Beautiful-good. This is the name ancient Sumerians gave to the delicious biochemical concoction we now call beer.
Beer brings people around a table, fosters conversation, and opens opportunity for communal fellowship centered around the shared experience of enjoying refreshing, satiating beverages together. Not to mention, this bubbly brew releases the feel-good hormone, dopamine, which makes these gatherings all the more jovial.
I imagine the ancient beer-creators of old speechless after their first ceramic bowl full, dodging yeast clumps and particles with bamboo straws, then exclaiming the two most flattering, celebratory adjectives they could think up to describe their new boozy discovery: “Beautiful! ….Good!”
Many of today’s leading breweries across the country respectfully use beer’s rich history as a foundational stepping stool to launch themselves toward more creative, modern takes on traditional recipes. With craft beer on the rise, more and more entrepreneurs and beer connoisseurs are building their own breweries and pubs, positioning their take on this ancient creation from a different and unique angle.
Here at Bellhops, we are scanning the country, seeking out the best breweries that capture beer’s potential and provide delicious brews to happy patrons. City by city, we’re doing the work and investigation so that you can focus on enjoying your beer and the people around you (we’re a modern alternative to traditional Charlotte movers, by the way).
Next on our list? Charlotte, NC. Now boasting of more than four dozen breweries in the region, Charlotte is overflowing with bubbly brews and keeps building beautiful taprooms that bring locals and visitors happily returning. Check out the following list of our five favorites we found in the Queen City.
OMB was the first craft brewery to hit the streets of Charlotte, opening about a decade ago with a charming German-style taproom. Their doors are open to all ages, and many locals from childhood to retirement enjoy the large, relaxed environment. Their beers can be found across Charlotte at grocery stores where they distribute locally.
You won’t go hungry at OMB, with their spicy sausages and spaetzle. And though many locals flock to this location, you won’t find yourself searching for a seat either. Long wooden shared tables line their taproom, and their patio packs in even more dozens of stretching picnic tables for their drinkers and diners. Their seasonal events bump up their points as well in our book, like their Oktoberfest, Christmas releases, and forth of July celebrations.
Try this: 1768 (winter seasonal)
OMB’s Dunkelweizen is fruity and bready with hints of dark wheat. At 5.3% its sweet and refreshing with dancing high carbonation – a delicious pair for your german sausage.
NoDa Brewing Company offers a huge selection to the thirsty locals. Their taproom is located in a converted old school building and created into a unique, friendly environment. Try out some greasy grub from their food trucks, and then cleanse yourself with a yoga class in the taproom or join one of NoDa’s regular 5k events. NoDa distributes throughout Charlotte, and locals snag six-packs of their brews during their weekly grocery shopping at local stores.
NoDa has mastered the art of maintaining a large and ever-changing tap list of tasty brews. They offer outdoor and indoor seating decorated with quirky art pieces that express their unique style and branding.
Try this: Jam Session
NoDa’s American Pale Ale is clear and hoppy with a balanced malty backbone. Look for notes of pine and citrus amidst this refreshing bubbly.
Wooden Robot offers a wonderful balance of options to choose from on their tasty taplist – from solid flagship brews to experimental seasonals. Its kitchen whips out pub grub, and seating is spread throughout their taproom and large covered patio for a comfortable and relaxing environment.
Wooden Robot’s effort and thoughtfulness doesn’t stop at their brews. Their food menu is at once fancy and junky, serving dishes like shrimp quesadillas, beer braised pulled pork, and pan seared chicken with bacon jam and pesto. What’s bacon jam? We’re not sure – but it tastes amazing.
Try this: Space Magic
One of Wooden Robot’s several IPA’s catches a lot of attention for its quirky can art. But what’s inside the can does not disappoint. This wheaty hopper is fruity, fragrant, and tropical at 6.5% ABV. Slap on an order of their Bosshog Mac&Cheese Eggroll, and you’ll be singing Wooden Robot’s praises.
The well established Sycamore Brewery has created a comfortable and aesthetic outdoor and indoor space for locals to relax and enjoy their great variety of quality brews. Sycamore also distributes widely throughout the area, so their beers are easy to snag even if you’re stuck on the opposite end of town.
The beer. While Sycamore has its large space and aesthetic taproom going for it, what won over our hearts are their brews. Plus, they’re located along Charlotte’s walkway that stretches along the southend, so you can hop on a scooter and zoom off to wherever your appetite takes you next.
Try this: Sun Grown
Sycamore’s lager is crisp and gets right to the bready point. The brew has won multiple national awards, is lightly sweet and refreshing with a crisp finish.
While 4001 Yancey is not a Charlotte original, it gives Charlotte locals a unique experience that they seem to be loving. Southern Tier and Victory Brewing joined forces to create a taproom that offers every beer that each brewery makes on tap. The huge taproom comprises of two different bars, one with all of Victory’s creations, the other with Southern Teir’s. In addition to their brews, they serve wine and cocktails for any fools that can’t find a beer they like from the vast and varied taplist.
Beer variety plus a full restaurant. 4001 has everything, New England IPAs, Imperial Milk Stouts, Helles Lagers, Belgian Tripels, Sour Goses and specialty beers like their Chai Tea Infused Pumpkin / Yam Beer. Locals and visitors enjoy this vast variety in the convenience and comfort of a beautiful, large taproom and full food menu.
Try this: Wild Devil
This bold and spicy hop bomb has been taken for a ride and fermented with wild yeast, yielding sour notes throughout this brew. An interesting, and well-done blend of tart citrus and sweet malt.
This new microbrewery has no flagship beers. They take all the exciting, experimental risks and create a funky beer menu that’s always changing. Their play-on-words name and matching logo warns their customers that every beer they brew is a “pilot” batch. Plus, the owner’s husband is an airline pilot, but we don’t think she made that connection….
Blue Blaze fits the bill of a great neighborhood brewery. They’re located right next to the greenway and within walking distance of many Charlotte homes. Blue Blaze serves up 5 core brews with 5 or 6 seasonals and specials that change regularly. And The Carolina Thread Trail organization has their very own pale ale served on tap at Blue Blaze’s location. Grab a $10 pitcher of any beer on NFL Sundays. Sharing a pitcher with your boo on a clear Fall Sunday afternoon is a wonderful thing, and Blue Blaze must have realized this.
This brewery’s first location was smaller, with an underground feel, but quite authentic. With brews like Carolina Sparkle Party, this brewery keeps it weird and deserves a little attention. With the opening of their second location in Southpark, Legion has gained quite the following. This newer taproom made up for the more grandeur aesthetics that their first location was lacking, and it has done this very well. A brightly-lit taproom with towering ceilings, which can hold up to 270 people, contours the circular bar and cylindrical fermenters.
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