Food & Drink

Beer columnist Daniel Hartis explores NC trend of beer brunches

A beermosa served at Good Bottle Co. in Charlotte.
A beermosa served at Good Bottle Co. in Charlotte. Courtesy of Good Bottle Co.

When Chris Hunt opened the doors to Good Bottle Co. at 9 a.m. one Saturday morning in early 2013, he had no idea if anyone would walk through them for the next few hours.

Soon, though, the Charlotte bar and bottle shop was teeming with people enjoying beer, coffee and breakfast-style grilled cheeses from Papi Queso Food Truck.

Now, these “Good Morning” breakfasts have become a monthly occurrence for the last two years. On these Saturday mornings, Good Bottle Co. makes mimosas with beer (sometimes called “beermosas”) and taps breakfast-themed beers like coffee stouts.

“It’s just one of those things where every time we do it, I feel like it gains a little more momentum,” said Hunt. “So we just continue to reinvent it and also make it more intentional.”

That same approach can be found a few miles north at Salud Beer Shop in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood, where founder Jason Glunt started doing brunches about a month or so ago, shortly after the shop opened its new deli concept called FūD at Salud. Though he began with the idea of a reggae brunch, he has now decided to do the reggae version just once a month so as to keep the music and food offerings fresh every Sunday.

Like Good Bottle Co., Salud also blends mimosas with beer – usually All Day IPA from Founders Brewing Co. They also take on that other, more savory brunch beverage, the Bloody Mary. Salud’s version employs two ingredients from San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing Co., combining its highly-rated Sculpin IPA with the brewery’s own Bloody Mary mix.

At Potent Potables, a bar and bottle shop in Jamestown, near Greensboro, owner Steve Kim slings beermosas every Sunday but will make them any night of the week. He routinely uses Terrapin Beer Co.’s RecreationAle and Sierra Nevada’s Nooner pilsner, but has experimented with the sour and salty gose and other styles as well.

Raleigh’s Busy Bee Cafe offers brunch Saturday through Monday, but you won’t find beer in its take on the mimosa, dubbed “Orange Buzz” (orange juice, Stoli Ohranj vodka and champagne). Fortunately the restaurant and bar offers a good selection of draft and bottled options to accompany its brunch, the menu for which changes weekly.

While Salud began with reggae, Asheville’s Burial Beer Co. started – and stuck – with jazz for its brunches. Jess and Doug Reiser, two of the brewery’s founders, heard plenty of that music when they lived in New Orleans.

The brewery’s brunch was unique for reasons beyond music, though – namely in that it was free. Rather than paying a set price, the brewery asked patrons to donate what they wished. The chefs worked for these tips, and a portion was donated to a different nonprofit every month. The brunches are on hold while their former chefs, Gary Sernack and Josh Dillard, work to open Bhramari Brewhouse in Asheville. Hi-Wire Brewing, Burial’s neighbors in Asheville’s brewery-packed South Slope, routinely opens early to show soccer games and serve up full English breakfasts, baked beans and all.

Fresh off a Wimbledon-watching breakfast last week, Good Bottle Co. will again open its doors at 9 a.m. Saturday for patrons who wish to enjoy a beer-filled breakfast while watching the Tour de France. And this time, Chris Hunt doesn’t have to wonder if people will walk through those doors so early on a Saturday morning.

Daniel Hartis is the digital manager at All About Beer Magazine in Durham and author of “Beer Lover’s The Carolinas” and “Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing in the Queen City.” Reach him at cltbeer@gmail.com or on Twitter, @DanielHartis.

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