Over recent years, the craft beer business has exploded in the Lake Norman and Charlotte area. According to Charlotte Stories, we now have one of the highest concentrations of craft breweries in America. In addition, the area boasts a burgeoning community of tasting rooms and even more traditional restaurants that support the craft brew phenomenon in a big way.
Let’s take a look around and see what awaits the craft beer enthusiast on his visit to the Lake Norman Shoreline:
Ass Clown Brewery
Ass Clown Brewery opened in 2011 in the area off Bailey Road in Cornelius, now becoming known as the Craft Brewery District. The brewery features a 31-tap system and has 200 brews in their stable. They push the envelope with brews such as Smoked Ham Corn on the Cob Stout, and Star Fruit Tart, in addition to the more usual Lagers, Pale Ales and Porters. With their cozy, inviting, laid back taproom, they make a great stop on your Lake Norman beer tour.
D9 Brewing Company
Also in the district is the D9 Brewery. This brewery is growing with a new 2,100 -square foot taproom and a 12,000-square foot production facility. The production area is easily visible from the taproom, and is an aesthetically pleasing addition to the environment. Their specialty is sours and to back that up, they recently won the gold medal for best sour at the Great American Beer Festival in Boulder, Colorado.
Down the road in Huntersville, we have Primal Brewery, which features 12 year-round brews on tap, plus a rotating array of seasonal selections. With a large taproom and an outdoor beer garden, there’s plenty of room for you and your crew to settle in and enjoy. Primal always has an energetic vibe. Hankering for a bit of entertainment with your brew? Music is featured here on a regular basis with a mix of up and coming local bands with an occasional nationally known act thrown in the mix.
Bayne Brewing Company
in Cornelius, Bayne Brewery is a small but friendly establishment that keeps 8 beers on tap. They have a great friendly atmosphere. The place feels very genuine. Remember those old-fashioned table top shuffleboard games? They have one in house. There’s some nostalgic fun to be had here.
Lake Norman Brewing Company
You’ll find this brewery a bit to the north, which some may say is a bit out of the way, but definitely worth the trip. These guys keep 8 brews on tap including Dockside Blonde Ale and Outboard Amber Ale. They are a nice venue for a larger group, and sure to be entertaining for all.
This brewery is the newest addition to the area – recently opened in Mooresville. With up to 20 brews on tap at any time and a partnership with Davidson Pizza Company, who has an onsite kitchen, they are sure to be a popular stop on anyone’s beer tour.
Eleven Lakes Brewing
Eleven Lakes is about to open in the Craft Brewery District, and I’m sure everyone is as excited as we are to check them out. From what we’ve read, they appear to be innovators on the craft brew scene. The brewery will house a unique compressor system which will provide different blends of carbon dioxide along with nitrogen, which is used to provide a smoother, creamier finished product.
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
Finally, this granddaddy of Charlotte area breweries has purchased a 51000-square foot former factory location in Cornelius, which will be converted into a brewery/beer garden/event venue. Olde Mecklenburg has become quite a brand with their popular “Copper” being a go-to choice for Carolina beer lovers. Opening date has yet to be determined, but looks to be in early 2018.
Tasting rooms also dot the Lake Norman landscape. You can find one of our local craft beers or a special brew from a more distant locale at establishments like Bottled and Tapped, Cornelius Draft House and Bottle Shop, and Old Town Public House in Cornelius; Ultimate Ales in Mooresville; Davidson Beverage Company in Davidson and The Crafty Beer Guys in Huntersville.
In addition to all the above, the more traditional restaurant scene has embraced the growing craft brew movement. Duckworth’s Grill and Taphouse, with multiple Charlotte area locations including two in the Lake Norman area, features upwards of 100 draft beers and many more bottles and cans. They have evolved from their roots of being just a simple Philly Cheesesteak shop to become quite an amazing venue for the beer fanatic.
Looking for a festival where you can try them all at one venue? Check out the North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival which is held annually in Rural Hill. With thirty-four breweries represented along with a dozen music acts, food trucks and camping, this event makes for a great spring weekend!
Our beautiful lake area, just a few short miles from the Charlotte City Center, is becoming one of the top craft beer destinations in America. Isn’t it time you came in for a visit? Book your Masters Transportation Beer Tour today. You’re sure to have an unforgettable time.