Restaurant News & Reviews

Breweries offer holiday shops and shows this season

Local vendors will set up in The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s biergarten on Fridays and Saturdays throughout December as part of the brewery’s fifth annual Weihnachtsmarkt.
Local vendors will set up in The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s biergarten on Fridays and Saturdays throughout December as part of the brewery’s fifth annual Weihnachtsmarkt. Courtesy of The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

The holidays can be stressful, but less so with a beer in hand. Whether you’re looking to do some Christmas shopping, catch a show or just escape from it all, these local breweries have you covered with events throughout December.

Weihnachtsmarkt at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery: The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Weihnachtsmarkt might be tough to say (it’s pronounced Vy-noks-markt), but it’s easy to understand: Like those in Germany, OMB’s fifth annual Christmas market will feature a variety of local vendors outside in the biergarten. The brewery will have winter seasonals Dunkel and Yule Bock on tap, as well as its spiced, hot red wine (known as Glühwein). Weihnachtsmarkt is free and open to the public from 4-9 p.m. on Fridays and 2-9 p.m. on Saturdays, and the market is open three weekends this year (this Friday and Saturday, as well as Dec. 9-10 and 16-17).

Finders Keepers Market at NoDa Brewing Co.: Each month NoDa Brewing Co. hosts the Finders Keepers Market, in which local vendors set up at the brewery to sell a variety of homemade gifts and other products. The next market is from 1-6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11, just two weeks before Christmas. In addition to a variety of gift opportunities, you’ll also find FuManChu Cupcakes and Pure Intentions Coffee.

Every Christmas Story Ever Told: Local all-female theater company Chickspeare has performed at NoDa Brewing in the past, and in December it will return to the original brewery on North Davidson Street to tell a Christmas story. Well, not just any Christmas story – every Christmas story. The troupe is pulling source material from popular holiday movies, myths, carols and TV shows to tell “Every Christmas Story Ever Told,” performed at the brewery on Dec. 9-11 and 16-18. Attendees not only get to see the 90-minute performance, but everyone will receive a surprise present and can participate in an audience-wide gift exchange. You’ll park at the new brewery (2921 N. Tryon St.) and take a caroling bus ride over to the original taproom at 2229 N. Davidson St. Friday and Saturday shows start at 7 p.m., and Sunday shows start at 2 p.m. Tickets are $24 in advance and $28 at the door.

Dickens’ Lost Will Escape Room Quest at Three Spirits Brewery: Three Spirits Brewery takes its name from the ghosts in “A Christmas Carol,” the classic novel by Charles Dickens. Explore that writer a little more this holiday season while searching for his lost will in the brewery’s new escape room. You’ll have 15 minutes to see how far you can get once you step inside Dickens’ study. The escape room costs $17 per person for two 15-minute blocks. The escape room is available when the brewery is open, but interested parties are encouraged to make reservations at (especially for Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday).

Give the Gift of Beer (and More): Beer itself is always a good gift, but some breweries are offering even more options this holiday season. Ass Clown Brewing in Cornelius has bottlecap earrings for sale in its taproom. And Free Range Brewing has two different gift baskets available in its taproom: The “Lookin’ Farm Fresh” basket features a shirt, trucker hat, two glasses, two stickers and two coasters for $45, while the “Farmed and Foraged” basket features all of that, plus a bag of Pure Intentions Coffee, a bottle of Old North Shrub soda, a bar of chocolate from Batch Craft, and a 32-ounce Crowler of beer.

Hoppy Holidays, NoDa Brewing Co.

$14.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

NoDa Brewing’s Hoppy Holidays is back, and this time the seasonal India pale ale has a brand-new label. The beer is still a spruce-infused IPA clocking in at 6.5 percent, providing a seasonal treat to those who prefer hops to the spices traditionally used in many winter ales. The beer is available on cans and draft in the taproom (2921 N. Tryon St.), as well as in many bars and bottle shops around Charlotte.