What's on Tap

What's on Tap

A beer fest for the Crossfit crowd

Posted February 19, 2014

The first High Gravity Games, a Crossfit competition and beer festival, was held Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, at Double Barley Brewing in Smithfield.

— When the NCBeerGuys heard that Double Barley Brewery in Smithfield was hosting a crossfit-style competition last weekend in conjunction with a beer festival, we just had to drive down and see what that would look like. How would beer mix with competition between what was promoted as some of the "strongest and fittest athletes in the region"?

Legacy Series Events, a new company out of Greenville, organizes and conducts what it promotes as the "premier fitness event series in the Eastern Region." They worked with Double Barley to combine a Crossfit-style fitness competition with a beer festival for this inaugural event in the area.

"High Gravity Games" is their trademarked fitness competition paired with a beer festival. While this was the first, they hope to hold as many as 75 of these events in next few years throughout the Southeast region, says business co-founder Justin Cobb. Some of the competition events were beer-themed such as keg runs, barley bag press, and keg tosses. Legacy Series Events, founded with Cobb by partner Brandon Johnson, works to provide exciting, innovative, and professionally run fitness events.

The two-person teams for Saturday's games were male/male, female/female, and coed for a three workout competition. The competition offered both prescribed and scaled divisions in keeping with the philosophy of Crossfit-styled training, which is advertised as “the sport of fitness” and embraces a training regimen that coaches people of all shapes and sizes to improve their physical and cardiovascular fitness in what can be considered a hardcore yet welcoming and encouraging environment.

Sisu CrossFit of Smithfield co-hosted the games at Double Barley. Sisu says they are not your average gym but a community; "a family held together by our commitment to ending every day being just a little better than we were the day before." Their goal is to teach members to realize their own strength, to overcome their weaknesses and to uncover their true potential by pushing member's health, performance and self-confidence to new heights. Beyond getting together to work out, their members plan and attend charity events, compete in local competitions and organize educational seminars.

When the competition was complete the beer festival began. Double Barley had reached out to four other NC breweries – Raleigh Brewing Company, Mystery Brewing of Hillsborough, Huske Hardware House and Brewery of Fayetteville and Beer Army Combat Brewery of Trenton – to help with the beer festival. They each set up beer sampling stations around the brewery floor for the enjoyment of both the athletes and those who had purchased tickets to just come in and watch the games or sample the brews. In addition to the beer stations there were food trucks on the grounds, music in the brewery and performers for a real beer festival feel to the late afternoon festivities.

Our readers might ask how beer fits with good nutritional habits. Beer contains antioxidants and vitamins. Hops contain polyphenols, compounds that reportedly help lower cholesterol, fight cancer and kill viruses. Craft brews contain more of the good stuff than the nationally produced commercial brews. Finally, ounce-for-ounce, beer has one of the highest energy contents of any beverage. So it seems beer and fitness can go hand in hand and mix well together. They certainly did at Double Barley last weekend as most of the competitors seemed to stick around for the beer festivities and didn't sprint for the doors when the sampling began! Now that was a competition not for the faint of heart in itself!

Just for the record, the NCBeerGuys didn't don sweats or shorts and enter the workout competition. We'll stick to the overalls and to the efforts where we know we can be successful: promoting NC craft beer and the folks who bring that great product to all of us!

Dave Tollefsen and Glenn Cutler are regular guys living in central North Carolina with their families who share a love for craft beer and homebrewing. They work together as the NCBeerGuys. They can be found online promoting North Carolina craft beer, providing information about the folks who produce local beer and writing about beer adventures, activities and events across North Carolina.


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  • justinzcobb Feb 19, 2014

    @GONCAMPN2 - a lot of Crossfitters eat a strict paleo diet, and a lot of them do not. Legacy Series provides events that cater to both. What was unique and wonderful about this event was that it exposed a world of health and fitness to some individuals who were only interested in the BeerFest. I even heard the owner of Double Barley Brewery remark that she would exercise more if it were in a fun and relaxed environment...like that provided by the High Gravity Games. Check out Legacy Series at www.legacyseriesevents.com.

  • justinzcobb Feb 19, 2014

    I would like to thank all those involved who helped make this event a success. Legacy Series will be hosting at least 5 more High Gravity Games in 2014. We will be in 5 states this year and at least 14 states in 2015. Find us on Facebook at Legacy Series, or check out www.lgacyseriesevents.com. We will post video of the event in the next couple of days.

  • Alan Osborne Feb 19, 2014
    user avatar

    Great story but I am somewhat surprised the athletes would drink the beer. The reason I mention this is most Crossfit athletes are on a Paleo diet which does not allow anything made from any kind of grain PERIOD!!