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 300 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.
Tickets for several of these festivals are limited, so it’s wise to plan and purchase in advance.
1 MecktoberfestSept. 20-22, 2019, 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 No Place Like Homeplace Beer Fest
2 No Place Like Homeplace Beer FestSept. 28, 2019, BurnsvilleSee on map
Nearly 20 North Carolina breweries and cideries, including host Homeplace Beer Co., will be on hand pouring small-batch craft beers in the courtyard of the historic Nu Wray Inn and on South Main Street. All of the participants exhibit an innovative approach to the brewing process and a commitment to showcasing local ingredients. Food trucks and live music – Moonlight Street Folk, Big Dawg Slingshots and Hustle Souls will be performing – will add to the fun.
3 Brewgrass Festival
3 Brewgrass FestivalOct. 5, 2019, AshevilleSee on map
The long-running and well-known Brewgrass Festival features more than 55 American breweries showcasing local, regional, and national craft beers against a backdrop of sounds from national and regional bluegrass musicians. The event is held in the eclectic mountain town of Asheville, which reigned four straight years as “Beer City USA” and is home to more craft breweries per capita than any U.S. city.
4 Beericana Craft Beer and Music Festival
4 Beericana Craft Beer and Music FestivalOct. 12, 2019, Holly SpringsSee on map
Come sample beer from local brewers as well as brewers from across our state and beyond at Sugg Farm Park. There will also be performances by North Carolina bluegrass bands throughout the day and some of the area’s best food trucks to go with that great beer.
5 World Beer Festival Durham
5 World Beer Festival DurhamOct. 19, 2019, DurhamSee on map
The appreciation of beer is the central theme of the long-running World Beer Festival at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, created by All About Beer magazine. Admission gets you unlimited samples from more than 250 selected craft brews, entry into the Art of Beer Experience for food and beer pairings, educational seminars and music from area bands.
6 Voracious and Rare Beer Festival
6 Voracious and Rare Beer FestivalOct. 25, 2019, WilmingtonSee on map
Try craft beers you've never had and many you've never heard of from more than 30 breweries. The uniqueness of this event is further exemplified by its location on the deck of Battleship North Carolina as the sun sets over the river.
7 Lighthouse Beer and Wine Festival
7 Lighthouse Beer and Wine FestivalOct. 26, 2019, 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 19th 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. 26, 2019, Nags HeadSee on map
A celebration of flight and beer, OBX Brewtäg is modeled after the whimsical and entertaining Red Bull Flugtag, translated to "flying day" in German. Here, contestants will be competing to see who can launch and fly 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.
9 OktoberbestVarious dates, statewide
Since 1810, the Oktoberfest has been celebrated more than 16 days in Munich, Germany, to pay tribute to beer. Around North Carolina, there are a number of opportunities to put on your lederhosen, dance a polka and enjoy beer accompanied by traditional German fare. There’s an Oktoberfest in downtown Asheville (Oct. 5) and on top of Sugar Mountain (Oct. 12-13). You can also try a different spin on the classic in Raleigh at Casktoberfest (Oct. 3), where revelers test cask-conditioned brews in a beer hall atmosphere with appropriate German cuisine.
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.