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The race is on, as NC Beer Month sprints to the finish line

By Paul Viau | Apr 26, 2017
Photo by: File photo WARMING UP FOR BEER SEASON — As NC Beer Month comes to an end, the summer craft beer scene is just getting started. Runners and beer lovers will want to check out Tipping Point's 'Point-to-Point' Race Series #1  — 5 miles/5 bars/5 beers — on May 4 in Waynesville.

We’re nearing the finish line of North Carolina Beer Month, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a great time making the rounds, visiting as many North Carolina craft breweries as possible in the month of April — with my trusty drinking partner, wife and designated driver always by my side.

It’s been a lots of fun, and only one problem —“So many breweries; too little time.” And with time running out, craft beer enthusiasts are kicking it into high gear.

All-in-all, the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild has done a wonderful job of getting the word out about NC Beer Month, and the breweries we visited welcomed us with open arms and passport stamp in hand to chronicle our journey.

Green Man Brewery couldn’t find its passport stamp on the day we were there, so they substituted a smiley-face stamp. It’s the easiest to spot on my passport.

About that passport — To qualify for prizes, your NC Beer Month Passport must be submitted to NC Beer Month Passport, P.O. Box 27921, Raleigh, NC, 27921 by snail mail, or uploaded to bit.ly/ncbeerpassport, no later than May 1, 2017.

You don’t have to race to the post office, however. According to the upload site, passports will be accepted through Dec. 31, 2017, but prizes will only be awarded “as supplies last.”

While on the subject of races, runners take note. The second of four, five-mile ‘Race to the taps’ sponsored by Mix 96.5, takes place at Asheville’s New Belgium Brewing, Saturday, April 29, so if you are a runner, and you haven’t yet stamped your passport at New Belgium, here’s your big chance.

FYI, the remaining ‘Race to the Taps’ events take place Saturday, Sep. 30, at Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard, and Saturday, Oct. 28, at Wedge Brewery in Asheville (the original Wedge Studios location in the River Arts District,) For more information like ‘Race to the Taps’ on Facebook.

Tipping Point Brewing's  — 'Point-to-Point' Race Series #1  — 5 miles/5 bars/5 beers

Meanwhile, in Waynesville, Tipping Point Brewing will be hosting a 5-mile race of its own, May 4, taking runners five miles, to five bars for five beers. It’s called Tipping Point’s ‘Point-to-Point Race #1,’ and the race has a poker twist.

Tipping Point owner, Jon Bowman, is an avid runner and (even as I write this) is competing in ‘The World Series of Poker’ at Harrah’s Cherokee. We hope he did well, and we also wish all runners competing in the ‘Point-to-Point Race #1’ good luck.

The race starts and finishes at Tipping Point Tavern, 190 N. Main St., in Waynesville, with the start at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 4.

Runners may choose their own route but must stop at all five bars: Tipping Point, Watering Hole, Frog Level Brewing, Anastasia's Ales and Boojum Brewing. At each stop, participating runners will get one 12-oz. and one playing card.

Prizes will be awarded for fastest male, fastest female and best poker hand.

Registration is from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. May 4, with a racers' meeting at 6:15 p.m. The race starts at 6:30 p.m. Cost for the event is $20 per runner. For information, call 828-246-9230.

I will be walking/running/driving in the event — running the first leg to Boojum Brewing just up the street. Next, I’ll walk/run (all downhill) to Frog Level Brewing. My wife will pick me up there and drive me to the Anastasia’s Ales in Hazelwood, and then to the Watering Hole. My final leg of the race to Tipping Point Tavern is all uphill, so (with four pints of beer in me) I think I’ll stick with chauffeur service, and hope for a good poker hand.

That’s my race plan for the moment. See y’all there.