2014 Charlotte Craft Beer Week preview
The Queen City has grown its craft culture exponentially in the last several years, and nowhere is that more on display than the annual Charlotte Craft Beer Week. Entering its fifth year, there are a number of great events going on beginning Friday and running through next Saturday, March 22.
Nearly every local brewery is involved, along with a number of Charlotte’s top beer bars, bottle shops and restaurants. And there are multiple events every day throughout the area, from south Charlotte up to Lake Norman. It all starts Friday at 7 p.m. with the official CCBW kickoff at The Peculiar Rabbit. Actually, it’s on the Peculiar Rabbit’s rooftop, where they’ll have eight beers on tap, along with select appetizers. Tickets are $20 (which doesn’t include beers, however) and can be purchased at the door.
From there, nearly 40 events populate the next seven days before everything closes out at the All Ale to the Queen Festival at the N.C. Music Factory. You can view a full list of all the happenings via this link. If you don’t have an endless amount of time or money, here are my top five can’t-miss events for this year’s CCBW:
1. 2. and 3. — The Charlotte Beer Triathalon, March 15, noon – 8 p.m. (multiple locations)
Ever been to a big music festival such as Bonnaroo, where there are a number of great acts playing at the same time? That’s the dilemma this Saturday, as three terrific events are taking place throughout the day.
• Start with the annual Cask Festival at Duckworth’s Park Road, which begins at 1 p.m. Always a popular event, this will feature rare beers from NoDa, Birdsong, Olde Hickory, Terrapin, Ballast Point, Stone and Founders. The list is never disappointing, and everyone votes at the end to determine the 2014 Cask Festival champion (NoDa won last year with a cask of Coco Loco with cherries and coffee beans).
Tickets are $20, and include a 6 oz. tasting glass. They are available at Duckworth’s only, or you can call to reserve your spot at (704) 527-5783.
• Also that day is the inaugural South End Craft Crawl, which begins at noon. The crawl will feature six different stops in the neighborhood, including Triple C Brewing, Good Bottle Co (which is tapping a keg of Hopslam at 2 p.m.), Lenny Boy Kombucha (with a special surprise from Sycamore Brewing, which will officially join the neighborhood this summer), Unknown Brewing, World of Beer and Common Market.
You can see the entire schedule, beer offerings and locations here. Also, free transportation is being offered via the Charlotte Trolley, and there will be giveaways throughout the day as well.
• Salud Beer Shop is celebrating its second anniversary Saturday evening from 6 to 8 p.m., and owner Jason Glunt is honoring his roots with an impressive lineup featuring beers from Bell’s and Founders. Jason is originally from Michigan and has a familial connection with the breweries in that state.
Salud’s tap list is entirely being taken over by those two aforementioned breweries and is as follows: Bell’s Quinannan Falls Special Lager, Bell’s Hopslam, Bell’s Sweet Potato Stout, Founders 2013 Old Curmudgeon, Founders Imperial Stout, Founders Bolt Cutter and Founders Backstage Smoked Porter. Like I said, impressive.
So with all this going on over the course of eight hours, what to do? Well, I’ve decided to attempt what I’m calling the Charlotte Beer Triathalon. There will be no running, swimming or biking though; rather, it’ll consist of drinking outstanding beers at three locations. Right now the schedule is to start at the South End Craft Crawl, head over to Duckworth’s around 1:30 or 2 p.m. and end at Salud that evening. Feel free to join me on the journey (I’ll also provide updates on Twitter). Regardless, you should be attending at least one of these events Saturday.
4. Rumble in the Alley, March 19, Common Market (Plaza Midwood location), 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
This annually makes my list mainly because of what a great deal it is. Rumble in the Alley is a blind taste test from more than a dozen North Carolina breweries, including several from Charlotte. For just $20, you get unlimited samples, and the winner at the end of the evening receives dedicated space among the taps at Common Market. There will also be a food truck and live music. Tickets can be purchased when you arrive at the event.
5. Charlotte Brewery Tap Takeover, March 20, Vintner Wine Market, 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
If you want to taste the best of the best from what Charlotte’s breweries have to offer, make your way to Vintner Thursday. General manager Grant Denton has been saving these kegs for this event, and it promises to be outstanding. Here is the lineup so far:
Fat Boy Baltic Porter (Olde Mecklenburg Brewery)
Unfiltered Captain Jack Pilsner (Olde Mecklenburg Brewery)
Unfiltered Loso Ryeder (Olde Mecklenburg Brewery)
Anniversary Alt (Olde Mecklenburg Brewery)
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Up All Night (Triple C Brewing)
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Smoked Amber (Triple C Brewing)
Space Cadet Black IPA (Triple C Brewing)
Tart de la Wit (Lenny Boy Organic)
Hop Cakes (NoDa Brewing)
CAVU Session Ale (NoDa Brewing)
Imperial Coco Loco (NoDa Brewing)
Cask-conditioned Honey Pie (Birdsong Brewing)
The Pride randalled through Pinot Noir sour cherries (Birdsong Brewing)
Bourbon Barrel-Aged St. Tuber (Birdsong Brewing)
Marky Mark and the Brunchy Brunch Stout (Birdsong Brewing)
Regarding that last one, Brunch Stout is a collaboration between Birdsong and the folks from Charlotte Beercast. They all got together once before for Tribute, a nod to Heady Topper. That beer sold out in less than an hour, and I’m excited to try this one as well. Vintner will also have two mystery kegs they'll tap.