Sliverback Stout (The Unknown Brewing Co.) Guest Review

The Unknown Brewing Co. Silverback Stout

By Guest Reviewer James Kennington

    As a lover of all things hoppy, it's only once in a blue moon that a dark beer, be it a porter, stout, or anything in between, will catch my fancy.  When that blue moon does shine, when a dark-brown beauty makes its way to my palette, I'm usually not disappointed.  Upon recommendation from the friendly fellows at my local Main St Bottle Shop, I gave the Silverback Stout from The Unknown Brewing in Charlotte, NC, a try.  

    Poured into a pint glass, this beauty of a brew created a short, creamy, tan head.  On the nose, notes of mocha and vanilla, mixed with hearty grain prepare you for quite a treat.  I must mention that the brewers used 7 different grain varieties in this beer, and boy does it show through.  On the palette, those grains come through in their roasted form, slightly burnt but sweetened with that same note of vanilla from the aroma.  Along with the grains, a slight bitter aspect makes its appearance, coming from the West coast hops, bringing a smile to my face: it's nice to be reminded of my love for hops while sipping on a stout.  The most interesting note on the palette is that of the sour milk.  I know that may seem a bit off-putting but you'll warm up to it and find yourself coming back for more with each sip.  The finish is medium and leaves a memory of the roasted grains and a touch of the hops.  

    After finishing my glass of Silverback Stout, I decided to learn a little bit about the brewery from which it hails: The Unknown Brewing Co.  Located in the northern parts of South End Charlotte, Unknown Brewery and the people that drink its beer love exploring the "Unknown" and trying new things.  So enamored by new things are the brewers, that every Sunday they debut a new trial beer.  Some of Unknown's lineup beers were once one of these one-off brews.  They also offer a "Bike-and-Brew", where you can ride your bike around the city, drink good beer, and help out causes like the National MS Society.  If you want to know anything more about this awesome brewery, go check them out at 

Beyond The Pint

Beyond the Pint

By Aaron Klingenschmidt



North Carolina is in the midst of a craft beer explosion.  It is estimated that the industry brings in nearly 8 billion dollars of revenue and is now responsible for creating almost 50,000 jobs in the state. Nowhere has this recent boom been more warmly embraced than in Charlotte, NC. According to, Charlotte ranks as the 5th fastest growing craft beer city in the entire U.S. with an increase in sales of 21.8%. The Queen City now boasts nearly 20 breweries with more than a dozen planning to open in the near future.  Add to that the enormous expansion of some of Charlotte’s leading breweries and you have a recipe for an economic boom in the CLT’s craft beer scene.  The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, NoDa Brewing, and Birdsong Brewing have all built new facilities allowing them to more than double their production capacity. Breweries like Triple C Brewing Company, The Unknown Brewing Company, and D9 have also added increased production capabilities to their existing facilities.  This rapid growth in beer choices and availability has helped push Charlotte’s economic growth.  The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce estimates that in 2014 the craft beer industry was responsible for more than $808 million dollars of revenue for the city.  

The economic impact doesn’t just stop with beer sales. Even beyond the pint glass, the impact of craft beer continues to have a major impact on the Charlotte economy. The following industries are sharing in the rapid rise of craft beer sales and are tightly interwoven with its success.

Food Trucks

          The food truck industry has grown hand in hand with the craft beer scene in Charlotte.  A large portion of the city’s breweries do not make their own food so food trucks are a staple almost every night of the week.  The Charlotte area now plays host to nearly 50 different food trucks serving everything from pizza to crab cakes; tacos to cupcakes.  Many of the Charlotte food trucks report that as much as 80% of their business can be attributed to directly working with local breweries.

Bottle Shops

          Another enterprise benefiting from the rapid growth of the craft beer industry is the craft beer bottle shop.  Charlotte is now home to more than a dozen of these specialty shops that carry a huge variety of craft beers.  These shops often allow a customer to mix and match a six-pack of their favorite beers, fill a growler, and track down rare and hard to get selections.  Shops like Good Bottle, Salud, Common Market, and Carolina Beer Temple have become the go-to gathering spots for craft beer fans to sample the newest releases from a variety of breweries and grab a brew for home. Bottle shops have also found their way north towards Lake Norman with spots like Ultimate Ales and Davidson Beverage Company. The popularity is even extending into nearby South Carolina with the recent opening of Main St. Bottle Shop just a few minutes south down I-77 in Rock Hill, SC.

Beer Festivals

With beer comes celebration!  Charlotte now celebrates its beer with more than two dozen beer festivals.  These festivals allow beer lovers to sample beers from many different breweries and are now large enough to draw visitors from around the state.  Many of these venues also enlist the help of local food trucks to provide food options for festival goers.  Charlotte even played host to the North Carolina Brewers Celebration.  This festival featured not only breweries from around the state, but local hop & grain farmers and homebrew suppliers.

