RALEIGH, NC—North Carolina, one of the nation’s top beer states, celebrates the craftsmanship of 100 breweries and destinations that embrace it with the return of NC Beer Month in April 2014.
NC Beer Month, co-sponsored by the North Carolina Division of Tourism and the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild, directs travelers to a rising range of beerscapes, from brewery-rich cities and welcoming towns to unexpected finds in lesser-known places. Major festivals, singular events, special-edition beers, lodging packages, beer dinners and brew schools showcase the breadth and depth of the state’s appeal.
Among the highlights:
- Kinston Beer Weekend: Three-day event featuring a beer dinner (Chef & the Farmer with Mother Earth Brewing); a downtown Barbecue, Oysters & Beer Bash; Mother Earth Brewing’s Neuse River Brews Cruise; and breakfast on the world’s only full-size replica of a Confederate ironclad.
- Blowing Rock Beer Retreat: An overnight stay at Blowing Rock Ale House & Inn with dining at the Ale House Restaurant and a class with the Blowing Rock Ale brewery.
- Mountain getaways: Savings of 25 percent on lodging, food and recreation (mountain biking, zip lining, kayaking and more) from a host of businesses in Brevard. And near Sylva, specials on a stay at Sunset Farm Cabins plus a tour of Heinzelmännchen Brewery, two engraved sports mugs and a copy of “Your Gnometown Cookbook.”
- Beer dinners: Including Good Food Award winner Sean Lily Wilson (Fullsteam) with James Beard award winner Andrea Reusing (Lantern) in Chapel Hill; Aviator Beer Co. with Carolina Crossroads in Chapel Hill; and Heinzelmännchen Brewery and Innovation Brewing with City Lights Café in Sylva.
- Hickory Hops: Festival featuring broad representation of North Carolina craft beer, with 40 microbreweries and the Carolinas Championship of Beer.
- World Beer Festival Raleigh and Brewgaloo: Two festivals showcasing the range of taste in the Capital City, the first offering North Carolina beer in an international context, the second zeroing in on the local — craft beer, food trucks and entertainment.
- New releases: A Scotch ale from Highland Brewing in Asheville, kicking off its “20 Beers for 20 Years” anniversary celebration. Also, new releases from Deep River Brewing in Clayton, marking its one-year anniversary; Tripel Overhead Bourbon Barrel Aged Belgian Tripel at Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston; and a raspberry wheat collaboration from Heinzelmännchen Brewery and Innovation Brewing in Sylva.
- Taverns and Trolleys: Tour through historic Edenton for a view of Colonial America’s connection to beer and drinking culture. Also on tap: Brews on the Bay, a pig picking with craft beer, and Boogie on Broad with The Embers, a bayside street dance.
- Downtown Walkabout: An afternoon stroll through the quaint mountain town of Blowing Rock for local beer samples, treats, entertainment and specials.
North Carolina’s profile as a destination for beer lovers has risen dramatically in the past decade. With more than triple the number of craft breweries, North Carolina ranks 10th nationally and has the most breweries of any state east of Texas and south of Pennsylvania, according to 2012 figures from the Brewers Association. The East Coast expansions of Oskar Blues in Brevard (2012), Sierra Nevada in Mills River (2014) and New Belgium in Asheville (2015) compound the interest among beer travelers.
Visit NCBeerMonth.com between now and the end of April to tap into celebrations from the mountains to the coast. For a map of the state’s breweries, check out NCBeer.org. And for travel planning, head to VisitNC.com.