NoDa Area Breweries Out in Full Force for Charlotte Oktoberfest
by Paula Bartlett, #thesavageway
The 16th annual Charlotte Oktoberfest brought all of the craft beer lovers to the factory on Saturday, September 26, 2014. This sold out event took place at the North Carolina Music Factory and the day could not have been more perfect. With over 90 breweries in attendance, the NoDa neighborhood breweries were out in full force.
NoDa is home to three of the top breweries in Charlotte: Birdsong Brewing Company, Heist Brewery and NoDa Brewing Company. All three of these creative craft beer hubs brought their best to Oktoberfest.
“Oktoberfest in particular is the biggest festival in CLT, so it’s a great way to get in front of people in your city,” said Heist Brewery owner, Kurt Hogan.
One of the fun things about attending Charlotte’s largest beer festival is the vast range of beers from all over the world.
“When I think about what beers to bring to a festival I look at a couple of different factors before deciding. I like to offer a range of beers that will appeal to not only the hardcore beer nerds that attend these festivals, but also to the attendees that may be new to our beer and may be even new to beer in general,” said Conor Robinson, head brewer at Birdsong Brewing Company.
NoDa Brewing’s head brewer, Chad Henderson, must have been thinking along those same lines because he brought some of their taproom favorites (including the popular seasonal Gorgeous), as well as the beer enthusiast’s Hop Drop & Roll cask which stole the show.
“The HDR is normally dry hopped with both Citra and Amarillo, but for Oktoberfest, I added Simcoe hops and Mosaic hops directly to the cask, giving it four dry hop varieties. I was very happy with the resulting product and seeing as how it didn't last an hour, everyone else was too,” quoted Henderson.
Each of the three breweries showcased a unique, small batch beer alongside their usual taproom favorites.
- Birdsong Brewing Co: Evil and a Heathen - Wee Heavy; ABV: 8.7%. The aroma is reminiscent of fall with scents of apples and caramel. It tastes warming with flavors of a bit of booze, fresh bread and a touch of cinnamon.
- Heist Brewery: Barrel Aged Wee Heavy; ABV: 14.9%. A very malty, strong Scotch ale. A process known as kettle caramelization provides notes of plums and dates. This beer sits in TOPO wheat whiskey barrels for quite some time.
- NoDa Brewing Co: Hop Drop & Roll Cask: ABV: 7.2%. This "quad" dry-hopped version of their HDR IPA. Adding Simcoe & Mosaic hops to the normal dry hopping with Citra and Amarillo, brought an incredibly flavored brew.
So what keeps the breweries coming back to Charlotte Oktoberfest year after year (Birdsong and NoDa since 2011 and Heist since 2012)?
For Heist Brewery, going to the festival is simple. “As a brewpub, and a destination, we don’t distribute our beers, so it’s important to get face time with Charlotte beer lovers,” said Hogan.
Birdsong’s Robinson added, “Charlotte Oktoberfest dedicates a significant amount of time and energy to celebrating true American craft beer and showcasing craft beer from our region. I think the combination of the festival's reputation (16th annual) and their ability to bring the entire NC craft beer community together is what makes it so enjoyable/successful for both the breweries and the attendees."
One of the many reasons NoDa Brewing continues to attend is that, “Oktoberfest played a big role in getting our name out to the public when we first opened. We could really display what NoDa (Brewing) could bring to the beer scene,” said Henderson. “It’s also a place to show off a new seasonal or specialty one-off beer to a crowd of well established craft beer enthusiasts and impressing them is always important in order to stay relevant in the ever growing craft beer scene in Charlotte."
As the Charlotte craft beer scene continues to grow, all three of the NoDa breweries are preparing to amp up their games!
“As we have new breweries open we will see the new and current breweries start to fall into their respective niches and challenge everyone to define themselves as well as produce even better beer,” noted Birdsong’s Robinson.
Henderson added that growth in the industry will lead to, “a swelling of local beer options in our local bars and restaurants. The bars and bottle shops are the support line for the breweries and if the last two years are any indication, the demand for local beer will only increase.”
Charlotteans and craft beer nerds will have to stay tuned as the craft scene develops and prospers in all neighborhoods of Charlotte. However one fact holds true, festivals like Charlotte’s Oktoberfest are the perfect platform for local breweries to experiment with beers and get people excited about supporting local.
So Save the Date! Charlotte Oktoberfest, Saturday, October 3, 2015