It's only not actually that old, but the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery is already a huge hit. "It's close, convenient, and the beer is wonderful," said Russell Hodge, a regular.
Olde Mecklenburg has been open for just a year and a half, and it's Charlotte's only independent brewery.
Ryan Self, the director of sales, showed me around their tap room and manufacturing plant. "We don't advertise so when we say celebrating one year that means celebrating literally one year of word of mouth, grass roots growth, which is a very exciting thing."
The moment you step in the door you feel as if you're in an authentic German biergarten. The tables are imported from Germany, and foster a community feel.
"We want to be Charlotte's beer. We want people in Charlotte to feel like that's my product," said Self.
While you're there, take a tour to see how the beer is made, stored, and bottled. The tours are free, and they give you the opportunity to see the process of beer production from start to finish. At the end, grab a pint and enjoy. Beers start at just $1.75.
Olde Mecklenberg changes beers with the seasons. Now they have three, which are different in flavor and color. The most popular is their flagship beer, the Copper Ale.
"We focus instead on fresh, you can't taste local but you can taste fresh. When you drink a beer and it tastes like it should and it tastes like it was made recently and was not pumped full of preservatives and things that make it last for months and months and months. I think you can really taste the difference," said Self.
Perhaps the best feature is that it's open to families and kids of all ages. They invite you to bring a picnic or a snack, enjoy a beer, and relax. Hodge says the environment makes a difference. "You know for sure it's fresh. Of course the people here are nice too. It just feels more at home, I guess I would say."
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Start: Charlotte, NC 28208 US
1. Start out going NORTHWEST on HEYWOOD AVE toward LIGGETT ST. (go 0.0 miles)
2. Turn RIGHT onto LIGGETT ST. (go 0.0 miles)
3. Turn RIGHT onto ASHLEY RD. (go 1.0 miles)
4. Turn LEFT onto WILKINSON BLVD/US-29 N/US-74 E. (go 1.1 miles)
5. Merge onto I-77 S/US-21 S toward ROCK HILL. (go 1.9 miles)
6. Take the CLANTON RD exit, EXIT 7, toward NC-49. (go 0.2 miles)
7. Turn LEFT onto CLANTON RD. (go 0.4 miles)
8. Turn RIGHT onto S TRYON ST/NC-49. (go 0.6 miles)
9. Turn LEFT onto E PETERSON DR. (go 0.2 miles)
10. Turn RIGHT onto HERIOT AVE. (go 0.0 miles)
11. Turn RIGHT onto YANCEY RD. (go 0.0 miles)
12. Turn LEFT onto SOUTHSIDE DR. (go 0.0 miles)
13. 215 SOUTHSIDE DR is on the RIGHT. (go 0.0 miles)
B) 215 Southside Dr, Charlotte, NC 28217-1727 US
TOTAL ESTIMATED TIME: 10 minutes | DISTANCE: 5.60 miles