In the last few years we’ve seen craft beer explode in popularity and artisanal breweries have popped up from coast to coast. According to the Brewers Association in the first half of 2015, craft brewers sold 12.2 million barrels of beer in the US, up from the 10.6 million that were sold this same time last year. And from 2014 to 2015 an additional 3,739 breweries have opened—that’s not even including the 1,755 that are still under construction. There is a lot of craft beer out there. But North Carolina is holding its own with the best of them and is currently home to over 100 breweries.
The city of Charlotte plays host to only eight of the state’s breweries (more are planned for the coming year), but these few brew houses have several awards and decades of experience between them. The breweries—Birdsong Brewing Co., Heist Brewery, Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, NoDa Brewing Co., Triple C Brewing Co., Unknown Brewery, Sycamore Brewing, and Wooden Robot Brewery—all create their own specialty beers in-house and offer an ever-changing selection of seasonal drinks. Some of the must-try concoctions include Birdsong’s Jalapeño Pale Ales, NoDa’s award-winning Coco Loco porter (a chocolate and coconut blend), and Triple C’s Baby Maker Double IPA which has 8.5 percent alcohol by volume.
Pint lovers looking to tour the state’s many breweries should visit the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild, which lists, maps and links to each brand’s website and social media pages (it’s a pretty comprehensive guide) for all of their 132 breweries. We like to think of it as a long, but very thirst-quenching, to-do list.