Photo by Curt Fields
Fun and games at the Brewers Olympics at Raleigh Brewing Company
North Carolina's annual Beer Month got off to a fun, sudsy start this weekend with events across the state. Of course, the Triangle's brewers represented at bottle shops, breweries and bars.
Durham's The Glass Jug
couldn't wait for the month to arrive and launched Beer Month Thursday night, hosting an event that featured the tapping of their final keg of a collaboration with Mystery Brewing
On Friday, Raleigh's Crank Arm Brewing
hosted the official Wake County kickoff through the third-annual Casks on Fools. Offering roughly two-dozen special casks from local breweries, including a Heavy Weight Imperial Stout from Trophy Brewing
, a Pu-er Saison from Wicked Weed
, and a Brue Diamond IPA (with cocoa nibs and blood orange) from Brueprint
, the event drew a crowd. Starting at two p.m., Cask on Fools by 5:30 had packed Crank Arm both inside and on the patio. At times, it felt like I was drinking beer while riding a New York subway during rush hour. All the drinkers contributed to a good cause, too, because a portion of the proceeds went to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
and to the N.C. Brewers Guild
in North Raleigh's Brennan Station shopping center on Creedmoor Road wasn't as jam-packed, but it had its share of enthusiastic beer lovers, too. They had turned out for its all-North Carolina tap lineup. Wicked Weed, Fullsteam, Trophy, Crank Arm, Southern Pines, Big Boss, Asheville Brewing, and Ass Clown
all had offerings on hand. Ass Clown's Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Stout and an IPA collaboration between Mother Earth Brewing and Nantahala Brewing called Downstairs Mix-Up East were personal favorites—the jet black stout for its salty finish, the IPA for its smoothness.
Photo by Curt Fields
"Oh, you know, just checking out taps."
Saturday's array of activities included the Lonerider Showdown 2016 at City Limits Saloon, which began at high noon. Barone Meatball Company, Valentino's, and All-American Food Truck held down the dining options. Inside the bar, two couples slow-danced to a bar band's rendition of “The Weight” while a handful of people checked their phones. Outside, a DJ played Outkast for a generally indifferent throng. They were too busy chatting and trying assorted Lonerider creations served from casks to notice the music. Many were familiar Lonerider brews with a twist, such as the Jalapeno Hoppy Ki Yay and the Toasted Coconut Sweet Josie. I particularly enjoyed the Chocolate and Chipotle Sweet Josie's spicy sweetness.
While at the Showdown, I ran into Dave and Glenn, aka The North Carolina Beer Guys
. They were on their way to the World Beer Fest at the Fairgrounds to sample a few of the 250 beers available there. I, on the other hand, moved on to the Brewers Olympics at Raleigh Brewing Company
. Teams from area breweries donned, ahem, interesting outfits and battled in such competitions as a tug of war and a relay sack race. Neuse River Brewing
, eventual winner of the day's overall competition, was decked out like The Village People, while Raleigh Brewing wore matching velour track suits that made them look like the cast of Entourage
in a particularly sporty mood. Blood was spilled (there was more than one tumble during the sack race), beer was consumed, and a good time was had.
Don't fret if you missed the weekend's start to North Carolina Beer Month. After all, it is a month, and there are other events coming up. Highlights include:
April 6: Fullsteam tap takeover at Growler Grlz
April 7: Raleigh Brewing Company beer dinner at Oro
April 8-9: Asheville beers tap takeover at Beer Study
April 10: Fourth Annual Bull City Food & Beer Experience
April 16: Battle of the Beers at the Green Monkey
April 16: Saison de Sam's at Sam's Quik Shop
April 22–23: Brewgaloo at Raleigh City Plaza
April 28: Compass Rose Beer Dinner at Midtown Grille
Look here for a complete listing of NC Beer Month events in the Triangle and across the state.