Ask a beer lover, and there are plenty of cities whose names can be synonymous with the drink they love. San Diego, Grand Rapids, Portland, Fort Collins ... Portland again. In North Carolina, Asheville has long held that designation, gaining local and national attention, but part of the fun of watching beer’s growth can be the creation and explosion of cultures in new places.
In recent years, that’s been the case in Charlotte, North Carolina, about two hours away from Asheville and now home to about 20 breweries and a burgeoning beer scene. One person who’s had a unique perspective of seeing this happen is Alexa Long, head brewer at Legion Brewing, an almost two-year-old business in the city’s Plaza Midwood neighborhood.
After graduating from UNC-Charlotte in 2011 and working locally at a homebrew store, Long went pro at Charlotte’s Heist Brewing before joining Legion in fall 2015 and being a part of the crew that earned Legion the title of “best new neighborhood brewery” by Charlotte magazine in 2016.
Long’s connection to Charlotte provides her a unique perspective of how the city and its love of beer has changed, as drinkers have now come to expect more than just juicy IPA, even if that continues to be a bestseller for Legion and others. As Charlotte’s star continues to rise, Long has and continues to be a part of that.