Last weekend was the annual Queen City Brewers Festival. This beer sampling paradise is ACEing Autism’s winter fundraiser and benefits those affected by autism spectrum disorders in the local Charlotte community. What could be better than sampling around 100 different beers from local breweries, brew pubs, and craft beer centric restaurants, as well as trying food from sponsors and other local restaurants while benefitting a great cause?! I’m up for that any day! With live music from various bands, games to play and so many people to meet, you were hard pressed to find anyone not having a good time.

ACEing Autism is a non-profit organization that uses tennis to help improve the lives of children affected with autism spectrum disorders and relies on donations and volunteers to aid in their mission. Locally, the organization uses the proceeds from the QCBF to help with things such as the cost of equipment, the expansion of the Charlotte enrollment program, and funding scholarship programs for participating families. If you would like to get involved, there are volunteer opportunities at program locations, and if you’re a beer lover, you can help out at the QCBF. If you’re not in Charlotte and want to volunteer, don’t fret, it’s a national organization and there are multiple locations at major cities all across the US!


With over 30 breweries bringing sometimes 3 or 4 libations each, it was a hard selection, and due to the overwhelming amount of beer to sample, I was full before I could get to everything. However, I made it a point to try beer from places I hadn’t been to yet as well as some concoctions I’d never even heard of. So, in no particular order, here is my list of top beers from QCBF 2017!

Legal Remedy Brewing in Rock Hill, SC is all about local ingredients and being environmentally responsible. It was founded by a lawyer, 2 bankers, a computer guy and a landscape architect who thought beer was pretty cool and decided to pursue their passion. They grow their own hops and herbs, and use solar panels to aid in energy consumption. Not only do they brew beer but they also hand-craft food that compliments it! At the QCBF, one of their beers on tap was what they dubbed World Court, a white chocolate mocha blonde stout that graces their taproom on the regular. At 6% ABV, this baby packs a serious wow factor, tasting like rich cream soda with a really soft chocolate addition that is more mellow than overly sweet. All rise for the honorable blonde Stout!

Primal Brewery in Huntersville, NC started off with two homebrewers who enjoyed sharing their creations with family and friends by creating experiences that brought people together. For them, it’s all about enjoying beer in a friendly atmosphere and making sure they provide their customers with quality beer, no matter the style. At QCBF, they brought their A-game with a very interesting seasonal brew called Devil’s Gas. At 6.5% ABV, this rye IPA is brewed with roasted malts and caraway seeds to become basically pumpernickel bread in beer form. And believe me when I tell you, that’s exactly what it tasted like! Wondering why they named it such, I did a little research. Turns out rye bread is great for, shall we say, un-clogging. So if you’re feeling a little sluggish, grab a pint and dance like the devil!

Ass Clown Brewing Co. in Cornelius, NC boasts around 200 different beers and specializes in small batches. They brew unique styles and flavor combinations because they want you to try something new. With 31 taps and a 9-barrel system that allows them to brew (3) 3barrel batches, there’s a new beer coming out almost daily! I’ve said before that I’m trying to expand my sour palate and they helped me do just that with their Plum Sour. At 5.5% ABV, this sour is tart without the lip-smacking, jaw tingling side effect. Since this is a unique brew, there isn’t much to go on how they brewed it. My assumption is that the smoothness comes from the gentle sweetness of the plum. There’s also the possibility that they killed off the yeast (by heat or filtration, etc.) before adding the fruit or fermented at a lower temperature to get a sweeter, less aggressive flavor. But, you know what they say about assuming!

I also had the pleasure of seeing a mentor per-say of mine, Carol, owner of new to NoDa brewery Bold Missy Brewery. She and her partners in crime were handing out water at their table and displaying some artwork for their flagship beers. Be on the look out for their opening this Spring, the brewery is centered around embracing bold women, their strengths and contributions and the guts it takes to break down barriers! Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date and in the know! As for me, I’ll be patiently waiting, and first in line as soon as the doors open. Cheers!