Bradford on Beer

The Hidden Charlotte Part 2

Posted March 3, 2011 by Daniel Bradford 1 Comment | Post a Comment

The final phase of my Charlotte weekend occurred after the Pints for Prostates first annual board meeting.

The Pints for Prostates’ board meeting went for quite some time as the board worked through some of the guiding principles of the organization and the future plans.  It was some heavy lifting by a group of passionate individuals.  I was flattered to be included.  As a reward for all the hard work, Rick Lyke took as all to Old Mecklenburg Brewery.

What a find!

First place, it is hidden in a not very populated area which means it has a very large parking lot, dozens of picnic tables and lots of great space for expansion.  Thirsty from a day of hard work, my fellow board members and I settled it for a couple glasses of the dunkle.

I should have paid better attention to the glassware when I walked in.  My first clue about how great an experience I was in for.  You have to go to their website.  These glasses are absolutely fabulous, with gold highlights in the logo.  The dunkle was exceptionally clean, with some subtle toast/roasted nuts flavor and clean spicy finish that lingered.  You simply don’t run into many beers this complex, subtle and clean.

Before I’d finished my first half, owner John Marrino came in and I discovered his secret.  What do you suppose happens when you uproot a Boston Italian and drop him into Germany.  For John, it became a lifelong passion for the cleanliness, discipline, and focus of the German brewing heritage; which he has replicated in this low density part of Charlotte.

John gave Rick and I a tour of his brewery and, not surprisingly, it was both gorgeous and ship shape.  A three vessal system, you need decoction for these German beers.  Plus, the OMB system includes quite a few lagering tanks to finish the beers.  Set on an easily cleanable pad, the set up is easily scalable.  Actually, John is bringing in a small bottling line for the next jump.  Furthermore, he just leased the adjacent building for his long range build out.

We interrupted John’s building a beer stand to showcase his beers at the local ballfield.  He had interrupted my trying out his different beers.

My next half pint (was it a “Becher”  the German 200 ml glass, definitely substantially less than the German maas) was the altbier, again an amazingly clean refreshing beer with hints of spices in the finish.  Lately, I’ve become fascinated with the taste and texture of carbonation.  If not at appropriate levels a beer lover will miss the romance of a beer.  This was simply refreshing and intriguing.

John’s focus is in becoming Charlotte’s hometown brewery.  He’s already landed over 100 draft lines of which nearly half were carrying a second beer of his.  Not bad for barely just tipping into its second year.

Of course the company, the brats, the afternoon all conspired for a great social moment that all enjoyed.  Watch for OMB.  They’re going to play a great role in the development of the North Carolina beer scene.  Count on it.

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  1. 1

    Check your spelling, while it can be spelled dunkle, it’s most common spelling is dunkel.

    OMB is a good start, but with only two year round beers and one seasonal, all of which are Dusseldorf lagers, they aren’t going to jumpstart the Charlotte craft beer scene. In fact when I was there it was quite disappointing. A great beer hall mimicked after Germany on a Friday night after 8pm and there was maybe 12 people there. Not quite the same feeling.

    When people start getting into craft beers, it’s the ales that bring them to their senses, not lagers. It’s the experience of trying something new, experimental ales, solid well brewed pales, ambers, and browns. Not the malty aftertaste of a noble German beer that’s been around for hundreds of years.

    Just my opinion.