It seems like there’s always something special happening at a local brewery, but I’ve never seen a perfect storm on a magnitude as the one that’s about to hit the Queen City this weekend. Seriously, there’s a lot going on.
At this point, it might be easier to name a Charlotte-area beer spot that isn’t doing anything this weekend. Apologies if I get overwhelmed and accidentally forget something…
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery kicks things off with the sixth installment of their annual Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market). Stroll through the Biergarten while sipping on one of their three winter seasonals, including the just-released Yule Bock, perusing gifts and baked goods courtesy of 30 Charlotte-area vendors. This event’s popularity has resulted in OMB stretching it out from one weekend to three. Friday hours for Weihnachtsmarkt are 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., running December 4-5, 11-12, and 18-19.
Good Bottle Co.
Wake up with Good Bottle Company at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, as they open their doors early for another Good Morning Breakfast. Bethlehem Bread Company is bringing breakfast buns, with coffee coming courtesy of Central Coffee. Good Bottle will also be tapping several breakfast-y beers, such as Triple C’s Up All Night breakfast porter and Left Hand’s Bittersweet imperial coffee stout.
Triple C Brewing
Speaking of nearby Triple C Brewing, they’re also opening early on Saturday to release their bourbon-barrel aged Up All Night. This coffee-infused breakfast porter spent time in Heaven Hill barrels before being bottled and kegged. There’s a limit of six bottles per person, with each costing $14. The non-barrel-aged Up All Night will also be available for $9 per bottle. The tap room opens at noon, but a celebratory bottle share kicks off at 10:30 a.m., with complimentary coffee and donuts provided to attendees.
Stick around Triple C into the afternoon, and you’ll be in prime position for an Oyster Roast benefiting the Surfrider Foundation’s Charlotte chapter. This event runs from 5pm until 8pm, with a tax-deductible $20 donation snagging attendees their first beer, a raffle ticket, plus oysters of course. Additional information at charlotte.surfrider.org/
12 Brews of Christmas
If staying in one place for too long makes you uncomfortable, the inaugural 12 Brews Of Christmas brewery/bar crawl has you covered. Starting at 1pm at Unknown Brewing, this multi-stop tour hits nearly everything Southend has to offer. From there, travel to Wooden Robot, the Beer Growler, Good Bottle, Lenny Boy, and Sycamore. A trolley will provide continual transportation between stops, so if you miss your ride simply wait another 30 minutes for the next one. Admission is free, but the cost to ride the trolley is simply an unwrapped toy donation, with proceeds going to Levine Children’s Hospital and the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte. Additional information at 12BrewsOfChristmas.com
Lenny Boy, one of the stops on the 12 Beers of Christmas tour, is debuting two new beverages on Saturday. First up is Holy Moly, made with sweet potatoes, molasses, and spices, and utilizes their in-house kombucha culture to ferment this autumnal beverage. It’s a manageable 4.4% abv and also gluten-free. For those looking for more of a coffee vibe, try Ground Up, a stout brewed with cold-press coffee from Counter Culture. This concoction is made to stand up to winter weather, with a swirl of coffee and chocolate notes weighing in at 5.3% abv.
Happy birthday to Birdsong Brewing! This local favorite celebrates turning 4 in style on Saturday, with an impressive tap lineup. Their winter-seasonal abbey ale The Pride makes its 2015 bow in the taproom, and bottles of Puppies on Penguins also debut. Beer tickets will be sold at the door for $6 apiece, allowing for a streamlined ordering process at the bar. Don’t miss out on the Communication Breakdown cask, a version of their year-round Higher Ground IPA dosed with a healthy amount of jalapeño peppers. Saturday’s taproom hours are 12pm until 10pm, with proceeds from the 4th anniversary event benefiting Trips For Kids.
Speaking of anniversaries, Brawley’s Beverage teams up with local podcasters Cheers Charlotte to celebrate the 82nd anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal. Last year saw an epic Anchor Christmas Ale vertical be unleashed. To celebrate this year, a keg of Founder’s Nemesis barleywine from 2010 will get tapped along with a slew of other surprises. Prepare to get an education while you’re here; brewery owners and reps will be on-hand to discuss antiquated Prohibition-era laws that currently plague local brewing operations. The Brawley’s-hosted celebration and discussion runs from 5pm to 10pm.
Closing out the weekend is the 2nd annual Terrapin Wake N Bake Off, hosted by Salud Beer Shop in NoDa. The premise is simple: 10 local “brew-chefs” each incorporate Wake N Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout into munchies, and attendees get to vote on their favorites. Only 100 Taster Tickets are available, with $25 getting you a pour of Wake N Bake, a logoed mug, samples of each participating chef’s offerings, and a ticket to vote for a favorite snack. Proceeds from this event benefit Cookies For Kids’ Cancer. Additional details and tickets here.
Assuming you didn’t exhaust yourself during this packed weekend, NoDa Brewing releases this year’s batch of Hoppy Holidays IPA at their new North End location on Monday. This offering features a ton of hop varietals with seasonally-appropriate spruce tips added to the brew. Four-packs of cans run $12.99 at the tap room. This was a swift mover last year, so don’t dawdle. The North End tap room (2921 N. Tryon Street) opens at 4 p.m.