Today’s Thirsty Thursday post was created out of a Super Saturday. Charlotte NC Tours recently ran a Microbrewery Bike Tour promotion, and seeing as how I dream of pedaling around on a cruiser and sipping frosty beers on a near-daily basis, I purchased the tour in two seconds flat.
Last Saturday, a group of microbrewery tourists met in uptown Charlotte to bike about three miles east to NoDa (for those of you not familiar with Charlotte, NoDa is short for North Davidson). I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into when shortly before we left the group included a dozen boys and a lone female (me). I commented on how surprised I was that the tour was not more popular with the ladies. The response I received seemed tinged with sarcasm: “You’re surprised girls don’t want to ride bikes and get sweaty and drink beer?”
Yes, I was surprised. What could be better than riding bikes and drinking beer on a beautiful summer day? Only skateboarding and shooting vodka, I think.* Fortunately, a second girl showed up to join the tour, and off we went.
Our first stop was Growler’s Pourhouse where I desperately wanted an Ommegang Witte. Turns out I was in good company because there was none left. Forced to look to the remaining 16 taps, I chose a seasonal Old Hickory Ruby Lager brewed in nearby Hickory, North Carolina.
My review of the beer: it was good. I have no idea how describe a beer other than it tasted good or it tasted bad. That will soon change after I attend Summer School at World of Beer. Yes, that’s right, I am going to summer school to learn all there is to know about beer. I may have died and gone to heaven…
We left Growlers to bike to NoDa Brewing Company. Here I enjoyed a flight of NoDajito (in NoDa Brewing Company’s own words, a “Belgian Wit infused with mint leaves and lime zest”), Ghost Hop (White IPA), NoDaRyeZ’d (Double Rye IPA), and Monk’s Trunks (Belgian Pale Ale).
Again, noting my lack of credentials, my reviews are brief. The NoDajito tasted faintly medicinal, the Ghost Hop was light and crisp, the NoDaRyeZ’d (pronounced No-duh-rised) was memorable only in name, and Monk’s Trunks was light yet flavorful. Monk’s Trunks was by far my favorite, and I learned why after reading more about it on NoDa Brewing Company’s website: “The Belgian yeast brings out flavors of apple, banana, vanilla and grapes naturally through its fermentation, and it’s accented with seeds of paradise.” I like fruity beer.
Then across the street to BirdSong Brewing Company we went. Here I also enjoyed a flight, which was all I needed to tell the bartender because only four beers were available. Up On The Sun (Saison), Higher Ground (West Coast IPA), Free Will (Pale Ale), and Lazy Bird (American Brown Ale). [Pictured left to right in the top row above].
Given my lack of ability to identify what makes a beer taste good or bad, coupled with the fact BirdSong was our last stop, I’m not even going to pretend I can offer a legitimate review of these beers. What I can definitively say is I enjoyed the light Up On The Sun and Higher Ground. The Free Will was a very unpopular choice among all in the group. The dark Lazy Bird was my favorite beer of the day; it was flavorful but not at all heavy like some darker beers.
The tour ended back in uptown, so we meandered the city streets before heading over to Hawthorne’s on Seventh Street to eat dinner. I ate the best garlic knots in Charlotte (seriously, look at all that garlic and olive oil), a plate of tri-color tortellini with bacon and peas in cream sauce (so much for eating plant-based), and ordered the cannoli to go. The meal was wonderful, but the cannoli tasted as though it was filled with chalk whipped with flavorless cream. So sad.
Unable to visit the breweries? Both NoDa Brewing Company’s and BirdSong Brewing Company’s beers can be ordered at many local restaurants (see the website for each – linked above – for details). Though it appears the Microbrewery Bike Tour was a special offer, I would recommend a Charlotte NC Tour whether you plan to visit Charlotte or if you are a Charlotte local in need of a staycation. Lastly, if any Charlotteans would like to start a bike gang to ride on our own accord to nearby watering holes, please leave a comment to express your interest.
*Updated to note: Upon further reflection, kite-boarding and piña coladas would also be enjoyable.