Raise a Pint to Fall Beer Festivals

Lighthouse Beer & WineRaise a Pint to Fall Beer Festivals

Taking place Oct. 27 on the deck of Battleship North Carolina, the Voracious & Rare Beer Festival is a highlight of Wilmington Beer Week

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 200 breweries here. These local beers often capture and hint at places and things that make an area special, and certainly lend unique flavor to them.

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 presenting opportunities to sample multiple craft brews, most of the festivals also feature food and live entertainment. Many also benefit local charities.

Tickets for most festivals are limited, so it’s wise to plan in advance and purchase early.

September

Beericana Craft Beer and Music Festival
Sept. 9, 2017, Holly Springs
Come sample beer from local brewers as well as brewers from across the state and beyond. 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.

Charlotte Oktoberfest
Sept. 9, 2017, Charlotte
While taking place early for the Oktoberfest season, this is one of the largest beer festivals in the Southeast and was named one of the top 10 fall beer festivals in the country. This year's event continues at a new location, Symphony Park, and will feature more than 350 beers from 100-plus regional, national and international breweries, including many craft breweries from North Carolina. Attendees will also enjoy food and live music.

Brewgrass Festival
Sept. 16, 2017, Asheville
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 more breweries per capita than any U.S. city.

Co-Hops Beer Fest
Sept. 23, 2017, Burlington
This gathering sponsored by a community-owned grocery co-op bills itself as “a North Carolina only mix-a-six festival” where attendees sample the state’s craft beers and take home a six-pack of local brews. The setting in downtown Burlington is a pleasant stroll from the Burlington Amtrak Station, making access easy and carefree from Charlotte, the Triad and the Triangle.

Mecktoberfest
Sept. 22-24, 2017, Charlotte
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery's eighth 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.

October

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. 7) and on top of Sugar Mountain (Oct. 14-15). You can also try a different spin on the classic in Raleigh at Casktoberfest (Oct. 5), where revelers test cask-conditioned brews in a beer hall atmosphere with appropriate German cuisine.

World Beer Festival Durham
Oct. 14, 2017, Durham
The appreciation of beer is the central theme of the long-running World Beer Festival, which is sponsored by All About Beer Magazine and dedicated to exploring ingredients, brewing methods and the history behind beer styles. 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.

River City Rhythm & Brews
Oct. 21, 2017, Elizabeth City
Now in its fourth year, this festival is a celebration of North Carolina craft beer (and wine and cider) and music, taking place on the portico of the Museum of the Albemarle.

Voracious & Rare Beer Festival
Oct. 27, 2017, Wilmington
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.

OBX Brewtäg
Oct. 28, 2017, Nags Head
A celebration of flight and beer, OBX Brewtäg is modeled after the whimsical and entertaining Red Bull Flutag, 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 furthest. And a crafty selection of local and regional beer and food will be available throughout the day.

Lighthouse Beer and Wine Festival
Oct. 28, 2017, Wilmington
The port city of Wilmington, where history says pirates might have enjoyed an ale or two, has built a tradition with this 16th 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. The festival now culminates Wilmington Beer Week: a week-long series of beer dinners, tastings and special activities around town.

November

Black Friday Cask Festival
Date to be announced, Raleigh
If you prefer sipping to shopping the day after Thanksgiving, this is the perfect event. Join other brew enthusiasts at Lynnwood Brewing Concern to sample specialty keg beers from North Carolina breweries, many specially dry hopped with unique ingredients added. Food trucks and a DJ add to the atmosphere.

Please drink responsibly and travel safely while on your visit to our North Carolina breweries and festivals. Note that a number of the festivals offer special tickets for designated drivers.

Gary Carter is an Asheville-based travel writer who covers a range of topics for magazines, online publications and his blog, Eliot’s Tales 4 Gen B.

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