Charlotte is North Carolina ‘s largest city with a large number of young professionals so it is not surprising that is a hot bed for Craft breweries. Several of Charlottes breweries are well known by craft beer lovers throughout the entire state. It is fair to say that the majority of Carolina craft beer enthusiast are familiar with NoDa Brewing, the Old Mecklenburg Brewery, Triple C and Unknown Brewing. I have great respect for the beers of these fantastic breweries. My biggest criticism of many intercity Charlotte breweries is that they don’t have unique personalities or identity. Heck, on our Charlotte weekend we visited eight breweries in a single weekend. There were three of them that I swear if you were to blindfold me and put me in one I wouldn’t recognize which one I was in. This is not the case with Sugar Creek Brewing, they know who they are and have a unique personality and theme. I would recommend that on your next trip to Charlotte make time to visit Sugar Creek Brewing. Sugar Creek was a pleasant surprise for the Brew Crew and I on our trip to Charlotte. I’ll admit prior to this trip they really weren’t even on my radar.
The Taproom is wide open and has a nautical theme huge ropes adorn the ceiling in a cool repetitive pattern. They even have a distinctive logo that includes three symbols, the balloon, the Boat and the fish. The balloon represents the rise in craft beers popularity. The boat represents the past of the two partners with the navy and merchant marines and the fish represents the environmental comeback of the Sugar Creek. On the day of our visit, the taproom was very busy, we were fortunate to get the last few seats at the large bar. The Brewery was well staffed and the passion for beer making was evident with those we spoke with. Food trucks frequent this establishment Monday through Wednesday, but Sugar Creek does serve salads and grilled paninis on Thursday through Sunday. For active beer lovers they have a number of events though out the week, Taproom Trivia, Indoor disc Golf, Metro CrossFit, Live Music, indoor Kickball Leagues or indoor Dodgeball Leagues.
Sugar Creek specializes in Belgium beers and even though this brewery has only been open a little over a year they appear to have mastered their craft. The beers we sampled were quite good, we enjoyed them all, but below we list some of our favorites.
Belgian Dubbel– Very pleasant Dubbel wouldn’t know it is an 7.6% ABV. It can sneak up on you easily. I could easily enjoy a pint or two of this one. You might taste plum, raisin, spice, banana, clove, chocolate, brown sugar in this interesting beer.
Raspberry White Ale– Very Floral and fruity scent. It tastes sweet and bubbly; without that cough syrupy taste you often get when drinking a raspberry beer.
Biere De Garde– I like the fact that it is not just simple. In my taste I get nutty and bready notes however it is far more complex than my palate. This beer uses 8 malts to give it a lot of depth. Beer connoisseurs will love trying this one. I know I enjoyed it.
Saison– Makes me long for summer. Light flavor that is typical in a farm house saison. Notes of spice, clove and banana wonderfully combine in this beer with a light toastiness from its traditional Belgian Malt, finishing with a tart and dry refreshing finish.
In the last year I’ve really enjoyed a number of North Carolina breweries that make really good Belgian beers. It isn’t my favorite style of beer, but I must admit the Haw River Farmhouse Ales, Neuse River Brewing and now Sugar Creek are really turning me into a fan. What Sugar Creek has done in only a year is very impressive, they not only make quality beer but give those that visit them a quality experience. Bold Statement coming… “Sugar Creek is now my favorite Charlotte brewery”. If you go brewery hopping in Charlotte and don’t go to Sugar Creek Brewing, you have missed the Queen City’s Gem.
Michael Cole lives in Sanford, NC, and loves great food and beer. His taste tends to favor malts over hops so he’s an avid fan of ambers and dark beers. Follow him on twitter @barbqguy44