Heres a quick rundown of area breweries, all of which sell to a variety of bars and restaurants, as well as to individuals (some bottle; some offer growlers for take-home):
• Heist is housed in the circa-1900 Highland Park cotton mill, and keeps 10-12 different beers on hand, six year-round and six in rotation (two seasonal, two Belgian, two fruit). Hogan says brewer Zach Harts I2PA Imperial Pale Ale and oatmeal stout are signatures. Open for lunch and dinner daily (the accompanying restaurant offers chef Rob Masones Twisted American cuisine); 2909 N. Davidson St.; 704-375-8260; www.heistbrewery.com.
• Triple C keeps about five brews on hand for sale and in its taproom. A sixth, Up All Night breakfast porter, is slated to debut around Thanksgiving as a seasonal addition from brewer Scott Kimball. Co-owner Chris Harker (with Christinia and Chris Murphy) says smoked amber ale is most noteworthy. Tap room is open Tuesday-Sunday and though it doesnt serve food, food trucks regularly park in its lot. 2900 Griffith St.; www.triplecbrewing.com.
• Olde Mecklenburgs signature beer is Copper, which owner John Marrino has sold since 09 and calls the wine replacement beer. Its a Dusseldorf-style altbier thats actually a lagered ale the explanation of which is for true beer geeks. The tap room here is open Tuesday-Sunday and serves a short menu of pretzels, sandwiches and more; 215 Southside Drive; 704-525-5644; www.oldemeckbrew.com.
• NoDa Brewing Company, which opened in October 2011, sells about 10 styles to bars and restaurants and brews small batches of all sorts of things that are then offered in the NoDable Series at the tap room (brewer Chad Henderson even does videos; check out bit.ly/PULVSO). Suzie Ford of the brewery estimates theyve done 75 to 80 all told, with Coco Loco porter the signature. Tap rooms open daily. 2229 N. Davidson St.; 704-451-1394; www.nodabrewing.com.
• Birdsong also opened in 2011 and keeps six to eight beers available: four year-round ones and seasonals, and a new small-batch recipe each Thursday. Brewer Conor Robinsons Lazy Bird Brown Ale is its signature (though the IPA sells the most, and the jalapeno pale ale gets the most attention). Tap room is open Wednesday-Sunday. 2315 N. Davidson St.; 704-332-1810; www.birdsongbrewing.com/.
• Ass Clown founder Matt Glidden figures hes been through 400 to 500 recipes and says he rotates through about 100 beers in small batches, with vanilla brown, dark chocolate sea salt and orange spice IPA among favorites. Tap rooms open Thursday-Saturday. 10620 Bailey Road, Cornelius; 704-995-7767; www.assclownbrewery.com
• Four Friends, which began selling to the public 2010, has closed its taproom for now, to focus on production which includes a near-doubling expansion of its space in the Steele Creek area. Jon Fulcher says plans call for a new tasting room/gift shop, slated to open in spring 2013. Its flagship beer is i77, an American IPA, and youll find Four Friends in stores and restaurants in Mecklenburg and upstate South Carolina. 10913 C Office Park Drive; 704-233-7071; www.fourfriendsbrewing.com/
• Brothers Jason and Jeff Alexander hope to find a Plaza Midwood spot for their Free Range Brewing, but in the interim take brews to festivals and events (like this arts project: bit.ly/RGODrV). The two collaborated with Birdsong to produce Rice Rice Baby, a lactose-free, vegan rice-milk stout, and with Catawba Brewing to make Afternoon Delight, a Belgian pale ale. An extra pale ale called Art, Son of Pale may become their signature, says Jason. www.freerangebrewing.com.
• National-chain brewpubs Hops (which calls itself a microbrewery restaurant), and Rock Bottom (restaurant brewery) both came to Charlotte in 1997.