If you're a craft beer lover who has done your homework, then you know there are tons of events going on every single day throughout Charlotte Craft Beer Week - happening March 15-24. Unless you're planning to take the week off from work or you're a professional beer taster (and if you are, how do I sign up for that job?), then there's no way you can make it to every event.
So, which ones are worth your time? Which are the creme de la creme of beer tasting events? I talked to Darrin Pikarsky, founder of Charlotte Beer Week, to ask him what event would he choose if he could only attend one event per day. Here are his top picks!
Friday, March 15 - Kickoff at Taco Mac South Park
Pikarsky suggests the Kickoff because it will be a very educational event from brewers, owners and managers of some great national breweries. Some of these include Belle's Brewery, Sweet Water Brewery, and Southern Tier. He says that this is a very affordable event at only $25 for three hours of unlimited pours for 16-18 beers. Tickets are recommended to be purchased ahead of time at the Taco Mac website.
Saturday, March 16 - VBGB Big Wood Event
Big wood beers are those that have been aged in wooden barrels. These can be whiskey or bourbon barrels, or even wine barrels, so that the beers take on the flavor of the barrels. Pikarsky suggests this event because hard to find beers will be featured. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the event.
Sunday, March 17 - Duckworth's Annual Cask Festival
A cask is just another word for keg, and cask beers are the freshest form of beer you can get. The beers are placed in the cask immediately after brewing and rush shipped to get them to their destination so the beers are very fresh. According to Pikarsky, the beer ferments in the cask during the shipment process rather than fermenting in the brewery. National and local breweries' cask beers will be featured at this event.
Monday, March 18 - White Elephant Bottle Party at NoDa Brewing
Pikarsky points out that this event will be held at "one of Charlotte's best brewerie." Attendees can trade bottles, in a similar way one participates in Dirty Santa parties. Party goers are encouraged to bring aged beers, hard to find beers, and especially beers that are not available in N.C. This is a real beer connoisseur event.
Tuesday, March 19 - Hops, hops, and More Hops at Growlers
Pikarsky says this is a must-attend event for "hop heads." Beer lovers can expect IPAs, ryes, black IPAs, as well as triple and double IPAs on tap at this event.
Tuesday, March 19 - Terrapin Beer Dinner with Brewery Owner Spike at Taco Mac South Park
Pikarsky could not be limited to one suggestion for Tuesday and also recommended this event. Here you get to talk beer with a successful brewery owner. There will also be rare beers available for tasting, along with several of their flagship ales. Tickets are only available at the Taco Mac website.
Wednesday. March 20 - CCBW NC Brewer Rumble in the Alley at Common Market
This outdoor event will be rain or shine. Event attendees will taste and vote for their favorite beer while being blindfolded. Even the brewery reps will be shuffled to add to the mystery of the beers during the tasting.
Thursday, March 21 - Freakfest at Common Market
Pikarsky describes this as a "freaky" beers event (i.e., really exciting and rare beers). Attendees can expect beers poured by brewery reps and a live freak show featuring a bed of nails performer, fire breathers and other spectacles. "We'll have freaky beers and freaky people, so it's not for the faint of heart," he explains.
Friday, March 22 - Randalized at Lil' Roberts
A Randal is a plastic cylinder that brewers fill with different ingredients like fresh hops, coffee, chocolate, or other ingredients. The beer is pumped right out of the keg into the cylinder, then filtered, and comes out with those ingredients infused into the beer, giving it a totally different taste. This randal event will be held at Lil' Roberts, a bar in Concord described by Pikarsky as "a larger version of Common Market, with couches and instruments available so anyone can show up and jam anytime."
Saturday, March 23
The World of Beer One-Year Anniversary is expected to be huge this year. The event will feature a Local Brewery Throwdown including NoDa, Birdsong, OMB, Four Friends & Triple C Brewery. There will be plenty of beer specials and beer-themed giveaways, such as a home brewers kit, a WOB gift card, and local brewery growlers, to name a few. Advanced tickets are required and can be purchased at the WOB website.
Sunday, March 24
For the last day of Charlotte Craft Beer Week, Pikarsky recommends the wrap-up party whose location and time is TBA.
To find out more about the wrap-up party and further details of the events listed here, as well as the other numerous choices of craft beer events held throughout the week, check out the Charlotte Craft Beer Week event page.