It isn’t just World of Beer anymore: The new craft beer tavern that makes its return to Charlotte this week is now called World of Beer Bar & Kitchen, thank you very much.
Yes, there are 50 taps, many of them regional, state and local beers, and 350 bottles and cans covering 20 states and a few countries. But it’s not just beer, says general manager Ashish Thakker. The company, based in Tampa, has started to shift from just beer to wine, classic cocktails and food.
I got a look at that food on Monday just before the grand opening. The German-style warm pretzel is so big, it hangs from a stand and can be ordered with an optional beer cheese, currently being made with Lazy Bird Brown. The WOB Cobb, a stacked salad with layers of chicken, avocado, bacon, egg and more, is surprisingly beer-free, stripped with chipotle barbecue sauce. Also good: Pork schnitzel topped with an egg and served with mashed potatoes, warm kale with candied bacon and a bright sauce of capers and warm butter.
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My favorite, though, was the Chimay Burger: A fresh, hand-formed patty from Certified Angus Beef is topped with mushrooms, caramelized onions and garlic aioli and covered in a thick blanket of Chimay cheese, made by the Trappist monks who make Chimay beer. The cheese has a little beer in it, a brie texture and the great earthy/funky flavor of soft-ripened cheese. Thakker’s tip: He adds fresh jalapenos to it.
There was a World of Beer in Charlotte in South End, but it rebranded and now goes by a different name. World of Beer’s CEO, Paul Avery, has started a move toward more food and less beer hall after noticing that at a lot of locations, people were ordering food from other restaurants and bringing it in to have with their beer.
They’ll add brunch – “beerunch” – in a month to six weeks, once the restaurant is up and running.
Watch for more locations: Regional manager Steve Yoxsimer says North Carolina will definitely get more, and he expects at least two more locations are likely in Charlotte.
Hours for now: Noon-1 a.m. Monday-Thursday, noon-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to midnight Sundays.