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An ‘Event-Full’ — North Carolina Beer Month

By Paul Viau | Apr 19, 2017
Photo by: Viau family CHEERS, Y'ALL — The beer festival season is upon us. Have fun and drink responsibly. Pictured, from left, are Carol Viau, Paul Viau, Pam Nolte-Viau and Rob Viau enjoying Hickory Hops in 2013.

It’s nearly the mid-point in April — the official NC Beer Month — and I hope you have acquired the NC Beer Month ‘Pint Hound’ Passport and have been putting it to good use.

To reprise my last column, ‘Pint Hound’ Passports are available at all participating North Carolina craft breweries. Just ask the brewery for a passport stamp to validate your NC Beer Month journey.

The more passport stamps you collect during April, the more beer swag you can earn. So don’t miss your chance to get a Beer Month key chain, T-shirt or all-purpose ‘Freaker’ insulating sweater that lets you ‘keep your cool’ with both bottles and cans.

Most importantly, be sure to discover new craft breweries. Asheville and Western North Carolina are blessed with an abundance of smaller craft breweries — each with its own personality, variety of beers and special events.

Three of the best North Carolina Beer Month’s best events (in my opinion) are unfortunately scheduled the same day, miles apart.

Heinzelmännchen Brewing — Sylva — 13th Anniversary — Saturday, April 22

Sylva’s ‘Gnometown Brewery,’ is celebrating its 13 years with a day-long beer garden style festival, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, April 22.

Heinzelmännchen is the oldest craft brewery in WNC, so let’s show them our appreciation. For more information, visit www.yourgnometownbrewery.com.

Pisgah Brewing Company — Black Mountain — 12th Anniversary — Saturday, April 22

Pisgah Brewing has been brewing a variety of finely crafted ales since 2005 and was the first NC brewery to use 100 percent organic grains, malts and whole-leaf hops in all its brews.

The brewery has planned a full day of musical merriment at both the Black Mountain Taproom and the Pisgah Brewing Outdoor Stage. For more information, visit www.pisgahbrewing.com.

15th Annual Hickory Hops: North Carolina Championship of Beers — Hickory — Saturday, April 22

Hickory Hops is my favorite craft beer festival, and is the one that both crowns “champions” among the many North Carolina craft breweries and recognizes homebrewers in their own competition.

More than 50 craft brewers and microbreweries will be represented this year. For more information and tickets, visit www.hickoryhops.com.

Finally, after the fun of North Carolina Beer Month winds down, be sure to visit the trio of national breweries making a home in Asheville — Oskar Blues Brewery, Sierra Nevada Brewing and New Belgium Brewing. All three have great beer festivals scheduled for the summer.

New Belgium Brewing — Tour de Fat 2017 — May 20 — Asheville

The Fat Tire Tour de Fat is back for its 18th season and this year, without question, will be the biggest and boldest yet.

The traveling philanthropic beer, music, and bike festival kicks off a 33-show season May 20 in Asheville and will wrap up Oct. 7 in Tempe, Arizona.

New Belgium has raised more than $4.5 million for partnering non-profits since its inception. This summer Tour de Fat hopes to generate more than $600,000 in support of local causes.

In addition to in Asheville headliners Third Eye Blind, a touring ensemble of artists, cirque performers, and general mayhemists will appear alongside local buskers and street performers. New Belgium Brewing will host a battle of the bands in many cities prior to the event to give local bands the chance to represent their hometown scene.

For more information, visit www.newbelgium.com/events/tour-de-fat.

Sierra Nevada Brewing — Beer Camp on Tour — June 17 — Raleigh

This eight-city national beer tour — billed as “The largest craft beer celebration” — visits NC’s state capital in June.

WNC craft breweries pouring include: BearWaters Brewing, of Canton; Bhramari Brewing Company, of Asheville; and Lazy Hiker Brewing, of Franklin. For more information, visit www.beercamp.sierranevada.com.

Oskar Blues Brewing — Burning Can Beerfest — July 21-22 — Brevard

Tickets go on sale April 17. For more information, visit www.burningcan.com.

And for more fun information about craft beer and beyond, keep reading ‘Did you know?’