NoDa Brewing Company: At the Intersection of Beer and Running

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I had the chance to sample a new beer this week, the Hop Drop ‘n Roll IPA from NoDa Brewing Company, a hip little brewery operating in the hip little NoDa neighborhood of Charlotte. It was a damned good West Coast-style IPA, the kind of beer that’s so citrusy, it fights scurvy. But what I love most about NoDa is how they’re blending the art of running with the art of drinking. That intersection of booze and athletics is a constant fascination of mine (would Mickey Mantle have been so great if he was sober?), so when I got the chance to talk with Brian Mister, NoDa’s Director of Community Optimism, about his two passions (beer and running), I jumped at the chance.

First of all, what a great job title. Director of Community Optimism. Mister graduated from being a bartender to, well, doing cool things like establishing NoDa Brewing’s running program. Mister oversees the weekly Wednesday night run, which begins and ends at the brewery and attracts hundreds, directed the brewery’s first 5K this summer, and leads the daunting 26.Brew, a marathon training program for drinkers.

Why all the running?

“I work at a brewery,” Mister says. “I need to run a lot more now.”

NoDa’s not the only brewery with a mighty running program. Big Boss and Fullsteam both have run clubs, and Devils Backbone in Virginia has a full fledge bike and trail running race series.

Wednesday nights have become NoDa’s most happening night of the week as dudes and dudettes mill around the brewery’s parking lot after the run, eating from food trucks and drinking tasty local beer. The popularity of the run club proves a key point that most serious runners refuse to admit: running is better with beer.

Cheers to NoDa, and the few other cardio-minded brewers, for embracing that intersection of booze and athletics.

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