MINT HILL – The Barking Duck Brewing Company’s bark is getting a little louder in the Charlotte region’s ever-expanding craft beer market.
After four years of only selling its variety of beers in its Mint Hill brewery and taproom, the Barking Duck’s brews are now making their way into local bars, taprooms and restaurants. Temple Mojo Growler Shop in Matthews and the Casual Pint in the Steele Creek area are two of the first places to carry the Barking Duck brand.
“We are dabbing in it right now and getting into a few places,” co-owner and brewer Josh Carl said. “Hopefully, we will be expanding into other places in the near future. We are talking to a lot of different people.”
The brewery recently went from a half-barrel brewing system to a three-barrel system and that has greatly expanded its production capacity.
“Big step up,” said co-owner and brewer Jake Reynolds. “Our capacity is six times bigger with the potential to double that quickly.”
The Barking Duck, which touts itself as a dog-friendly brewery, is located at 4440 Morris Park Drive, near N.C. 51 and Lebanon Road.
Carl and Reynolds first started brewing beer back in college at Western Carolina as the two tinkered with various recipes for themselves and friends. That experimental phase continued when they returned home to the Charlotte area after college. Carl, who lives in Pineville, graduated from South Mecklenburg High School while Reynolds, who lives in Indian Trail, graduated from Parkwood High School.
The Barking Duck officially opened for business in 2014 in Mint Hill and they have been in their current location since 2016. Despite both working full-time jobs at American Airlines, you will find Reynolds and Carl serving up their beers Friday through Sunday at their taproom.
“We got into brewing beer because it was cheaper to brew your own beer than to buy it as college kids,” Carl said. “When the beer was good, everybody wanted some of it. When we got out of college, we started home brewing at my house.”
Encouraged by their success, the two decided to take the plunge into the craft beer business.
But what about that name – The Barking Duck?
The first part comes from a pair of labs barking while Reynolds and Carl made their home brews. The other part of the name comes from their research, or tasting beers, at Duckworth’s, which has a large selection of craft beer on its menu.
“We took the dogs from brewing our beer at home and the Duck from drinking it,” Carl said. “That is where the Barking Duck came from.”
The Barking Duck has brewed more than 30 different craft beers over the years. They always have at least six of their beers on tap. They also have guest taps from other Charlotte-area craft breweries, as well as wine, ciders and non-alcoholic drinks.
The fresh, hot popcorn is also pretty good.
The Barking Duck’s signature beer is their Banamber and that is one of the two beers that are being offered off site. Banamber is a twist on a regular Amber, as the Barking Duck uses Belgian yeast to add a banana aroma and taste to the beer. The brewery makes different batches of beer each week. Other popular Barking Duck beers are the Break Time Session IPA and Big Belly Milk Stout.
“We always brew Banamber,” Carl said.
The brewery is open Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday 2 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m.
There are several big screen televisions as well as a variety of board games. You can also fill up a growler to take the Barking Duck home.
The brewery hosted Food Truck Friday events the first Friday of the month last year and that will continue in 2018 once the weather warms up. The Barking Duck hosts five to seven food trucks on average during the event. The outside area around the taproom with its large shade trees is a perfect spot to set up chairs and a blanket.
“That will pick back up in March,” Carl said.
With its recent success, Carl said he and Reynolds hope to expand the brewery even more.
“We can expand beyond this three-barrel,” Carl said. “We have the room to do that. We would love to be all over North Carolina. That is our goal. Our goal is to not be small for long.”