A Year of Beer

So you need an excuse to drink good beer? You'll find it at these brew-themed events occurring throughout the region

Sept. 17-Oct. 9

The Waldhorn Restaurant's Oktoberfest
Waldhorn, the closest thing to Deutschland in the area, is pitching a tent outside its Pineville restaurant for four weekends in a row and filling it with traditional German beers, like a Franziskaner Hefeweizen and a Spaten Oktoberfest, as well as roasted brats and beef with cabbage. There will also be live German music playing. That's our idea of the great outdoors. $3. The Waldhorn Restaurant, 12101 Lancaster Hwy., Pineville, 704-540-7047, waldhorn.us

Sept. 25

12th-Annual Charlotte Oktoberfest
At this heralded beer lovers' tradition, the Carolina Brewmasters will host more than 100 brewers, meaning about 350 beers to sample with your five-ounce tasting glass. Look for brews from small, state favorites like Green Man and Olde Mecklenburg, and national and international crafters like Great Lakes, Harpoon, Dos xx, and Warsteiner. Live entertainment from local acts will provide the soundtrack while you nosh on brats and pretzels, and Creative Loafing will host a Beerlympics activity area, at which visitors can try their hand at table tennis and corn hole. $35. Metrolina Tradeshow Expo, 7100 Statesville Rd., 704-596-4650, charlotteoktoberfest.com

Oct. 2

2nd-Annual Mecktoberfest
A German “oompa” band will set the mood when Charlotte's staple craft brewer celebrates its annual Mecktoberfest (an amber lager) with this eponymous festival. Admission buys you two twenty-one-ounce mugs of beer, as well as your choice of a brat, chicken, or BBQ plate. $25 in advance. Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, 215 Southside Dr., 704-525-5644, oldemeckbrew.com

Oct. 9

Asheville Oktoberfest
Partnered with several glasses of delicious beer, yodeling is, in fact, still publicly acceptable. Good thing, too, because at this fall beer festival, you can sample the goods from Asheville breweries like Pisgah, Green Man, and French Broad while a Bavarian band plays in the background. The city's best restaurants, like Cucina 24 and The Marketplace, will also serve up brats and other Bavarian delights with locally made Lusty Monk mustard. $25. Wall Street, Asheville, 828-251-9973, ashevilledowntown.org

Oct. 23-24

Brewfest Weekend!
Quick! A pint of grog, wench! A brewing demonstration, medieval games (because a joust is always a good idea after a few pints),
and a homebrew competition will take over the Carolina renaissance Festival this weekend. Sponsored by Carolina Brewmasters and Carolina Blonde. Free with festival admission. Carolina Renaissance Festival, 16445 Poplar Tent Rd., Huntersville, 704-896-5544, royalfaires.com

Jan. 2011

World Beer Festival
All About Beer magazine is bringing nearly 100 breweries from across the world and close to 5,000 beer lovers to Columbia for one of its four World Beer Festivals held across the Southeast this year. Around 300 beers will be featured at the Greenville event, from Amstel to Lagunitas to Koningshoeven and everything in between. Tastings and beer classes will be held throughout the day, ranging from food pairings to a Beer Styles 101 talk. $40 in advance. Noon-4 p.m. and 6-10 p.m. Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln St., Columbia, allaboutbeer.com

March 18-27, 2011

Charlotte Craft Beer Week
Organized by the Charlotte Beer Club, this ten-day event is a Q.C. beer lover's Mardi Gras. Close to 100 events will take place over the course of the week, with breweries and master brewers from across the country hosting events like the Beasts of the east tasting, which highlights breweries across the east Coast. Don't miss Freak Fest, where you can sip local craft brews while watching human pin cushions and fire swallowers. even select grocery stores will be holding tastings. Tickets vary by event. 704-803-0395, charlottecraftbeerweek.org

May 7, 2011

Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ
What's missing from a festival with sixty beers, forty bourbons, pig races, a “beer belly” competition, and BBQ? Not a darn thing. Sample bourbons from elijah Craig and Bookers or sip beers from Harpoon, Olde Mecklenburg, and Heavy Seas. They'll go well with the seminars on bourbon production and BBQ preparation. $30. 2-6 p.m. Symphony Park, 4400 Sharon Rd., 800-830-3976, beerandbourbon.com — A. M.

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