It’s NC Beer Month — Five Ways to Celebrate

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Brewer during a tour

Tour a brewery to celebrate NC Beer Month.

April is NC Beer Month, and there are many ways to celebrate. So whether you’re a new or seasoned craft beer lover, here are five ideas for how to celebrate.

Tour a local brewery. Not all breweries offer tours, but many do, and some do a really great job of showcasing how their product is brewed. Most brewery websites will give the time and details of the tours. Some charge for their tours, usually with a beer reward (and a glass) at the end. Others offer free tours, but you buy your own beer. Know what a mash tun is? The four ingredients in beer? Yeah, you definitely need a tour!

Visit your local bottle shop and try some NC beer. Some grocery stores now carry a good selection of NC beer, but without the expertise you’ll find in a bottle shop. Explore the different ingredients that give beer its taste – are you more of a hoppy — bitter, citrusy — beer person, or do you prefer the caramel, coffee flavors of malt? Not sure where to start? Take this NC Beer Month quiz to find out your beer style.

Attend a beer tasting event. There are lots of them in April, from the mountains to the coast. Take the opportunity to try something you haven’t tried before. Some events offer unlimited tastings for the price of a ticket; at others, you pay as you go for what you taste.

Set out on a beer trail. Find an NC community with several breweries, maybe even some within walking distance of each other. Could be one of NC’s beer meccas, like Asheville or Raleigh. Some areas offer incentives to visit all their breweries, like the Raleigh Beer Trail. A new app from Our State Magazine helps you find breweries around North Carolina.

Experiment with beer and food pairings. Love Mexican food? Ask for something light and refreshing to offset the heaviness of the food. Chocolate dessert? Try a nice dark porter or stout. Whatever you do, make sure that your favorite restaurant serves a good selection of NC beer.

Two beer glasses

What’s your favorite beer? Try something new for NC Beer Month.

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NC Beer Month: Five fun ways to celebrate

pouring glass of beer

More than 50 breweries will be pouring at Brewgaloo.

Not that every day, week or month shouldn’t be NC Beer something, but April is officially NC Beer Month. And in recognition, there are about a million beer-related events, opportunities and breweries to explore. What’s stopping you?

Here are five opportunities in the Triangle area – my home – and beyond for you to get your NC Beer groove on and celebrate NC Beer Month.

  1. Tour de Brew, Raleigh, March 28: What could be better than beer and biking? Okay, so it’s a few days shy of April, but Natty Greene’s Raleigh brewery is hosting bike rides to breweries to raise money for clean water in Africa on Saturday, March 28. Participating breweries include Raleigh Brewing, Crank Arm, Trophy Brewing, Nickelpoint, Big Boss and Natty Greene’s. Rides range from 18.6 miles to 6.8 miles to a 1.6 mile run/jog. Riders can enjoy a pre- and post-ride party. Information and registration: http://tourdebrew.org/march-28-2015-triangle
  2. World Beer Festival, Raleigh, April 11: Has it really been 10 years since the World Beer Festival came to downtown Raleigh? Well, yes it has, and this year promises “four beer festivals for one ticket.” In addition to all the usual festival fun, there will be a “Beers Made by Walking Festival,” inspired by ingredients you might find on a hike; “Belgian Bier Festival” and the always popular “NC Beer Festival,” with 50 NC beers from 30 local breweries. This year’s $50 ticket promises something more – 4 oz. beer pours – and something less – smaller crowds than past festivals. More at: http://allaboutbeer.com/gather-for-beer/world-beer-festival/raleigh-nc/
  3. Brewgaloo, Raleigh, April 25: A downtown street festival with beer, bands and food trucks, Brewgaloo offers great access to NC breweries, but without the cover charge. Participants can purchase beer tickets — $5 a pint or $5 for five 3-oz. pours – in advance or in person at the event. By far, the shorter ticket lines were for “advance sales,” but either way, you’ll have to show your ID and pick up your official Brewgaloo pint glass. Tickets and brewery list: http://shoplocalraleigh.org/brewgaloo/
  4. Sierra Nevada Taproom now open, Asheville: There are more reasons than you can name for a beer lover to make the trek to Western NC to enjoy the Asheville brewery culture. In fact, Asheville is the host city for this year’s national Beer Bloggers Conference in July. A new and long-awaited attraction is the taproom for the East Coast Sierra Nevada Brewery in Mills River, just outside Asheville. Sign up online for 90-minute brewery tours and tastings: http://www.sierranevada.com/brewery/north-carolina/brewery-tour
  5. Mother Earth Brewery, Chef and the Farmer and the new O’Neil Boutique Hotel, Kinston: At the opposite end of the state, Kinston is rapidly becoming a destination for beer, fine dining (reservations strongly recommended) and now even a seven-room boutique hotel in a former downtown Kinston bank. In addition to great beer selections, Mother Earth offers spirits and a swanky taproom that rivals anything you would find in a bigger city. The free brewery tour features lots of sustainability features that won the brewery the title of “first LEED-certified brewery in an existing facility.” Brewery information: http://www.motherearthbrewing.com/ 

These brewery events and opportunities are only the tip of the beer iceberg. Find more NC Beer Month news and events at http://www.ncbeermonth.com/.

two beer glassses

Brewgaloo, downtown Raleigh