Beer festival on the horizon

The fourth annual Lake Norman Beer Festival takes place 3-10 p.m. Sept. 21 at Galway Hooker in Cornelius. Tickets cost $40 for general admission and $50 for VIPs who want exclusive samples 2-3 p.m. Details: www.lknbeerfest.com.

CORNELIUS – Matt Glidden wanted his brewery to be memorable.

He’d gotten into the beer brewing business to have fun, and someday, perhaps make some money. But when Glidden attended beer festivals, the Cornelius resident couldn’t remember the names of his favorite brews.

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Once he began his brewing business in 2009, Glidden made sure his brewery’s name wouldn’t be forgotten.

“That’s a big reason I came up with the name, ‘Ass Clown Brewing Company,” Glidden said.

“It’s not the only one with kind of an ‘out-there’ name. It’s definitely different, and it’s unconventional. A coworker and I used to call one another that just to be funny. It’s something you’ll remember.”

Glidden won’t forget it, if for no reason other than the hours he puts into the business.

Ass Clown Brewing Company’s founder is also its only full-time staffer. Glidden also works in the mortgage business. His advice for people looking to start a brewery?

“Keep your day job, too,” he said. “It was more expensive to get started than I expected. Going from brewing beer just for fun to doing it as a business is a challenge.”

Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce President Bill Russell appreciates Glidden’s prospering brewery.

“About one in 10 small businesses are able to succeed in their first year,” he said. “The odds are kind of overwhelming, but we’ve got a good market here and we’re seeing entrepreneurs (like Glidden) being successful. He’s built up a great following.”

Glidden started the brewery as a hobby.

“For me, beer is a passion,” he said. “It’s something I’ve enjoyed for years and when I got started, I wanted to put in ingredients that were as different (as the brewery’s name).”

Glidden has two interns help him brew beers you wouldn’t expect to encounter.

Some of his creations include raspberry jalapeno, cinnamon hazel sour, dark chocolate pumpkin, peach fig pale ale and buttered apple pie amber.

There’s no system for how Glidden conceives of a new beer. Sometimes, he said, it’s just a matter of trying new ingredients and testing flavors. Salted caramel ale is one he’s got on his watch list.

But Glidden wants to do more than make new flavors. Glidden said he is looking at expanding his operation sometime in the next six months, with the goal of producing five times as much beer as he currently sells.

“I don’t want to end up trying to be a big brewery,” he said. “But I’m looking for a way to do this in the perfect manner. I don’t want to compete with the big breweries in terms of size as much as I just want to have some good beers on the market.”

Want to visit?

Ass Clown Brewing Company is open 4-8 p.m. Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays and noon-9 p.m. Saturdays at 10620 Bailey Road, Suites E/F, Cornelius. Details: www.assclownbrewery.com.