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Charlotte Craft Beer Week starts Friday

SANTA ROSA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Russian River Brewing Company customers clink their glasses while drinking the newly released Pliny the Younger triple IPA beer on February 7, 2014 in Santa Rosa, California.  Hundreds of people lined up hours before the opening of Russian River Brewing Co. to taste the 10th annual release of the wildly popular Pliny the Younger triple IPA beer that will only be available on tap from February 7th through February 20th. Craft beer aficionados rank Pliny the Younger as one of the top beers in the world. The craft beer sector of the beverage industry has grown from being a niche market into a fast growing 12 billion dollar business, as global breweries continue to purchase smaller regional craft breweries such this week's purchase of New York's Blue Point Brewing by AB Inbev.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SANTA ROSA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Russian River Brewing Company customers clink their glasses while drinking the newly released Pliny the Younger triple IPA beer on February 7, 2014 in Santa Rosa, California. Hundreds of people lined up hours before the opening of Russian River Brewing Co. to taste the 10th annual release of the wildly popular Pliny the Younger triple IPA beer that will only be available on tap from February 7th through February 20th. Craft beer aficionados rank Pliny the Younger as one of the top beers in the world. The craft beer sector of the beverage industry has grown from being a niche market into a fast growing 12 billion dollar business, as global breweries continue to purchase smaller regional craft breweries such this week's purchase of New York's Blue Point Brewing by AB Inbev. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Getty Images

The first Charlotte Craft Beer Week was held back in 2010, before all but one of the city’s local breweries had opened their doors. As more breweries, bars and bottle shops opened in the Queen City, the number of events held during the week rose as well.

But look at the calendar for the 2016 CCBW, which runs from Friday, March 11 to Sunday, March 20, and you might not see as many events as the week boasted in years past. That’s by design, said CCBW organizer Jason Reiner.

“In the past, we’ve always focused on the quantity of the events,” said Reiner. “I’m not a numbers guy, per se. I don’t care if we have 100 different events. I’d rather have 15 awesome events that everybody loves.”

The beer week was started by Darrin Pikarsky, who also founded The Charlotte Beer Club in 2008. Reiner was the beer club’s first member, helping Pikarsky over the years with events for both the club and beer week. Pikarsky recently moved to Florida, and so Reiner has taken on a more active role in planning the beer week.

“I’m trying to make it more Charlotte-centric,” said Reiner. “The Charlotte market has grown. We have a lot more breweries, beer shops and Charlotte-based businesses. It is Charlotte Craft Beer Week, after all.”

For the full CCBW lineup, visit www.charlottecraftbeerweek.org. Here are some of the key events of the week:

#CLTBEER Tap Takeovers

This year, there will be a trio of “#CLTBEER Tap Takeovers” in which bars will tap a large lineup of beers brewed locally. Brewers and owners from some of these breweries will be on hand at these events to talk about the beer, according to Reiner.

Vintner Wine Market has held a tap takeover for several years during CCBW, and will once again dedicate their taps to Charlotte breweries at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15. Also hosting tap takeovers this year will be the Flying Saucer at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 14, and Queen City Q at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16.

Beertopia

The big kickoff for the week is actually just over the border in Fort Mill, where this Saturday Grapevine Wine will host their annual Beertopia festival. This event has usually marked the start of the beer week, but if you don’t have tickets (it’s sold out) you have plenty of other options.

Craft Freedom Launch Party

On Friday at 6 p.m., The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery will host a Craft Freedom Launch Party. Several breweries will be pouring at the event, which aims to educate the public on a self-distribution limit that breweries like OMB and NoDa Brewing want to see raised.

Craft Crawl 2016

Hop on a trolley and hit 12 local beer spots from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 12 during Historic South End’s Craft Crawl 2016. See a full list of the stops here.

Rumble in the Alley

The Common Market in Plaza Midwood on Wednesday will once again play host to Rumble in the Alley, in which 15+ breweries will go head-to-head in a blind tasting.

Freakfest

The South End Common Market will host Freakfest for the last time at that location, bringing in lots of local beers as well as a “freak show.”

Cask festival

For the sixth year in a row, Duckworth’s Grill and Taphouse will hold a cask festival at the Park Road location. Tickets, which are $25 and get you six-ounce pours from eight breweries, can be purchased by calling 704-527-5783.

South End Spring Fling

The closer of CCBW will be the South End Spring Fling, held at the new Bulldog Beer and Wine location. Tickets are $10 and include two beers, live music, a raffle ticket and more.

For more information on these events and the full CCBW lineup, visit www.charlottecraftbeerweek.org.

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