A weekend full of Charlotte craft beer cheer

Courtesy of Unknown Brewing
Unknown Brewing is hosting an amateur chili cookoff from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $10 at the door, which gets you free unlimited samples from 20 amateur teams

Excuse the holiday pun, but it’s the most wonderful week for Charlotte craft beer. There are a couple times each year where a slew (sleigh?) of fantastic events come together in a 72-hour period, which makes you marvel at this golden age of local craft beer we’re enjoying – but also causes you to schedule your weekend wisely. Here’s a rundown:



–NoDa’s whale of a beer is back: Monstro is NoDa’s Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels that has been the talk of local craft beer each time it’s been brewed and released. The first was three years ago, when Monstro debuted to much fanfare with the announcement it was aged in barrels of Van Winkle bourbon – a name familiar to many bourbon aficionados. Last year brought two changes in Heaven Hill (also an excellent bourbon) for the aging and the move from bottles to cans.

Now, Monstro is back in 22-ounce bombers and this year’s version is set to be released Friday at 2 p.m. at NoDa’s taproom. The brewery dialed way back on production this year with only 500 bottles and there will be no limit on how many you can purchase. Bottles will be $18 each (that includes tax). NoDa will also have cans of 2016 Monstro available for purchase in case you want to compare the two.


–Funk Friday: Before Salud’s huge sour beer festival (see below), the bottle shop is hosting a pre-party upstairs at Salud Cerveceria at 6 p.m. Several of the breweries pouring at the festival will be in attendance, including Bell’s, Central State, Fonta Flora, Kent Falls, Red Clay Ciderworks, Transient and Zebulon. Salud Cerveceria’s collaboration with Resident Culture, Tropical Ponche (a fruited Berliner Weisse), will also be available if you haven’t tried it yet.


–Christmas markets times two: Still haven’t gotten that holiday shopping done yet? Look no further than two of Charlotte’s breweries, Olde Mecklenburg and Sycamore, to check off all your lists. Sycamore has partnered with Vintage Charlotte for its Christmas market, which will be from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Shop among 30 local vendors while enjoying a full taplist of Sycamore beers, including the fantastic Christmas Cookie.

Friday begins the last weekend of OMB’s Weihnachtsmarkt, beginning at 4 p.m. More than 40 vendors will have present ideas for you to choose from, complemented by Olde Mecklenburg’s beers and gluhwein, a German hot red wine. If you can’t make it, OMB is also hosting Weihnachtsmarkt (final day) on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.   



–Legion turns two: Fresh off the news of a second location in SouthPark, Legion Brewing will celebrate its second anniversary with an all-day event. It all begins at 10 a.m. with a special visit from Santa Claus. Kids and adults alike are welcome for photos with Santa, while Legion will also have a special brunch menu and Carolina Sparkle Party beermosas.

Throughout the day, Legion will tap special beers in honor of the second anniversary, including Red Leader, a sour aged in oak barrels with raspberries; and Komrade Shokoload, a Russian Imperial Stout. The celebration will also feature live music and a balloon drop at 6 p.m., and you’ll be able to pick up a special commemorative birthday glass at the brewery as well.


–Release the Funk 5 at Neighborhood Theatre: If you love sour beers, attendance is a must at Salud’s annual festival. Some of the best sour breweries will be pouring here with a total of 58 to be exact. Afterward, Salud Cerveceria will host a free post-party with two live bands. Get all the details on Release the Funk 5: Let Me Take You on a Funky Ride here.


–Unknown’s Chili Cookoff: Baby, it’s cold outside – and what better way to warm up than with some chili? Bonus answer: chili and beer! A total of 20 teams will be at Unknown Brewing Saturday to see who has the best amateur chili in the Queen City. The best part – you get to be the judge. Admission is $10 at the door, which will get you unlimited samples of chili (Unknown will have a full taplist to complement the hearty samples).



–Up All Night in the morning at Triple C: Cap off a stellar weekend at Triple C beginning with a bottle share at the brewery at 11 a.m., then head across to the street to the Barrel Room at noon for the barrel-aged  Up All Night release. This year, head brewer Scott Kimball not only aged the breakfast porter brewed with local coffee and honey in bourbon barrels; he also brewed a special variant aged in rum barrels with vanilla beans. You can read more about both beers and full details on the release here.

Categories: Agenda, Beer, By Matt McKenzie