2909 N Davidson St #200
Charlotte, North Carolina
Visited on January 16, 2013
Up to this point so far, I haven’t been too impressed by the breweries in North Carolina. Sure, I’ve been spoiled by a lot of time in the Pacific Northwest, the Bay Area and Michigan – some of the finest areas for beer in the country – but a lot of the places I’ve been just seem lazy and uninspired. The same ingredients are available to them as the other great places I’ve been, right? On a recent brief visit to Charlotte, I was hoping the city could change my mind.
I was only in town for one evening, and this greatly limited my options. It seems that Charlotte has had a ton of new brewpubs open up within the past five years. The only issue to me, however, was that nearly none of them were open past 9:00 pm on a Tuesday night. So I headed to Heist Brewery, pretty much the only one in town that is.
I found the space to be quite lovely. Despite a nondescript exterior in an industrial part of town, the interior had been done-up quite nicely with great light fixtures, beautiful bars, a ton of space and a pretty high-class feel. The only issue I had was with the floor in the main seating area, which wasn’t leveled during finishing causing the high-top tables and chairs to wobble on a consistent basis.
While I found the place to be nicely classy, I found the food to be overly so, to the point of being pretentious. I do not need any of my food to be served in test tubes (the bisque) or on top of a flat rock (torched diablos). What’s more, the small plates are exorbitantly priced, typically costing about a dollar per bite.
Take, for example, the tater tots. Even if they are the best tater tots in the world (they’re not), I still think a side order of them should come with more than four morsels of food.
On the other hand, the burger I shared with my fiance was fairly priced at $9 and quite delicious. A blend of smoked brisket and porterhouse tail is an awesome idea, and putting bacon and caramelized onions on top is always a good idea. So I have mixed feelings about the menu. While some options are pleasantly priced and inventive, much of it goes overboard.
I wish they’d take some of that culinary inventiveness and apply it to their brewing. Every option I tried was tired and boring. Some of them were very bland, while a couple of them were quaffable. Perhaps the brewery just has some growing up to do, or needs a bit more practice. But whatever the reason, I was not impressed by the beer in the least.
On a final note, the service was a bit much at times. While attention is nice, dropping by the table every five minutes becomes annoying at some point, as does terrible jokes and lame descriptions of the beer. While I give an A for effort, again, the execution just isn’t quite there.