The current weather situation St. Louis is enduring has left this beer writer stranded in the fantastic, yet never experienced by me, beer city of Charlotte, North Carolina. With just 4 hours to spare before we take off, we hit Wooden Robot Brewing Company, located in what is called the South Side neighborhood, an up-and-coming area that reminds me of The Grove in St. Louis.
Wooden Robot is a 15-barrel urban farmhouse brewery that draws inspiration from traditional Belgian farmhouse breweries and the innovation of American craft brewing.
The owners, Dan and Josh, were best friends in middle school, and their friendship continued as they became enthusiastic homebrewers, and led them to the creation of Wooden Robot Brewery.
Inspired by the seasonality and locality of farmhouse brewing, Wooden Robot uses 100% local malt and fresh fruit, herbs, and other artisanal ingredients whenever possible.
The brewery has two locations, we visited The Brewery location at 1440 S Tryon St. The second location, called “The Chamber” is located at 416 E 36th St, in what is called the NoDa neighborhood. Both locations feature a wide menu on-tap, as well as canned beer to-go.
From the on-tap menu on this day, it is fair to say that Wooden Robot has a diverse portfolio, and is brewing to make sure everyone has something they might just enjoy on any given day. They have 20 beers on tap, as well as a cider option.
I started off, as I always do, by sampling their hazy options.
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I really liked this one. I love balance in my beers, especially Hazy IPAs because I’ve had enough to know when a one is a bit out-of-whack. This reported to have a zero IBU, but I assure you there is just enough bitterness here to be of interest. Really nice debut.
Next, another Hazy option with just bit more ABV.
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Bigger in the ABV, but also nicely balanced here.
“Our version of this Charlotte-wide collaboration beer, benefitting Aceing Autism, was brewed in collaboration with @pettythievesbrewing. Loaded with juicy Citra, Simcoe, and Strata hops,” said the brewery.
I decided to stay on the IPA trek, with the minutes counting away, I was simply enjoying the run, and did not want to ruin a good thing. My next beer, seen above, is called What He’s Having, which is a distortion of the great line by Rob Reiner’s mother in the deli scene of “When Harry Met Sally.” This beer is brewed with over 3 pounds of bold, American hops per barrel. This IPA combines citrus and tropical fruit notes with a silky, light body and like my first two beers, restrained bitterness.
With the clock ticking, I wanted to squeeze one more in, at the recommendation of my barkeep, I went with Overachiever, a juicy pale ale. This beer is full of citrusy flavor and more hop character than my first 3 beers. Brewed with local malt from Epiphany Craft Malt, oats, Simcoe Mosaic, and Amarillo hops, the beer has a soft mouthfeel and 5.3% ABV, it’s definitely sessionable.
Overall, I know Charlotte has a growing beer scene, and if Wooden Robot is any indication of the scene, my beer-loving brothers and sisters in Charlotte are being well served.
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