Salud Cervecería, the brewing arm of Salud Beer Shop, will release its first bottles and cans at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The inaugural release includes cans of Banana Keys Imperial Stout and Coco Rico Lactose IPA, and bottles of Alma de Madera and Saison Roble. The bright labels of these beers, designed by Nick Garris, draw attention not just to the liquid inside, but to specific people as well.
“There’s a story behind each one,” says Jason Glunt, who co-founded the shop with his wife, Dairelyn Glunt. “People who are regulars at the shop, or friends or employees.”
The face on the cans of Coco Rico Lactose IPA, for instance, is that of Glunt’s college roomate, Hector Valenzuela. After college, Glunt visited Valenzuela in Puerto Rico, where the two capped off warm days at the beach with cold glasses of Coco Rico, a soda made with coconut. This memory inspired Glunt to brew an IPA with coconut, vanilla and lime, plus a healthy dose of Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic hops.
Banana Keys Imperial Stout is also brewed with vanilla and coconut, as well as banana, of course. Salud has had this beer on draft in the past, and they also served it in Virginia at Aslin Beer Co.’s third anniversary, which was where Sean Michael first tasted it. From that point on, he would frequently take to social media to ask about the beer.
“He just kept asking every time we announced that Banana Keys was back,” Glunt says.
Michael’s persistence paid off. It earned him a spot on the label of the very beer he coveted.
Salud brews its beers at Heist Brewery’s original location, just down the street in NoDa. They don’t have a brewery on site, but they do have two 15-barrel oak foeders (picture very large wooden barrels). Pitching wild yeast and bacteria, aging the beer and adding fruit — all of it happens in this 500-square-foot space.
“We call it our humble sour room,” Glunt says.
Jamie Jollie, the shop’s brewery partner, has put in a lot of work as the shop has evolved over the years. So it’s fitting that Jollie’s face appears on the label for Alma De Madera, a foeder-aged saison brewed with pilsner, raw wheat and spelt.
Saison Roble is another foeder-aged beer, this one brewed with second-use cherries from Lutz Farm in Kaleva, Mich. Calvin Lutz, who runs the farm with his family, is featured on the label. Glunt, who is from Michigan, visited the farm and loaded around 1,000 pounds of cherries into a rented truck before driving them back to Charlotte, his grandfather riding shotgun.
The person behind the beers themselves is Dustin Di Lorenzo, Salud’s head brewer. While he is responsible for all beers that come out of the brewery, conceptualizing the beers often takes a collaborative approach.
“We brainstorm and come up with ideas through a Slack channel,” says Glunt. “We want all of our employees to feel like they’re part of the process.”
Glunt and company will be doing a lot of brainstorming and brewing going forward, as he plans for Salud Cervecería to release two cans a month, with an emphasis on IPAs, imperial stouts and kettle sours. As for the foeder-aged beers, those will be released as they are ready.
Four-packs of 16-ounce cans will be $16.99 for Coco Rico Lactose IPA and $21.99 for Banana Keys Imperial Stout (with a case limit per person on the stout). Alma De Madera and Saison Roble will both be $11.99, and packaged in 500-mL bottles with no limits.
Event of the Week
Catawba Brewing Peanut Butter Jelly Time Release Party
933 Louise Ave, #105
Catawba Brewing Co.’s popular Peanut Butter Jelly Time returns with a weekend release party starting at noon this Friday, March 1. Designed to mimic the flavors of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the brown ale is brewed with raspberry purée and whole-roasted North Carolina peanuts. Four-packs of 16-ounce cans will be available for $14 at the brewery, or $16 for a strawberry-rhubarb version. Catawba will have those two beers on tap, as well as blackberry and black currant variants. And just in time for Mardi Gras, Catawba has also tapped King Cake Pastry Stout, a milk stout brewed with vanilla, cinnamon and lactose sugar.