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Long recognized as a racing destination (to anyone familiar with NASCAR at least!), Cabarrus lives in the shadow of North Carolina’s biggest city, Charlotte, But Cabarrus has forged its own path to fame. Concord, especially, is rapidly becoming a destination for fans of craft beer as well as racing. Find all the options on social media using the hashtag #racetotaste!
The oldest of the local breweries just celebrated its third anniversary! Opening in November 2015, find this brewery inside the old Gibson Mill complex. The abundant use of pallet wood in the furnishings and simplistic decor reflect the laidback atmosphere.
High Branch doesn’t offer flights but the bartenders really know their stuff and enthusiastically let us sample different beers. They were so gracious and allowed us to try every single beer! My two favorites: Yucatan Stout, an imperial double-style beer, and The Hustle, a hazy double IPA, pictured above. Emphasizing Belgian inspired and hop forward tastes, brewers here focus on the fermentation process. Looking for a variety of beers? This great brewery offers everything from blondes, to stouts, to IPAs and even some sours.
This welcoming space even hosts yoga on Thursday evenings. Patio seating allows four legged friends to accompany their human patrons at High Branch. While they don’t serve food, local snacks are available for purchase and patrons may bring their own food. Reach higher by reaching for High Branch.
High Branch is the best choice for couples and small groups.
The largest of all the local breweries, Cabarrus started with a plan to be big and they’ve accomplished that fully. Opening their doors in March 2016, they’re the only brewery in the area with canning on-site, which is a pretty big deal. CBC has paid homage to this location by repurposing portions of old Gibson Mill while preserving the history through photos on the walls. Given their large space both inside and a beer garden outside, CBC caters easily to large groups, including dogs and children. During the warmer months, Food Truck Fridays offers eight food trucks at a time (and a great excuse to go out).
Cabarrus Brewing offered a dizzying variety of beers, as well as ciders and wines. I was most impressed by Sew Juicy, a hazy IPA, and the Vanilla Coffee Blonde which I can best describe as Dunkin Donuts but in beer form (coffee lovers rejoice!). The selection of beer at CBC caters to a large variety of tastes.
Having one of the largest brewing rooms I’ve ever seen allows CBC to output a large quantity of beer. With their canning line, Cabarrus Brewing can quickly get its beer into locations throughout North Carolina. While you should visit their brewery tap room, look for them at your local grocery store as well.
Cabarrus Brewing Company is the best choice for large groups.
Cabarrus’ third brewery opened its doors in October 2016. Having visited this brewery once before, I was thrilled to see how it just gets more and more popular. I brought my oldest here after his 21st birthday to introduce him to real beer as opposed to the usual junk college kids drink.
This brewery is both kid and dog friendly, so one of the most family-friendly locations we experienced. Located just a block from the NASCAR building, Twenty-Six Acres is the perfect spot for a cool draft beer after touring various racing shops.
Twenty-Six Acres Brewing is named after the original twenty-six acre plot of land on which Concord was founded in 1796. Some of their flagship beers are named after local popular streets – Corban Avenue Honey Blonde and 26 Union Street Oatmeal Stout. These brewers continue to honor Concord’s history while exploring new flavors and worth a visit every time. My favorite beer this visit was a hazy IPA named Reptar Juice.
Twenty-Six Acres Brewing is best for families with children and dogs.
This is the smallest independent craft brewery we’ve ever visited! This speakeasy-style brewery serves up #justgoodbeer. Opening its doors in November 2016, Red Hill set out to become everyone’s neighborhood bar. Located behind the Cabarrus Creamery and above the CrossFit gym, you have to look for the entrance but it is so worth it once you find it. After all, where else can you go get a workout and follow it up with a good beer and ice cream?
Red Hill is a one barrel brewery, meaning that head brewer Chris is always developing recipes and brewing a batch of deliciousness. Two large all purpose rooms can also be reserved by community members. The decor is as laid-back as its owners. A patron donated the old bicycle that hangs on the wall – cycling being a passion of one of the owners.
If you’re looking for a laid back drinking spot downtown Concord, where everyone knows your name, Red Hill Brewing is your spot!
Red Hill Brewing is best for those looking for a neighborhood brewery downtown.
Commoners Brewing’s motto is “Become part of the story.” The newest brewery in town opened in September 2017. While located in a strip mall, it still features the large garage doors along the side that open up the entire place. With easy access off I-85, Commoners Brewing Company makes for a good stop on your travels. My favorite feature is the upstairs balcony where everyone can share their Instagram photos with the #commonerssunset.
Beer flights are served on repurposed boards using old hinges as legs. Each beer has a tale to tell and is named in accordance with that story. I enjoyed Mollie’s Revenge, a red ale, and Rumbunctious, a Belgian dubbel.
The decor at Commoners’ Brewing is classic vintage. With wooden pallet wood on the walls, tops of wooden wire spools, and tin tiles on the ceiling, you really get the feeling of a bygone era.
Commoners’ Brewing is best for those looking to watch a sports game or the sunset.
Enjoy your Race to Taste and check out all the great Instagram photos at #racetotaste. Each brewery honors Concord’s history and elevates the craft of making beer. You can’t go wrong no matter which brewery you choose to visit, although I recommend you give all five a try to find your favorite. Looking for other things to do in Concord? Check out our weekend itinerary and our experience at World of Outlaws World Finals!
While our visit to Cabarrus County was sponsored by Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau and we received complimentary drinks at most of the breweries, all opinions are our own.
Annick, The Common Traveler