I’ve been extremely fortunate to live in a community full of growth, diversity, and opportunity. Welcome to Smallwood-Biddleville-Wesley Heights-Seversville-Enderly Park — the neighborhoods of the West End.
By definition, community means a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. It wasn’t until I was asked this past Wednesday, to attend to a neighborhood gathering at Blue Blaze Brewing that I truly understood the camaraderie of Charlotte and the people that live here.
As I mounted my 2-wheeled steed and made the 3-minute hilly ride to Blue Blaze, I felt a sense of tranquility come over me. Life at best can be hectic, so I jumped on the chance to try something new.
On arrival, it was refreshing to be met with warm smiles and handshakes from the neighbors and staff, like old friends seeing each other for the first time in quite a while. As I entered the brewery, my first impression was the distinct sentiment of North Carolina charm. From the reclaimed wood walls, sky-high windows, rustic floors, picnic tables, and scenic shots of North Carolina waterfalls, it was every bit a piece of mountain lodge or treehouse charm someone could ask for.
Prior to making my way to the bar, I stopped and noticed people gathering and talking. There were no TVs or distractions; it was one-on-one communication that you do not see very often. At that moment, I realized that Blue Blaze was something different.
I made my way to the bar, made up of two old trees placed together in the perfect pairing. As an avid lover of craft beers, I first tried the Double Blaze, a black IPA that with every sip made me want more. It’s with this curiosity, that I met Craig Nunn and Svern Giersmann.
Friends for over 10 years, they created Blue Blaze based upon their love for beer but more importantly their love for people. Although all the normal questions that someone would ask came to mind, it struck a cord with me that I felt different here. That I felt as though I was on my front porch with my closest friends catching up on life or outside having a campfire with family. Craig, with his kind and deep blue eyes, explained that this feeling is exactly what Blue Blaze is all about. It’s not just the trail you take but the journey and those who you meet along the way that matter.
I began to walk around, meet people, and talk. What I found was a place I could come and communicate without feeling anxiety or fear. I met many neighbors, families, children, and scruffy loved ones that I now can call my friends.
For those of you not familiar with the Brewery, Blue Blaze is centric to music and the great outdoors. Not only are there games for all ages but instruments that can be checked out to create a group atmosphere full of fun and laughter. From the pedal bikes, which will deliver beer local and to the greenway, to the planned grills for outdoor cookouts, Blue Blaze hones in on the ideal back-yard gathering.
Not only are their beers aimed to be pesticide free and based upon resources local to North Carolina, the establishment in itself breeds thought and gathering. The details in the outdoor light fixtures, rocking chairs, and carabineers to hold your loved ones (i.e. dogs not children but maybe children) or purses, feels like home.
The brewery plans to open to the public next weekend and will surely be a success due to its dedicated owners and attention to detail. As Craig noted, the beers are highly approachable for craft followers and even those that are not. In addition, for the young ones and those of you that don’t drink, the option of artisanal sodas creates a niche unlike any other.
It is amazing as neighbors to be able to experience a place that will be our home away from home. Stop by and enjoy a conversation with someone you do or don’t know.