Charlotte’s brewery scene is a force to be reckoned with.
Put together, Charlotte’s craft breweries occupy nearly 400,000 square feet, according to research from JLL Carolinas. That’s roughly the size of the NASCAR Plaza tower Uptown. Damn.
Recently, we asked the Agenda audience about their favorite brewery. After thousands of responses, here are the people’s choice award winners:
Best brewery for serious beer drinks: #1 Wooden Robot, #2 NoDa and #3 Legion Brewing
Best brewery for taproom atmosphere: #1 Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, #2 Sycamore, #3 Suffolk Punch
Looking for where to grab your next craft beer? Here’s a quick guide to breweries in Charlotte.
This new University City brewery is set to open March 15 and plans to specialize in gluten-free beers. The 3,500-square-foot taproom will have 18 taps offering up a mix of both regular beer and gluten-free beer.
Location: University City, 8821 JW Clay Boulevard
Fun fact: Andrew Kalinoski, former head brewer at Sycamore Brewing, is the brains behind Armored Cow.
Birdsong’s 30-barrel brewhouse and taproom opened back in 2011 and has since become a go-to for unfiltered, American-style ale.
Location: NoDa, 1016 North Davidson Street
The vibe: Expect a laid back neighborhood feel. They’ve got a nice patio space for warm weather days.
Follow the Stewart Creek Greenway and you’ll run right into Blue Blaze. It’s got a large selection of American, English and German beer – all brewed with locally sourced ingredients.
Location:West End, 528 South Turner Avenue
The vibe: Very chill. I love Blue Blaze for their beautiful, nature-inspired taproom and their outside rocking chairs.
Fun fact: Their name is inspired by paint stripes, called blazes, that mark the Appalachian Trail.
Grab a pint of: Yellow Blazer Kölsch, a German-style golden ale (5% ABV) Full beer list
This female-owned brewery specializes in well-loved styles of beer whose clever names pay homage to “Bold Missies” that have shaped history. We’re talking Amelia Earhart and Annie Oakley.
Location: NoDa, 610 Anderson Street
Fun fact: Bold Missy is the area’s only female-owned brewery. #girlpower
Grab a pint of: Find a Way, a tangerine wheat ale (4.9% ABV) Full beer list
Two breweries, one roof. The joint venture between Southern Tier and Victory Brewing is LoSo’s newest staple. With a 28,000-square-foot taproom, 120 taps and an impressive food menu, what’s not to love.
Location: LoSo, 4001 Yancey Road
The vibe: Lively without feeling overwhelming.
Grab a pint of: Golden Monkey, a Belgian-style Tripel with banana and cloves by Victory Brewing (9.5% ABV) Full beer list
Catawba’s easy-drinking beer and patio with a skyline view makes the new 10,000-square-foot taproom a weekend must. Looking for more than just beer? Keep up with events like trivia and run club here.
Location: Plaza Midwood, 933 Louise Avenue
The vibe: Laid back with a great mix of indoor and outdoor space. And did we mention skyline views?
Grab a pint of: White Zombie, a Belgian Witbier with unmalted wheat, coriander and orange peel (5.1% ABV) Full beer list
Owner Ben Dolphens describes Divine Barrel’s beer as a “good mixture of different experiments” that take on classic styles – think a saison refermented with Brettanomyces and Polish grodsizkies with aji limon peppers.
Location: NoDa,3701 North Davidson Street
The vibe: Rustic and industrial-style taproom. Love the rugged wood paneling behind the bar.
Find the cozy taproom, plus plenty of live music, an occasional market and a menu full of dynamic styles of beer, across the parking lot from Amélie’s in Villa Heights.
Location: Villa Heights, 2320 North Davidson Street
The vibe: The taproom has kind of a casual, farmhouse aesthetic and feels super inviting.
Fun fact: Free Range is owned by brothers Jeff and Jason Alexander, who were raised in Eastern, NC.
Grab a pint of: Cream of the Crop, a Carolina cream ale (5% ABV) Full beer list
Heist has two locations, the original Heist Brewpub in NoDa and the new Heist Brewery & Barrel Arts near Camp North End.
One of the city’s original breweries, NoDa-based Heist is a classic spot. Their brunch buffet (usually accompanied by a donut tower) is a hangover must. The new Heist Brewery & Barrel Arts is a 26,000 brewery and taproom will include a covered beer garden, bakeshop, two event spaces and a separate area for their barrel aging program. The brewery will feature a floor-to-ceiling Clint Eastwood mural when you walk in.
Locations: NoDa, 2909 North Davidson Street and North End, 1064 Woodward Avenue
Brewpub vibe: Think industrial meets old pub. Heist is no frills, just good food and beer.
