Tag Archives: olde mecklenburg brewery

Beer Counselor Special: South End Charlotte Brewery Tour, August 2015

Last week, I decided since I had my first Sunday off in 6 months I would use that time to do something special: Drink beer.  You may ask, “Don’t you do that every day.” Why yes, yes I do.  However, this time I wanted to make a full day of it in Charlotte (my once and future home) and do a brewery tour.

So, I texted Lankford, “What are you doing today?”

“Nothing, just cleaning house and laundry.”

“I’m going to Charlotte to drink beer, want to come along?”

“What time do you want to leave?”

“11:30”

“I’ll text you when I’m on the way.”

Thus began the South End Brewery Tour of August 2015.

20150802_131409We arrived at Olde Mecklenburg around 12:30 to an already packed house.  I decided to start off with something slow. I choose the barrel-aged Fat Boy Baltic Porter.  I say slow because this is a great sipping beer.  It’s dark, heavy, and flavorful.  You don’t want to rush a beer this good.  It is even better in a setting like OMB. The best way to describe it, to craft beer drinkers who haven’t been is a mini version of the Sierra Nevada brewery in Asheville.

20150802_133617Next, we went across the street to Sugar Creek.  This is a smaller, more intimate space.  We sat down at the bar this time and I had the Saison, which I love, and Lankford had the award winning Dubbel.  This was another pretty full house and like Olde Mecklenburg and the other places we would visit that day, there were a lot of families there.  This is one of the things I like about craft beer.  It is trying to build a community and become just a regular part of people’s everyday lives.

20150802_145555We left Sugar Creek and headed to Triple C passing by Doc Porter’s Distillery, which looks to be coming along nicely.  We settled in at Triple C and ordered up the Smoked Amber.  This is a good introduction to smoked beer.  It isn’t heavily smoky but it does have a distinct smoked presence that if you like you can expand upon with other smoked offerings out there.  There was another nice crowd at the bar and families with kids and dogs scattered throughout.

20150802_154010We were both hungry at this point so we took a quick pit stop at Fuel Pizza on South Blvd. for a couple of slices and garlic knots.

20150802_162123Our next stop was Wooden Robot.  I parked over at Craft and we walked the two blocks or so to get to another packed house.  Lankford did comment that everywhere we went there seemed to be a good crowd.  Here I had the first beer of the day I had never had before, the rye saison.  This provided an interesting taste as the rye provided an intriguing addition to the light spiciness of the saison.

We finished up at Craft where we went to hang out and harass Dana and Julio before heading back home.  It was a good relaxing day filled with beer and friends.  I need to do this more often.  The next time I’ll change up the breweries and hit Sycamore, Lenny Boy, and Unknown.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 6/11/15

Today’s links are a motley crew.  Surprisingly nothing about beer/alcohol laws or production caps (well maybe a little).  Here they are:

  • A short interview with author Randy Mosher. I would love to read the full version of this talk.  Mosher is really smart and not afraid to state his opinion.
  • Olde Mecklenburg Brewery is going to drop another $2 million into its new location. They are expanding their production and should reach the magic number of 25,000 barrels by the end of 2016.
  • Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend this year’s State of Origin Beer Fest, which is a great showcase for North Carolina beer. There are a number of festivals happening in NC in June and here is a listing from the NC Beer Guys.
  • This debate over the term “craft beer” has been going on for a few years. The first wave of craft brewers that survived have all grown to sizes that don’t fit the way people thought of craft brewers.  Essentially, they are too big.  So the Brewer’s Association amended its definition of a craft brewer a couple of years ago to reflect that.  I think the term still has use as a way to distinguish between the beer mass produced by multinational corporations who would just as soon make widgets if they could make more money doing it and the beers produced by companies that actually care what the product is and tastes like.
  • This blog post by Stacey Lynn at Brew Studs sums up my feelings on beer labels that use highly sexualized images: Why? Why take the chance to offend someone who will then go on Twitter and Facebook and kill you?  At that point, nothing you say will make you look better.  I know coming up with name and labels for beers that haven’t been taken is getting increasingly difficult and when you combine that with attempts at irreverence you can get a beer called Tramp Stamp with the obvious label that offends someone walking through Total Wine looking for a chardonnay to have at dinner.  That’s the person who is going to go on Facebook and rant about it.

Growler Taste Review: OMB Hornet’s Nest

“…a hornet’s nest of rebellion…” Bald-Faced-Hornet-Nest

Lord Cornwallis spent all of 16 days in Mecklenburg County in 1780 before being chased out of town by the rebellious residents.  That part of the Charlotte’s history is why the name of the basketball team was so important to many people.  Also, because George Shinn and the rest of the team’s ownership group was so onerous in how they took the team and left town.

In short, if you are from Charlotte and you invoke the use of the phrase “hornet’s nest” you do so at your own peril.  You better step up and use it wisely for something really good. Fortunately for Olde Mecklenburg Brewery with The Hornet’s Nest they have created a nice light summer hefeweizen that does honor to the name.

20150506_132238The Hornet’s Nest weighs in at 5.9% ABV which is a little strong for a hefeweizen, but more than acceptable to me.  It pours with a nice straw color and leaves a big fluffy off-white head with the characteristic haze of a hefe.  On the nose you get the yeast aromas of bananas and cloves and a hint of floral hops.

It has a nice light feel on the tongue and a little bit of dry finish.  It has the classic hefeweizen taste of bananas and cloves.  It may be a little sweet for some, but it seem just right for a summer day on the porch listening to insects buzz around you.

OMB specializes in German style beer adhering strictly to the Reinheitsgebot or “Bavarian Beer Purity Law” that restricts the ingredients used in beer.  It can be rather limiting in what beers you can produce, but those limits also make brewers work harder to make their beers distinctive through quality and taste.  Sometimes it is good to not have the option to put whatever you want in a beer.  It forces the brewer to concentrate on standing out by making good beer and not by adding the craziest ingredient possible to garner the most buzz.

Do I like The Hornet’s Nest?  Yes.  It is a seasonal beer and will be available only through the spring and early summer, so find it and enjoy.