Thirsty Post: Recent Charlotte Experiences

(Image appropriated via Google and is by Brian Young)

My little sister and her fiance live in Charlotte these days. Earlier in the fall, we spent a lot of time up there. I finally got to see Apocalyptica in person. That was fantastic. 10/10 would do again. We also went to our first Carolina Panthers football game.

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That was a lot of fun, but what I really want to do is go back for either the ACC championship game or the Belk Bowl. The stadium is well-designed so that there’s hardly a bad spot in the house. Where we were sitting was actually in the second row back of the second tier (right above the screens), but we didn’t feel like we were that high up.

Either way, I digress. We were up in Charlotte and had a lot of time to go around and explore the breweries, distilleries, cideries, and restaurants. Here’s a recap of where I’ve been:

  • Cowbell Burger and Whiskey Bar: Before we went to the Apocalyptica concert, we ate dinner here. I had the PM Burger (which had pulled pork, Guinness beer cheese, and deep fried jalapenos). It was fantastic. The burger was cooked to perfection (I’m a medium rare to medium sort of gal) and the pretzel bun it was on wasn’t too puffy, if I remember right. To drink, I tried Bernheim Original Wheat. I enjoyed it. It was a lighter color. It was sweet with an oaky aftertaste and a smooth burn. I’d get it again.
  • Red Clay Ciderworks: This was actually the first cidery I had been to. It wasn’t much different from going to a brewery in terms of the atmosphere and layout. We sat outside because it was crowded inside and had a front row seat to seeing traffic. It was a very pleasant day to be outside, though. While we were there, I had Cherry Bobbin’ Trolls, which I gave a 3.75 out of 5. It is a more dry, tart cider made with apples and cherries. I enjoyed it more than a lot of other cider I have had. I also sampled a Nor’easter, which had cranberries in it (3.5 out of 5–it must not have been as tart or sour as I was hoping for) and tried a sip of someone’s Queen City Common. I’d classify the Queen City Common as a standard cider that you could sit and drink all day if you liked ciders that much.
  • Great Wagon Road Distilling: This space was interesting. We thought we were going to walk around the distillery part, but we couldn’t. (I’m not sure why or if we just got distracted by the bar part.) The Broken Spoke is the bar area attached to the distillery, where you can do tastings. We wound up doing a flight of the liquors they create. We got to try their vodka, the moonshine (called poitin with an accent over the second “I”), a whisky, and then a single malt whisky, I believe. I enjoyed the single malt the best. The owner is originally from County Kildare, Ireland, which is why there was a “halfway to St. Patrick’s day” celebration when we were there. It was cool! They had some girls there performing traditional Irish dancing and Irish music.
  • Olde Mecklenberg Brewery: AKA OMB, this is across the street from Great Wagon Road (I forget, but I think this area is referred to as Southend in Charlotte). There’s another brewery there (Sugar Creek Brewing) and a social club. I think there are a couple of other fun spaces in the area, but between these three and an Uber, you’re set. OMB has a huge outdoor space lined with picnic tables (including at least one bar outside). I enjoy a lot of their stuff. I still haven’t had the food. I had the Hornet’s Nest (a hefeweizen and 3.75 out of 5) and the Captain James Jack (a pilsner and 3 out of 5). This place is just really cool. We love the atmosphere there, but it does get a little crowded and parking can be a hassle.
  • Three Spirits Brewery: The owner loves Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The brewery is named after the Ghosts in the story! This was a really fun little place. Nice and quiet. They had a bunch of board games, an escape room, and a couple of arcade games. I think it might be one of my new favorite spots up there. So, of course I had to get a flight to try as much as possible. I got the Honey Porter (a porter with honey and 3.5 stars), Agate Have It (a brown ale and 3.5 stars), King Rassafassa (a saison and 3.75 stars), and Ghost of Pumpkin Past (a yam/pumpkin beer and 4 stars–it’s the only one I’ve found that I think actually beats NoDa’s Gordgeous).

I’m leaving out some restaurants, but I can cover those in another post. Charlotte is a happening place these days! I’m glad I have been able to knock off two items from my Thirsty Thursday: Starting a Charlotte List post, but now I have three to go.

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