NoDa Brewing takes gold in World Beer Cup

The best IPA in the world is brewed in Charlotte. Think about that for a moment.

While many were sleeping (or out at the extra-innings Knights game) Friday night, winners for the World Beer Cup were being announced in Denver as part of the annual Craft Brewers Conference. And one of those was Charlotte’s own, as NoDa Brewing Company took the gold medal for American-style India Pale Ale for their esteemed Hop, Drop ‘N Roll.  

The World Beer Cup, which began in 1996, is held every two years. NoDa Brewing became the first Charlotte brewery to even medal, much less bring home the top prize.

I can think of no better reward for the tireless staff at NoDa, in particular co-owners Todd and Suzie Ford and head brewer Chad Henderson. It’s fitting that HDR won, because if you ever have a conversation with the folks at NoDa, they’ll talk about Hop, Drop ‘N Roll being the jumping-off point for the brewery. Their Web site even states, “this is the beer that started it all for NoDa Brewing.”

And as Daniel Hartis of rightfully pointed out, Henderson has blazed a career path from brewing at home to becoming an award-winning brewer in less than three years. His passion for brewing shows in every batch NoDa turns out and, as a side note, he couldn’t have possibly asked for a better present during his birthday week than that medal.

NoDa’s win over the weekend is a big deal, for both the brewery and city of Charlotte. Here’s why:


The competition

It’s no secret that IPA is the most popular style in craft beer right now, so this was the category where the heaviest competition resided. A total of 224 entries, to be exact, which was a record for entries in any category at the World Beer Cup.

To put that in perspective, there were 94 total categories being judged at this year’s World Beer Cup. Aside from American-Style IPA, only four others (Imperial IPA, Coffee Beer, Herb and Spice Beer and Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer) had more than 100 entries. No offense to the other categories, but for the breweries that entered multiple beers, this is the award they wanted to win.


The city

Winning a national award does nothing but strengthen Charlotte as it continues to grow into a superb craft beer destination. It’s something that many here in the Queen City and even the state of North Carolina already know (don’t forget, Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and NoDa already own Great American Beer Festival silver medals), but this further puts Charlotte on the map and brings awareness to the other great breweries, bottle shops and craft beer-based restaurants that reside here.  


The craft (beer)

In short, Hop, Drop ‘N Roll lives up to everything that’s said and written about it. A distinct smell of various fruit is inviting as you first put this beer to your nose. Upon initial taste, a blast of hops comes at you intensely and immediately but make no mistake, despite its hoppiness this is a very drinkable beer that goes down smooth. HDR is one of the more complex beers I’ve ever had and I mean that as a compliment; I often describe it as a rollercoaster of taste with each sip.


And the best part is the beer’s availability. While some award-winning beers are one-offs, seasonals or released in limited quantity, you can get Hop, Drop ‘N Roll at many places in Charlotte, from grocery stores to the brewery itself.

The beer is being canned and distributed at times almost on the same day, and with this recent news, I imagine that kind of production won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

Categories: Beer