NoDa Brewing Celebrates Three Years with Three Days of Special Beers

NoDa Brewing always taps some special beers for their anniversary, and this — the brewery’s third — might be the biggest celebration yet.

Monday, Oct. 27  is “Collaboration Day,” when they’ll tap beers they brewed with other breweries. This means the highly-acclaimed “Stop, Collaborate & Glisten” collaboration with Night Shift Brewing is back, as is the Mother Shucker Oyster Stout that they did with Wilmington’s Front Street Brewery. Fonta Flora’s Haulin’ Oats, a hoppy saison, will also make an appearance. But it’s not just collaborations: NoDa will also tap their Olde Voyager English Barlyewine as well as a cask of Hop Drop ‘n Roll that’s been double dry-hopped with Simcoe.

Tuesday, Oct. 28 is “Throwback Tuesday.” They’ve gone into the cellar and come out with the following aged beers: 2012 Ménage à Quad; 2013 and 2014 TriUmphant Tripel; and 2013 Imperial Coco Loco. There will be another Hop Drop ‘n Roll cask, though this one’s double dry-hopped with Mosaic. And since it’s a Tuesday, they’ll have “CAVU Kölsch” as their NoDable keg.

But Wednesday, Oct. 29 is their actual anniversary, and for that they will roll out the barrels. On “Barrel Aging Day,” they tap the following: bourbon barrel-aged Olde Voyager, rum barrel-aged Imperial Loco Loco; bourbon barrel-aged Ménage à Quad. For the third day they’ll have a cask of Hop Drop ‘n Roll, this one filled with pineapple and double dry-hopped with Ella and Equinox hops.

They will also have two new beers on Wednesday. Captain Peanut Butter’s Chocolate Revenge comes in at 8.5 percent ABV and is brewed with Dutch and Ghana cocoa, plus 2.5 pounds of peanut butter powder per barrel. Toast to a New Year Sparkling Ale was brewed with honey, toasted flaked oats and Sorachi Ace hops — and then it was refermented with Champagne yeast to give it a nice crispness. At 5.1 percent ABV, it’s a much lighter offering than most of the other beers they’ll tap this week.

And if that wasn’t enough, they’ll be releasing Monstro — a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout — on Saturday, Nov. 1. They’ll tap a keg of non-barrel-aged Monstro on Friday the night before to prepare. Find the details on that release here.

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


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.

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.

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.


Sour and Wild Beer Ed at Growlers Pourhouse

Growlers Pourhouse hosts Beer Ed at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month. On Aug. 5, the monthly tasting will focus on sour and wild beers.

They will pour four sours: NoDa Brewing’s What Gose Round; Anderson Valley’s The Kimmie, The Yink and The Holy Gose; Victory Wild Devil; and Bell’s Oarsman.

And it’s not just sour beers — Charlotte’s Pickleville pickles will also be in house.

Growlers Pourhouse Sour and Wild Beer Education

Photo courtesy Growlers Pourhouse.

The Melting Pot “Brew and Fondue” with NoDa Brewing

The Melting Pot will host two four-course “Brew and Fondue” beer dinners with NoDa Brewing. The Lake Norman restaurant’s dinner is at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 6, while the Midtown location’s is at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 7. Dinner is $49.95 a person, and since seating is limited The Melting Pot asks that you call to reserve your spot. Lake Norman: 704-987-2201; Midtown: 704-334-4400.

The menu is as follows:

CAVU Blonde Ale

Cheese Course
Pale Ale Cheddar Fondue
Jam Session Pale Ale

Salad Course
Tropical Spinach Salad
Ghost Hop White IPA

Entree Course
Spicy IPA Marinated Filet
Ghost Hop Marinated Shrimp
Garlic Herb Chicken
Wild Mushroom Sachetti
Blackened Tuna
Hop Drop ‘n Roll IPA

Chocolate Course
Coconut Milk Chocolate
Coco Loco Porter


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.

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.”

“Beer Lover’s The Carolinas” Book Signings in Charlotte

Beer Lover's The Carolinas

My second book, “Beer Lover’s The Carolinas,” is currently landing on store shelves across North and South Carolina. In addition to offering a look into 156 breweries, brewpubs and beer bars across both states, the book also includes sections on clone homebrew recipes (NoDa Brewing’s Jam Session, anyone?), cooking with beer, pub crawls and area beer festivals.

I’ve got two signings this week in Charlotte. From 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15, I’ll be signing copies at NoDa Brewing. Please drop by, come check out the book, and lift a gold medal-winning Hop Drop ‘n Roll with me (or a NoDable series beer — it is a Tuesday, after all).

On Saturday, April 19, I’ll be signing books at Unknown Brewing during their “Charlotte Smokeoff,” an amateur barbecue competition featuring 20 backyard grilling teams. Their core beers will be pouring, and they will also tap Silverback Stout, Southern Hospitalitea, Magic Water IPA and a smoked black IPA that should pair well with all of the smoked meat. Wiggle Wagons, Broken Napoleons and Radio Lola will be playing music throughout the day, and the event runs from 12-8 p.m. (I’ll be signing from 12-5 p.m.). Better still, all proceeds will support veterans through Wounded Warrior Project & Purple Heart Homes. Tickets are $10 in advance on Ticket Bud and $13 the day of, and get you unlimited samples of smoked meats (beers purchased separately).

I look forward to seeing y’all out at some of these events!