Despite the fact that winter is still trying to remain a part of the conversation, spring officially started on March 20, and you know what that means: brewery season will soon be in full effect.
That's right, welcome back babies, dogs and craft beer baking under the Queen City sun.
I've never been much of a brewery gal – blame it on the fact that I lack the proper uniform (don't act like you don't know what I mean). Nevertheless, it's hard to avoid the popular pastime during the summer months. All of my friends enjoy drinking the day away on one of many patios across the city.
This past Sunday I realized I hadn't even been to Birdsong Brewing, one of the OGs of the Charlotte brewery scene.
The boyfriend, who isn't much for the brewery scene either, was still surprised I hadn't at least visited the Belmont neighborhood staple (sometimes confused for still being a part of NoDa). After all, they've been open in that location since April of 2015, and before that spent four years at their original location a little further up North Davidson Street. Crazy right?! It seems like only yesterday I remember seeing the Angry Bird-esque signage going up during a trek to JackBeagles.
Combine the fact that I'd tasted their famous Jalapeno Pale Ale (quickly deciding it was an acquired taste) with its location being just outside of my NoDa comfort zone, it shouldn't have been surprising to anyone that I hadn't made the trek.
This past Sunday, however, the stars aligned. My darling and I were trying to figure out what we were going to eat for lunch when I scrolled past Papi Queso's Instagram: "MELTing 2-6pm @birdsongbrewing." That was the caption underneath a tantalizing picture of an ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich. (If you haven't tried this grilled cheese streatery, you have no idea what you're missing out on.)
"Papi" hadn't tasted Papi Queso before so it was only a matter of minutes before we were in the car and headed down North Davidson Street for our own respective first-time experiences.
We pulled into a front row parking spot just a few feet away from the food truck. We've usually investigated a menu and decided on exactly what we want before we step foot in a restaurant. That's why there was no hesitation when we walked up to the window and ordered two bacon jalapeno grilled cheeses, coriander dill pickles, tomato soup and two cokes.
We grabbed a spot at a picnic table on the spacious outdoor patio while we waited for our food.
The boyfriend brought it to my attention that the type of brewery-goers in our presence were quite unlike those we'd seen at other breweries like Sycamore. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly why the crowd was so different (for one, everyone wasn't dressed alike), but you can see it for yourself if you stop by.
For one of the first times, I was actually enjoying a brewery atmosphere. Sprinkle in the fact that the sun was actually warm enough to keep us outside, and you had the makings of a great day for visiting a new spot.
We enjoyed our meal and decided that we were having such a good time that we'd stay for a beer and watch the first half of the Duke/Kansas NCAA tournament game on his phone.
I stepped inside the 17,000-square-foot building and was utterly impressed. Despite a decent amount of #sundayfunday traffic, the spacious interior was bright and inviting. Perfect for lots of puppies, private events, live music and quite a few beers right by the taps behind the curved bar.
I stood at the bar for just a matter of moments before someone was asking me what I'd like to order – a rare experience at a venue like Sycamore Brewing.
The boyfriend had already told me what he wanted but I, on the other hand, wanted to see if they had a sour I could try. And guess what? They'd just released a new one on March 10. Lucky me! I ordered Pink Robots Raspberry & Blackberry Kettle Sour and again, I was impressed.
I took the beers outside and then walked back in for one more peak as I scooped up a bowlful of peanuts.
Yep, you'll see a large majority of Birdsong patrons munching and crunching on free peanuts. Who would this local tourist be not to give them a try?
The time passed quickly and slowly all at the same time on the patio that afternoon. It wasn't long before I accepted the fact that I'd be back very soon.
In fact, I may just become that brewery girl I've always tried to avoid after all.