that year).

Like their other three canned beers, the label for Coco Loco was designed by the folks at Saturday Brand Communications. For this one, the brewery wanted to continue with the vintage aesthetic while tying in the coconut without specifically having it on the can, according to president Suzie Ford.

The copy reads: “Enjoy the blend of chocolate and brown malts in this robust porter with crazy-rich color and ruby highlights. The subtle bitterness of chocolate is balanced by sweet, organic toasted coconut. Perfect to pair with food or just enjoy alone. So go nuts, you’ll be glad you did.”

Four-packs of the beer will retail for $10.99, as it’s a more expensive beer to make than Jam Session and CAVU. At the taproom, the brewery will offer mixed four-packs of their full lineup of cans.


Release the Funk 2: Electric Funkaloo

Release the Funk 2 The Electric Funkaloo

Last year, Salud Beer Shop and New Belgium presented “Release the Funk,” a festival devoted to wild and sour beers. They will do it again this year, when the two come together again to put on “Release the Funk 2: Electric Funkaloo” at the Neighborhood Theatre in NoDa  on Nov. 15 from 1-5 p.m.

Tickets for the event are $65 (includes all fees) and will be available at starting at noon on Monday, Sept. 1. This includes a tasting glass and unlimited beer samples; food from Three Amigos will be available to purchase separately.

In attendance this year will be Lauren Salazar, a wood cellar manager and sensory specialist at New Belgium. Lauren plays a key role in blending her brewery’s sour and wood-aged beers, such as La Folie, Le Terroir and Transatlantique Kriek. She visited Charlotte last year to oversee the blending of Funkaversary, a beer that New Belgium and NoDa Brewing collaboratively brewed in honor of Brawley’s Beverage’s tenth anniversary.

Breweries are still being finalized and there will be a few surprise beers, but the following breweries are on board to pour at the event:

  • Allagash Brewing
  • Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
  • Avery Brewing
  • Bell’s Brewing
  • Birdsong Brewing
  • Burial Beer Co.
  • Cascade Brewing
  • Crooked Stave
  • D9 Brewing
  • Evil Twin Brewing
  • Fonta Flora Brewery
  • Foothills Brewing
  • Free Range Brewing
  • Fullsteam Brewery
  • Haw River Farmhouse Ales
  • Heist Brewery
  • Lenny Boy Brewing Co.
  • Moylan’s Brewery
  • Natty Greene’s Brewing Co.
  • New Belgium Brewing
  • New Holland Brewing
  • NoDa Brewing
  • Steel String Brewing
  • Wicked Weed Brewing

Wooden Robot Brewery signs lease in SouthEnd

Wooden Robot BreweryWooden Robot Brewery has signed a lease on a 5,700-square-foot location at 1440 South Tryon Street, Suite 110, about a block away from Common Market in SouthEnd and a quick walk from the Bland Street light rail stop.

Here, they will have a 1,500-square-foot taproom and a 15-barrel brewhouse (for comparison, this is the size of NoDa Brewing’s current brewhouse).

The name “Wooden Robot” is a bit of an oxymoron. In a press release, president and head brewer Dan Wade explained the meaning behind it.

“Wooden Robot represents the blending of seemingly disparate elements into a wonderful union,” Wade said. “The wood represents the brewing tradition that inspires us: high quality ingredients, expressive yeast strains, and extended aging in oak barrels. The robot represents innovation: the unique, creative beers that we craft using these traditional methods and ingredients.”

Wade was previously employed with Swamp Head Brewery in Gainesville, Florida. Before this he worked for Rogue, where he heard lots of stories of one Brad Shell, who had left Rogue a few months prior. Brad founded The Unknown Brewing Company, and now these two ships in the night will be working right down the road from each other.

I recently met Wade at a North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild media event, and he described the brewery’s focus as “urban farmhouse.” It’s a term that Asheville’s Burial Beer Co. also uses, showing that even a brewery smack-dab in the middle of a city can still take a rustic approach to brewing.

The brewery will take much of their inspiration from Belgium, drawing upon that rich tradition to brew “drinkable saisons, unique hoppy Belgian ales, and innovative wood-aged and wild beers.”

They will now start designing the brewery with construction following soon. Wooden Robot is shooting to open in spring of 2015. Follow their progress on Facebook and Twitter.

Barking Duck Brewing to open in Mint Hill on Tuesday, Sept. 2

Barking Duck Brewing Company
Ass Clown Brewing’s Matt Glidden did more than sell Josh Carl and Jacob Reynolds a kegerator. He, along with his Cornelius neighbors from D9 Brewing, inspired the two to open a nanobrewery. They will open Barking Duck Brewing at 8037-C Fairview Road in Mint Hill this Tuesday, Sept. 2 from 4-10 p.m.

“Matt helped us out a lot in the early stages. And the guys at D9 Brewing have kind of been our big brothers, so to speak,” said Carl.

D9 Brewing opened a small taproom with a one-barrel brewery last November. Now, less than a year later, D9 Brewing is poised to open a much larger brewery on Saturday, Sept. 13.

Though they have been busy these last few months in preparation of the grand opening, the guys at D9 Brewing have given Carl and Reynolds lots of advice on going the nano route. The Brewers Association does not have a definition for nanobreweries, but most consider them to be breweries that  brew no more than three barrels of beer at a time (a barrel is the equivalent of 31 gallons).

The system at Barking Duck is even smaller, as they are brewing double batches on a half-barrel system and then fermenting in four one-barrel fermenters. Their 1,000-square-foot space is located behind a Food Lion in a strip of connected brick buildings, each looking much the same as the ones beside it.

When you open the roll-up door at Barking Duck Brewing, however, it reveals a small taproom divided by a half-wall with a bar top. Walls alternate between green, orange and gray, and on this latter shade is a chalkboard to display information about the beers. There are a few tables and chairs, past which sits the four-tap kegerator.

It poured many a pint at Ass Clown Brewing before Matt Glidden upgraded to a whopping 32 taps. At Barking Duck, Carl and Reynolds plan to open with just three core beers before later experimenting with other styles. Their flagship Banamber was actually a happy accident. Instead of picking up an American ale yeast before brewing an amber, Reynolds accidentally bought a Belgian yeast, which imbued the beer with the banana and clove notes more typical of some Belgian styles. They liked it, and others did too; it was their most popular beer at the All Ale to the Queen beer festival last March.

The other two core beers will be a milk stout called Big Belly Stout and Halfsies DIPA, which straddles the line between a single and double IPA. Soon they hope to brew a Jasmine Saison and give their Banamber a peanut butter treatment.

Carl and Reynolds have been brewing together for quite a while, picking up the hobby after they moved back from Western Carolina University, where they were roommates. Opening a nanobrewery was appealing to them because it didn’t require the financial investment that a much larger brewery and taproom would require.

“We came straight out of our pockets for it,” said Reynolds. “We haven’t got investors, we haven’t got big bank loans or anything. We’ve just done what we can to make it work.”

Going small does come with a price. It limits the amount of beer they can produce, and thus serve and sell in a taproom with a maximum occupancy of twenty people. As a result, the two won’t be quitting their full-time jobs at American Airlines anytime soon. Instead, they will open up the taproom from 4-10 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and then from 12-10 p.m. on Saturdays. They’re brewing small batches in a small town, but they have big plans for Barking Duck.