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The Story Behind Wooden Robot Brewery

Charlotte’s newest brewery already has a mascot of sorts. You’ll find him on its tap handles, a being of metal and wood. Flanking his wooden-barrel chest are two utilitarian arms, one made of a hop scoop and the other a brewer’s mash paddle.

And while this automaton doesn’t yet have a name, he embodies what founders Dan Wade and Josh Patton plan to do at Wooden Robot Brewery in South End (1440 S. Tryon St., Suite 100), which will hold a soft opening this weekend before its grand opening July 11.

“Wooden for us represents that artisanal, farmhouse, Belgian tradition,” Wade said. “And the robot represents the American innovative spirit.”

Wooden and robot might seem like two disparate things, but so too is the name Patton ascribes to the brewery: urban farmhouse. In the shadow of so much construction, Wooden Robot Brewery will brew styles once common to French and Belgian farmhands.

“I really like to think of us more of an American farmhouse brewery,” Wade said. “So we’re taking inspiration from the Belgian style yeasts, but we’re really putting our own twist on everything.”

That could mean anything from “clean” saisons to those fermented with wild yeasts like Brettanomyces, which can impart a barnyard funk, or Lactobacillus, a bacteria that can give a beer a distinct sour acidity.

The brewery’s twofold approach to American and Belgian styles will play out on its 16 taps, where the owners plan to have hoppier American styles on one eight-tap tower and the farmhouse or Belgian-inspired beers on the other.

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