Thirsty Nomad Brewing

Thirsty Nomad is a small craft brewery and taproom in the Charlotte, NC area. We have a steampunk aesthetic with a healthy dose of geekiness. We love great beer, great friends, and great experiences. Starting 7/29, we're open Fridays 4pm - 10pm, Saturdays 12pm - 10pm, and Sundays 12pm - 8pm

This is going to be big. Huuge. The best.

Our very first bottle release

I'm having a hard time with what to say. Mostly because I'm containing my excitement. We're going to be doing an extremely limited bottle release of a beer that has a bit of a cult following: Codger. Some know it better as "Get Off My Lawn". It's only 39 22oz bottles this time - long story - next year there will be much more.

This beer started life as an Old Ale, and has transformed over time into a barrel aged, Belgian-influecned, 10% ABV, British Strong Ale. We can just call it Thirsty Nomad Brewing's Grand Cru.

Because there's such a limited number, we've decided we're going to limit chances to buy the beer by randomness. Here's the deal: on Saturday, February 11th, 2017, and Sunday, February 12th, 2017, we're going to raffle slots to buy one 22oz bottle of Codger, twice each day. At 1pm and 4pm each day, we'll open up the top hat for names to be dropped in. At 2pm and 5pm, we'll pull 9-10 names out of the hat, and those people can buy one bottle each at $15. You must be present to win. Yeah, it's a little convoluted, but it's the most fair way we could come up for such a limited release on short notice.

But, wait! There's more! There is a very limited amount of Codger left in a keg that we will have on tap on February 11th. You can get half pints for $4. We're not going to stop pouring until it runs out, so I suggest stopping by on Saturday, 2/11, at 1pm

Stop in for a chance to win. Get some good beer.

Got questions? Head on over to the contact page and drop us a note.

Here's some pictures so you know what you're in for:

We got our brewer's notice

On Friday, 2/16/2016, we got an email from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) that our application for a Brewer's Notice had been approved. That means that we are permitted by the US government to be a brewery.

That doesn't mean we'll be open next week; there are still many steps to go. We're in a second round of plan review with CharMeck Code Enforcement. After that we can get building permits, then build, then inspections, then state and local alcohol permits. We're still looking good for an early 2016 opening, but there's a lot of work left to do.

As always, keep up with us on the social medias for the latest updates.

How many taps is enough?

I decided to write this post ater reading "Biggest isn't best for beer" on Creative Loafing. I think we generally agree - more isn't better. I saw it as an opportunity to pull back the curtain a little bit on how we think about beer and craft culture and was inspired to write this.

So, yeah. 100 taps is too much in my opinion. No qualifiers. Why? Does "100 channels and nothing's on" sound familiar? Humans have trouble picking one thing from a field of similar choices. In addition, we have an aversion to loss - you're only going to have so many beers, after all - so we only have so many slots to fill. There's some behvioral research on this topic, but more work needs to be done to get a clear picture.

Plus, and this was raised in the Creative Loafing article, lots of taps can lead to beer languishing well past its "best by" date. All the while beer stone and impurities build up in stagnant lines and faucets making for a nasty pour. It takes constant vigilance and a good cleaning regimen to keep good product coming out of each tap. And the work increases linearly with the number of taps.

Curation is cited as a potential problem. It can be difficult to keep 100 good beers on tap as opposed to a couple dozen. I see that more as a staffing issue than one due to the of number of taps. If your bar manager/buyer can't be troubled just to keep best sellers on tap and rotate selection on a regular basis, you've got the wrong person on that job. There is some number of taps that no human could effectively manage, but it's probably far more than 100.

For several reasons, we're starting with eight taps. First, that's how many I put on my walk-in cooler. More importantly, it's easier for a nano-brewery to put out a smaller number of brands and fill in with a guest tap or two when needed. We can only brew so much beer on the equipment we have.

Personally, I think that 8-12 range gives you a good variety without overwhelming people. We'll keep a range of beer on tap, depending on color, bitterness, alcohol content, and just whatever brewing whim strikes us.

