As Charlotte Magazine’s beer writer, Matt McKenzie is accustomed to breaking the news — not being the news.
This Saturday will be different. The longtime beer writer, husband and father of two was recently diagnosed with a rare form of sinus cancer. He underwent surgery at Wake Forest and is back in Charlotte, with radiation treatment on the horizon after he’s recovered. Now, the community that he’s covered so thoroughly for years is doing its part to support him, starting with a bottle share and silent auction this Saturday at Triple C Brewing Co. (2900 Griffith St.).
“We saw the news that Matt had gotten sick and of course wanted to help,” said Chris Harker, founder of Triple C Brewing Co. “We’d had a lot of people ask about a bottle share as they always do for our Chocolate Covered Pretzel Stout release. I thought it would be a fun way to raise some money and some awareness for Matt.”
The brewery will host a bottle share before the release at 11 a.m., as they’ve done in the past. This time, however, it will be to raise funds for McKenzie. They’ll do so in a few ways: by accepting suggested donations of $5 (or more), at the door or online; through sales of draft beer, with all proceeds from 11 a.m. to noon going to McKenzie; and through a silent auction of rare bottles and other beer-related merchandise and gift cards. So far, Triple C has received silent auction donations from Brawley’s Beverage, Queen City Craft and Gourmet, Olde Hickory and more. NoDa Brewing Co. also donated a keg that will be among those on tap from 11 a.m. to noon.
At noon the brewery will release 22-ounce bottles of its popular bourbon-barrel-aged Chocolate Covered Pretzel Stout, with an additional three variants (Coconut, Double Chocolate and Cinnamon and Cayenne). All bottles are $14, and each variant will also be available on draft. Fourteen dollars will also get you a flight of all three variants, each paired with a decadent treat from The Secret Chocolatier. The bottle release will take place next door at The Barrel Room at Triple C, while the bottle share beforehand will take place at Triple C’s taproom. The New Wrap Order food truck will also be on site, and a variety of vendors will be part of a Valentine’s Day market from 12-5 in The Barrel Room.
Charlotte Craft Beer Week will also host this year’s kickoff event at The Barrel Room on March 29. Details on that event are still in the works, but there will be another opportunity to raise funds for McKenzie.
Though McKenzie has witnessed firsthand how generous the city’s breweries can be, it’s all been a little overwhelming — but sincerely appreciated.
“I’m extremely grateful to Chris, Triple C and all of Charlotte craft beer,” said McKenzie. “In my years covering the local craft beer scene, I’ve always enjoyed seeing breweries help out others in many ways — and although you never think something like this will happen to you, my family and I are thankful for such a giving community.”