So I know my experience with festivals is very limited but I would say that this is the best one I have been to thus far. When I first heard of Twin City Taps North Carolina Beer Festival, the thing that got me excited was the fact that it was being held in a baseball stadium. What could be better than that? Well, it was sad news to hear that nearly last minute the festival may have to be cancelled due to various issues at BT&T. One of the sponsors, Ziggy’s, stepped up and decided that the even could be held at their venue. They were already involved in setting up the musical acts, and that is what the place was known for, so why not combine the two? I think it was a good call.
Being new to North Carolina, Twin City Taps gave me the opportunity to find out what this state has to offer. Coming from Los Angeles, Seattle, & Portland, I guess you can say I am kind of spoiled when it comes to beer but there is still so much out there that I have not had. I really appreciated the fact that the festival was North Carolina beer exclusive. It is too easy to call up a distributor and ask for what is big, rare, and popular but this was a change to let the locals shine. I know people always say drink local and others say that not all local beer is good beer but this event was seriously like a showcase for why North Carolina is heading the direction that it is. Asheville is being called “Beer City USA”, but the state as a whole deserves recognition.
While talking to the people behind the various breweries, I found out that the majority of them were brand new breweries. The ones pouring were from their respective breweries as well. They were not just random servers they pulled off the street so you could actually get into a decent conversation about the beer and the brewery. Some were there that have been around for a while, like The Carolina Brewery and The Duck Rabbit Brewery but I was talking to the head brewer of NoDa Brewing and found out that they have only been around for about 7 months. The youngest brewery that I can remember said they have only been around for 3 months. Just the range of experience and what was being presented was amazing. One of the coolest things there was the fact that a homebrew club, The WortHawgs, was pouring as well.
One thing I did not really care for at the festival was the ticket prices. I am not saying I thought it was over priced or anything. For the time I had and what was there, it was totally worth it. They offered 2 ticket prices, Regular Admission and VIP. The prices were $35 and $60 respectively. I purchased the VIP ticket. The difference between the two was The VIP ticket got you access to a room with food and cask ale. Cask ale is what made my decision immediately. I guess maybe I got caught up in the whole CAMRA movement and as a Craft Beer Enthusiast, things like this are supposed to excite me. I was not expecting too much, but when I found out there were only 4 cask, I was kind of disappointed. The food was decent, but again, if that were the only difference I would not have went with it. Don’t get me wrong, I had no issue paying the price. Especially since it went to benefit the NC Brewers Guild and I for sure ate my fair share of food, which if I purchased it, would have more than made up for the cost with vendor prices. But I was still just expecting more in the way of Cask Ale.
All in all though, it was a great event. Really introduced me to the beer of North Carolina and I met a lot of cool people. I guess I don’t have to worry about finding local favorites being that there is so much good beer around me. Though, there is still so much here for me to discover.