There are four breweries within a mile of each other on North Davidson Street, but if you visited those breweries in early August, you might have been hard pressed to find a brewer.
That’s because brewers from Birdsong Brewing, Free Range Brewing, Heist Brewery and NoDa Brewing Co. all journeyed out to New Belgium Brewing Co. in Fort Collins, Colo., as part of that brewery’s new Beers with Vrienden program. The word Vrienden is Flemish for “friends.”
“That’s the whole idea behind this whole collaboration series,” said Lauren Salazar, blender and wood cellar manager at New Belgium. “Really being able to take the time to get to know your friends better.”
Salazar is no stranger to Charlotte and its breweries, having collaborated with NoDa Brewing Co. in 2013 to brew Funkaversary, a beer that commemorated the 10th anniversary of Brawley’s Beverage. She’s also visited the city twice for Salud Beer Shop’s annual Release the Funk festival.
But the Beers with Vrienden program, she said, allows the brewers more time to truly sit down and talk, whether that’s about the beer, their hobbies, their families or anything else that may come up.
“You have a lot of interaction with the brewers and a lot more time for recipe ideation, formulation, and back and forth,” Salazar said.
In this case, the beer was inspired by the Beers Made by Walking program, in which brewers source ingredients or inspiration from hikes or city strolls. Salazar and Co. didn’t have to look far for their ingredients. A sugar beet factory once called their property home, so beet sugar seemed fitting. Lavender is grown on the grounds, so that made sense, too. And sunflowers are everywhere in Colorado, so sunflower seeds were thrown in for good measure (but not before being malted by Colorado Malting Co.). North Carolina was represented by scuppernongs, the state fruit. All of these ingredients went into a golden ale –called Yours and Mine – that should prove a fitting end-of-summer beer.
And while it’s nice to think of these brewing Vrienden frolicking through fields of lavender while plucking ingredients for a refreshing golden ale, this collaboration has a dark side, too. Salazar will travel to Charlotte to brew Mine and Yours Belgian Dark Ale at NoDa Brewing Co. with the other participating breweries this Friday.
“When Mine and Yours comes out, it’ll be fall,” Salazar said. “So it will be dark, with a higher ABV. It’ll be sort of an autumnal beer.”
Mine and Yours will be brewed with Palisade peaches from Colorado, and ginger, honey and sweet potatoes from North Carolina. It will be available in October. As for Yours and Mine, that one will be released this Saturday from 2-5 p.m. at NoDa Brewing Co. (2229 N. Davidson St.). All beer sales will benefit NoDa Farmers Market and Charlotte Arts for Life. The festivities continue on to Salud Beer Shop at 7 p.m., with Yours and Mine on tap as well as other beers from the participating breweries. If you can’t make it to the release, look for it around town later at the four participating breweries.
Event of the week
Beers for Volunteers
WHEN: 1-6 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: FireWater Charlotte, 8708 J.W. Clay Blvd.
WHAT: Beers for Volunteers will raise money for Safe Alliance, a local group that provides assistance for survivors of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and rape. Four breweries will be in attendance at FireWater Charlotte Restaurant and Bar pouring samples of their beers: D9 Brewing of Cornelius; Primal Brewery of Huntersville; and High Branch Brewing and Thirsty Nomad Brewing, both of Concord. Those last two are not yet open, so this is one of the first times the public will be able to try their beers. They are asking for voluntary donations to Safe Alliance, which will have a booth at the event.