CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Queen City is about to say "guten tag" to one of the oldest breweries in Germany as they make Charlotte their first brewery outside of the country.
Gilde, hailing from the city of Hannover in north Germany, announced Wednesday they would open their newest location in Charlotte in the fall of 2021, prior to Oktoberfest. The new venue, named the Embassy at Gilde Brewery, promises to offer its six staple German beers, brewed on-site according to German Purity Law. That purity law, by the way, means Gilde only uses the ingredients allowed as first enacted all the way back in 1516: barley, hops, and water. The brewery also said they would experiment with American craft beer styles as well.
Mike Gaertner, president of Gilde, said the choice was clear for GIlde to connect Charlotte and Germany not just because of demand, but history too; the Queen City's namesake, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, was German and the queen consort to British King George III during the city's founding in the colonial era.
“We carefully selected Charlotte as our first brewery site outside of Hannover based on the community’s level of interest in high-quality beer and the connection between our two cities through Queen Charlotte, who was Queen of Hannover,” said Gaertner.
Karsten Uhlmann, CEO of Gilde, says planning the expansion took time, but after much study, the decision to make the move became clear.
“We’ve been watching Charlotte’s beer scene grow and thrive for almost a decade now, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t introduce an authentic German beer to Charlotte’s lineup,' said Uhlmann. "As the original craft beer innovators, we will immerse guests in centuries of German brewing heritage combined with the creativity of the American beer movement.”
The new brewery will open along Dewitt Lane, in Charlotte's Lower South End community. The Embassy at Gilde Brewery will occupy 9,000 square feet to seat 350 guests in both an interior bier haus and outdoor bier garten. Leading the charge as brewmaster will be renowned German brewer Willi Wallstab, who will relocate to Charlotte in the summer of 2021. Wallstab will not just oversee everything, but be immersed in Charlotte's brewing scene and with the community; guests are able to view the brew haus from the taproom and can take part in interactive experiences with him and the team.
On tap will be Gilde's six staple beers: Pilsener, Kellerbrier, Urbock, Red Rooster, Lemon Radler, and Pale Wheat. Additionally, The Embassy will serve up new beers created under Wallstab's direction.
With good spirits will come good food as well; Stefan Hermann, a Two Michelin Star chef, will lead the creation of the brewery's culinary offerings, which will feature German cuisine with local and seasonal twists in flavor. Gilde also has their own executive chef who, like Wallstab, will relocate to the Queen City and lead daily culinary operations.
Gilde says they have a 474-year history in Hannover, founded in 1526. Original founder Cord Broyhan took a lighter, well-hopped approach to beer that varied from dark, heavy beers traditionally produced in Germany beforehand. As the beer's recipe caught on, the brewery marked bottles with the "Broyhan Taler", a rooster, and still do so to this day.