Many Charlotteans enjoy sipping on locally brewed pints after yoga classes, run clubs, and socializing with friends, but do you know the people who actually craft the frothy refreshment people love so dearly? In this series on Charlotte’s brewers, you’ll get to know the people and the passion behind the brew.
Lenny Boy Brewing Company is leading the Queen City in originality. They’re the only brewery in Charlotte regularly brewing** kombucha tea and a gluten-free* craft beer and, with Pisgah Brewing and Mother Earth Brewing recently dropping their organic labels, they’re also the only certified organic brewery in North Carolina.
Meet the men behind the brews:
Kombucha Brewer and Owner: Townes Mozer
Head Brewer: John Watkins, who joined the Lenny Boy crew in 2013
Lenny Boy Opened: 2012
Brew to try: Holy Moly alcoholic kombucha
“I received a homebrew kit for my 20th birthday and I’ve been brewing beer since then, for eight years,” remembers Watkins. When Watkins joined the staff, Lenny Boy was exclusively brewing kombucha, but his beer recipes would soon expand the brewery’s offerings.
“We had caught up on our kombucha production and, since we had all the necessary microbrew permits, I asked John to brew a batch of beer and that’s really how we got into brewing beer in addition to our kombucha,” says Mozer.
One change the men are looking forward to: Their new 31,000 square foot brewery location at 3000 S. Tryon St. is tentatively slated to open to the public by the end of summer.
“We’re really excited to have a bigger space where we can welcome more people into our taproom to enjoy not only the product, but the ambiance as well,” says Townes.
Lenny Boy Highlights:
• They won a blue ribbon for their Burn Down For What Sour Brown Ale at the newly instated National Organic Beer Competition.
• Select flavors of their kombucha are now available in all Whole Foods locations in the Southeast and, most recently, the entire Earth Fare chain of grocery stores.
• Best known for: Sours
• Coming soon: Tart De La Wit
In another nod to their diverse offerings, Lenny Boy’s kombucha has also been added to taprooms across Charlotte. “It’s really cool to see our [kombucha] products in other breweries around town and it’s definitely the best part of this business,” says Watkins. “We have the ability to work with other breweries to offer a non-alcoholic craft option. That interaction is only really found in the craft beer industry and it’s definitely something that inspires me.”
*Lenny Boy Brewing Company’s No Show Amber Ale contains less than 10ppm gluten, leaving it well under the FDA’s guidelines for gluten-free labeling, which is 20ppm gluten.
**Wooden Robot Brewery is releasing its first gluten-reduced beer Feb. 11.
Photos: Taylor Slaughter