With gorgeous weather Saturday afternoon, my husband and I decided to explore breweries in NoDa. After all, it was so nice outside, surely there wouldn't be crowds. Whoa, guess again: Where are all these people coming from? Hanging out at a brewery is now the thing to do around here.
|A flight at NoDa Brewing|
kids running around, even a baby getting cuddled in a sunny spot. Other food entrepreneurs join in, too. At NoDa and Birdsong, the King of Pops cart was offering a nice selection of frozen pops in flavors like chocolate mint, in case you wanted a break from beer.
1. NoDa Brewing Co., 2229 N. Davidson St. This is one of the most ambitious local breweries, with a chalkboard full of choices. They tap something new every Wednesday. With so many, it was hard to narrow it down to a flight. We ended up with Ramble on Red, an American red ale with a distinct note of coffee; the fruity/herby Hop, Drop & Roll IPA; The Monk's Trunks Belgian pale ale; and the fruity-in-a-good-way Jam Session. And we learned a new term: IBUs, or international bittering units. OK!
2. Birdsong Brewing Co., 2315 N. Davidson St. Don't be fooled by the address: It's actually right next door to NoDa. And while this isn't a popularity contest, I came away with a real fondness for this place. The style is simple and laid-back, all corrugated metal, concrete block and friendly staff. The beers are unfiltered and there was quite an interesting lineup. My flight here (shown in top photo): Doin' Thyme, a pale, light beer with a definite hit of thyme; Jalapeno -- yes, jalapeno, and it would be fabulous with food; Lazy Bird Brown, another one with a pleasant coffee taste; and Higher Ground IPA.
3. Heist Brewery, 2909 N. Davidson St. A little drive, but a short one, and there's plenty of parking. This is more like a restaurant with its own beer. Amazing woodwork here -- who's responsible for those stacked wood and stone pillars? The food is ambitious and unusual, with everything from a shrimp dish that involves cotton candy and test tube lobster bisque up to burgers and flatbread pizzas. We had maibock and Red No. 7, along with the addictively tasty baked beer cheese with warm pretzel sticks, pork belly corn dogs with a root beer/barbecue dipping sauce, a loaded-up salad called the Krone -- love the gorgonzola wrapped in bacon -- and the barbecue burger. They also have house-made sodas, a welcome touch for the designated driver.
Three stops, 3 hours. Where was this kind of street life when I moved to Charlotte as a young lass?