Many Charlotteans enjoy sipping on locally brewed pints after yoga classes, run clubs, and socializing with friends, but do you know the people who actually craft the frothy refreshment people love so dearly? In this series on Charlotte’s brewers, you’ll get to know the people and the passion behind the brew.
If you haven’t been to Wooden Robot since it opened in July, you’re missing out on a shining addition to the Charlotte craft beverage community.
After getting to know the co-founder and head brewer, Dan Wade, the broad selection of beers and focus on variety were no surprise.
Hometown: Ft. Pierce, Fla.
Experience: Swamp Head Brewing and Rogue Brewing
Brewing professionally for: 6 years
Education: BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida and master’s degree in brewing and distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland
Charlottean for: 2 years
What he does for fun: Anything outdoors with his wife and their two dogs
Wade and Co-Founder Josh Patton began homebrewing while attending college and soon had their sights set on entrepreneurship.
“Josh and I had talked about opening our own business and we were both homebrewers, so opening a brewery seemed like the logical thing to do,” Wade said.
His adventurous nature extends to his beer philosophy of “creating a unique, artisanal brewery” Wade says. “We wanted to bring something different to the Charlotte beer community by focusing on saisons and Belgian farmhouse style ales.”
While visiting the brewery, I sampled 10 different brews and I found each beer to be unique, elegant and true to its description. They offer something for every taste, including their Gluten Tag Pale Ale, which is a gluten-reduced option that doesn’t sacrifice flavor.
“We’re always making an effort to offer a diverse selection of beer,” Wade said. “Most of our beers are one-offs, rotating, or seasonal beers. We have two flagships in Good Morning Vietnam Coffee Vanilla Blonde Ale and our Overachiever Pale Ale, but we like to focus on offering a variety of new beers.
“As we grow, we don’t want to become a big production brewery. We want to continue to develop a unique variety of beers.”
Charlotte beer lovers will be excited to see bottles coming from the brewery sometime this year. According to Wade, they are adding a bottling line to the operation and he plans to launch limited bottle releases of their barrel aged sour beers in the coming months.
Photos: Taylor Slaughter