Colorado is one of the oldest brewing states, with venerated giants like Avery, New Belgium, Breckenridge, and Oskar Blues all calling it home. However, much like Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, North Carolina is coming after Colorado. The Panthers hometown of Charlotte is home to some of the best breweries in the state, and here are five that will help Carolina craft beer fans keep pounding throughout Super Bowl 50 and beyond.
NoDa quickly became one of the hottest breweries in the United States after their IPA Hop, Drop, and Roll took a gold medal in the World Beer Cup. With an explosion of Citra and Amarillo hops and a balanced and complex malt background, it’s easy to see why each canning run flies off the shelves in hours. If you (most likely) can’t find it, don’t worry! NoDa’s Jam Session is an absolutely phenomenal hoppy pale ale, and Coco Loco is a beautiful chocolate porter with lightly roasted coconut.
Located right next door to NoDa, Birdsong is producing great beer with ingredients sourced from North Carolina. While a jalapeno pale ale might be off putting to some people, Birdsong lovingly makes theirs with fresh, hand cut peppers for a flavorful spice that even the most squeamish drinkers can appreciate. If you’re lucky enough to find a bottle their yearly release of their sour cherry abbey ale Puppies on Penguins is a complex yet easy-drinking sour well worth hunting for, while Mexicali Stout is one of the most easy-drinking chili stouts on the market.
There’s no better way to start your Super Bowl Sunday than the Unknown’s Pre Game session ale. A light, easy drinking session beer, Pre Game is an easy way to start the festivities before moving on the bigger bottles. Things like Vehopciraptor, a massive 9.9% double IPA with seven different hop varietals packed into it. Vehopciraptor is beast of a DIPA, so if the claws scare you try the Ginger Wheat¸ a light citrusy wheat beer with a hint of ginger spice.
While only founded in 2009 and not particularly olde, Olde Meck is Charlotte’s oldest brewery. Following strict German purity Laws, Olde Meck produces some of the finest beer in the state. The Copper amber ale is a flavorful, full bodied ale with a wonderful caramel character, while the Southside Weiss is sweet, citrusy wheat beer that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. If you’re ever in Charlotte in the summer, be sure to stop by the brewery and experience the full scope of their massive biergarten!
While, Triple C makes a phenomenal blonde ale, the real stars are their big beers. Up All Night is a masterfully executed coffee porter. While clocking in at a hefty 10%, the sheer coffee power of this beer leaves you much more alert than you’d expect. That will give you just enough energy left to reach for another big bottle, with their Kind of a Big Deal wheat ale. Hitting at 9.2, Kind of a Big Deal is as it’s name suggests. Be on the lookout for peach and tart cherry versions as well.
As the city’s motto goes, “Charlotte’s got a lot”, especially when it comes to world class breweries. Denver better get their guard up, or they’re going to need to worry about a lot more than Cam Newton.