We love our beer in North Carolina, with 203 craft breweries and counting.
In April, we celebrate that love with North Carolina Beer Month, when breweries and bottle shops host special events across the state. We’ve digested some of the Triangle’s best beery festivities in the coming weeks.
For the impatient, Raleigh’s BottleMixx on Creedmoor Road gets in the spirit early with an all-day kickoff event Friday (that’s tonight, March 31), offering ten N.C. beers on tap.
Two notable events Saturday get things kicking properly. The World Beer Festival at the NC State Fairgrounds ($45 – $90) does feature a cider garden and an “international beer oasis” but expect the NC Beer Garden, serving styles from roughly three dozen of the state’s breweries, to be a huge draw. Combine the local with the global and there will be 250 beers available to sample. But please, pick and choose, so you’ll live to go to next year’s festival.
Crank Arm Brewing’s Casks on Fools on Saturday is a by-the-glass celebration starting at noon and serving unique cask beers (unfiltered and unpasteurized beer served without additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure) from more than twenty state breweries including Gizmo, Fortnight, Draftline, Bombshell, Fullsteam, Aviator, Koi Pond, Sub Noir, and Haw River.
It’s truly a beer month, though, not just a weekend affair. So start concocting your excuses now for when you need to cut out of work early. This Monday, Durham’s Bottle 501 is hosting a Trophy tap takeover spotlighting Trophy Wife and other seasonal favorites. On Thursday, The Glass Jug in Durham turns over its taps to a bevy of limited release brews from Wicked Weed.
There’s also the April 8 Beer and Bacon Festival in Cary at the Booth Amphitheatre. A lineup of more than 75 beers (and wines) ventures outside state borders. And if all the sampling stirs an appetite, two tons of gourmet bacon will be prepared on site. Tickets range from $39 to $79.
One of the bigger happenings during the month is Brewgaloo 2017 in Raleigh’s City Plaza, April 21-22. Friday night is the Brewgaloo Block Party with sample-sized pours of NC brews from 6-10 p.m. Tickets are $45 and only a limited number will be sold for the 21-and-up evening (designated drivers need not purchase a ticket). Saturday, Brewgaloo takes over Fayetteville Street from 2-10 p.m. serving by the sample or by the pint. More than ninety breweries and fifty food trucks will be on hand to sate your thirst and hunger. Admission to this session is free, but you must purchase drink tickets to use when ordering beer. Pro tip: Buy them in advance to save time. From 3-5 p.m., a $25 ticket nets you a cup to use for sampling sours and barrel-aged beers.
You’ll also want to clear spots on your calendar for the Deep River Fourth Anniversary weekend party (April 7-9) in Clayton; Beer Durham’s Beer Month Party (April 7, 4:30-7:30 p.m.); the Bull City Food Swap on April 17 at Ponysaurus; an April 20 beer dinner at The Eddy in Saxapahaw; the always entertaining “Brewer’s Olympics” at Raleigh Brewing Company April 29; and “In the Company of Women” at Raleigh’s House of Hops (April 30, 2 p.m.), featuring a panel of women speaking about their experiences in the craft beer industry.
These are just a taste of the month’s events. For more go to www.ncbeermonth.com, check your favorite brewery’s web site, or visit your local bottle shop to discover what they have going on.
Of course, it’s important to remember to travel safely. Drinkers in Durham have an additional option on Friday nights beginning this week when Tap the Triangle starts its Friday Night Flights craft beer shuttle. Consisting of a custom 15-passenger bus and running from 6-11 p.m., the shuttle’s route will include hourly stops at Durty Bull, Ponysaurus, Beer Study/Starpoint Brewing, Rambler’s, Sam’s Quik Stop, and Fullsteam Brewery. You can book the $24.99 ticket at www.tapthetriangle.com.