Our beer-loving, Bavarian brethren (say that three times fast) aren’t the only ones hoisting steins this season. With fall comes a variety of beer festivals across the Carolinas.
World Beer Festival Durham, presented by All About Beer Magazine (full disclosure: I’m an employee of that magazine), will celebrate its 20th year on Saturday, Oct. 10. Things actually kick off the day before, with a night of seasonal beers from around 20 breweries called “Durham’s Largest Happy Hour.” Those attending the main event on Saturday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park can choose between general admission or VIP tickets to two sessions: noon-4 p.m. or 6-10 p.m. Details: www.allaboutbeer.com.
It sees most of its action in summer, but the N.C. coast is beautiful in the fall, too. Even more so when there’s a beer festival in town. The Lighthouse Beer and Wine Festival, presented by the folks behind Wilmington’s longstanding Lighthouse Beer and Wine, will again bring their beer festival to North Waterfront Park (right on the banks of the Cape Fear River) from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24. They will also host the Voracious and Rare Beer Festival the night before, on the deck of the Battleship North Carolina battleship, moored in the river, from 6 to 9 p.m. Details: www.lighthousebeerandwine.com.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has long held a popular Oktoberfest celebration at its brewery in Chico, Calif. Now, they’re bringing the festival to their beautiful new brewery in Mills River, about halfway between Asheville and Hendersonville. The first-time event will be held in the brewery’s front lawn area from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24. A $40 ticket gets you a German meal, a commemorative stein and a soft pretzel or a beer. Details: www.sierranevada.com.
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OK, this one’s not a beer festival – but what’s fall without apple cider? The cider industry is booming in North Carolina, a state known as one of the nation’s premiere apple growers. Try a variety of ciders – including many local options – at Asheville’s CiderFest NC, held at the WNC Farmers Market, 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7. Details: www.ciderfestnc.com.
At the Greenville Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, Nov. 14, you can enjoy beers from a sizeable selection of South Carolina breweries, as well as regional and national options. The festival also has distinguishes itself not only through its beer selection, but througha variety of seminars on beer and brewing as well. Details: www.greenvillecraftbeerfestival.com.
For nine years, people have enjoyed one-off, cask-conditioned beers at the Black Friday Cask Festival, held inside Durham’s Triangle Brewing Co. This year’s is from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27. N.C. brewers will dispense their beers from casks, meaning the beers will be naturally carbonated and served a bit warmer than usual. Details: www.trianglebrewery.com/black-friday.
Also held in Bull City will be Funk Durham II, the second-year of this celebration of all beers funky, wild and sour. The event will take place at The Rickhouse on Saturday, Dec. 12, providing you one more festival prior to Christmas. Details: www.facebook.com/funkdurham.
Suds scholar and author Daniel Hartis writes the Beer Here column published Fridays in the Observer’s CLT section.