Charlotte Craft Beer Week is in full swing, marking the fifth year of its nine-day lineup of events that feature craft beers from breweries across the U.S.
But this year, there are far more local breweries featuring their own concoctions as well.
“Charlotte’s craft-beer industry as we know it today was pretty much born five years ago with OMB’s opening,” says Nils Weldy, organizer of the Queen City Brewers Festival that takes place each February, referring to The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery on Southside Drive.
Olde Mecklenburg opened in 2009, and at the time, it was the only truly local brewery in the city aside from brewpubs such as the Rock Bottom Brewery uptown, a chain that brews its own beer for consumption in the restaurant but doesn’t sell it in stores, according to Daniel Hartis, author of Charlotte Beer. Hartis notes that Four Friends Brewing was established earlier, in 2007, but its facility didn’t open until 2010.
Darrin Pikarsky, the founder and creator of Charlotte Craft Beer Week, has also led The Charlotte Beer Club since its inception in 2008. He confirms that Olde Mecklenburg, Four Friends and Rock Bottom were all the craft-beer scene the Queen City had to offer when the series of events was born in 2010.
Now the local brewers featured on the menu of Craft Beer Week events are plentiful. The Charlotte region is home to about a dozen independent breweries, including Lenny Boy, the only certified organic Kombucha brewery in the Southeast.
“It has really taken on almost a life of its own,” Pikarsky told me in an email Tuesday, noting that some events promoted as being a part of Craft Beer Week are never actually registered on the website. “They kind of jump on the band wagon, so to speak,” he said.