Brawley’s Black & Blue ready to pack another punch in Year 8


The sold-out Black & Blue festival is this Saturday at the Visulite Theatre

Courtesy of Brawley's Beverage

It’s fitting that Black & Blue lands on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The few hundred people who manage to get a ticket for Brawley Beverage’s annual festival surely have a little luck on their side.


Consider this: Black & Blue 8, which is this Saturday at the Visulite Theatre, sold out this year in a record minute and 45 seconds on Christmas Eve.


As in years past, many were furiously on their computers trying to get tickets without even knowing one beer that would be poured or one brewery that would be represented. That’s a testament to the well-curated list every year by Michael Brawley and Shane Icenhour, along with the history of this festival, which has become a must-attend event for craft beer aficionados.


To be sure, this isn’t your average craft beer festival. It’s an intimate setting, where you’ll rarely have to wait in line for a pour from one of the more than 30 breweries scheduled to attend this year. It often gives you a chance to speak to the brewers, along with an opportunity to move around at your leisure without worries of missing out on any of the beers.


Speaking of which, of course the main highlight at Black & Blue is the beer itself. Many breweries are bringing rare treats, with some even brewing exclusive beer just for this event.


If you’re one of the lucky ticketholders, are curious or maybe a glutton for punishment, you can check out the complete list of breweries and beers here. You’ll see some first-time attendees such as Waxhaw’s The Dreamchaser’s Brewery, along with a few out-of-town invitees including the highly acclaimed The Answer Brewpub in Virginia.


One new change this year is the event’s setup. Several breweries will be placed outside behind the Visulite Theatre (with access through the back door) in order to allow for even more space among the attendees. And back on stage for a second go-round is the talented band Strung Like a Horse, which was a big hit at B&B 7.


For those who missed out on tickets, there is still a chance to attend, as well as a new alternative event for the first time. Let’s start with the tickets first. On Friday, Brawley’s will host its yearly pre-Black & Blue party, with representatives from many of the breweries pouring at Saturday’s festival in attendance. There will be two tickets auctioned off as part of the event, with proceeds going to charity. Brawley’s (or O’Brawleys for Friday’s party) will also have some special kegs on tap, including the first one from GoodRoad Ciderworks, which is also opening Friday in the LoSo neighborhood.


Saturday at Brawley’s will see the first-ever Black & Blue Boo-Hoo for those who didn’t get a ticket to the Visulite Theatre. The shop will be tapping a couple vintage kegs of Foothills Sexual Chocolate and Olde Hickory Event Horizon, along with The Bruery’s White Chocolate and Stone’s latest release, Give Me IPA or Give Me Death, brewed with blackberries and raspberries.


Finally, if you’re up for it, on Sunday Salud Beer Shop is hosting a Battered and Bruised Hangover Brunch beginning at noon. There will be several beers from Wicked Weed on tap, including Chocolate Covered Black Angel, along with a brunch menu from Fūd at Salud.

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