For the craft beer faithful, the World Beer Festival can feel familiar after a time or two.
The twice-a-year gatherings in the Triangle tout the vast expanse of beer, but enthusiasts are drawn to the new, the special and the undiscovered. The double rice India pale ale from Kuhnhenn Brewing, a small craft brewer in Michigan, attracted quite a favorable crowd at the Durham event last fall.
For the upcoming spring festival in Raleigh, organizers are trying to keep it fresh with more new breweries. The recently announced newcomers include Goose Island from Chicago, Blue Mountain Barrel House from Virginia, No-Li Brewhouse from Washington state and Windy Hill Orchard from New York.
The newly opened Raleigh Brewing Co. and White Street Brewing in Wake Forest also will debut. (More on Raleigh Brewing below.)
Other big names returning after a break include Dogfish Head from Delaware, Olde Mecklenburg Brewery from Hickory and Starr Hill Brewing from Virginia. Tickets for the April 13 festival downtown are on sale now. For more info or to buy tickets, go to http://bit.ly/c55dYg.
Raleigh Brewing now open
Raleigh Brewing Company, the capital citys newest craft brewery, opened Saturday with six beers and other experimental batches.
The starting lineup included an English bitter (City of Blokes), a light lager (Uncommon Curiosity), a rye India pale ale (House of Clay), a Belgian golden strong (HellYesMaam), a Scottish ale (Blatherskite) and a wheat IPA lager (Love Triangle).
The experimental beers include an American wheat with blood oranges (Agent Orange) and a dry stout.
Brewer John Federal told me a few weeks ago that he expects the light lager and rye IPA to be popular both are recipes he has honed for years as a homebrewer.
The brewery is off Neil Street across from Meredith College. The tap room is open 5-10 p.m. during the week, noon-10 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.
Fortnight gets a home
Fortnight Brewing Company picked its home in Cary, my colleague Andrew Kenney recently reported. Fortnight hopes to open this summer at 1006 S.W. Maynard Road, near West Chatham Street, southwest of downtown Cary.
The 24,000-square-foot building will house the brewery, a taproom and a new branch of Raleighs American Brewmaster homebrewing store.
The warehouse was once a childrens play palace and is large enough for years of expansion, said Stuart Arnold, Fortnights chief. Other start-up brewers always come back with the same story: Our buildings too small, he said.
American Brewmaster will occupy one corner of the Fortnight brewing facility. Mark Cook, owner of the store and Brewmasters Bar and Grill, said he hopes to be in business within three months.
Its the first expansion for a store that opened in 1983. Cook has hoped to branch out for years, especially as scores of new home-based and commercial brewers have entered the local market.
What Im drinking
An escape to the North Carolina mountains needs no justification. But heres one anyway: a new brewery opened last month in Boone.
Appalachian Mountain Brewery, near Boone Mall, hit all the top marks with five solid beers when I visited in the first week.
The Kings Kolsch, a light-bodied German-style beer, is an easy drinking pint that beckoned for a summer afternoon. But the Black Gold Porter with its dark hue, chocolate and coffee aroma, and smooth finish will keep me coming back for more. For more details, go to appalachianmountainbrewery.com.
Contact John at 919-829-4698 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter @ByJohnFrank.