Pintful: North Carolina brewers hire new leader, debut winter seasonals

jfrank@newsobserver.comNovember 5, 2013 

  • What’s on tap International Stout Day

    Noon Friday at Apex Beer Dispensary, 112 N. Salem St., Apex

    The Apex bottle shop will offer special stout tastings all week, culminating Friday for the celebration of International Stout Day. While you’re there, pick up new bottles on the shelves from two local brewers, Mystery Brewing and Raleigh Brewing. Info:

    Southern Season’s Beer Extravaganza

    3-7 p.m. Saturday at Southern Season, 201 S. Estes Drive, Chapel Hill

    If the second annual beer extravaganza is anything like the first, expect lots of beer and a big crowd. About 10 North Carolina breweries are expected to offer tastings, in addition to national breweries. The winners of the homebrew competition will be announced at 5 p.m. Music and food. Advance tickets are $5 or $8 at the door. Info:

    Homebrew for Hunger

    12-3 p.m.; 4-7 p.m. Nov. 16 at West End Public, 462 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill

    The annual homebrew festival features dozens of amateur and professional brewers as part of a fundraiser for PORCH, a local hunger relief nonprofit. Tickets are $20 and selling fast. Pintful readers who attend can find me to taste a special bourbon barrel-aged chocolate pecan stout I brewed just for them. Info:

With North Carolina’s craft beer scene booming, the association that represents the state’s craft breweries is tapping a new leader.

The N.C. Brewers Guild hired Margo Knight Metzger as its new executive director. Metzger, who lives in Raleigh, is currently the public relations director at the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development, an arm of the state’s commerce department.

Metzger, 34, is familiar with the state’s craft beer industry after helping to organize N.C. Beer Month in April. A UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, she worked in marketing for a beer and wine wholesaler and led the N.C. Wine and Grape Council before joining the state’s tourism office.

“We are thrilled to bring Margo on board,” said Sean Lilly Wilson, the guild president and owner of Fullsteam Brewery in Durham. “While we had an impressive slate of highly qualified candidates, Margo’s extensive experience in government relations, tourism and the alcohol industry made her the perfect fit.”

Metzger, who begins her new job Jan. 2, said she leaves her state government post with “mixed emotions.” “It has been a privilege to serve my beloved home state and an honor to work on behalf of the incredible people and destinations in North Carolina,” she told friends and colleagues in an email.

She replaces former executive director Win Bassett, who announced his departure in April to attend a graduate school program at Yale University. The guild posted the job in June and spent months interviewing candidates before selecting Metzger.

The new executive director will take the helm as the guild looks to play a more prominent role in promoting the state’s craft beer industry. The two-page description for the job suggests the guild wants to boost its lobbying presence at the state legislature, add more breweries to its membership and organize an annual N.C. beer festival as a fundraiser for the organization.

Mark your calendars

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The first winter seasonal releases begin this month with two special North Carolina beers.

With big fanfare, Highland Brewing will debut its Cold Mountain on Nov. 14 at the brewery in Asheville. The spiced winter ale with flavors of vanilla and hazelnut is one of the most sought-after beers in the state. The release party starts at 4 p.m. with special casks, bottle sales and live music. Expect the beer to hit Triangle bottle shops the following week. More details at

On the other side of the state, more than 1,000 people are anticipated at Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston for the release of Silent Night on Nov. 23. The imperial stout aged in oak bourbon barrels draws beer fans from across the Southeast. Last year, the brewery sold out the day after the release, but Mother Earth is expecting a bigger crowd this year.

The festivities begin at 1 p.m. Each person can buy three bottles. Arrive early to get at the front of the line. All four years of Silent Night, dating back to 2010, will be on tap for the party and Counter Culture Coffee from Durham will be pouring a special blend used in this year’s beer. More details at

What I’m tasting

Another burly stout recently arrived on the local beer scene. The oddly named Steak Cake Stout from newcomer Double Barley Brewing in Wilson’s Mills touts a bold 10 percent alcohol content but is mellow on the palate. The roasty aroma and chocolate notes are nuanced. It’s an impressive first offering from the new Johnston County brewer. Find it on tap at select Triangle bars and at the brewery. Info:

Contact John at 919-829-4698 or

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