When the Common Market shut the doors on its South End location on Aug. 1, 2016, it left a noticeable hole in the fabric of the neighborhood. Feeling the impact were area beer-peddlers such as Triple C Brewing Company, who saw the closure less as affecting their sales, but more impacting the soul of Charlotte’s craft beer scene.
When plans were announced the following November for a new location just blocks away from the former space, many breathed a sigh of relief. For Triple C, this spawned an idea for a unique housewarming present: a tribute beer.
“The whole thought was, we wanted to make a big deal about the South End Common Market coming back, and despite all our experience with construction in Charlotte, we thought it was a good idea to go ahead and make a beer, order the cans and everything,” says Chris Harker, Triple C’s owner. “It’s more of a celebration of things to come now.”
Currently, the proposed location for Common Market at 235 W. Tremont Ave. is mired in construction delays, with no estimated date of completion.
Thankfully, there are two other Common Market locations (Plaza Midwood and Oakwold) in the market for the canned-and-kegged creation: an India Pale Lager (IPL) made with 350 pounds of guava. It’s cheekily named “Grab Ya’ By The Guava.” Tropical notes from the hop varietal trio of Citra, Mosaic, and Equanot pair well with the guava addition.
“We met with them (Blake Barnes and Graham Worth of the Common Market) early on, and came up with an idea everybody liked,” continues Harker.
A taproom-only test batch sold well, cementing the idea as one worth pursuing. It’s the first production-sized lager from Triple C (previous lagers have been small-batch releases), though head brewer Scott Kimball had lager-making experience from two previous brewery employers.
“Obviously we love hops,” says Harker, since Triple C grows Cascade hops just outside its taproom, and is known for its hop-forward creations. “Scott came up with the guava angle, and the catchy name.”
“The lager yeast makes it so clean and crisp,” adds Kimball. “You get this fruit-and-hops combo. The trend is, everyone wants these big, hoppy, juicy beers, but at 5 percent (abv) it’s something you can have a few of.”
While the beer will be available starting today, Oct. 13, on draft at both Common Markets plus the Triple C taproom, it’s the cans that’ll draw attention.
“We had some fun with the can,” jokes Kimball. “I’ll let people interpret the ‘grab ya by the guava’ as they will.”
Other can-art features should look quite familiar to Common Market’s regulars, plus the packaging is seemingly reminiscent of a paper-wrapped deli sandwich, tape and all.
“It was a fun little project,” says Harker of the homage. “It’s a small release; we’re not trying to step on any toes with other bottle shops. We love the Common Market, they’ve been a great customer, and they’re big enough to move the beer.”
While a quaffable lager, hopped-up and loaded with guava, seems more of a summertime sipper than an autumnal libation, it’s doubtful anyone seeking a flavorful, sessionable beverage will complain.
Photos: Jonathan Wells