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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday Tasting: Olde Mecklenburg Brewery Copper Altbier

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we visit a new microbrewery in Charlotte to taste their premier brew.

On Saturday, I had the chance to take a tour with the Charlotte Beer Club of the newest craft brewery in North Carolina. The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery is located in a rehabbed brick building on the city's southside. About 40 members of the CBC came to the new brewery for a tour and tasting. If the first beer brewed by the new company is any indication, the string of quality beermaking in the Carolinas has been extended.

The brewery is a partnership between Jon Hayward, Carey Savoy and John Marrino. Marrino, who toured us through the brewery, fell in love with German beer styles while living in that country and you can taste that connection in the brewery's first beer.

Since Olde Mecklenburg Brewing is just getting off the ground, I was expecting the first beer to be something fairly ordinary and straightforward. Instead, the beer they had on tap was a rather complex traditional German brew. OMB Copper Dusseldorf-style Altbier is a lagered ale that is made using a decoction brewing process, where the brew is split during mashing, boiled separately and then reconstituted. The results are quite pleasing. OMB Copper is a glowing amber color with a good fluffy head. The beer has a satisfying malty character with a clean, crisp edge. OMB Copper comes in at 4.8 percent alcohol by volume.

Olde Mecklenburg plans to offer OMB K├Âlsner, a Kolsch-Pilsner hybrid, in time for summer. The brewery's website suggests they may offer some seasonals, perhaps an Oktoberfest, but for right now hitting the marks with these first two beers are the priority. So far, so good.

Olde Mecklenburg is located at 215 Southside Dr. in Charlotte, not far off of I-77. Call ahead for hours of operation for the tasting room and tour times at 704-525-5644.

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