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Hop Drop & Roll #1 IPA in the World

on .

NoDa, 7 other N.C. breweries win big at World Beer CupHDR NoDa

Reposted from the Charlotte Observer, Monday, April 14, 2014

Article by Kathleen Purvis

Charlotte’s NoDa Brewing Company has cracked the toughest category in one of the nation’s biggest beer competitions, winning a gold medal for it’s Hop, Drop ‘N Roll IPA.

How big a deal is that?

“It doesn’t get a whole lot bigger than this,” said Margo Knight Metzger, executive director of the N.C. Craft Brewers Guild. “Everybody in NoDa must be totally over the moon. They instantly hit the big time.”

Winners at the World Beer Cup, held every other year in Denver, were announced Friday. Along with the Great American Beer Festival competition, also in Denver, the two contests are considered the major ones to watch for craft brewing.

NoDa wasn’t the only N.C. brewery to do well at the World Beer Cup. While California and Colorado took the majority of awards, eight N.C. breweries came home with medals: White Street Brewing in Wake Forest, Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills, Asheville Brewing Company all got gold, while Olde Hickory and Lynnwood Brewing Concern got silver and Mother Earth Brewing and Wicked Weed Brewing got bronzes.

What makes NoDa’s win exciting, though, is the size of the competition. The American IPA category is one of the hottest, with 224 entries.

“That really is a very, very competitive category,” said Charlotte beer writer Daniel Hartis, who writes The Observer’s Beer Here column. “So it’s all the more impressive for it.”

Metzger said North Carolina now has more than 100 breweries. But even she has become a fan of NoDa.

“Everybody in Charlotte knew how good it waas. Now the rest of the world knows.”

On Sunday night, after getting back from Denver, she offered her husband a beer and just happened to have a can of Hop, Drop ‘N Roll, which is now available in bottle shops and supermarkets in a four-pack for $11.99.

“He said, ‘Only if it’s the No. 1 IPA in the country.’”

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Interview with Fu's Joey Vernon

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From My City Magazine:

~Joey Vernon~
Interview by Ellen Gurley

You began tattooing in 1992 and worked with your father until 2001. Those shops were located in Dilworth/Southend area. How did you choose your current location in NoDa?
When I originally opened Fu's, I basically "bailed out" an existing shop that was located uptown at 901-D N. Tryon St. and it was not an ideal location. We did good considering, but I felt the shop and it's artists had more to offer and so we began the search for new location. I happened to come to NoDa one day for lunch, saw a ‘for rent’ sign and here we are now nearly five years later. It was a good move for the shop, as a whole, given the attitude of the area.

I got my first from you in 1998. Since then you have done over six for me. What percentage of your clients also become return customers?
About 85% of my clients are returning because of the size of work I do on them; most of it is large scale and requires several sessions. The rest is word-of-mouth from existing clients.

First I would like to congratulate you on this day which marks twenty two years of tattooing. Since you have spent more than half of your life tattooing, one can assume that you have spent more time behind a machine than doing (well) anything else. That’s a lot of hours tattooing. You know your stuff. How have you seen the tattoo industry change since you began?
The caliber of artist has improved a great deal over the years, but at the same time it has become a very over-saturated market. Tattooing used to be an elusive and risky business to get into and not so easy to obtain your goals. I feel like it's taken a lot of steps forward, however that comes with a price. Basically anyone can get their hands on a machine and be blasting their friends at the kitchen table. It makes it even more complicated when one of these idiots makes it into a shop because they do poor quality work and dirt cheap prices. Things like this hurt our industry. They don't move it forward at all. You could look at it from different aspects as in (a) it's more cover-ups for good tattoo artists to do, but at the same time (b) it sours the general public into thinking things like "$400? This guy over at such and such said he'd do it for $150." They don't realize that they are sacrificing getting a good tattoo verses a bad one all because of the price. Just ‘cause it's cheap, doesn't make it worth a damn.
 You’ve stated before that you will tattoo spiritual pieces on clients but not religious as you can’t take a stab at something you can’t wrap your mind around. That being said, what was your strangest request/demand by a client?
I had a gentleman come in and ask me for a back piece of a Ku Kluz Klan rally. The odd thing about that was that he was a black man and he hated black people. Needless to say, his request was denied.

You have a friend that tattoos at another shop (Rodney Raines at Ace Tattoo) that you respect and admire and you travel to tattoo conventions together. Does he do any work on you?
My respect for Rodney started with our friendship as we've known each other since we were teenagers. I knew his older sister before him. And, yes, he's in the process of tattooing my ribs/thigh which is a Fudo (after which my shop is named). Fudo Myoo is the full name of the deity. Fudo Myoo literally means ‘the immovable wisdom king’. He is the guardian of Buddhism. He converts anger into compassion and cuts the ties of negative feelings and demons to eliminate us from suffering through self control. Getting that tattoo only seemed fitting and I couldn't imagine someone better to do it.