Local Industries

            The mantra of many of the Charlotte breweries is Support Local. That mantra quickly turns into income when the breweries buy local.  Almost across the board, local breweries are searching for local ingredients to create their tasty brews.  From hops to honey, sweet potatoes to peppers, locally sourced products are ubiquitous across the Queen City’s breweries.  This desire to source locally doesn’t stop at ingredients.  Breweries regularly partner with other local industries, like yoga instructors to hold events in their taprooms. Many breweries, like Free Range and Ass Clown even use local and recycled products in the construction of their taprooms.  The craft beer boom has even sparked local brewery tours like Charlotte Brews Cruise.  These companies provide transportation around the city stopping at local breweries, offering tours of the facilities and with samples of their beer.

Charity involvement

          The focus on supporting local is at its most apparent in the connection that many Charlotte area breweries have with local charities.  Breweries across the Queen City are quick to help raise funds to help in a variety of different ways.  NoDa Brewing, in connection with the local Woody & Wilcox radio show donates a portion of every Woody & Wilcox IPA sold to help the Isabella Santos Foundation fight cancer.  D9 hosts Party for a Purpose, a festival that is raising money to help 4 year old Aislinn battle Sanfilippo Syndrome. Old Mecklenburg Brewery has played host to the Copper Classic, a 5k that helps raise money to fight prostate cancer.  When local artist Joe Borruso was struck by a drunk driver and lost his leg, the Queen City’s breweries helped other neighborhood businesses raise money to pay for his medical expenses.

The economic impact of the continued growth of Charlotte’s craft beer scene isn’t just measured in the number of pints sold.  The impact stretches across multiple industries and continues to help bolster the Queen City’s growing economy.

For information on all that the Charlotte beer world has to offer visit  There you can get up to date information on breweries, tours, beer events, new brewery openings, and more.  While enjoying beers from around the Queen City, use #CLTbeer and spread the word about your beer experiences. Cheers!



Birdsong Brewing

Birdsong Brewing Co. (Dec, 2011)
2315 N Davidson St Charlotte NC
(704) 332-1810
Tours: Thursdays 6:30
Taproom Hrs. Tuesday –Friday 4:30 to 10:00, 
Saturday 12 to 10:00
Sunday 12 to 8:00

Birdsong brewing opened its doors shortly after its neighbor NoDa brewing in 2011.  This brewery is known for its unique and creative west coast inspired brews.  Birdsong’s eclectic and full flavor brews fit perfectly in the artistic area of North Davidson.  This brewery uses many of its ingredients from local farmers and business and even gives back by delivering spent grains to local farmers and composting its peanut shells.  The majority of their beers are sessionable, unfiltered, and unique. Birdsong’s jalapeno-infused pale ale is a must for the adventurous beer fan! The expansion of Birdsong will see their brewery move just down the street to a larger facility, allowing the introduction of bottling and canning for their Higher Ground IPA and Jalapeño Pale Ale.  There new facility is three times the size, coming in at 17,000 sqaure feet and will triple production moving from a 10 barrel system to 30!



Wooden Robot

Wooden Robot
1440 South Tryon Street #110, Charlotte, NC 28203
(772) 359-4993
Tours: Call for information
Taproom Hrs. Wed &Thur 4:00 to 10:00
Fri & Sat 4:00 to 11:00
Sunday 1:00 to 8:00  


Summer welcomed another brewery into Charlotte’s historic South End area when the doors opened up for the Wooden Robot Brewery.  This brewery looks to provide Charlotte with traditional Belgian Saisons, hoppy Belgian ales, as well as innovative wood-aged and wild beers.  Wooden Robot is the brain child of two life-long friends, Dan Wade and Josh Patton.   Dan earned his MSC in Brewing and Distilling from Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University and has nearly a decade of brewing experience.  Wooden Robot blends science and creativity in their effort to bring preservation and innovation to Charlotte’s South End. Even the name is a creative blend of traditional Belgian Styles (Wooden) and new American innovation (Robot). They plan to focus on taproom and growler sales and like most Charlotte area breweries they are pet friendly.

