Ask A Charlotte Expert: Fall Beers To Try

Ford Craven founded the Cabarrus Homebrewers Society (CABREW) in 2010, currently serving as president. He co-hosts a weekly community podcast with Charlotte Oktoberfest Marketing Chair Cesar Leyva and WFNZ "The Drive" producer Jay "Weezie" Brown. Craven's involvement with Charlotte Oktoberfest includes service on the 2013 Charity Selection Committee and 2014 Brewery Recruitment Committee.
Ford Craven
Cabarrus Homebrewers Society (CABREW)
Concord, NC 22025

Ford Craven dedicates a good part of his time to spreading "the craft beer gospel." Despite his busy schedule, he made time to respond to the following suggestions just in time for Charlotte Oktoberfest and the fall season. Craven adds, "These are all local Charlotte-area breweries, and of the beers I know about coming out this fall, I am anticipating these. I have either already had them and know they are quality, or I know the brewer and they themselves are excited about releasing their beers."

Gourdgeous Pumpkin Ale

The NoDa Brewing Company is named for its location on North Davidson Street in Charlotte's alternative arts district. Its handcrafted beers include classic as well as unique concoctions. Pumpkins are members of the gourd family, hence the play on the word gorgeous. This ale calls for 50 pounds of the heavy orange fruit per batch. Add to that 42 pounds of brown sugar, and super fresh spices including ginger root, cardamom, cloves and allspice. When the brewing process is done, the beer is served in a glass rimmed with cinnamon sugar to complete the tasty delight.

The Dude Imbibes

Take old rum barrels and add 10 percent Imperial Milk Stout to be aged with coffee-flavored Kahlua-soaked oak chips and vanilla beans. The result is a super popular concoction called "The Dude Imbibes." The goal was for it to resemble a White Russian, the vodka-based cocktail with Kahlua and cream. Chris Harker of Triple C Brewing describes how the movie "The Big Lebowski" inspired the unique brew: "The main character is the Dude and he always says, 'the Dude Abides.'" 


Opening its doors in 2009, Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (OMB) was a pioneer niche brewery in this area. It was established by a former Bostonian to accommodate transplants to Charlotte from Europe and Northern cities who were used to locally brewed beer that had not been sitting on a shelf for too long. Mecktoberfest is brewed with a long-lived yeast strain imported from the world's oldest German brewery. Rich-tasting malt and Bavarian hops, described as "noble," comprise the ingredients for this Marzen-style lager.

Related: Ask A Charlotte Expert Best Summertime Vodka Cocktails

Head of the Horseman Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Founded by two New York natives and an Idahoan in 2009 over some bubbling wort, or hot beer, D9 Brewing is named for the North Carolina Congressional District 9 that it calls home. D9's offerings include, but are not limited to, ales from the United States and England, Cascadian Ale and Viking Heather. Its "Head of the Horseman Imperial Pumpkin Ale" recalls Washington Irving's spooky tale, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," where Ichabod Crane was chased by a headless horseman, who hurled a pumpkin, a substitute for his missing cranium. This brew is suggested for its full-bodied malt flavor with added pumpkin and spice.

Oktoberfest Marzen

Olde Hickory Brewing was once housed in a former dairy and is currently located in a building designated as an Historic Landmark in downtown Hickory, North Carolina. Beers are brewed without any preservatives or additives. The brewery's formula uses water from the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the finest grains and hops. The German-inspired Oktoberfest Marzen lager, prepared especially for Oktoberfest, is a rich malt lager blended with imported hops.

Related: Best Boozy Brunches In Charlotte

Jacquelin Celeste Peters has produced award winning radio programs at WPFW Pacifica-Washington. She is a Culture and Events Examiner in Charlotte, North Carolina, which she calls home. Her work can be found at