Grab a pint of: Hive Fives, a blonde ale (5% ABV) Full beer list
Legion Brewing has two locations, the original in Plaza Midwood and a new location in SouthPark.
After finding its footing in Plaza Midwood, the brewery known for Juicy Jay expanded to SouthPark, making it the neighborhood’s first brewery.
Locations: Plaza Midwood, 1906 Commonwealth Avenue and SouthPark, 4350 Congress Street
The vibe: Legion’s OG location in Plaza has a cozy, neighborhood vibe while it’s SouthPark spot is much more open and airy.
Grab a pint of: Juicy Jay, an East Coast IPA brewed with Mosaic, El Dorado and Cascade hops for a tropical taste (6.3% ABV) Full beer list
A one-stop-shop for not just traditional ales and lagers, but also organic kombucha, gluten-free wild ales, sours and more in a setting good for drinkers and non-drinkers alike.
Location: South End, 3000 South Tryon Street
The vibe: On weekends, the outdoor space feels like a backyard cookout with live music and food trucks.
Grab a pint of: Citraphelia, an IPA made with Citra hops (6.4% ABV) Full beer list
Currently under construction, Lower Left Brewing Co. is set to join the brewery-filled district of LoSo this year. Lower Left will have a seven-barrel custom-made brewhouse and 900-square foot taproom. The building has four garage doors, which will open to an outdoor patio.
The beer: Expect 4-6 core beers available year round including a New England IPA, tropical IPA, American pale ale, blonde ale, amber ale and a porter or stout.
Location: LoSo, 4528 Nations Crossing Road
Pineville’s first brewery, Middle James Brewing, is set to open this Spring. The two-story space can be found behind The Gold Village and will feature 24 taps, a food menu, and shaded deck overlooking the putting green.
Location: Pineville, 400 N. Polk Street
Fun fact: Along with beer, Middle James will offer wine, cider and kombucha on tap.
The brewery, which does not yet have a name, plans to open later this summer in Midtown.
Location: Midtown, 1426 E 4th St
Plans: The Midtown brewery will have a large outdoor patio fronting 4th, along with a 750 square foot “elevated patio” toward the interior of the site that’ll likely have cool Uptown views.
Space: It’ll take the space formerly occupied by American Billiards Company in a cool 1920s building.
The brewery, now in Optimist Park, is known for both its year-round staples like Jam Session and its seasonal batches like Gordgeous and NoDajito. It’s also a go-to for weekend activities – keep up with events here.
Fun fact: In addition to beer, they also have craft spiked seltzer on tap.
Grab a pint of: Hop Drop ‘n Roll, a 2014 World Beer Cup Gold Award Winner made with English, American, Vienna and wheat malts (7.2% ABV) Full beer list
This quintessential Charlotte brewery is home to a massive Biergarten that welcomes children and dogs alike. Olde Meck is unique in that they follow the German “Reinheitsgebot,” aka the oldest beer purity law in the world, when brewing their award-winning beer.
Location: LoSo, 4150 Yancey Road
The vibe: The inside feels like a tavern-y, old German brewhaus and outside is an expansive, airy biergarten.
Grab a pint of: Copper, a Düsseldorf-style Altbier that’s known as the brewery’s flagship (4.9% ABV) Full beer list
One of the city’s newer breweries, Pilot can be found in the same complex as the new Yafo location. There’s no flagship or signature beer, as all batches are small and experimental. They call themselves a nano-brewery.
Location: Plaza Midwood, 1331 Central Avenue
The vibe: Casual and cozy.
Grab a pint of: Island Hopper IPA
This nano-brewery and taproom, set to open early 2019, will occupy 1,700 square feet of space formerly occupied by NoDa Grocery. Expect 20+ taps and light fare food. Head brewer, Jeremy Claeys comes to Protagonist from Asheville’s Wicked Weed Brewing.
Location: NoDa, 3123 N Davidson St #104
The vibe: It’s expected to have a living room-like atmosphere.
This small brewery steps from Plaza Midwood’s main drag is, like the neighborhood, unique, specializing in hop-forward IPAs and pale ales, lagers, barrel-aged beers and fermented ales.
Location: Plaza Midwood, 2101 Central Avenue
The vibe: Funky neighborhood hang out spot.
Grab a pint of: Whatever You Feel Just Dance It, a hazy IPA made with flaked oats (7% ABV) Full beer list
Wine deal: Resident Culture recently launched a curated wine program and does half priced bottles of wine on Thursdays.
Salud Beer Shop’s in-house brewery. Head upstairs to enjoy a pint in their 3,100-square-foot taproom. They also have a kitchen serving up wood-fired pizza.
Location: NoDa, 3306 North Davidson Street
The vibe: Eclectic and artsy.