What was the best experience you had with a client / your favourite tattooing memory?
I really can’t say that I can pinpoint just one tattoo as I just enjoy tattooing. Period. Everything about it. And you can trust me when I say that I am a dying breed.

You were recently in an interview with MAV TV (Tattooing in America) and one with Tattoo Artist Magazine. And I understand that you have turned down about five interviews with TV shows. Tell me why this is.
Because I don’t believe in prostituting my industry for not the common good. It has made the client dumber (they think they can get a back piece in 3 ½ hours) and I just don’t agree with ‘it’ as a whole.

Currently you play drums in a local Viking metal band that has played all over the region called Vulture. How did this come about?
(Joshua) Taddeo and I started the band mostly just out of a resentment for a lot of heavy music that was around Charlotte. So we started sitting down and writing music and then Travis (Lakeman) joined the band. We played as a three piece instrumental for a while and then we added our lead singer, Bart Lattimore.

Will Charlotte be able to boast another Fu’s Tattoos at any point?
You never know now, do ya?

What does Joey like to do if any spare time presents itself?
Long walks on the beach, beer and fuzzy animals. / Baku Gallery
3200 N Davidson St., 28205, 704.376.4556

Meet The Couple Who Set Foundation For NoDa

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Meet The Couple Who Set Foundation For NoDa's Arts District Paul and Ruth

In 1983, Paul Sires and Ruth Ava Lyons saw opportunity in a building along North Davidson Street that was in such bad shape, no bank would loan them money. And for good reason.

The building was just four boarded up storefronts with a collapsing roof.

So they financed with the owner, and went to work:

“The first couple of days we were out there working, across the street you could hear people, and there were a couple of guys hanging out in the doorway and I just remember being out there and hearing some conversation and the word ‘artists’ and everyone laughing inside the bar,” Paul recalls.

The heckling went away as Paul and Ruth continued to work and earn the neighborhood’s respect.

“Of course they didn’t understand what the artist part meant, but when they saw us with hammers and saws in our hands, they could identify with us,” Ruth says.

Each renovated part of the building became a new studio for Paul and Ruth. Paul is a sculptor and Ruth is a painter, but they were becoming something else: Community leaders. Architect and former North Davidson resident, Craig Isaac remembers those early days as what was then called North Charlotte began to transform into NoDa.

“I don’t know how many times we walked the neighborhood handing out flyers for people to come to meetings. The thought was, if we can get the neighborhood looking good, and people caring about that, it’s going to help the business district,” Issac says. “And then when the empty storefronts got filled there was more and more activity in the business district. “

That activity included Paul and Ruth’s own Center of the Earth Art Gallery, the area’s first of its kind and a NoDa landmark until they closed the doors in 2010. The NoDa Neighborhood and Business Association says the gallery helped give birth to NoDa as an “arts district.”

They’re just two people that you’re going to follow and you’re going to respect. That’s just the way it is,” Isaac says.

Today, NoDa has more than a few dozen arts venues, bars and restaurants. You can go to this arts district to experience live theatre, comedy and music. Ruth says she and Paul were really just being artists when they bought that first building.

“This is also historically what artists do,” Ruth says. “They go into areas that are neglected and substandard housing and just areas that time has forgotten. They are so resourceful, they have to learn how to be resourceful to survive.”

That’s not to say there aren’t problems. Some people are worried about what the Light Rail will mean NODA. The fear is the spirit of the community will change and residents will be priced out.

“When the light rail comes through five years from now – you’re starting to see development already - if you don’t like it now or you wish it was like it was, then you’re going to really hate it because it’s going to be different,” Craig says. “It’ going to be more people and more apartment buildings and more development. So just look for the next place.”

Paul and Ruth moved from Michigan to Charlotte more than 30 years ago because Paul needed health insurance and took the first job that offered him coverage. The plan was to stay a year and move on. That plan changed after they returned from a prestigious residency in Omaha. landed a prestigious artist residency in Omaha. They were both determined to find their own studio space.

Their artistic work has earned acclaim. Paul primarily works with granite and draws inspiration from nature. His work is known to create the illusion of a floating sculpture and can be seen outside Time Warner Cable Arena, at the entrance of Reedy Creek Park and in places like the Duke Energy building.

(Paul) You go out, you buy a piece of granite that is shaped in some way whether it’s art or a counter top or whatever, that will outlast you. That will be around well after you’re gone and probably your kids and even their kids. “

Ruth also draws inspiration from nature. Her paintings focus on what breaks down in the environment and resurfaces as something new. Her work is on display at the Hidell Brooks Gallery and she is one of 20 local artists commissioned for the ArtPop series. Over the next year, their work will be featured on Charlotte area billboards. The project excites her because it reaches a mass audience.

“People can be profoundly affected by it on a day-to-day basis,” she says.

But their work is already on display every day in NoDa. After all, they help set its foundation for how we know the neighborhood today. Their advice for the next generation: If you see something missing, create it yourself.

This story was made possible and produced as part of the Charlotte Arts Journalism Alliance.