NoDa Brewing Company

NoDa Brewing Company (Oct, 2011)

2229 N Davidson St
Charlotte NC
(704) 900-6851
Tours: Mon-Fri at 6:00 and Saturdays at 5:00
Taproom Hrs. Monday & Tuesday  4:00 to 8:30
Wednesday 4:00 to 9:00
Thursday 4:00 to 8:30
Friday 4:00 to 9:30
Saturday Noon to 10:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 to 6:00pm

NoDa Brewing company was one of the first breweries to spring up in, the now, beer lover’s haven of North Davidson (Hence the name NoDa).  Founded by Todd and Suzie Ford, NoDa opened its door just a few days before Halloween in 2011.  NoDa prides itself on being able to offer high quality beers with something for everyone.  This brewery pays homage to its home brewing roots with its NoDable series.  Each Tuesday they roll out a new small batch brew that is only available in the taproom.  At the end of the year NoDa fans vote on their favorite NoDable and it gets to come back in its own full batch.

The brewery has continued to gain notoriety especially after their Hop Drop ‘n Roll took home a gold award in the World Beer Cup in 2014.  The brewery offers tours Mon-Fri at 6:00 and on Saturdays at 5:00.  The taproom is open Monday & Tuesday 4 to 8:30, Wednesday 4 to 9, Thursday 4 to 8:30, Friday 4 to 9:30, Saturday Noon to 10, and Sunday 1 to 6pm.  For those of you looking to burn calories before you drink them, NoDa’s Run Club meets every Wednesday at 6:30 with 1, 3, and 5 mile runs.

Noda Brewing is in the final phases of opening its brand new 32,000 square-foot facility just down the road from their current brewery. This facility will allow them to double their production. They are set to move to the new place on October 1st of this year.


Sycamore Brewing

Sycamore Brewing (2014)
2161 Hawkins Street, Charlotte, NC 28203
(704) 910-3821
Tours: Call for information
Taproom Hrs. Monday –Thursday 4:00 to 9:00, 
Friday 4:00 to 10:00 
Saturday 12 to 10:00 
Sunday 12 to 6:00

Sycamore Brewing was founded by the husband and wife team of Justin and Sarah Brigham. Visitors can expect classic beer styles, seasonal creations, and a few experimental recipes from Sycamore.   Their goal is to use the freshest, all natural, ingredients in the creation of their beers.  Justin is a native of Charlotte and is proud of his North Carolina home-brewing roots. This pride is reflected in the care they take in creating their all-natural craft beers. The former auto garage is now the taproom for Sycamore and plays host to live music, a running club, as well as private events and celebrations.  As well as their 28 taps, Sycamore also serves up a selection and wine and ciders, making it a great spot no matter what you are in the mood for. For those warmer Charlotte nights there is a beer garden where guests can enjoy their beers outside.  During the week Sycamore serves pressed sandwiches from their small kitchen. The menu is simple, fresh and based around local, daily-baked focaccia.   On the weekends Sycamore takes advantage of local area food trucks to keep taproom visitors well fed.

Sugar Creek Brewing Company

215 Southside Drive, Charlotte, NC 28217
(704) 521-3333
Tours: Call for information
Taproom Hrs. Monday –Thursday 4:00 to 9:00, 
Friday 2:00 to 10:00 
Saturday 11:00 to 10:00 
Sunday 12 to 8:00


South End has welcomed several new breweries in the last year. The former home of OMB now plays host to Sugar Creek Brewing Company. Sugar Creek is Charlotte’s first Belgian-inspired craft brewery, infusing traditional recipes with modern tastes and techniques.  Sugar Creek boasts a very active taproom with indoor disc golf and trivia on Tuesday nights, taproom fitness on Wednesday, and live music on Thursday nights.  Their patio is also a great spot to take in the North Carolina weather while you enjoy a pint. Sugar Creek is also one of the handful of breweries that don’t rely on local food trucks but offer their own culinary creations.  The taproom menu offers a variety of paninis and salads to enjoy along with their beers.  Sugar Creek infuses traditional recipes with modern tastes and techniques in an effort to create beer that nourishes both mind and body.

Unknown Brewing Company

Unknown Brewing Company (Oct, 2013) 
1327 S. Mint Street, Charlotte NC
(980) 237-2628
Tours: Call for information
Taproom Hrs. Wednesday –Friday 4:00 to 10:00, 
Saturday 12 to 10:00 
Sunday 12 to 8:00

Near the heart of uptown Charlotte you will find The Unknown Brewery, opened near the end 2013, and located just three blocks from Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers.  This convenient locale makes them an ideal pregame tailgating spot before football games. They even offer plastic bombers of their beer, perfect for tailgating.   In addition to bombers, Unknown cans two of their most popular beers, Over The Edge IPA and Silver Back Stout, with plans to can several more beers in the near future. This brewery is as much about their culture as they are their beer.  The name Unknown is a reflection of their desire to embrace adventure and live without boundaries.  They take the same approach to their beer.  Unknown even has an arcade in their taproom.  Their call is for their guests to “Step into the Unknown”.  Like many of the Charlotte area breweries, Unknown makes use of as many locally grown ingredients as they can in producing their beers.  They even use American steel for all their tanks which they assemble themselves.  You can find live music here on the weekends as well as local area food trucks.


