As the fast-maturing craft beer scene in Charlotte goes after ever more-sophisticated drinkers with beers sporting exotic flavors that range from peanut butter to pomegranates, one local brewer is taking a decidedly different tack.
Brad Shell, owner of the Unknown Brewing Co. has already built a reputation as an inveterate risk-taker. He once imported scorpions from Thailand for a specialty beer and is now working with dry-hopped cat nip flowers for a beer he plans on calling “Kitten Snuggles.”
“I’ve always said that Charlotte needs more ‘weird,’ but some people think I may have taken it too far this time,” Shell admits.
Indeed, you’ll hear a collective gasp across the Queen City’s craft beer community with the news that Shell is blending Bud Light with his own Black India Pale Ale to create a first-of-its-kind beer that combines craft and big-house beers. After countless hours of tinkering in the brew house, he was able to harness the je ne sais quoi of Bud Light , so beloved by legions of thirsty Americans and marry it with his own beer that showcases the passion, authenticity, commitment to excellence and independence so treasured by craft beer-lovers.
“The No. 1 selling beer is America is Bud Light, which sold nearly 270 million cases in 2014–that’s 6.4 billion cans! I just thought, there’s got to be something there for artisan drinkers,” Shell said. “It may be dreadful beer, but when you blend and age it with our superior brew, you get a pint that simply cannot be believed.” And old school aficionados will surely love the name: Shell is labeling his creation the Whack&Tan.
Brad Shell is always thinking about his next brewing project.
Here’s what one prominent online reviewer had to say: “Pours a glowing amber with a yeasty, thick head. Aromas of dark cherries, prunes, tobacco, burnt grains, molasses, beets and fried chicken. Taste is sweet, lots of malt layering and hints of sour grapes, woodsmoke, spun sugar and just a hint of bison. Full body, boozy, and you can barely taste the Bud Light.”
Earlier this week, April Furst and her husband Bob, who recently moved to Charlotte from Buffalo, gave the Whack&Tan two thumbs up.
“Before today, Bob would have sooner lapped water out of the dog’s bowl before touching any Budweiser products,” April Furst said. “And now he can’t believe he’s chugging an IPA mixed with a Bud light. And neither can I!”
They planned to spend tonight drinking a few more Whack& Tans in honor of April Fools Day and their role in this story, which is completely false.
*April Fools. Nothing in this story is true.
Photos: Théoden Janes