It's pretty fitting that my first issue as the new editor of Creative Loafing would be a Beer Guide. But this isn't because I'm a beer aficionado. Thanks to Charlotte area breweries and a slew of locally-organized beer-related events, I finally — after years and years of trying to find beers I liked to no avail — know what to order at the bars.
A longtime CL staffer, I came here nearly a decade ago under Carlton Hargro (editor from 2006 to 2011). Hargro introduced me to the wonderful world of wine, which in turn left me unwilling to part with those "extra" drink tickets that friends had come to expect from me at Loafing functions.
But over the past few years, my preference for alcoholic beverages took a turn in a different direction. Festivals like Charlotte Oktoberfest, Q.C. Brewers Fest, North Carolina Brewers & Music Festival, and CL's own, Moo & Brew: Craft Beer & Burger Festival (this Saturday, April 16) gave me the chance to taste an assortment of craft beers from local and regional breweries.
That's not to say that I didn't pour out quite a bit of samples here and there in my quest to discover my beer preference. And, I'm not ashamed to admit that I've learned I'm somewhat of a minority in the beer world. You won't usually find me "oohing and ahhing" over most IPAs, other ales and stouts, but you will find me wetting my whistle on sours of any kind.
I have D9 Brewing Company to thank for introducing me to my first sour, a now-retired brew called Iocaine, and for many more brewed up along the way, including Viking Froach. Sours are the first thing I look for when I go to any brewery and most breweries are making room for this niche along their taps.
That's not to forget other non-sour brews like Wooden Robot Brewery's Good Morning Vietnam and Legal Remedy Brewing's World Court White Chocolate Mocha Stout. These fall into a sweeter class of craft beer and my picky beer tastebuds love them, too.
That being said, my beer journey — sweet and sour — has been much like my journey here at CL. Being somewhat of a dinosaur here means that I've seen a lot of staffers come and go — most recently editor and longtime music guru, Jeff Hahne.
Luckily, Hahne — who has moved on to other exciting adventures — will still be contributing to Top 10, as well as to our music section and to our Vibes music blog, where he'll write-up concert reviews.
On the coming side, there's news editor Ryan Pitkin, who joined our staff as a full-time employee back in July of 2015. A CL contributor before that, Pitkin has a voracious appetite for breaking news and finding gripping stories to share with readers. His coverage on the abduction of Homer, the mascot of Charlotte Knights, spiked our webviews and gave us a much-needed laugh.
And then, there's little ol' me. Having worn a variety of hats during my tenure with CL — including Listings Editor, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor, Web Content Editor, and Associate Editor — I'm as dedicated as ever to providing the community with an alt weekly that serves as Charlotte's primary source of arts and entertainment with alternative food, music and news coverage.
A few things about me that you may not know: I'm a redhead. I have a pet gecko and I'm the proud keeper of the longest living CL office goldfish, Crash (born around 2008). I love to travel and I'll travel for music (Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee being my latest concert venture). Oh, and I'm one of those rarities who was actually born in Charlotte — Presbyterian Hospital, to be exact.
As you've already learned, I'm also a supporter of Charlotte's ever-growing craft beer scene, as well as our solid arts and music scenes. I look forward to increasing CL's buzz with compelling stories on some of you fine Charlotteans who've made this city such a great place to live and work for all these years.
Feel free to drop me a line or tap me on the shoulder if you see me at a local watering hole — because I'll sure as hell need a drink from time to time. Taking on the editorial helm of an award-winning alt weekly is no easy task, but it's worth losing some hairs for. I love how Charlotte continues to thrive with a growing population that's bringing arts and entertainment, music, and restaurants to the table for coverage. Cheers to that!
Have a story idea? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.