Lenny Boy Brewing Company

Lenny Boy Brewing (2013)
2224 Hawkins Street, Charlotte, NC 28203
(704) 438-9735
Tours: Call for information
Taproom Hrs. Monday –Thursday 4:00 to 9:00
Friday 4:00 to 9:00 
Saturday 12 to 9:00 
Sunday 12 to 6:00

Lenny Boy Brewing originally opened its doors in 2011.  It closed for renovations and opened again in 2013. This is the only certified organic brewery in North Carolina, and was one of the first in the entire southeast to brew Kombucha and Wild Ales.  Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from sugar, tea, water, and a culture of bacteria and yeast.  Being certified organic, Lenny Boy goes through a rigorous process regulating the ingredients used as well as the processes to make their brews. The south end brewery Lenny Boy has a yoga club that meets on Saturdays at 1:00 and a running club that meets each Sunday at noon.  

Triple C Brewing Company

Triple C Brewing Company (2012)
2900 Griffith Street, Charlotte, NC 28203
(704) 372-3212
Tours: Wednesdays at 6:30 
Taproom Hrs. Tuesday –Friday 4:00 to 9:00, 
Saturday 12 to 9:00 
Sunday 12 to 6:00

Triple C Brewing Company was the next brewery to call South End home, opening in 2012. The Charlotte Light Rail stops just a stone’s throw away from the Triple C Brewing Company and also lends it name to their C’s Light Rail Pale Ale.  In recent months Triple C has undergone a major expansion to increase production more than 9000 barrels a year. The brewery is pet friendly and has live music almost every Friday.  For those IPA fans, Triple C’s Babymaker is a beer you don’t want to miss. Brewery tours are every Wednesday at 6:30, and each Thursday Triple C plays host to a run club as well as in house yoga. If you are looking for something different and experiemental, each Wednesday they release a different small batch available only in the taproom. While the taproom does not serve food, Triple C has local food trucks show up almost every night.

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

Charlotte’s historic South End was once the sight of the city’s first rail line and a booming manufacturing community.  This area, just south of the city’s center known as “uptown”, is a thriving community filled with restaurants, shops, and designed related industries.  The current craft beer explosion in Charlotte also has its roots in the historic South End area beginning with the opening of The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in March of 2009. Founded by John Marrino, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, or OMB as it is affectionately referred to by Queen City residents, is the oldest Charlotte brewery in operation today.  John moved to Charlotte after spending several years in Germany, and his love for German beer followed right along with him. Each beer brewed by OMB adheres to an ancient German purity law (Reinheitsgebot) and is brewed using only four ingredients; barley, hops, yeast, and water.  If you are in the mood for cold conditioned, traditional German style beers, then look no further than Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.  This German influence extends well beyond just their beers.  Their Brauhaus is reminiscent of a German beer hall and serves up a menu including German staples such as German pretzels, Wurste, and Brats.  Olde Mecklenburg Brewery also boasts a large Biergarten where you can enjoy the Charlotte weather with the German-style beers. Their flagship beer, Copper is a staple in most local bars and restaurants around the Queen City.  OMB just celebrated its 6th birthday as well as being voting the best brewery tour in the United States by USA today.  They have live music on Wednesday and Friday nights. 

Charlotte's Beer Scene

In 2009, Charlotte, North Carolina was the largest city in the United States without its own brewery. Today, Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in the entire nation and has a craft beer scene to match.   Charlotte and its surrounding areas are currently home to fifteen breweries with another dozen on the books to open in the very near future.  The breweries in the Queen City, as Charlotte is efficiently called, are a diverse group providing something for every beer lover.  Whether you are seeking traditional German or Belgium styles, or looking for popular IPA’s, Charlotte has you covered.  You can even find experimental styles, barrel-aged selections, sours, organic beers, and other unique creations for those with a more adventurous palette.  Craft beer is becoming a part of the very culture of the city, and each and every brewery prides itself on the quality of the beers.  The Charlotte beer community is a closely knit group, even forming the Charlotte Brewers Alliance to help the city’s breweries tackle common obstacles.  It is not uncommon to find beers from other breweries to feature beers from other breweries in their taprooms, and work together on collaborative projects.  This unity is one of the major reasons the craft beer scene in Charlotte continues to gain national notoriety. 

Over the next several weeks CLTBEER will take you on a tour of the Charlotte area breweries. Stay tuned, next week we hit the South End of the Queen City and highlight The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. Prost!