Saturday night's show was the second in a row in the greater Charlotte, NC area, this time being at Lenny Boy Brewing in the South End neighborhood, which is right in the heart of the city, whereas the Friday night show was in a northern suburb a bit northwest of the city itself.
Lenny Boy is located in a massive 36,000 sqft old brick warehouse, on a large fenced corner lot, which gives them a ton of room to create their own little world. Plenty of parking in a large lot on their premises (although most of the crowd seemed to utilize Uber, Lyft, and beer shuttle services), and a patio/deck area outside that is larger than many breweries' taprooms. Inside, the taproom itself has a homey rustic feel. A large bar is immediately in front of you as you enter, and the first thing I noticed was the jungle of ferns and other plants that were hanging from the high ceiling. In a strange way it really felt like home to me... as the bar area was more contemporary looking, with painted walls and clean, more modern looking shelving, and then complimented with woodwork and all the plants to warm it up. My house is a contemporary, with cathedral ceilings, and I've put hardwood flooring and furniture throughout, with tons of plants and ficus trees.... so Lenny Boy's really did feel like home!
Lenny Boy Brewing - Charlotte, NC
In addition to at the brewery/taproom, the beer is available in cans and kegs throughout both Carolinas, including at major retailers like Whole Foods and Harris Teeter. Beer info here. Kombucha is distributed throughout the eastern U.S. Info here.
The other thing I noticed right away was that this place was filled with beautiful women. I obviously travel a lot, and something you come to notice is that sometimes you'll find an area where they seem to just have a higher ratio of very attractive people (and other areas where the people often look like trolls), and Charlotte definitely is home to many beautiful women. Lenny Boy, it seems, is where a lot of them hang out. They were all beautiful... the bartenders, the servers, and the customers... and this wasn't some nightclub where everyone was dolled up in skimpy skirts and tons of makeup trying to look sexy... this was a Saturday afternoon hang of drinking beer, listening to music, and drinking beer... and the women were all natural beauties... jeans and t-shirts, hair down, little to no makeup, and knockouts. The kind that you know just wake up in the morning looking stunning... hair a little messed up, but gorgeous right out of bed. And from what I could tell from the sample that I spoke with, very friendly and funny and laid back women. I don't know what's in your water (or beer), Charlotte... but keep doing it! Damn...
The other thing that was beautiful on this Saturday afternoon was the weather. It was one of those first really nice days of Spring, and so when I arrived I was told I'd be playing outside to the sizable patio area. I was originally a bit concerned, as there were only a few people out there, but by the time I plugged in it was packed, and a pleasure to play outside again after so many months. It was particularly festive with it being the day before St. Paddy's Day, and with it being a Saturday I think most people were doing most of their celebrating today, rather than on Sunday.
OK, so beer... Lenny Boy makes both beer and Kombucha, and is doing very well with both. The Kombucha is distributed basically throughout the entire eastern half of the U.S., in bottles and on tap. The beer is distributed throughout both Carolinas, in cans and kegs, from everywhere from your small shops to massive outlets like Whole Foods, etc.
My first beer of the day was the Booty Call Double IPA (8.7%). Made with Citra, Simcoe, & Bravo hops, this was a very refreshing IPA, nicely balanced and with all the good elements that we came to love initially in a solid IPA, and without the more ridiculous over hopped characteristics that became common as the IPA crazy went out of control. Very smooth, yet crisp, it was very flavorful and had an inviting aroma, and despite the “double” designation and relatively high ABU, was a surprisingly easy drinker. I could have just spent the day drinking more of this, but alas I was on a mission....
For most of my first set I sipped the Burn Brown Down (5%) English Brown Ale. I've had so many wonderful brown ales this year, and Burn Brown Down is up there with the best of them. Creamy and roasty, hints of chocolate and toffee or caramel in there, it's a really comforting drink. Nice and brown on the pour, with a rather heavy tan head, it's again just what you're hoping for in a good brown. If I hadn't been working I might have ordered a shot of good Irish whiskey to sip along side it, as it was calling me in that direction. Quite good.
Continuing in my trend towards the Dark Side, I followed the brown with the Ground Up Coffee Stout (5.3%), which was actually brewed with coffee from a brewer in nearby Durham, NC... so we had real coffee in it, and not just implied coffee overtones. The stout was very good and creamy, but I think I may have come to realize that I sampled too many coffee brews this winter. I went into the Fall just nuts to try every coffee stout, brown, ale, IPA, etc. that I came across, and I had some damn fantastic ones... but over the last couple of weeks I think I'm realizing that my palate has had too many and they aren't striking me as intriguingly as they were a few months ago. Now I only seem to really be struck by them if they are just fantastically over the rainbow great, or bad. This one was neither... it was a very good stout with some good tasty coffee in there. If you dig the coffee brew thing, you'll like it, it's a well done one... if you don't, you probably won't, as it's a well done one.
In looking back on their menu, I really wish I had had more time to sample some of the more interesting selections on the draft list (and also the Kombucha). But that's this gig goes... I have to play 3 hours of music, and then drive to the next gig (which in this case was in Indiana the next afternoon!), so I obviously have to watch the consumption.
I loved the whole Lenny Boy vibe, and their crowd was very friendly (we had more than a few conversations and good laughs during my set/banter, etc.) and into the music, and I'd love to spend more time with their selection... so hopefully I'll make it back. I know I'll be in Charlotte again in August, so maybe we could arrange a day where I'll get there earlier for some sampling, then play, then maybe I can utilize their big parking lot to camp in the touring van (which has a big bed in the back). So stay tuned, maybe there will be a Lenny Boy sequel blog (or podcast!)...
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