Earlier this month, I stopped by the Rofhiwa Book Cafe in East Durham to chat with Naledi Yaziyo, one of the establishment’s co-owners.

While waiting for her to arrive downstairs, I ordered a “Don Dada,” a cardamom-infused stout, that was among the coffees, teas, juices, and brews listed on a chalkboard behind the store’s drink and pastry counter.

Smooth, rich, and oh so tasty, the Don Dada is the best stout beer I’ve ever had.

“I was thinking of a cocktail, like an old-fashioned, but with beer,” said the Don Dada creator, Briana Blake, who owns the Spaceway Brewing Company in Rocky Mount.

Next month, the Don Dada will be among the craft beers on tap for the Bull City’s second annual Blacktoberfest, a community beer festival that’s also set to take place in St. Louis and Atlanta.

“The first one was in Rocky Mount,” Brian Lawson, one of the event’s organizers told the INDY this week.

The Durham event will happen on October 22 in Suite Four of the Durham Bottling Company, according to a press release Wednesday from the festival organizers.

The community beer festival was created by Black Brew Culture, whose online presence declares that it is “writing, drinking and brewing a new narrative in craft beer,” while celebrating “Black beer and food culture.”

Blacktoberfest will feature “traditional, festival-style” beer booths, along with “entertainment, education and exposure,” according to the release.

Here in Durham, the event will feature recipes from 12 Black-owned breweries and 10 “collaboration brews.” James Beard Award winner Ricky Moore will team up with Spaceway Brewing in Rocky Mount, which produces the Don Dada stout.

Blake told the INDY that she’s collaborating with Moore to create an IPA beer known as the “SpaceJoint.” 

The beer’s name combines the names of the Rocky Mount brewery and Moore’s Salt Box Seafood Joint on Chapel Hill Boulevard.

The brew will be available on draft, and will rely on lager yeast and hops “that smells and tastes like a lot of grapefruit notes, pineapple and mango without using the fruit,” Blake says.

“We’re calling it the SpaceJoint to evoke a feeling of a juke joint in outer space,” Blake explains. “It’s great with a fish plate.”

Meanwhile, Durham artist Candy Carver will work with Carolina Brewing Company in Holly Springs, and the eclectic, Durham-based music collective ZOOCRU will collaborate with Bharami Brewing out of Asheville.

The Durham festival will also feature food and beer pairings by Damion “Dame” Moore of Dame’s Chicken and Waffles, Mike Monds of Marco’s 530 Asian and Italian pastas, and Zweli Williams’ Zweli’s Zimbabwean restaurant with the Full Steam Brewing Company in Durham and the Black-owned, Khonso Brewing Company out of Atlanta.

Durham festival-goers are also encouraged to attend what organizers are describing as a “close-out event,” on October 23 at the Fruit that will include a vendor market and panel discussion titled “Black Table, Black Tent: Creating Equity in the Craft Beer Industry.”

BBC was started by Mike Potter in 2015 with the goal of expanding the craft beer industry’s consumer base “by showcasing the genius and flavor Black brewers bring to it” throughout the country and globally, according to the release.

Described in the release as “an avid lover of the business and brewing of craft beer, Potter is planning to open in Durham this year, the Proximity Brewing Company.

Potter co-founded and presented “Fresh Fest Beer Fest, America’s first Black craft beer festival,” in 2018, according to the release.

The festival was significant.

Kate Bernot, writing for Sightline, which chronicles trends in the beer industry, noted in 2020, that the Fresh Fest Beer Fest was one of the most important beer festivals in the country, that attracted about 3,000 people in 2019, and “carried great influence in an American beer scene working on new paths for diversity and inclusion.”

Fresh Fest, Bernot added, reimagined the traditional beer festival “by showcasing Black-owned breweries and bringing together more artists, musicians, and other non-beer elements.”

Bernot also pointed to a 2019 survey by the Brewers Association that indicated about 90 percent of brewers and owners of breweries are white, with an accompanying “severe lack of diversity of brewery staff pouring at some events.”

Bernot also reported that Potter and a fellow co-founder of the Pittsburgh-based festival wound up in court over “assets and finances related to the festival.”

Potter was not immediately available for comment.

Prior to the legal snafu, Potter in 2019 was named one of Imbibe 75’s “People to Watch” and recognized in Time magazine’s special installment, “Changing the Face of Beer.” 

This year, he added the educational  “Black Table, Black Tent” under the BBC banner, according to the release. 

 Potter was joined in 2020 by veteran journalist Sheena Lester.

Described in the release as “a pioneer in urban music magazines,” Lester worked  as editor-in-chief of Rap Pages and XXL, as was a music editor withVibe. Lester’s decades-long journalism career includes a tenure with the Los Angeles Sentinel and online editing for several websites, including TheGrio.

Meanwhile, the Charlotte Observer reported in August that less than one percent of the nearly 8,500 craft breweries across the United States are Black-owned.

The Charlotte Observer story agreed with Sightlines: as a consequence of representing a fraction of the industry, Black brewmasters and business owners have faced equity challenges. 

“Against the odds, Black-owned craft breweries are occupying a lane that the industry can’t ignore,” the Charlotte Observer reported. “The breweries that do exist are expanding rapidly and are producing some amazing brews and convivial atmospheres to boot.”

Brian Lawson, one of the curators of Durham’s Blacktoberfest, told the INDY this week that there are currently three Black-owned breweries in the state: Spaceway, Dirtbag Ales in Hope Mills, along with Brew and Feed in Charlotte.

 “BBC’s 2022 gatherings continue the Blacktoberfest tradition of honoring the diaspora and raising our glasses to the creativity of Black craft beer brewers,” the organizers stated in the release. 

The St. Louis event will take place on October 1, and the Atlanta festival is October 15, while the Bull City will round out the revelry on October 22. 

All three Blacktoberfests are from 2 pm to 10 pm, with “early-bird entries” and “designated driver tickets” available in Atlanta and Durham.  

Click here for tickets and more information about the 2022 Blacktoberfests.

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Follow Durham Staff Writer Thomasi McDonald on Twitter or send an email to tmcdonald@indyweek.com.