Whether you love or loathe the winter, there’s no denying it’s a great season for beer.
Over the next month, Charlotte breweries will release some of their most-anticipated seasonals. You’re especially in luck if you enjoy barrel-aged stouts or porters, and if you love honey- or syrup-infused double IPAs. You can even enjoy a couple of these with breakfast and brunch events at the breweries.
Honey Pie Double IPA – Birdsong Brewing Co.
Release Date: Thursday, Jan. 12
While many will spend January looking for a certain double IPA brewed with honey from Michigan, others might seek one brewed closer to home. Brewed with more than 500 pounds of Charlotte-based Cloister Honey, Birdsong Brewing’s Honey Pie is one of the brewery’s most popular seasonals (and one that founder Chris Goulet wishes he could brew all the time). Four-packs are $15 each and only available in Birdsong’s taproom.
Wail of the Baen Sidhe – The DreamChaser’s Brewery
Release Date: Sunday, Jan. 15
The DreamChaser’s Brewery will release its first bottle, Wail of the Baen Sidhe, at its taproom in Waxhaw this Sunday at noon. The beer is an imperial milk stout aged in barrels that once held Rua, a single malt whiskey from Charlotte’s Great Wagon Road Distilling Co. There’s a limit of two bottles per person, and each 22-ounce bottle is $17.50 each. Find details in the brewery’s Facebook event page.
Barrel-Aged Fat Boy Baltic Porter – The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
Release Date: Saturday, Jan. 28
Every January, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery releases the barrel-aged version of its Fat Boy Baltic Porter. In previous years, the beer was aged in bourbon barrels, but this year they did something different. The brewery supplies their next-door neighbor, Great Wagon Road Distilling Co., with their wash — essentially an unfermented, unhopped, sugar-rich “beer” that Great Wagon distills into whiskey. This year, Great Wagon distilled a special batch of its Rua single-malt whiskey using OMB’s Fat Boy Baltic Porter. After they pulled that whiskey from the barrels, Fat Boy Baltic Porter went in.
The event will feature an optional bottle share from 8-9 a.m., with a big buffet breakfast from 9-11 a.m. Tickets to the event cost $35 and can only be purchased online, and include the breakfast, a commemorative glass, and a 22-ounce bottle of the beer. The cost is $45 if you want two bottles.
Chocolate Covered Pretzel Stout – Triple C Brewing
Release Date: Saturday, Feb. 11
Just before Valentine’s Day, Triple C Brewing will release its sweet-and-salty Chocolate Covered Pretzel Stout. The bourbon barrel-aged stout is one of the brewery’s most popular releases, and this year will be the biggest yet according to founder Chris Harker. In addition to the “regular” Chocolate Covered Pretzel Stout, the brewery will bottle mint and coconut variants. There’s a limit of six of the regular and three of the variants per person, all of which will be $14 in the taproom. They will all later find their way into distribution as well.
Hop Cakes – NoDa Brewing Co.
Release Date: Sunday, Feb. 12
Sip on some syrup at NoDa Brewing on Sunday, Feb. 12, when the brewery releases Hop Cakes. Four-packs of the maple syrup-infused IPA will be available for $15.99 each at the brewery, with cans making their way around town starting Feb. 20. On the day of the release, The Tin Kitchen will be parked outside serving up a hot cakes special brunch. Check the brewery’s Facebook event page for more updates.
Dirty Commie Heathen – The Unknown Brewing Co.
Release Date: Mid to late February
The Unknown Brewing Co. will release its third-annual Dirty Commie Heathen next month (look for the brewery to announce a date soon). This 12.4% Russian imperial stout is aged on bourbon-soaked cherries. In February, the brewery will also release Garage Ninja, their collaboration with the Carolina BrewMasters homebrew club. Thirty homebrewers contributed to this Japanese-inspired red ale, made with pearl rice and Sorachi Ace hops before being barrel aged with Fuji plums.
Cataclysm – Heist Brewery
Release Date: TBD
Details are scarce on the release of Heist Brewery’s Cataclysm, a barrel-aged imperial stout that’s garnered high praise at events like the Queen City Brewers Festival and Brawley’s Black and Blue. Brewer Eric Mitchell says we can expect to see a date announced soon; follow the brewery’s Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.
Photos: Birdsong Brewing Co., The DreamChaser’s Brewery, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Triple C Brewing, Daniel Hartis