Pintful

Pintful: NC Beer Month expands its spotlight on craft beer scene

jfrank@newsobserver.comMarch 25, 2014 

  • Don’t miss these N.C. Beer Month events

    Dozens of events across the state will celebrate the state’s craft beer scene in April. The list below includes a few highlights. Find the full list at ncbeermonth.com/events.

    N.C. Brewers’ Collaborative Kickoff Party

    12-5 p.m. Saturday, White Street Brewing in Wake Forest

    Four North Carolina breweries are combining to launch Beer Month with a special tasting of barrel-aged and wild ales, paired with two discussion panels featuring top brewers. Tickets cost $10, seating is limited. Info: goo.gl/SSzoYm.

    Cask on Fools

    Tuesday 3-10 p.m. Crank Arm Brewing in Raleigh

    Fifteen Wake County breweries all in one spot. The county’s breweries are each bringing a different cask beer to share on April Fools’ Day. Expect all sorts of unique ingredients and hops thrown into these lightly carbonated ales to challenge your palate. Info: ncbeermonth.com/event/casks-on-fools.

    World Beer Festival – Raleigh

    12-4 p.m.; 6-10 p.m. April 5, Moore Square in Raleigh

    Unlimited samples of more than 250 craft and specialty beers from breweries across the world. Tickets cost $45. Info: goo.gl/NUQe8W.

    Brewery Olympics

    5-9 p.m. April 19, Raleigh Brewing in Raleigh

    Six Triangle craft breweries will battle in competitions such as keg stacking and grain bag carrying while spectators taste special cask beers and vote on their favorites. Info: ncbeermonth.com/event/brewery-olympics.

    Brewgaloo Beer Festival

    2-10 p.m. April 26 in Raleigh’s City Plaza

    Local craft breweries will offer tastings, with local bands and food trucks adding to the fun. Free to attend but beer sampling costs money. Info: shoplocalraleigh.org/care-2/brewgaloo/.

    Hickory Hops Brew Festival

    1-7 p.m. April 26 in downtown Hickory

    One of the state’s premier beer festivals with breweries from across the state sampling their brews. It coincides with the 2014 Carolinas Championship of Beer contest. Tickets start at $30. Info: hickoryhops.com.

This year, N.C. Beer Month comes stamped with a gold seal.

An official proclamation from Gov. Pat McCrory marks April’s celebration of the state’s craft beer scene, reflecting just how much the second annual event has matured.

It mirrors the growing North Carolina craft brewing industry, now boasting about 100 breweries and an estimated $791 million economic impact.

“It’s really important to us that the leaders of this state recognize the positive impact craft beer has in North Carolina on the manufacturing economy, but also in tourism,” said Margo Knight Metzger, executive director of the N.C. Craft Brewers Guild.

“It gives real credence to this industry as not some little niche industry but something that is really blossoming and becoming really important to the economy of this state.”

The monthlong spotlight is designed to indulge craft beer fans, lure out-of-towners and introduce newcomers to the state’s beer scene with special one-time brews and events.

“The goal at the end of Beer Month is to have created a whole lot more fans of North Carolina craft beer,” Knight Metzger said. “Our goal is to really just get the word out.”

It starts Saturday with an early kickoff party at White Street Brewing in Wake Forest featuring special beers and discussion panels with guild members. The following week, on April 5, the World Beer Festival comes to Raleigh.

The big ticket this year is a raffle to win a “brewmaster’s experience.” The winner gets a chance to create and brew a special beer in a two-day immersion at NoDa Brewing in Charlotte. Brian Mister, event coordinator at NoDa, said they’ve never offered such a behind-the-scenes peek. The winner will get to brew a 10-gallon batch.

The entire beer month effort is a collaboration between the guild and the N.C. Division of Tourism. Knight Metzger helped launch it a year ago as head of public relations at the state’s tourism office.

The inaugural celebration drew attention from publications across the state and nation, touting the fact that North Carolina has more breweries than any other Southern state. To buy that level of advertising, she said, would have cost $2.3 million.

“We really made a big impact,” Knight Metzger said. “Part of what we want to do is elevate the reputation of North Carolina craft beer so that people want to travel to North Carolina and enjoy our craft beer.”

Contact John at 919-829-4698 or jfrank@newsobserver.com.

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