Head brewer Connor Robinson, along with seven owning partners, have found their place in Charlotte’s craft microbrewery scene at Birdsong Brewing Company, located in NoDa at 26th and North Davidson.
Robinson started his career in the Baking & Pastry Arts program at Johnson & Wales University. After receiving a degree he began working at Harvest Bread Company, which is where he met Tara Goulet (one of the owning partners) and Matt, a friend who fueled his interest in home brewing.
I was in product development at a bakery, explained Conor, so I got really into creating my own beers. I met Chris and Tara Goulet and they wanted to start a brewery. They went up to Portland, Oregon and saw all the breweries there and decided they could totally do that in Charlotte.”
The transition from baker to brewer was only natural for Robinson, with his background knowledge of yeast and various baking components that easily translated to brewing. They spent a little over a year doing research and working on sessionable recipes. They started retail distribution and tap room sales in December 2011, and have become a well known name in the market with over 170 accounts throughout Charlotte.
On a heavy week we brew eight batches. It is a ten barrel brew house. I say we do an average of 7 batches a week. We try to get everyone involved. We like to get everybody on the pilot system. It’s important for everyone here to know how to brew. I like everyone here to have an understanding of how beer is made.
That understanding, as well as Conor’s creativity, fuel the creation of both their well known staples, Free Will Pale Ale, Lazy Bird Brown Ale, Higher Ground IPA and Honey Pie Double IPA as well as some more creative options such as Eat A Peach Pale Ale and Doin’ Thyme Witbier. Robinson also pushes the boundaries of beer by combining unexpected flavors, such as their claim-to-fame Jalapeno Pale Ale.
Birdsong, whose name pokes fun at Robinson’s bird song-like snore, continues to strive towards their goal to create outstanding beer, have a low impact on the environment, and create personal relationships and ties to the local community and that community has embraced their brews.
I never expected to be doing this. It has been pretty crazy. It is pretty surreal when you come in on a Saturday and the place is slammed. All these people are drinking the beer that I made…it’s pretty cool.
For more information on Birdsong Brewey visit them at www.birdsongbrewing.com.