BG was one of those lucky folks who got Good Friday off of work. Unfortunately for me, healthcare does not adhere to all national holidays. While enjoying his day off, BG treated himself to a haircut and apparently got into a nice beer discussion with his stylist. She – aghast that as a fellow beer lover didn’t know about this place – tipped him off to a local beer gem, The Common Market. While I was slaving away in the speech therapy world, I got a text from BG at precisely 12:55 pm saying “Going to check out a new beer store in Plaza Midwood.”
Somebody’s enjoying his day off…
Four hours later I got a follow-up text “Beer tasting next Wed at 6:30 – Common Market.” Ok, sounds fun. Have you been there all this time? I returned home to find three new beers in my fridge
and a giddy, smiling husband in my kitchen.
Wednesday finally rolled around and off to The Market we went!
Upon entering, there is a distinct “convenience store” vibe. You know, candy aisle, sodas, etc. But as you keep walking towards the back a whole new world appears. There’s an entire wall of beer – GOOD, CRAFT BEER – not just your typical garden-variety convenience store beer collection. Then there are crates and crates of wine tagged with ratings and tasting notes.
These are capped off with a mini Wine Bar/Tap “Room” just before heading out the back door and onto the patio…where you can eat your fresh gourmet deli sandwiches.
To our surprise, the Charlotte Beer Club, which we didn’t know existed (Sign us up? Yes, please!) was there for the tasting. “On tap” for the tasting were 4 beers from the Southern Tier Brewing Co.
First up was the Southern Tier Hop Sun –
He Said: Pours a clear, pale straw color with minimal head. Wheat taste, with a dry finish.
Even though they gave out free pint glasses, for some reason we started with the plastic cups — so perhaps the “Dixie Cup Ambiance” reduced the head a little.
She Said: I’d drink this in the summer…although it is a smidge dry and hoppy for my taste. Nice crisp finish. And do I detect a bit of citrus? Lemon maybe?
As with all tastings, the pours were small.
Next up was the Southern Tier IPA
He Said: Pours clear, golden with little head. Crisp and floral, but I’m having trouble smelling the beers today. Perhaps it’s the Dixie cups, perhaps it’s the North Carolina allergies.
She Said: I can smell ‘em! Nice floral nose. And after the first sip…WHOOO-that’s hoppy! Another crisp and light finish. I know enough to know this is a nice representative of the varietal but…
WineGirl clarified, “I’m generally not a fan of IPA’s”.
BeerGuy countered, “I’m generally not a fan of Dixie cups”, as he picked up the free glass for the next round.
Round three – Southern Tier IBA. That is, the Iniquity Imperial Black Ale.
He Said: Yum! I got this in a snifter when we first walked in. To give away my secrets, the BeerGuy tends to head straight for the bar upon entering a drinking establishment, and then beer in hand, turns to take in the environment.
My one note was “Get a Bottle!” It’s too big and black to shortchange, so we’ll write up a separate review.
She Said: By this point in the game I was too busy being sociable to make tasting notes or take pics. Luckily a bottle of this came home with us, so, as BG promised, a more detailed review will come later. I may not have made a lot of notes, but I do remember that I liked it and was intrigued by the uniqueness of the black ale. Third time’s the charm, right?
And finally, the Southern Tier Jah-Va…an Imperial Coffee Stout.
He Said: When I first visited, Thomas (manager?, owner?, enthusiastic beer-dude!) recommended this so highly that I took one home for the WineGirl. We haven’t popped it yet, and I had trouble smelling the sample at the tasting, so we’ll write this up separately. High hopes, though, that we’ve found a new breakfast beer.
She Said: Ah…a beer after my own heart! Again, no formal notes from the tasting, but there’s a bottle in the fridge!!
Some may say that the star of the tasting show tonight was the Southern Tier Brewing Co., but I say it was the camaraderie. You see, this was one of the most
unorganized laid back tastings I’ve ever been to. Don’t get me wrong. The laid back vibe totally fit the atmosphere. I’m just saying that usually at a tasting, the pouring is very organized, the beers are brought out on a schedule and the brew master or beer company rep really wants to talk to you about the beer and describe the taste, process, philosophy of the brew. Here, the tasters just mingled and socialized and the hosts seemed to randomly decide to open up the next brew, giving a pour to whomever held their glass out the fastest.
While that put my little OCD heart on edge, the mingling allowed us to get to know some of our fellow beer enthusiasts.
We chatted with 1) the head of the Charlotte Beer Club, 2) a naturopathic physician who just happens to brew a little on the side, and 3) the Brew Master of the new NoDa Brewing Co. (scheduled to open in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood this fall). These people are true beer lovers who want not just to enjoy the beer for themselves, but to share it with others as well. To that end as the NoDa Brew Master was describing to us a particular beer he loved, he stopped mid-sentence, grabbed a bottle of it out of the cooler, opened it up, and shared it with us. Ladies and gentlemen, meet TINY.
Brought a bottle of this home too…and it gets a post all to itself.
Believe it or not, TINY, wasn’t the only privately purchased bottle someone shared with us out of good-beer will. Another fine young lad simply smiled and handed over a bottle of this from his 6-pack after the naturopathic physician complimented him on his beer choice.
We split it three ways. Once again, BG has deemed this one good enough for its own post. So…stay tuned!
All in all, this evening included three of my favorite things – good beer, good conversation, and good atmosphere. Not bad for being out on a school night! And, P.S., guess who does wine tastings every Tuesday night? You got it, The Common Market. After this evening’s success, it is safe to say we’ll definitely be checking that out very soon!