September 25, 2013 Edibles » Cover Story

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Arm bands and brew 

A preview of three new festivals coming to the area

People have been making and drinking beer about as long as we've been doing anything else. One would think we'd run out of innovative ideas for imbibing by now, but then one would be wrong. Three new beer festivals are coming to town, each with its own flavor and hangover-inducing potential.

The Brewz Music and Arts Festival

If you've tuned into Plaza Midwood Community Radio on a Monday night, then you've sampled the flavor of this festival's wares. Cameron Lee produces The Roundabout, a programming celebration of local and regional indie artists. The Brewz Music and Arts Festival, happening Oct. 19, is his brainchild, conceived during Olde Mecklenburg Brewery's Charlotte Brewers Festival. "I didn't know what to expect, and when I was there I realized how big the beer scene is," Lee says. "I thought, what if we brought together everything that's good right now in Charlotte, breweries and artists and local bands, and put it all together in a larger venue, with larger bands?" Birdsong, Heist, NoDa, OMB and Triple C breweries will be serving up suds at the N.C. Music Factory, while the stylish and stylistically adventurous Of Montreal is headlining on a soundstage that Lee promises to be "immaculate." There will be a 2-hour tasting session, with samples free between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Proceeds from this event will benefit The V Foundation for cancer research.

Tickets are $25. For more information, visit

Release the Funk SourFest

For the uninitiated, just the idea of a sour beer might sound dubious enough to make one's face pucker. For sour beer devotees, though, that pucker packs a pleasant punch. Sours are brewed by introducing wild yeast or bacteria into beer, a process that can take months to produce the desired, if unpredictable, result. Cherries and raspberries are popular players in the fermentation process, giving many sours a fruity, tart bite. Happening Oct. 26 and presented by Salud Beer Shop and New Belgium, Release the Funk Sourfest gives attendees the chance to sample ales from 25 breweries, with unlimited 8-ounce samples available from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Hosted at the Neighborhood Theatre, the festival will support the Historic North Charlotte Neighborhood Association.

Tickets are $60 and can be purchased at Salud or by calling 704-900-7767.

All Ale to the Queen

It's a while away — happening March 22, 2014 — but the official Charlotte Craft Beer Week wrap-up party at the N.C. Music Factory is gearing up to be an affair fit for a queen. Run by the same ensemble that does Tennessee's Kingsport Oktoberfest and Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza, All Ale to the Queen strives for beer education in the form of jubilee, with aerial artists and hula hoopers contributing to the carnival atmosphere. One event sure to set sentiments stirring is the Brewer's Duel, where hometown brewers and Asheville brewers pitch a collaboration beer in competition for North Carolina brew-town bragging rights.

Tickets are $40 in advance. More information to come.

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