Slip through the back entrance, down a hallway and up a staircase. It might resemble a speakeasy, were quotes from Dr. Seuss and Mos Def not painted along the walls and up the steps.
It’s one of two entrances to Salud Cerveceria, the new taproom located above Salud Beer Shop in the space that once held NoDa Upstage. The main stairwell is off of North Davidson Street, sandwiched between the doors that lead into Salud Beer Shop and its adjacent deli, FūD at Salud.
Though freshly painted, the vibrant and funky back entrance feels like it’s been there since Salud Beer Shop opened five years ago. Step through the door at the top of the stairs, though, and the vibe changes.
“We wanted it to be different than downstairs,” said founder Jason Glunt. “There’s a different look up here.”
In the bottle shop below, the walls scream green, orange and yellow. But upstairs, darkly stained tables stretch across weathered floors, and black walls stand out against the white subway tiles behind the bar. A gallery will feature the work of a different artist each month. The 3,100-square-foot space does have a different look, but not completely. The mural of two luchadores – hands clenched together – brings some of that trademark Salud funk up top.
Much of the new space’s design can be attributed to Benjamin and Brittnie Derrick, with help from Salud Cerveceria co-owners Dairelyn Guzman-Glunt and Jamie Jollie. And the difference between upstairs and down is apparent from the outside, too, where the bottom half of the building is painted a highlighter green, and the upper half a light gray with new piñata-inspired logos.
Glunt said he feels fortunate to be able to expand in the space, especially given the development in the NoDa neighborhood and Charlotte on the whole.
“It’s an old building,” he said. “You go in through the back or the front, you have to go up the stairs, there are brick walls. I think that’s gone in Charlotte. It’s really hard to find that.”
Trade and Lore, a coffee shop headed up by Lindsey Pitman (who previously ran The Daily Press), will open in the space early this summer. Of the bar’s 14 taps, two nitro taps will be devoted to tea and cold-brew coffee, and two more to cider and wine. Look for the bulk of the remaining taps to feature Salud’s own beers.
Salud has brewed its own beers intermittently over the last year, but the beers sold out quickly and the shop was unable to keep up with demand using its one-barrel system. That system is now parked down the road at Heist Brewery, where Salud Cerveceria head brewer Adam Glover has been brewing his own beers on that brewery’s seven-barrel system. It’s been difficult to fit into the production schedule, but they should have more access once Heist Brewery opens its production brewery later this year.
While they plan to continue brewing at Heist, they will install two 15-barrel foeders (large oak vessels for aging) as well as fruit tanks in the space that currently houses FūD at Salud. Fans of the deli’s waffle-wiches will be happy to know you’ll still be able to order at the counter, and that FūD’s Jeff McElwee is already working on new menu items. (Spent-grain flatbreads, anyone?) Future plans call for a garage door along the front of this side of the building.
Glover has brewed at Natty Greene’s Brewing Co., Appalachian Mountain Brewery and, most recently, Fonta Flora Brewery. It was an easy decision to bring Glover on as a partner and brewer, said Glunt, due to his skill, experience, and the fact that the two have similar palates.
“Our inspiration comes from all of our travels,” said Glunt, who cites influences like Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co., Fonta Flora Brewery, Jester King Brewery, Oxbow Brewing Co. and Scratch Brewing Co. “We get inspired by trying all of their beers. Not just, ‘Oh, what’s the guy doing across the street?’ I want to see what people are doing across the country.”
Salud Cerveceria will host a grand opening party on June 17, though Glunt plans to open in the next few days once he has a permit in hand.
Look for the following Salud Cerveceria beers on tap soon: Mesa Para Uno, a Belgian single (with rosemary and Dark Matter coffee variants); Loseta, an IPA brewed with only Mosaic hops; Chinola, brewed with passion fruit; Mo’ Citra, Motueka Problems, a New England IPA brewed with raspberries and vanilla in collaboration with Heist Brewery; La Leche Papi, La Leche, a lactose pale ale brewed with Free Range Brewery; and Pantalones Flacos, a mixed-culture saison brewed with Burial Beer Co.
They will also tap Chicha Morada, a Peruvian natural soda, and plan to also blend this soda with their house saison. More saisons and a South African IPA will be coming later, as well as a stout aged on Defiant Whisky spirals (with several variants of that one on deck).
Event of the week
Blue Blaze Brewing Co.’s One-Year Anniversary
When: Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday.
Where: 528 S. Turner Ave.
What: It’s only fitting that the outdoor recreationalists over at Blue Blaze will celebrate its first year on National Trails Day. The brewery will release its new Carolina Thread Trail Pale Ale at noon, with another yet-to-be-named beer to follow at 5 p.m. The Fresh Med food truck and Queen City Pretzel Factory will be outside, with Kick The Robot playing live throughout the day and That Guy Smitty spinning inside the taproom that night. Those riding in from the Stewart Creek Greenway will be happy to find a bike valet, free of charge. Tickets are required to purchase beers, and they will be available the day of the event.