11 things to know about Pilot Brewing, opening Saturday

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Charlotte’s newest brewery, Pilot Brewing Co., is opening in Plaza Midwood on Saturday. Ready to sip? Here are 11 things to know about the new establishment before you go.

(1) The minds behind it

Husband-and-wife team, Jeff Hudson and Rachael Cardwell, are opening the brewery together. Rachael has been brewing for around seven to eight years. Before she worked at NoDa Brewing, she worked at Left Hand Brewing in Colorado and Hardywood in Virginia.

(2) Beer dreams are coming true here

“I worked in a lot of big breweries, they were all production breweries, and this was just a lot more fun,” said Cardwell. “Just to not have to worry about production, and distribution, and putting beer in cans and bottles…This is just what we wanted to do to just have fun.”

(3) The meaning behind the name

Hudson actually works as an American Airlines pilot, hence, the name “Pilot.” (Cardwell, on the other hand, previously worked at NoDa Brewing Company.)

(4) What’s inside?

The 1,900-square-foot brewery and tap room is located at 1331 Central Ave., just around the corner from the soon-to-be Yafo, and a rock’s-distance from Midwood Smokehouse. Inside, Pilot Brewing has seating for 70 people, and seating for around 10 people outside.

(5) The team features all brewers

“We wanted to create an environment where other people could do everything. So everyone that works here is a brewer,” said Cardwell. “We make it a point to put their names up their (on the menu) so you know who brewed what beer.”

(6) Expect experimental brews

While Pilot won’t have year-round flagship beers, the brewery will be emphasizing small-batch, experimental brews.

Pilot Brewing will have around 12 beers to offer. Ideally, they’ll have 16 draft lines available.

For now, you can try a Belgian Style Wit, Trappist Style Single (Belgian Blonde), ExBBERimental – WLP004 (Javier’s Irish Red) and more. Prices range from $4-$6 for a goblet and around $6 for pints.

(7) Rachael’s top brews to try

Go for the Island Hopper, their tropical and fruity IPA, brewed with grapefruit, orange, lemon and lime zest.

And/or try the Chocolate Coffee Milk Stout, which is brewed with Smelly Cat Coffee.

(8) Any grub?

They won’t be serving food, but Pilot Brewing will be bringing in pre-made cheese plates from Orrman’s Cheese Shop in the next few weeks. If you’re looking for a full meal, the brewery will be allowing people to bring food in. Hello there, Midwood Smokehouse and Yafo.

(9) Are dogs allowed?

Yes! There is space for your fur baby on the patio.

(10) How are they different from other breweries?

“One thing we’re really big on is all of our staff are Cicerone-certified,” said Cardwell. “Cicerone is a program, the certification level people kind of compare it like a wine sommelier.”

Cardwell added, “We really focus on education with our staff and with our customers. That, and the fact that everyone’s a brewer, really stands out here.”

(11) The hours on the first day

Pilot Brewing will open this Saturday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. They’ll be closed this Sunday, and next Monday and Tuesday. 

After the brewery opens, their normal business hours will be:
Monday-Tuesday: CLOSED
Wednesday: 4 p.m.-9 p.m.
Thursday: 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
Friday: 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Also, look out for the beer fermenting on display in the corner of the bar. Right now they have an Oatmeal Pale Ale. Cheers!

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