Restaurant News & Reviews

Next year in Charlotte beer: Some breweries build out, others move in

Sycamore Brewing is currently building a new production brewery at 401 W. 24th St., in Charlotte's North End.
Sycamore Brewing is currently building a new production brewery at 401 W. 24th St., in Charlotte's North End.

In 2016, just two breweries opened in Charlotte proper. Blue Blaze Brewing in Charlotte’s West End, and Thirsty Nomad Brewing in an office park not far from The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.

To put that in comparison, five breweries opened in Charlotte last year and in 2014 as well. Though there were fewer brewery openings this year, several of Charlotte’s breweries did expand (or announce plans to). Lenny Boy Brewing opened an impressive and much larger brewery at 3000 S. Tryon St. Take Tryon toward uptown and eventually you’ll come to what’s being called North End, where both Heist Brewery and Sycamore Brewing are building production breweries to better keep up with demand.

New breweries continued spreading out to the suburbs of Charlotte. Concord alone saw three breweries open: Cabarrus Brewing Co., Twenty-Six Acres Brewing Co. and Red Hill Brewing. York Chester Brewing Co. opened in Belmont, in the original home of Rivermen Brewing Co. (which is planning to open its new brewpub early next year). Union County finally got two breweries to call its own, with The Dreamchaser’s Brewery opening in Waxhaw and Southern Range Brewing Co. coming to Monroe.

What does 2017 hold? Just north of NoDa proper, Bold Missy Brewery is currently building its taproom and brewery at 610 Anderson St. Just across the street, Divine Barrel Brewing will soon start its own buildout, with plans to bring wood-aged sour and wild ales to Charlotte next year. Though there has been no formal announcement, Resident Culture looks to bring a similar focus to Plaza Midwood.

Hyde Brewing will open a combination brewery and coffee bar across from Triple C Brewing in South End, and the newly opened Seaboard Taproom and Wine Bar in Matthews will add a brewery of its own (look for its Belgian Quad collaboration with Wooden Robot Brewery next year).

The year 2017 will also be the year several regional breweries move into town. Earlier this year, Victory Brewing and Southern Tier Beer Co. announced plans to merge together under a new umbrella company called Artisanal Brewing Ventures. That company is based in Charlotte, where it also plans to build a large production brewery that will turn out beers for both brands.

Fat Head’s Brewery, which was started in Pittsburgh but now has two facilities in Ohio and one in Portland, announced plans to bring a brewpub to Charlotte in 2018. While a location hasn’t been named, Fat Head’s brewmaster and partner Matt Cole has gone on record as saying it is looking closely at South End. Look for more on this next year.

And look for Catawba Brewing, which already has locations in Asheville and Morganton, to bring a third brewery to Charlotte. The new brewery and taproom is under construction in the building that held the Kellogg’s bakery near Plaza Midwood.

Event of the week

Friends and Beerfest: First Birthday Edition! at Legion Brewing

When: Noon-11 p.m. Saturday.

Where: 1906 Commonwealth Ave.

What: Legion Brewing will celebrate its first year in business. Old Saint Nick himself will be in attendance for photo ops from noon to 2 p.m., and the brewery is also collecting new, unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots (those who bring a gift will receive a raffle ticket for various prizes). There will be a new first birthday pint glass available for purchase, an oyster roast at 5 p.m., live music, and several limited-release beers will be tapped throughout the day.