Charlotte Travel Guide

The Many Beers and Breweries to Try in Charlotte

PHOTO: charlottesgotalot.com / Eric Gaddy Photography

When it comes to beer and breweries, Charlotte is literally hopping.

There are nearly 50 craft breweries in the Charlotte metro area with even more in the works. Charlotte’s beer scene ranges from small microbreweries to beloved brewpubs with sprawling beer gardens to national and regional breweries that have established a Charlotte presence. Whether you’re a fan of farmhouse ales, IPAs, German-style lagers, Belgian witbiers, English stouts or non-alcoholic kombucha – there’s a brew for you. Stop in at any of these favorite Charlotte breweries and discover what’s on tap. Brews tend to change with the seasons, but there are many reliable standbys you can find year-round.

Birdsong Brewing

On the scene since 2011, this 17,000-square-foot, 30-barrel brewhouse located in the hip NoDa neighborhood is known for its unfiltered American-style ales. Birdsong is also known for its sustainability-focused practices and comfy taproom space with an airy patio. One of their most popular brews packs a punch. The crisp and herbal Jalapeño Pale Ale, actually brewed with fresh hand-chopped jalapenos, is a spicy take on their popular Free Will Pale Ale. Another crowd favorite is the Higher Ground IPA, a West Coast-inspired IPA made with grapefruit and honeysuckle flavors.

Brewers at 4001 Yancey

Housed in a massive former textile mill with plenty of space to roam, the facility brings together three renowned craft brewers from outside of North Carolina– Southern Tier, Sixpoint and Victory Brewing. While continuing to brew their flagship beers, they are also creating new beers unique to Charlotte.

With 120 taps, a chef-driven food menu, and tons of outdoor spaces, there’s something here to please everyone. Favorite beers here include CLT Brew’d Sunny Monkey, a sour beer version of Victory’s ever-popular Belgian Tripel, Golden Money (which is also a must-try).

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Heist Brewing

Founded in 2012, this Belgian-style brewery now boasts two locations: the original Heist Brewpub in the trendy NoDa neighborhood and the Heist Brewery & Barrel Arts near Camp North End. Housed in a lofty former textile mill, the brewpub offers small plates and seasonally inspired upscale “pub grub” as well as a robust cocktail menu with over 100 whiskeys. The barrel arts facility focuses on Heist’s barrel-aging program and also offers a taproom and covered beer garden. For the best of what Heist has to offer, try Citraquench’l, their signature New England-style IPA. Hive Fives, a Belgian Blonde brewed with honey, is also an award-winning favorite.

Legion Brewing

This venerable Charlotte brewery got its start in Plaza Midwood. It’s since expanded with a massive taproom in SouthPark and even has a third location in the works. Both locations offer tasty food, plenty of seating and tours of the brewery in action. Legion’s most popular beer is Juicy Jay, East Coast IPA with a tropical zing. It’s consistently listed as one of Charlotte’s best and you can often find it on tap at restaurants and bars around town and throughout the region. Other flagship offerings include Carolina Sparkle Party, a sour German-style wheat beer, and Project Pils, a light and refreshing Pilsner.

Lenny Boy Brewing

The wild child of Charlotte’s brewing scene, Lenny Boy got its start brewing kombucha in 2011. The only certified organic microbrewery in North Carolina, Lenny Boy’s product line now includes kombucha, traditional beers, sours, wild ales, and hard kombucha. Their family-friendly taproom and dog-friendly patio is a great place to try brewery favorites. For tropical IPA lovers, there’s Citraphilia, an American-style IPA made with 100 percent Citra hops. For something fruity and uniquely Lenny Boy, try the Strawberry Seduction, an American Wild Ale brewed from the same in-house yeast strain they have maintained since opening.

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NoDa Brewing Company

A veteran of the Charlotte brewery scene, you can find NoDa’s brews all over town. The original brewery located in the NoDa neighborhood is known as the “OG,” while the newer location expands production and offers more expansive taproom and event space in the North End. NoDa is probably best known for Hop, Drop ‘n Roll, one of the city’s signature IPAs and a gold winner of the 2014 World Beer Cup. Another favorite is the dark and luscious Coco Loco Robust Porter. Both locations offer a comfy setting and regular behind-the-scenes tours of the facility.

INSIDER TIPMany of the breweries are within walking distance to one another. The neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of breweries are NoDa, South End and LoSo. You can make a day of brewery hopping or catch a guided tour like the Trolley Pub Charlotte. You can pedal your way to multiple breweries and enjoy a beer as you cruise.

Resident Culture Brewing

Resident Culture opened its doors in 2017 in the same Plaza Midtown warehouse building that the owner’s family has owned since the 1980s. Celebrated for their hop-forward IPAs and funky farmhouse ales, Resident Culture has quickly risen to top-tier Charlotte brewery status. The spacious taproom, adorned with colorful hand-painted murals, regularly features music and events. There’s a rotating food truck on hand. For the ultimate hazy deliciousness, try Dragon Energy, their Triple IPA (note that it’s 10.5 % ABV). For something a little lighter, go for the P-Stone Pale brewed with oats and hopped with Citra and Amarillo.

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The Olde Mecklenberg Brewery

The oldest and still one of the best, this German-style brewery founded in 2009 set a pretty high bar for the Charlotte beer boom that followed. Located in the LoSo (Lower South End), you’ll definitely want to spend some time here exploring Olde Meck’s massive brewhouse and eight-acre Biergarten complete with a kiddie play area and dog park. You can also take a free behind-the-scenes tour of the brewery on weekends. Whether you grab a pint in the Brauhaus or outdoors in the garden, delicious soft pretzels and other German fare is available. As for the brews, try the Copper Altbier, the brewery’s flagship Düsseldorf-style altbier and one of the best-selling craft beers in the city. Captain Jack Pilsner is also a solid year-round choice.

INSIDER TIPThe Omni Charlotte Hotel in Uptown offers a “Brewery Battle Package” which includes beer for two at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and Birdsong Brewery, a soft pretzel and souvenirs to remember your experience. You also get two pints of beer at the Omni’s Trade Bar in addition to a luxurious deluxe room.

Wooden Robot Brewery

This celebrated 15-barrel brewhouse calls itself an “urban farmhouse brewery.” Founded by childhood friends who share a passion for beer making, Wooden Robot is all about experimenting with and exploring local ingredients. They use 100% local malt and fresh fruit, herbs, and other seasonal, artisanal ingredients whenever possible. Wooden Robot’s original South End location focuses on clean, hoppy ales and lagers. The Chamber, their second location in NoDa, contains their barrel-aging operation and is focused on farmhouse ales and sours. Both spaces are warm, creative and offer an inviting place to hang out. Good Morning Vietnam, a blond ale made with locally roasted Ethiopian coffee and Madagascar vanilla beans, is one of their best-known brews.