For its third year running, the rolling hills of Rural Hill played backdrop for the North Carolina Brewer’s and Music Festival where breweries from all over the state brought pony kegs and draft boxes galore for festival goers looking for a day of craft beer and music. From small-batch stouts to top-selling IPA’s, each brewery had a dynamic blend of flavors to offer.
Tasting glasses and pretzel necklaces were also accompanied by a lineup of NC bands from Acoustic Syndicate, MilkDrive, and Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds to Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Brushfire Stankgrass, and Sol Driven Train. And the fearless ladies of The Roaming Fork food truck fed hungry festival goers with banh mi, truffle fries, and burgers galore.
But the brews were the stars of the show. Lines that stretched into the middle of the field were hard proof of how we have some amazing breweries in our backyard including Mother Earth Brewing, DuckRabbit, Natty Greene's, Big Boss, and more. But Saturday was a true representation of how lucky we are in Charlotte to have some of the best beer in the state. Triple C, NoDa Brewing Company, and Birdsong Brewing Co., to name just a few, were all there to represent Charlotte’s flourishing beer scene with a plethora of crowd favorites from Triple C’s Smoked Amber to NODA’s Hop Drop n’ Roll, but it was Free Range Brewing who took home the crown for Queen City being named “North Carolina Brewery of the Year” at this year’s festival. The brothers behind the brand poured a total of five beers throughout the day from Hop to my Heart My Darling, an imperial IPA, to Sea of Companions, a 6-gallon oyster stout made with more than two dozen oysters.
And now, just a few days after the festival’s close, NC Brewer’s and Music Festival are already well underway planning next year’s line up. Mark your calendar for May 10, 2014.