For the past five years, local beer lovers have eagerly awaited the middle of March. Not for St. Patrick’s Day, but for Charlotte Craft Beer Week.
This year’s week – which is technically nine days – kicks off Friday with an opening reception on the roof of The Peculiar Rabbit, 1212 Pecan Ave., where you can take in a beautiful view of Charlotte’s skyline and four special “bar bites” for $20 (tickets available at the door).
Closing the week out will be the All Ale to the Queen beer carnival, held March 22 at the N.C. Music Factory. Beer will share the stage there with such sideshows as jugglers, acrobats, hula hoopers, glass eaters and belly dancers. For tickets, including options for a beer dinner the night before and a “King of Craft Session” earlier that Saturday, visit www.allaletothequeen.com.
In between, here are the highlights:
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• At Duckworth’s Grill and Taphouse’s cask festival on Saturday, you can sip from seven casks prepared just for that event. Call 704-527-5783 for tickets, which are $20 and get you a tasting glass and 6-ounce pours of each beer.
• Salud Beer Shop in NoDa opened its doors just before 2012’s Charlotte Craft Beer Week. It will celebrate two years on Saturday by tapping some limited beers from Bell’s Brewery and Founders Brewing Company, both of which hail from owner Jason Glunt’s home state of Michigan.
• Rumble in the Alley is a popular event held each year at the Common Market in Plaza Midwood. On Wednesday, March 19, a dozen or more N.C. breweries will go toe-to-toe in a blind tasting, with the winning beer put on tap afterward. Get in and cast your vote for $20, which grants you unlimited samples.
• Across town the next night, March 20, the Common Market in SouthEnd will throw its annual Freakfest, where you can enjoy Belgian styles of beer in the company of flamethrowers and belly dancers.
• Also on March 20, Vintner Wine Market will devote its 16 taps to beers from Charlotte breweries, including a one-off that Birdsong Brewing brewed with the guys from the Charlotte Beercast. Brewed with chocolate malt, cocoa nibs, vanilla beans and cinnamon, Marky Mark and the Brunchy Brunch Stout calls to mind a cinnamon roll and pays tribute to member Mark’s affinity for brunch.
• On Saturday, you can spend a whole day exploring on the SouthEnd Craft Crawl. A free trolley will whisk you to a different spot every two hours, with stops at Triple C Brewing, Good Bottle Co., Lenny Boy Kombucha (and their soon-to-open neighbors at Sycamore Brewing), Unknown Brewing, World of Beer and Common Market.
• Triple C Brewing will tap a special cask or pilot batch every day of the week, including Warstler Rye Imperial Red IPA, the winning entry in a home brewing competition with Cheers Charlotte, another local beer podcast.
• NoDa Brewing has mouthwatering beer dinners with Bonterra Dining and Wine Room on March 20 and Pure Pizza on March 22.
These are just a few of the week's highlights. You can see the rest and get details on all of it at www.charlottecraftbeerweek.org/.