Grab a pint of: Banana Keys, a stout with hints of banana, vanilla and coconut (11.5% ABV) Full beer list
Occupying a cool mid-century model building in The Gold District, Southern Solstice Brewing has plans to open this year. It will feature a 3,200 square foot taproom and 1,800 square foot front patio. Expect no flagship beers – the taps will rotate.
Location: The Gold District, 1200 S. Graham Street
Opening: Mid to late Summer 2019
Suffolk Punch has become a Rail Trail destination with a gorgeous taproom and beer menu consisting of their own brews alongside some of the best in the country. Pro tip: Try out their brunch.
Location: South End, 2911 Griffith Street
The vibe: A little more elevated that your typical brewery. The patio is usually packed on nice days.
Deal: $3 beers on Thursdays and Sundays
Grab a pint of: A Patchwork Orange, an IPA made with orange peel, grapefruit and papaya (5.7% ABV) Full beer list
Known for its Belgian-inspired beer, Sugar Creek uses multiple types of hops and combines them with award-winning malt varieties to create modern takes on classic tastes.
Location: LoSo, 215 Southside Drive
The vibe: It’s a smaller space with a casual feel.
Grab a pint of: Sugar Creek Pale Ale, with notes of fruit, citrus, pine and grapefruit combined with caramel (5.2% ABV) Full beer list
Everybody’s go-to brewery, thanks to its killer location and huge outdoor space, often home to yoga, Food Truck Friday and Sunday brunch. Keep up with events here.
Location: South End, 2161 Hawkins Street
The vibe: Friendly and energetic. Expect lots of people and lots of dogs.
Grab a pint of: Mountain Candy IPA, a double dry hopped IPA with flavor notes of stone fruit and rainbow candies (7.2% ABV) Full beer list
Thirsty Nomad’s cozy taproom is home to saisons, pale ales and chocolate stouts, plus wine and cider for your picky, non-beer drinking friends.
Location: 4402 Stuart Andrew Boulevard
The vibe: Small and intimate with a slightly nerdy steampunk aesthetic.
Grab a pint of: Companion, a light blonde ale (4.5% ABV) Full beer list
The brewery, from the mind of a physician-turned-professional-brewer, is named after Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but that’s about the only thing Christmas-related you’ll find in this coffee shop-esque taproom.
Location: 5046 Old Pineville Road
The vibe: The exterior looks like something you’d find on an old London street and the inside bar gives off a similar feel.
Grab a pint of: Southern Bliss, a light golden ale that drinks like a light pilsner with apricot notes (5% ABV) Full beer list
This brewery joined the scene late last year. Expect IPAs, kettle sours, porters, English and Belgian styles and a rotating selection of other crafts, plus ciders, kombuchas, housemade sodas and other non-alcoholic options.
Location: Wesley Heights, 800 Grandin Road
The vibe: Their 24-tap taproom feels casual like a living room with an old school warehouse aesthetic.
You should drink a pint of: Escape Plan — an American IPA (6.6%). Full beer list
Even if you haven’t ventured into the taproom of one South End’s first breweries, Triple C is home to beers you likely know, including Baby Maker, Golden Boy and Light Rail Pale Ale.
Location: South End, 2900 Griffith Street
The vibe: No-frills, chill atmosphere. Listen to live music or play a board game.
Grab a pint of: 3C IPA, made with citrus, grapefruit and passionfruit flavors (6.2% ABV) Full beer list
Unknown is now home to a new rooftop bar with a skyline view, a remodeled taproom and permanent pizza food truck in partnership with Seoul Food Meat Co. and a menu that complements your Feather Light perfectly.
Location: The Gold District, 1327 South Mint Street
Fun fact: Every Saturday they host a Bike & Brew ride where you can go on a 10, 25 or 35 mile route and then enjoys beers at the end.
You should drink a pint of: Over the Edge, with a citrusy orange flavor and pine-like aroma (6.4% ABV)
Wooden Robot will soon have two locations. The original spot is in South End and another location is under construction in NoDa.
The brewery best known for its Good Morning Vietnam and What He’s Having brews is expanding in more ways than one: last year they added Kre8 Gastropub to the South End location and they are opening their new NoDa location this year.
Location: South End, 1440 South Tryon Street
The vibe: A perfect mix of laid back and lively.
Grab a pint of: Good Morning Vietnam, a blond ale made with Ethiopian coffee and vanilla beans from Madagascar (5% ABV) Full beer list
Still thirsty? There are 21 breweries to visit right outside of Charlotte.
These breweries may not technically be in Queen City but are close by and worth a visit.
Sweet Union Brewing Company
Southern Range Brewing Co.
The Dreamchaser’s Brewery