Your guide to Halloween and Charlotte Craft Beer
Halloween is this Saturday, and if you prefer your treats as craft beer instead of candy, Charlotte’s breweries and bottle shops have you covered. Here’s a look at several events that are going on this week/weekend (Note: There’s a huge party from Thursday to Sunday at NoDa Brewing Company to celebrate the brewery’s fourth anniversary … look for more to come on that event and everything you need to know in the next couple days):
We’ll start with Birdsong, which has a ton going on for this spooky day. First up is the release of a fall favorite, MexiCali Stout. If you’ve never had it, MexiCali is brewed with local roasted coffee from Central Coffee, along with serrano chile peppers, cacao nibs and cinnamon. The result is a terrific beer that has a robust dark flavor with a hint of heat – perfect for the weather cooling down.
Birdsong will release MexiCali Stout at the taproom at noon on Saturday and here’s some really great news – MexiCali will be canned for the first time. This limited can release will only be available at the taproom, also beginning Saturday at noon (look for kegs of MexiCali Stout to hit local craft beer bars and bottle shops within the next couple of weeks).
The event is part of what Birdsong is calling a “Haunted Beer Release,” complete with a haunted brewery tour. That’s right, taking a tour around the tanks and canning line may come with a few surprises this Saturday as the brewery is transformed. These haunted tours will take place at 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. and it’s being recommended to show up at least 30 minutes before the tour you want to go on to secure a spot.
Birdsong is also tapping a special cask of MexiCali Stout with habanero peppers at 6 p.m., and there will be a costume contest as well for the event. First prize gets a private tour and tasting for up to six people along with a $50 Birdsong gift certificate, while second prize will receive a $25 Birdsong gift certificate and growler of your choice.
Unknown is also releasing a special beer in honor of the holiday weekend, and this is the second in the brewery’s Day of the Dead series (you may recall last year’s bottle, “La Jordana del Escorpion en Fuego Hacia la Casa del Chupacabra Muerto,” or simply “Escorpion en Fuego,” which was brewed with agave nectar, serrano peppers and yes, 99 scorpions, before being aged on tequila oak staves.
This year’s bottle release is “El Corazon Sangra Que Morado,” which roughly translates to “The Heart That Bleeds Purple.” “El Corazon” is brewed with Peruvian purple corn, hot purple peppers, hibiscus, spices and then dry hopped with experimental hops. Unknown will begin selling bottles (there will also be very limited keg distribution in the coming weeks) at the taproom on Sunday beginning at noon as part of the brewery’s “Day of the Dead Fiesta.” Along with the beer release, there will be a Day of the Dead face painting and live Mariachi band on site. While there, you can also pick up a bottle of “Rise Against Clowns,” which has its own Halloween connotation.
Good Bottle Co.
On Thursday, Good Bottle will hold its second annual “Brews and Boos,” which pairs a craft beer with a certain candy (also, Jonathan Wells did a great job here on this subject for Charlotte Agenda).
The pairings are still being decided, but owner Chris Hunt gave a sneak preview by telling me one: Wicked Weed’s Black Angel with dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses. Last year’s pairings included Hi-Wire’s Strongman Coffee Stout paired with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Mother Earth’s Weeping Willow Wit paired with candy corn, NoDa Brewing’s Triumphant paired with Almond Joy, Olde Hickory’s Daniel Boone paired with Kit Kat, Sierra Nevada’s Northern Hemisphere Wet Hop IPA paired with Sour Patch Kids and Wicked Weed’s Dark Age Bourbon Stout paired with Twix. Good Bottle will also have $3.50 pints on Thursday.
The Cornelius brewery is pulling out all the stops this Friday as part of celebrating one year in production. Starting at 2 p.m., D9 will host its one-year anniversary party and haunted taphouse. The event is highlighted by a special 12-tap takeover of new beers, each paired with a different kind of candy.
Each day D9 is announcing a new beer leading up to the event, so far the beers are as follows: Iocane Sour, Santa Sangre Sweet Red Imperial, Beetlejuice Golden Green Ale, Chupacabra, Splatter Pattern Imperial Red, 6 Dull Boys bourbon barrel-aged Pale Ale, Weeping Angel Pomegranate Sour, Rabbit’s Moon IPA and Boomstick Imperial Stout. Follow the event’s Facebook page to stay informed, and you’ll be able to get a flight of all 12 if so desired on Friday.
Those who come in costume to the party will receive a D9 pint glass, and the best costume will win two tickets to a Charlotte Hornets game. D9 will also have a DJ and Wingz on Wheelz and Bite Food Truck onsite, along with meat and cheese plates from The Cork and Cask.
Bulldog Beer & Wine
This Thursday will see Bulldog’s second annual “Growl-o-ween,” from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dress your dog up in your favorite costume as prizes will be awarded for the best small dog costume, best big dog costume, scariest dog costume, cutest dog costume and spiciest dog costume. The Dilworth bottle shop will also be accepting school supplies and cash donations to benefit Classroom Central, and will tap several specialty beers during the event with Yummi Banh Mi food truck on site as well.
Red Clay Ciderworks
Also for dog lovers, on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., Red Clay will host its “Dog Day Howl-o-ween” party. Along with craft cider, Red Clay will have complimentary donuts from Suarez Bakery, trick-or-dog treats (for the dogs, of course), a dog costume contest at 3 p.m. (with pet/owner costumes encouraged) and finally, a bobbing for apples contest at 4 p.m. Prizes will be given out for both contests.
As part of the party, Red Clay will have a canned food drive in partnership with United Way Young Leaders in support of Second Harvest Food Bank. Bring a can donation of any size and receive three Clay Bucks (each worth $1 at the Red Clay taproom).
Wooden Robot Brewery
The infamous #InstabeerupCLT stops Wooden Robot Brewery this month, on Thursday beginning at 6 p.m. This event put on by Corri Smith and Amy Herman has quickly grown into a can’t-miss event and in honor of the time of year (and Corri’s favorite holiday), you’re encouraged to attend in your best costume. Also, The Rail Trail is buying a beer for the first 150 attendees, so don’t be late.
After hosting the entire population of Charlotte for its one-year anniversary party this past weekend, there’s no sleep for Sycamore. On Saturday, the brewery will host its “Halloween Extravaganza” from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. There’ll be live music from Of Good Nature, candy, prizes for the best costume and of course, good craft beer.
Sugar Creek Brewing
Sugar Creek is celebrating Halloween with the taproom release of its Dubbel aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. This will only be available at the taproom and no growlers will be filled. Also, during the entire week you can go by Sugar Creek and try the brewery’s Halloween flight special, where a different Sugar Creek beer is paired with a certain candy.
Free Range Brewing
Guests who come to Free Range in costume on Saturday for the brewery’s “Halloween Hee Haw” will get $1 their first pour of choice. Taco Green-Go will be on site that day as well, and then on Sunday the brewery is hosting the premiere of Order/fire, a local culinary video web series. The first video features Heirloom chef/owner Clark Barlowe. This isn’t Halloween-related obviously, but it is worth mentioning as the first 100 people to arrive get their first beer for free. The event begins Sunday at 2 p.m.