What happened to NoDa? No one can q-white say.
Moving back to Charlotte after four years, I’m noticing NoDa has lost its charm. There’s less chain smoking crust punks outside of Neighborhood Theater and more vests, riding boots, and J. Crew flannels.
Neighborhoods change. I get it. But why do they all have to drift toward a Southend-esque equilibrium?
Don’t get me wrong, I like breweries, but if we’re looking at North Carolina’s history, it’s the tell-tale sign of gentrification. Cause who doesn’t like bringing their baby and dog out drinking? The first brewery that debuts a hop-infused baby formula or saison dog treat is probably going to make a billion dollars.
That’s not to say folks who run breweries are gentrifiers. I’d rather see them be successful than the carpetbagging venture capital firms gobbling up property. There’s something to be said for keeping the money in the family, so to speak. God knows NoDa could use some family togetherness right now.
That’s the kind of shit you carry with you when you go to an event like Birdsong Brewery’s 8 year anniversary party, which went down last weekend.
Despite the delipidation of Charlotte’s “arts district,” the space was perfect for the event, seeing that there was plenty of seating. However, the parking lot was tiny and overflow parking was on the street. The space where the vendors were was awkward and seemed almost an afterthought. It was beautiful outside, but the outdoor space was nearly empty. Birdsong might consider putting the vendors outside with the food trucks in the future to give it more of a farmer’s market vibe rather than a “here’s where we happened to have space for you” vibe.
I was not enthused about the token system at first glance, but it delivered on its promise to make the event run slick. A three dollar token was good for one half pour, two tokens for a full glass. I don’t see why more events don’t take advantage of this system. I waited in line for no longer than 10 minutes despite the amount of people there.
I’m not an IPA person. If I wanted something so bitter I was sure I was being poisoned, I’d have tequila. I’m more of a dark beer person, so I tried the Lazy Bird brown ale and Turtles on Pterodactyls. The Lazy Bird was nothing to write home about, but then again I don’t think I’ve ever had a brown ale that was. Brewed with red wheat, roasted barley, and notes of caramel and chocolate, it was very mild, which is how I prefer my beer.
Now, Turtles on Pterodactyls was something else. Aged in bourbon barrels for 11 months, it was sweet, warm, and unique.
Since it was the middle of the day, I wasn’t in the business of getting hammered. Still, I was disappointed in the inconsistency with the half pours. By observing my pours and my sister’s pours, it seemed like they only got smaller as the event went on. Sure, at the door they had limited edition half pour glasses, but did I really have to pay three extra dollars to get a consistent pour?
The food trucks were incredible and had food for meat eaters, pierogi lovers, and vegans alike. I had delicious cauliflower chick’n and sweet potato fries from Sun Burger Vege Cuisine. The two guys running it were friendly and super helpful in helping me decide.
All in all, it was a good experience, though this isn’t a spot I’ll be frequenting. The beer was good, the food was good, but it’s a sad reminder of what NoDa once was. Without the art galleries and obscure shops, it’s just not the NoDa I used to know.