Lake Norman – Cornelius in particular – has gone craft beer nuts.
The success of the craft brew scene around Lake Norman has spawned festivals and a number of ancillary businesses to take advantage of beer’s popularity in the area. And Visit Lake Norman produced a beer and wine trail map to help promote tourism in the area.
A couple of Cornelius-based festivals add to beer’s tourism appeal. Lake Norman Beerfest runs annually in September, and Laketoberfest Beer & Music Festival is an October staple held in Bailey Road Park.
Cornelius is home to three breweries. Ass Clown Brewing and D9 Brewing are on Bailey Road, off Highway 115, in what some are calling the Craft Beer District.
You’d have to call Ass Clown envelope pushers. Its winter offerings include Imperial Maple Bacon Stout, Dark Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Stout and Pumpkin Brett to name a few.
D9 – with its Viking Fraoch, Ezekiel 25:17 and Whiskers on Kittens – is a favorite haunt of sour beer lovers. Lake Norman Winery has its tasting room near Ass Clown.
Huntersville’s Primal Brewery, on Highway 115 just south of Cornelius, is the local equivalent of TV’s “Cheers.” You’ll find a welcoming crowd of regulars here drinking stouts and brown ales.
Bayne Brewing – a few miles away from the Craft Beer District off West Catawba Avenue – keeps eight beers on tap, including jalapeno IPA, Irish Red and coffee porter. Three bottle shops call Cornelius home: Cornelius Drafthouse, Bottled & Tapped and Old Town Public House.
Besides Primal Brewery, Huntersville features the Crafty Beer Guys bottleshop. It keeps 14 beers on tap, and has 280 bottles and 117 cans from breweries all around the country.
Comfort Suites Huntersville is getting into the act with its featured Room-With-A-Brew promotion that includes a discounted room rate, and special perks from local breweries like complimentary flights and souvenir pint glasses.
Davidson Beverage Company and The Cabin round-out the offerings on the Mecklenburg County side of the lake. Even Birkdale’s favorite wine bar, The Corkscrew, has adapted to the trend by adding 12 draft taps and host of bottles.
“With so many choices right in our backyard, and with so much demand for the beer that is being crafted in our great state, the decision to include local brew at our shop was an easy one,” said Joseph Klosek, operations manager at The Corkscrew Wineshop. “We want our guests to have the local and statewide beers that they crave, in a fun environment, without having to travel from brewery to brewery to access them.”
On the north side of the lake, Mooresville has ramped up its offerings, too.
There’s Ghostface Brewing, which opened last April with one of the largest selections of brews in the area, pouring up to 20 beers and meads.
Lake Norman Brewing, which opened in 2013, is the granddaddy of Mooresville’s artisan brewers. It pours IPA, coffee stout, blonde ale, raspberry wheat, brown ale, amber ale, and Witbier.
Ultimate Ales bottle shop, also in Mooresville, stocks more than 300 craft beers.
So, as you can see, Lake Norman is giving Charlotte some craft competition. With some of the high gravity pours you’ll find here, you might want to Uber the next time you go beer nuts on Lake Norman.
– Ass Clown Brewing – 10620 Bailey Road, Suite E
– Bayne Brewing Company – 19507 West Catawba Avenue
– D9 Brewing Company – 1138-C Treynorth Drive
– Lake Norman Winery – 10508 Bailey Road, Suite 202
– Bottled & Tapped – 20124 West Catawba Avenue
– Cornelius Drafthouse & Bottle Shop – 19818-C North Cove Road
– Old Town Public House – 21314 Catawba Avenue
Photos: Courtesy of Bayne Brewing