After a few delays, Thirsty Nomad Brewing will officially opening soon. I had the privilege of being able to get a sneak peek this past weekend. You can check out the brewery at the grand opening this Saturday, July 23rd, from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm at 4402 Stuart Andrew Blvd in Charlotte.
When I went to check out the steampunk-inspired brewery, I was pleasantly surprised that there weren’t a ton of people there – I’ve been to a few “let’s keep this between us (WINK)” soft openings that turned out to be overcrowded affairs wherein all the kinks that need to be worked out before the grand opening become painfully obvious and no one left with a fair representation of the brewery. It seems like this soft opening was expertly managed to keep the space from becoming too crowded, which was a wise choice because Thirsty Nomad is not a large space at all.
While many breweries now go with large open spaces with lots of wood and windows, Thirsty Nomad has turned their taproom into an intimate, dark space with lots of aforementioned steampunk accents – think dark wood with plenty of apothecary bottles and globes. I was expecting a little more of a cartoonish steampunk vibe, like we were going to be welcomed into a phantasmagoria by a monocled man who spoke of zeppelins and gears.
However, the taproom has more of a comfortable, older neighborhood bar-vibe to it. Having somewhat recently bought a home, I find myself noticing decidedly adult-type things like floors and I have to say the floors here are fantastically done painted concrete. I can appreciate details like the floor and the humorous signs around the brewery because it shows that the owners put a lot of thought into achieving their own unique vision.
The attention to detail and deliberation comes through in the beer as well. I’ll admit, I didn’t have terribly high expectations when we went because everything I had seen or heard about the brewery , mostly through social media, seemed to be focused on the steampunk theme and not so much the beer. Going in, I had no idea what the beer was going to be like although I assumed there would be the normal flagship-type beers since I had not heard what the vision for the beer styles was going to be. Some breweries in town build their brand off their beer; for example, OMB serves its Reinheitsgebot beers, Wooden Robot has the market on farmhouse ales, and Sugar Creek makes the most elegant Belgian-inspired beers. So I was somewhat skeptical going in that there was a chance that the beers did not get as much attention as the decorations.
I had a sample of each beer on the menu and thought each one was a nicely-done representation of the style. One beer that surprised me was the Seeker IPA. If you’ve read much of my blog, you know that I find the IPA-rut many breweries and beer drinkers find themselves in extremely tiresome. Thirsty Nomad’s IPA is a refreshing change, mostly because it’s more of an English-inspired IPA, which means it took skill to make it correctly and was not made by dumping an obscene amount of hops into a mediocre beer. My favorite beer I had was the Valkyrie Chocolate Stout, which was smooth with the correct balance between chocolate and roast. My least favorite beer was Branch in the Road, which is a collaboration between Thirsty Nomad and High Branch. I still enjoyed it, but I enjoyed all the beers I had, which means in the ranking world one beer had to come in last. If you have the time and inclination, I recommend trying every beer on tap. I also give a big thumbs-up to breweries that have flights and/or half pours available. When I go to a brewery for the first time, I prefer to sample each beer they have on tap and then get a pint (ahem, or two) of the one I like the best.
Thirsty Nomad is not too far from Southend and breweries like OMB and Sugar Creek, so you can fit them into an afternoon brewery trip. What I like the best about the location is that it’s not so far away from the Southend breweries that you can’t go to more than one brewery in an afternoon, but it’s far enough away that people making the trip over to Thirsty Nomad are probably more concerned about the beer being poured than they are about embodying that Charlotte brewery style.
Let me know what you think if you make it out to the grand opening. Don’t fret if you can’t make it out to the grand opening because you’ll have plenty of chances to try it out – the brewery will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. You can learn more by visiting Thirsty Nomad’s website.