What kind of person drinks with their parents?
My kind! My parents, husband and I started going to beer festivals back when the Carolina Oktoberfest at Tanglewood Park was still around. The Plaids performed. We sat in camping chairs and ate tiny pretzels off strings around our necks. Even at the end, it didn’t get weird amongst a bunch of drunks. In fact, one guy getting aggressive with the people in his group finally just walked away.
A good time was had by all.
Then it was the Hops & Harmony Craft Beer Fest in my hometown of Statesville. Lots of breweries from Charlotte and the surrounding area — the Unknown, Olde Mecklenburg, Catawba Brewing, New Sarum. Wicked Weed was there before they got weird, and I bought a WW t-shirt only because I thought it was pretty, not because I liked their beer.
Anywho, last April we went to the Moo and Brew Fest in Charlotte. Against the backdrop of downtown, we stood in long hot line after long hot line, kicking up dirt in the gravel lot and inhaling it. We all admitted it wasn’t the best location, but it got me familiar with some important Queen City breweries. And for that, I wouldn’t take back the sunburn or the sore feet I got while standing around waiting for Blues Traveler to start playing.
Thirsty Nomad stood out among all the breweries I tried. Hands down, their Australian pale ale was the best beer at the festival, and probably the best pale ale I’ve ever had. I wasn’t a fan of the brown ale, but we swung back to their tent later so I could try the Sweeney porter. It was on-the-nose delicious — a solid English-style porter with two British gents on the tap pull.
And that’s another thing I love about Thirsty Nomad. Their marketing is largely steampunk, a style I didn’t find endearing until I associated it with beer. There’s flying machines. Victorian-style English dresses. Men in top hats and goggles.
Including the bartender.
When I walked up to the tent to get my tiny glass filled, I felt transported. I expected him to talk in an authentic British accent, but he talked Southern like the rest of us. I needed to learn more.
A few months later, we roadtripped to Charlotte and thought Google Maps was wrong as it led us through an industrial park. Kind of a weird location for a brewery, but I was up for anything. Inside, I wasn’t disappointed. There were swaths of fabric billowing from the ceiling, giving it a circus feel. Big murals on the walls continued the steampunk theme.
We sat at the bar, and guess who was there? Our steampunk bartender with top hat and goggles. He was friendly, a middle school language arts teacher, as it turns out. I ordered a flight and tried the Valkyrie (a decent stout), Companion (a traditional blonde ale), Gimme S’more (ew!), and the Sweeney porter, just as roasty as before. My husband had the Common Noble petite saison, which I liked, and the Pride of Tallwood ESB, which I loved. The Australian pale ale, Seeker, wasn’t on tap that day, but they offer it frequently.
What I love about their website, by the way, is that it links to a Google Doc with all the recipes they’ve ever made. Here I am, months later, writing a blog post about a brewery I can’t find my notes for, and I’m saved by a Google Doc created to “[spread] the craft beer gospel.”
There are so many other cool breweries in the city, we’ll have to spend the night sometime. I’m really excited about trying Wooden Robot, The Unknown, maybe even Sugar Creek, Birdsong, and Triple C. But I’ll almost certainly make a stop at Thirsty Nomad to seek that frickin’ Seeker.
Last Saturday, I offered a giveaway for 5 readers to win 2 tickets each to a free tour & tasting at Fainting Goat Spirits in Greensboro. (3 winners get some swag, too.) The winners are:
Julie Ross and Donna Sanborn – 2 tickets for tour & tasting
Jeanine Falcon – 2 tickets for tour & tasting + a Fainting Goat Spirits koozie
Kenn Monroe – 2 tickets for tour & tasting + a Fainting Goat Spirits hat
Sean Murphy – 2 tickets for tour & tasting + a Fainting Goat Spirits t-shirt
Winners were contacted at the email addresses indicated in their blog post comments. If you’re a winner and you didn’t get an email, hit me up at the Contact page. Congratulations!!
And thank you to everyone who entered the drawing! Be sure to check back at TheGrog.Blog for future giveaways, and if you try Broad Branch Nobilium or Fainting Goat Spirits C.B. Fisher’s, let me know what you think! Tag #thegrogblog on social media.
UPDATE: If you’re looking to buy a bottle, Fainting Goat Spirits has SOLD OUT of C.B. Fisher’s at the distillery! You can still find it at some ABC stores in Guilford County and remember — the next batch comes out in April.