Breweries and Bottle Shops — Gaston's Beer Biz is Growing and We are Here for it
Since 1996, when Highland Brewing Company opened North Carolina’s first brewery in the basement of Asheville’s Thirsty Monk, the North Carolina beer industry began as a slow roll before picking up undeniable speed over the last decade. With county staples, like Belmont's The String Bean, and new additions like Primal Brewery, Gaston County is poised as a hot spot for craft beer purveyors and patrons.
Charlotte’s oldest brewery, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, opened in 2009, causing a cataclysm of growth in the region, placing Gaston County in great space to hop on the brewery train. For the past few years (and over a decade in some instances), there has been an influx of breweries and craft beer bottle shops opening up around the county, from flagship locations to expansions (a trend other businesses in the region and beyond have followed as they move into Gaston). Here’s where you can find locally brewed and expertly sourced craft beer across the county.
Cavendish Brewing Company
207 N. Chester St. #2234, Gastonia
Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Thursday – Friday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
As Gastonia’s first brewery, Scott Cavendish and his crew set up shop in a historic Dodge dealership just outside downtown. After a year of renovations, Cavendish Brewing opened up in 2017 in a space that is dog, family, and beer-lover friendly. With a beer list based in Old World tradition, guests can expect Belgian, German and British styles embedded within their tap list. Come for beer (or wine, cider, and kombucha), pizza, and patio games.
10 Catawba St., Belmont
Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 12 a.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Located in Downtown Belmont, Jekyll & Hyde is the second iteration of this steampunk concept, opening after a desire to expand from their flagship Matthews location. Seeking another location outside of Charlotte, owner Frank La Fragola sought out Belmont for its small town charm, and invested roughly $3 million to upfit its historic location to house a brewery and restaurant.
With a full kitchen and seasonally-changing menu of craft cocktails, Jekyll & Hyde steps out of traditional breweries and into a more avant-garde approach to the industry. Brewed by Jarod Lanam, beers like Malice, a New England IPA, and Swivel Gun, an English Special Bitters, are year-round offerings on their menu alongside QC Lager. A rotating sours series shifts regularly as do other styles, like imperial stouts in the cooler months followed by wheat beers in the spring. Standing fire tables line the sidewalk, with a covered patio extending their capacity for outdoor service .
136 Durkee Ln., Dallas
Thursday 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., Friday 3 p.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Ole Dallas Brewing sits at the end of a long gravel road on seven acres, complete with disc golf, a fire pit and a seating area reminiscent of a 1970s southern living room, an intentional addition that adds to the homeyness of this small batch brewery. Owner and brewer Beau Norwood brews on a half-barrel system, producing between 10 and 20 gallons per brew.
Ole Dallas features 20 taps including their own beer as well as other local and domestic options with taps dedicated to wine and cider. Vintage elements are present throughout, with relics from Dallas’ history, like scrap books of local sports teams and historic photos from various Dallas organizations. Locals may find themselves or someone they know while those new to the area can get a glimpse into Dallas’ past while enjoying year-round brews like Wildcat Wit and Ole George Porter.
52 Ervin Street, Belmont
Tuesday – Thursday 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., Friday – Saturday 12 p.m. – 4 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
The second of their locations, Primal Brewery opened in downtown Belmont after owners David Hoy and Ray Steimel fell in love with both the building and the town. Differing from their flagship Huntersville location in sizing (Huntersville’s 5000 square feet to Belmont’s 15,000), the downtown Belmont location is ripe for expanding their production from three-barrel system to ten, with a two-and-a-half-barrel system giving the capacity for sours and small batch brews. The majority of Primal’s beer is sold out of their taprooms, including their 4-packs, which can be customizable. Primal's packaged beers can also be found in Lowe’s Foods and other local establishments.
With a love for the social aspect of beer, Hoy and Steimel host Primal Tribe, a loyalty group that goes beyond the typical “mug club” and includes local and international outings focusing on beer and outdoor adventures. The Belmont location offers elevated pub fare from Tim Schafer which can be enjoyed either in the taproom with a view of the brew house or on the patio, where live bands can often be found.
900 S. Fork Village Dr. G-03, Belmont
Monday – Tuesday 3:30 p.m. – 8 p.m., Wednesday – Friday 3:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
In 2017, District 8 Beer Company opened between downtown Belmont and Cramerton on the ground level of South Fork Village Apartments. District 8 Beer Company has a wide selection of east coast IPAs and sours, staying stocked in trending styles from across the region, alongside wine and soda. Purchasing just one keg of each beer, District 8’s ten taps rotate regularly (updated daily on Untappd) allowing for a wide variety of beers to choose from. The retail section is stocked with a rotating line-up of up to 100 beers available in-house or to-go. Check the calendar for food truck availability. Be on the lookout for an expansion including a larger space, cocktails and a one-barrel brewing system.
1933 Hoffman Road #4, Gastonia
Monday – Thursday 12 p.m. – 9 p.m., Friday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Grape & Barley invites guests to “taste, shop and hang out.” As their name suggests, Grape & Barley is both a wine and beer shop, and they are dedicated to educating patrons on the styles and flavor profiles to meet their needs. The draft beer list is updated via Untappd and often includes local and national favorites while their bottle and can selection includes year-round and limited release beers from breweries like Founders and Firestone Walker. Enjoy a beverage in their lounge, at a table or on the patio over a shared plate or stock up for home.
106 N. Main St., Belmont
Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Starting Belmont’s downtown craft beer scene in 2008 is The String Bean. Since their opening, String Bean has combined a restaurant, wine shop, butcher counter and bottle shop into an inviting multi-faceted atmosphere. Food includes southern staples as well as vegetarian options. Taps rotate through craft beers and ciders, with cans and bottles grouped by style both on shelves and in the cooler from all around the world.
122 S. Main St., Mount Holly
Monday – Saturday 12 p.m. - 10 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Opened in 2018 in downtown Mount Holly, Summit Beer Shop has created community around craft beer, cider and natural wines. With 24 rotating beer taps and four dedicated to wine, Summit’s selection is suitable for a variety of palates. Food trucks set up just outside the front entrance Wednesday – Saturday, with neighboring Jack Beagles and South Main Kitchen & Tavern available for carry out daily. Head in for a pint or grab beer to go in Mount Holly’s growing downtown.
119 Center St., Cramerton
Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sitting on the corner of downtown’s Center Street, Doffer’s Canteen delivers on their craft beer selection and their beer garden in which to enjoy them. With a cooler filled with local and national craft beers and a tap system of six rotating beers and ciders, you’re able to grab a beer to enjoy on-site or get it to go.
170 S. South St., Gastonia
Monday – Thursday 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m., Saturday 12:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.