The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery held its annual Christmas market (or Weihnachtsmarkt, for authenticity’s sake) last week. Under a big tent in the brewery’s biergarten, vendors sold locally made crafts and gifts like candles, artwork, ornaments, jewelry, doughnuts and Belgian waffles.
Olde Mecklenburg’s market ended Saturday, but Triple C Brewing will host its own market, Hops and Shops, on Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. Several SouthEnd vendors will sell their wares, Papi Queso food truck will be outside with grilled cheeses and Triple C will tap a small-batch Ginger Saison for the occasion.
Most of the vendors at the brewery markets aren’t selling beer-related gifts. But if that’s what you’re looking for, here are a few local-beer gift options:
Festival tickets: The third annual Queen City Brewers Festival will take place the day before the Super Bowl, on Feb. 1. The festival sells out, so grab your tickets soon. Tickets are $35 and include unlimited beer sampling and live music: qcbrewfest.com/buy-tickets.
The Play’s The Thing: Chickspeare is an all-female Shakespeare company that first performed at Charlotte’s Johnson Beer Company before that brewery closed in 2002. The band got back together last year and performed several shows at NoDa Brewing. This month, they head to Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte to perform their version of “Twelfth Night” set in a Prohibition-era speakeasy. On Dec. 20, NoDa Brewing’s Chad Henderson will be on hand to infuse the brewery’s Coco Loco porter with cherries and vanilla. The brewery’s Santa Baby beer also will be available for purchase at all of the performances. Tickets are $25. Details: www/atcharlotte.org/twelfth-night.
Homebrewing: If you’re buying for someone who enjoys brewing beer as much as drinking it, consider a gift certificate to Alternative Beverage, a homebrew supply store with several locations around Charlotte. You might also consider buying them a yearly membership with the Carolina BrewMasters, a local homebrew club that holds events and brewing demonstrations all year. Annual dues are $25 per person or $40 for a couple. Details: www.carolinabrewmasters.com.
Growlers: A recent change in legislation allows glass jugs called growlers to be filled outside of breweries, and a handful of bars and beer stores have embraced this. If you give someone a growler, they can have it refilled without having to pay a deposit (although they do have to pay for the beer). In addition to traditional 64-ounce glass growlers for $5, Good Bottle Company also has 40-ounce and 64-ounce stainless steel growlers for $30 and $40.
Tours: What could be better than having someone shuttle you from brewery to brewery, where tours and samples wait at each stop? That’s what you can expect from Charlotte Brew Tours and the Charlotte Brews Cruise. Cruises range from $40 to $65 per person, although there are also discounts for groups. Details: cltbrewtours.com and www.brewscruise.com/charlotte/.
More beer: Many of Charlotte’s breweries have released limited beers that make great gifts. Head to the breweries to find Olde Mecklenburg’s Yule Bock, Birdsong Brewing’s Puppies on Penguins, Triple C’s Up All Night Breakfast Porter and NoDa Brewing’s Tart Attack.
Daniel Hartis is the author of “Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing in the Queen City,” and the editor of the website www.charlottebeer.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter, @charlottebeer.
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