There’s something around North Carolina perhaps best described as a “brew-spirit” that occurs when willing taste buds collide with lovingly created craft brews coming from more than 400 breweries here. Some of the best places to experience this spirit are the beer festivals that dot the Tar Heel landscape in the fall. In addition to offering tastings from many craft breweries, most of the festivals also feature food and live entertainment.
1 MecktoberfestSept. 15-17 & 22-24, 2023; CharlotteSee on map
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery's annual celebration has become one of the Charlotte beer scene's most anticipated events. Spanning the large brewery and biergarten, there'll be German-style food, award-winning beer, live bands and fun for the whole family.
2 Triangle Oktoberfest
2 Triangle OktoberfestOct. 6-7, 2023; CarySee on map
North Carolina's largest Oktoberfest prides itself on being the most authentically German festival, all while donating 100% of the proceeds to local charities. Take part in exciting contests – like hammer strike, stein hoisting and yodeling, just to name a few – and events such as the wiener dog races and live music. Festivities kick off with a tapping of the keg ceremony.
3 Sugar Mountain Resort's Oktoberfest
3 Sugar Mountain Resort's OktoberfestOct. 6-8, 2023; Sugar MountainSee on map
This event has been entertaining families for more than 30 years with its Bavarian food and beer, cloggers, live music, arts and crafts, costume contest and kids fun center. If you're looking to make a weekend out of it, a couple of local accommodations also offer discounts. Admission, parking and the shuttle service are all free.
4 Tour de Fat
5 Hickory Oktoberfest
5 Hickory OktoberfestOct. 13-15, 2023; HickorySee on map
Hickory has a number of ties to Germany: The city was cofounded by a man from Germany, it houses the US headquarters for several German companies and its sister city is Altenburg, Germany. So hosting an Oktoberfest celebration is a natural fit. Go for the beer tents, multiple stages for live music, KidsFest and food drive.
6 Voracious and Rare Beer & Wine Festival
6 Voracious and Rare Beer & Wine FestivalOct. 27, 2023; WilmingtonSee on map
Try craft beers you've never had and many you've never heard of from more than 40 breweries. And new in 2023 – a wine ticket! The uniqueness of this event is further exemplified by its location on the banks of the Cape Fear River as the sun sets over the water.
7 Carousel Center Beer and Wine Festival
7 Carousel Center Beer and Wine FestivalOct. 28, 2023; WilmingtonSee on map
The port city of Wilmington, where history says pirates might have enjoyed an ale or two, has built a tradition with this 22nd annual festival along the Cape Fear River downtown. Lighthouse Beer and Wine shop organizes the event, with more than 100 craft breweries and wineries serving their best.
8 OBX Brewtäg
8 OBX BrewtägOct. 28, 2023; Nags HeadSee on map
A celebration of flight and beer, OBX Brewtäg is modeled after the Red Bull Flugtag, translated to "flying day" in German. Here, contestants will be competing to see who can launch an empty 1/6-keg barrel the farthest. And a crafty selection of local and regional beer and food will be available throughout the day.
Please drink responsibly and travel safely while on your visit to North Carolina breweries and festivals. Note that a number of the festivals offer special tickets for designated drivers.