ABOVE: Legion Brewing’s Juan Direction beer with tequila-soaked limes and oranges.
says Alexander, who has also added juniper tips and leftover
tangerine peels from nearby restaurant Kindred.
In springtime, Alexander’s team looks for local wildflowers
such as dandelion, honeysuckle and evergreen tips to again create
teas for infusing into beer. Roasting the roots of the dandelion
makes for a darker, richer beer, while the flowers produce a
lighter-bodied, dry, aromatic brew. The evergreen tips, when
paired with juniper and pine flowers, create a citrusy—also
highly aromatic—beer without the need for extra hops.
Just as many chefs focus on using the whole animal and the
whole vegetable to decrease food waste, Alexander has done the
same, though not intentionally. In addition to using those leftover
tangerine peels, his team has partnered with a local grower to
collect the silk of heritage corn plants to use in beer making.
The purple-hued, floral, silkier silks are collected from White
Eagle corn grown by Native Americans, dried, and made into a
tea with borage flowers. The tea method also helps remove any
bacteria, such as occurs in pasteurization. When blended with
macerated fresh plum and local oats, the result is a refreshing
cream ale or saison ale perfect for late summer.
Free Range will also use White Eagle and heirloom Bloody
Butcher corn kernels and silks for its first bottled beer, a rustic
cream ale called Cornbread, to be released this year.
When it comes to beer-making these days, breweries need
not look only to classic ingredients such as barley and hops.
Charlotte’s beer scene has gone local and seasonal, just like
many chefs here and around the country.
AMELIA LEVIN IS A CHICAGO-BASED FOOD WRITER, COOKBOOK AU THOR AND CERTIFIED CHEF.
Most of Charlotte’s breweries can
be found in either the artsy NoDa
(North Davidson) or the nightlife-heavy South End areas of town, while
others are cropping up in nearby
Gastonia, a satellite city about 20
THE OLDE MECKLENBURG BREWERY
Known to locals as OMB, The Olde
Mecklenburg Brewery, which opened
in 2009, is the oldest brewery in the
area specializing in German-style
beers reminiscent of those found
at German beer halls. The menu
features German-inspired eats such
as Bavarian pretzels, pork schnitzel
and a variety of wursts.
THIRSTY NOMAD BREWING CO. This brewery
serves up taps that range from pale
ales to chocolate stouts in a space
with a steampunk theme. The light-fare menu has chips and hummus,
as well as Queen City Pretzel Factory
pretzels served hot to order with a
mustard/cheese dipping sauce using
Thirsty Nomad beer. The brewery also
allows guests to order-in food.
THREE SPIRITS BRE WERY The brainchild
of a former emergency room doctor,
this 9,100-square-foot, 10-barrel
brew house gives a nod to Charles
Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and offers
food from rotating food trucks on-site.
BOLD MISSY BREWERY This NoDa
brew house honors the courageous
achievements of women such as
Harriet Tubman and Sally Ride with
bold IPAs and light snacks such as
mini flatbreads and dressed-up dogs.
HEIST BREWERY Located in historic
Highland Park Mill, originally a cotton
mill constructed in the early 1900s,
Heist Brewery is a contemporary
brewpub where bold, exquisite and
unexpected combinations are the
norm. Located just five minutes from
Heist Brewery’s flagship location,
Heist Brewery and Barrel Arts opened
last year. It fills 22,000 square feet
with a 3,200-square-foot taproom,
a butcher shop and a bakery selling
rustic breads and pastries. This
summer, a 1-acre beer garden will
offer seating on the 5,000-square-
HYDE BREWING (THE SUFFOLK PUNCH)
Opened last year in South End,
this brewery is part coffee shop
that features an eclectic menu
focused on local foods and global
flavors, all meant to be paired with
the various beers. Dishes include
Moroccan-spiced ribs, housemade
falafel and chicken fricassee, and
there are indulgent snacks such as
housemade pimento cheese. The
brewery also features an on-site
water tower for the purest, best-quality brewing water possible.
SYCAMORE BREWING Led by husband-and-wife duo Justin and Sarah
Brigham, Sycamore Brewing features
many seasonal and experimental ales
using local ingredients, such as the
Gourd Have Mercy, an amber beer
brewed with heirloom barley, pumpkin
and warm spices, released last fall.
WOODEN ROBO T BRE WERY This urban
farmhouse-style brew hub features
16 rotating taps paired with bites
from the Twisted Eats food truck
parked out front most days and
serving fare that incorporates the
RED HILL BREWING COMPANY With a
taproom that operates Thursday
through Saturday, this brewery in
Concord serves up creative brews
paired with pit-cooked barbecue
from the Lil’ Robert’s Place food
truck parked out front every
CAVENDISH BREWING COMPANY Opened
last year in a former car dealership
space, this Gastonia brewpub serves
a variety of beers that are paired
with eats from a rotating lineup of
GHOSTFACE BREWING This Mooresville
taproom with flatbread pizza prepared
by Davidson Pizza Company has
featured food ingredients in its brews,
such as strawberries in an ale.
FOOD PAIRINGS AND INFUSIONS