The first weekend of June, one of my oldest friends, L, came down to Charlotte for a visit. L and I have been friends since the first grade when we joined the same Girl Scout troop. While we’ve grown, we still remain close (and survived high school and college, phew) and it’s nice to have a familiar face come down to visit me in my new city.
When L told me she was coming to visit, I started researching (I know, I’m a big nerd) what was going on that weekend. Since the weather was nice, I wanted to find something outside for us to do (I’ve already taken her to the Whitewater Center) and I stumbled upon the Charlotte Brewers’ Festival (I think maybe on Twitter). It sounded like the perfect activity—hosted over at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, all of the local Charlotte brewers would be there for a tasting event, along with live local bands and food trucks. Right up my alley. And for only $15, it was a great deal. I called L up to see if she wanted to go, and she did not hesitate when she said “yes!”
Saturday afternoon came, and while it was hot, we were still excited to check out what the first annual brewers’ festival had to offer. After a relaxing morning by the pool, we showered changed and grabbed a cab to head over to Olde Mecklenburg Brewery around 3. I had already purchased the tickets online, so it was easy for us to get in and get started tasting! For the $15 entrance fee, we got 6 tasting tickets (1.5 ounce pours I think) and one full pour ticket (12 ounces). They had additional tasting and full pour tickets on sites for purchase (which we definitely took advantage of when our tickets ran out). We went straight for the beer (we hit up Rock Bottom first, because their line was shortest and closest to the food trucks) and then waited in line for some food with our beer samples (strategy!). Both Root Down Food Cart and Papi Queso were serving food, and while Root Down’s menu looked appetizing, they ran out of most of their selection before I got in line! So I went with the old standby, Papi Queso (and I am definitely not complaining). After a delicious grilled cheese we made sure to hit up all of the breweries for a taste or more.
It was a really fun event; and I really loved that it focused around local breweries (there was apparently a competing beer event at the Epicenter that day of “microbrews” including Bud Light Lime and Blue Moon…don’t get me started). Charlotte has as growing brewery scene, and all eight local breweries participated: Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Four Friends Brewing, Heist Brewery, NoDa Brewing Company, Triple C Brewing Co., Birdsong Brewing Co., Rock Bottom Brewery, and Hops Brewery. I really enjoyed trying new beers from each one. L and I definitely enjoyed our time catching up and listening to the bands while we tried our beers. My one critique would be to maybe increase the ticket price to $20 or $25, and have it include unlimited tasting (and cut out the full size beer). I did definitely love the food trucks presence and the live music (and even though it was hot and crowded, I can’t complain about that much because it is June in North Carolina and it was a beer festival). Most of all, I had a lot of fun. I can’t wait until the second annual event next year!
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