Rows of wooden picnic tables and benches line a sprawling, 8-acre backyard biergarten at the new location of The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. The most loyal of Charlotte’s craft-beer crowd—and some newcomers—file in, gravel crunching below. Orders of Capt Jack Pilsner, Copper Amber Ale and Mecklenburger lagers fill the air.
Charlotte’s oldest craft brewery was named after its surrounding county, Mecklenburg, a name from the region of Germany that’s the origination of Queen Charlotte. Owner John Marrino, who opened the brewery in 2009, takes the German heritage seriously.
Originally from beer-loving Boston, Marrino moved to Charlotte in 2007, shocked that a city the size of Charlotte had no breweries. He was working for a German-based, water-treatment-equipment manufacturer at the time, so he had many years to research and find inspiration. Four years abroad—plus his water-treatment expertise—set him up for success in the beer-making industry.
Today, his 60-barrel brewery is earning top marks, having recently been voted the best brewery tour in the U.S. by the readers of USA Today.
But beer isn’t the only thing offered at this Bavarian-themed local favorite. Inside, the Bauhaus menu leans mostly German, of course, with starters that include Bavarian-style soft pretzels with spicy mustard and house-made Captain Jack beer cheese for dipping. More filling entrées include choose-your-style sausages, such as knockwurst, kielbasa and Stiglmeier-brand bratwurst. Burgers, panini sandwiches, pizzas and salads are available for those looking for non-German options.
OMB offers free, 40-minute brewery tours Fridays at 6 pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 2, 3, and 4 pm. Children are welcome with an over-21 adult. No registration needed. Private tours for large groups are available. Su-Th, 11 am-10 pm; F-Sa, 11 am-11 pm. 4150 Yancey Road. 704.525.5644, oldemeckbrew.com
Other Beer Bites …
Construction on NoDa Brewing Company’s new, 32,000-square-foot brewery began in early spring and is slated to open sometime in August. To be located at 2921 N. Tryon St.
Newcomer Legion Brewing Company began building in an old warehouse-turned-music store and plans to open its doors late this summer. For the latest information, follow @LegionBrewing on Twitter.
The four North Davidsion (NoDa) district breweries—Birdsong, Free Range, Heist and NoDa—plus Morganton, North Carolina’s Fonta Flora, will collaborate with New Belgium Brewery, out of Fort Collins, Colo., to create two beers with ingredients from Colorado and North Carolina. Look for the beers, which will be brewed locally at NoDa Brewing Company, in August.