Our tap lineup usually follows this formula:
1. Yellow, light, low ABV: Blonde, Hefeweizen, Kolsch, Pilsener, etc.
2. Brown to Copper, low ABV, maltier: Brown Ale, Munich Dunkel, Vienna Lager, etc.
3. Pale, Amber, hoppier, mid to high ABV: Pale Ale, IPA
4. Darker, roasty, maltier, mid to high ABV: Porter, Stout, Schwarzbier
5. Cider depending on mood
6. Soda (we hope)
7. Seasonal, specialty, guest
8. Seasonal, specialty, guest

That's a guideline more than a rule, of course, but that's generally how we think about tap line ups. How we fill in those buckets will vary depending on season, mood, popularity, and ingredient availability. As time goes on, we fully expect to expand that list with more taps up to around 16 or so.

In short, less is more. To a point. Will you go somewhere else because we don't have dozens of taps? Maybe. Will you go somewhere else because what we have on tap is infected, stale, or just doesn't taste good? Nope - because we'd never put that beer on tap.

We found a home

It's been a long time coming...

We signed a lease on a location at 4402 Stuart Andrew Blvd, Suite A in Charlotte. Just down the street from Exit Strategy and across I-77 from The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and Sugar Creek Brewing Co.

We are meeting with architects this week and hope to start construction in the next few weeks. Hoping that permitting and construction goes smoothly, we are targeting an opening in early 2016.

We'd hoped to find a place closer to our homes in Cabarrus County - tried really hard for more than a year - but it didn't work out that way. We'll keep close ties with our friends in Cabarrus County through events, collaboration brews, and remaining active in the home brew scene. We will be looking to distribute our beer in Cabarrus County as soon as that's feasible.

Keep your eyes on this blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date on progress towards opening. I'm pretty sure we'll offer some free samples and pizza in exchange for some help with tearing things out, painting, moving furniture, and stuff like that.

Now it's time for us to get to work.

Recapitulation

Time to recap as the lazy folks say.

It's been two weeks of tremendous event/festival activity preceded by two months of frenzied brewing activity. We had great fun serving beer at The Tipsy Paintbrush. You should try out some of their classes - the owners and staff are great people and they have a great thing going. NC Brewers and Music Festival was, as always, fun and hot and sweaty. South End Hops Festival was, too, and I got a couple volunteers to pour my beer so I could run my mouth all day.

Also, we got a credit card swipey thing. So if you see me out and about in my truck (you know the one), buy a t-shirt or glass. Yes, I carry them with me in the TNBMobile.

Coming soon - more opportunities to drink free beer :) Also, I'll be checking out 3 different potential locations this week, so wish us luck.

Steam Pumpkin

I’m told that every brewery has to have a pumpkin beer. We’re supposed to make an IPA, too, but we tend not to listen too well. I happen to like pumpkin beers every so often, so Steam Pumpkin is our take on it. We add a blend pumpkin and yams to our Noble Saison and keep the pie spice restrained. We also add a blend of chiles to give a little heat. We end up with something that is not just pumpkin pie in a glass; there are plenty of those.

We decided the “character” for this beer should be an airship. You can’t do steampunk without airships or zeppelins or something. And because we love Halloween, we decided to highlight the pumpkin-ness with a jack-o-lantern kind of thing. We think Marzena hit the nail on the head with this one.

Monk

I’ve been kicking around ideas for brewing a Belgian Strong Ale for a while. I’ve done a few experiments with different styles, light and dark, bigger or smaller. Some have been good, some have been bad. I’ve been taking my time settling on something because I think Codger slots nicely into the complex, malty sweet, and boozy category. Monk is a little bit different.

I immediate thought I would call this beer “Monk” in a nod to the history of monastic brewing in Europe. I am a kung fu practitioner, however, and a monk is something different to me. I decided to add a little ginger bite to this beer, and to have our artist design an appropriate character to pay homage to my spiritual ancestors.

General

You don’t see much craft Malt Liquor. In fact, there’s no definition of it in the major hobbyist style guidelines. Our version is basically a scaled up version of a German light lager. Pale yellow, a little effervescent and in the 7% ABV range.

The name is a somewhat sideways nod to one of the great generals of the rebel fleet and his side gig in commercials the 1980s for a well-known malt liquor brand. The one that was apparently not named after a gun.