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Bottoms up in the Tar Heel State
April is N.C. Beer Month, where suds shine
Published Thursday, April 24, 2014 5:15 am
by Michaela L. Duckett

With more than 100 breweries, North Carolina boasts more craft breweries than any other state in the South, according to a Beer Association survey.

Each April the state rings in spring with a newly-brewed tradition: NC Beer Month, a testament to the state’s growing influence in the industry. 

In the past few years, the state has received many accolades including a host of “bucket list” beers from Spring Brew, a 2012 World Beer Cup Gold Award winner from Wilmington’s Front Street Brewery, to First Frost, a Good Food Award winner from Durham’s Fullsteam Brewing

After a four-year reign as Beer City USA, Asheville ranks as a favorite U.S. beer destination. Beer lovers can tap into 18 breweries, half a dozen beer festivals and the popular Asheville Brews Cruise.

Not to be outdone, Charlotte appears to be after Asheville’s sudsy crown. The Queen City’s hops are growing in popularity with nearly a dozen craft breweries in operation or on the way and even more just outside the city.

In addition to being a popular destination for beer aficionados, North Carolina is also revolutionizing the industry in other ways. It’s home to the nation’s first wind-powered brewery (Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills) and the first LEED Gold brewery (Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston).

To commemorate the second annual NC Beer Month, cities throughout the state are celebrating with events and offerings including tours, tastings, dinners, classes, festivals and lodging packages.

In honor of the month-long beer fête, toast North Carolina’s beer craftsmanship and the destinations where it thrives with these fun and hoppy happenings:

• Venture to SouthPark for the sixth installment of Wolfgang Puck Pizza|Bar’s Cooked, Corked & Poured series on April 24. It’s a dining experience to remember as Chef Scott and Chef Stephen prepare a special multi-course meal uniquely designed for pairing with brews from Big Boss Brewery. Reservations required. Call (704) 295-0101 to reserve your seat.

• The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Louisiana Spring Fest on Saturday, April 26. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Tickets include admission, live entertainment, a pint of fresh OMB beer, a raffle ticket and a plate of freshly cooked crawdads and jambalaya with all the fixin’s. Enjoy live Cajun music from 1:30-3:30 p.m. and the sounds of the ToneBlazers Bluegrass Band from 4-7 p.m. Visit www.OldeMeckBrew.com for details.

• Head to Greensboro this weekend for the Tap ‘N’ Run 4K, April 26 at 2 p.m.  During this “leave-the-kids-at-home-and-let-off-some-steam” event, teams with group concepts dress up in hilarious costumes and drink beer while running/walking/skipping/hopping and potato-sack racing through a 4-kilmoter course with multiple “chug stations” strategically-placed throughout. Awards will be given for “Best ‘Stache,” “Most Unique Team Concept,” “We Wear Short Shorts,” “Nastiest Belcher,” “Drunkest Duo,” “Most Creative Team Name” and “The Largest Squad.” Visit www.TapNRun.com for details.

• The fourth annual North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival will be held May 10 at historic Rural Hill in Huntersville with a special Campers Concert May 9. The family friendly festival features free tasting, rock music, food and vendors. Onsite camping is available by reservation, which can be made online at www.NCBrewsMusic.com. All proceeds from NCBMF will go towards the preservation and advancement of Historic Rural Hill and its educational mission.

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