“No more than five years ago, if you told someone in Charlotte that you were holding a beer tasting, they’d probably just stare at you.”
That’s what Charlotte Craft Beer Week (CCBW) Director, Darrin Pikarsky told me during a phone call while preparing for the 2nd Annual Charlotte Craft Beer Week. The week-long celebration kicks off today (March 11th), and runs through March 20th. Pikarsky admits that there was a time that the term “beer” was a dirty word, and “craft beer” was foreign to the community.
Back then, North Carolina law limited the amount of alcohol that could be produced or sold in the state, hindering access to fuller-flavored craft beers. Now, thanks to the success of the Pop the Cap initiative, and the Charlotte Beer Club (which now has over 1,200 members), the area is not only making strides to catch up with the rest of the country’s craft beer awareness, but with CCBW, they’re embracing it. In fact, for the second year in a row, a Charlotte bar has been dubbed “The Most Arrogant Bar” by Stone Brewing’s Greg Koch, who recognized Mac’s Speed Shop as the top seller of Stone’s line of Bastard beers.
With approximately 50 events featuring local brewers, as well as craft brewers from all over the country, CCBW looks to build on the Queen City’s growing craft beer camaraderie with fun events that emphasize beer education and appreciation. The week’s festivities begin with Black & Blue Woodstock at the Visulite Theatre. Visit CCBW’s event page to learn about this and other events happening throughout the week.
Must Attend Events
Duckworth’s Craft Beer Festival
Over 25 one-off, barrel-aged kegs and craft casks will be available to sample in addition to Duckworth’s already extensive craft beer list. Tickets are required to this event – contact Duckworth’s at (704) 527-5783.
Beast of the East
It’s an East vs. West showdown as some of the country’s best craft brewers draw a line down the middle of the U.S. to pit some of their best beers against each other. This all-star game of beer features California’s Sierra Nevada, Green Flash and Stone against the Beasts of the East, including Dogfish, Sweetwater and Smuttynose. Tickets are between $20 and $25, and can be purchased by calling the Ice House at (704)375-1128.
Must-Try Charlotte Craft Beers
The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery – Sneak Peak Pilsner
Check out the brewery’s new pilsner before anyone else on March 16 from 5 – 8 pm.
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s
215 Southside Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28217
Four Friends Brewing – Red Rocker Launch
Visit Charlotte’s newest craft brewer on March 12 from 1 – 6 pm to play some Rock Band and check out their new beer. For details, call (910) 538-3414.
Four Friends Brewery
10913 C Office Park Drive
Charlotte, NC 28273
Coming Soon to Charlotte
NoDa Brewing Co – Opening scheduled for Fall 2011
Birdsong – Opening Soon
Andy Sparhawk, the Brewers Association’s Craft Beer Program Coordinator, is a Certified Cicerone™ and BJCP Beer Judge. He lives in Lakewood, Colorado where he is a homebrewer and avid craft beer enthusiast. On occasion, Andy is inspired to write on his experiences with craft beer pairings, beer weeks, and all things craft beer. If they are not too ridiculous, you might see the results here on CraftBeer.com.
Last Updated: March 2, 2011