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.
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!