Holly Springs, N.C. — I didn’t go to Beericana this past weekend expecting to write a comprehensive report,which I tried and failed at last year; it was too big for that then and it’s even bigger now. Hell, that’s an understatement – Beericana is huge. That almost seems to be the takeaway:
Nina Capriglione, Carolina Brewery
“It’s so big. Plus, great parking.”
Kelly Gilliam, Big Boss Brewery
“It’s so spread out. Love the way it’s geographically planned out.”
Johnny ‘O, Coronado Brewing Company
“It’s so big.”
It is enormous. In this hipster-tinged world of craft beer, that size almost seems like a complaint, but here it most certainly isn’t. Beericana has everything. It’s hard not to feel like cattle crammed into a pen at most festivals, consequently shaken down for every penny they can get out of you. Not here. Beericana had free ice cold water bottles,* everywhere. And hardly any lines, anywhere.** There were barely any lines at the 70+ booths (70!) and tents. There were 60 breweries, over 20 food trucks. There was so much help and staff each brewery basically had its own Beericana attendant.
Big doesn’t always mean corporate or sterile – it just lets everything breathe. Short lines, an outrageous amount of space to mingle, more seats and picnic tables than you’d know what to do with. In other words: no crowd anxieties even though there was a huge crowd. If you went, you were partying with some 4000ish people while chilling out in the fresh air of a 116-acre farm at the same time. It’s unique.
This isn’t a normal beer festival column, I know. There are few details, Who-What-When-Where-Whys, and especially no pretentious reviews of my personal favorite tastes. But that just doesn’t seem to be what Beericana is about – more about the mood you’re in when you leave. In whatever state that may be. I touched on this last year, how Adam Eshbaugh and the 919 Beer guys (who put on Beericana) really take care of the breweries (and how those brewers take notice), how they put on community-based beer events around town year-round (and not just to make money). Beericana is just an extension of that. And I’m happy to support it.
* Not just for DDs.
** Thanks to the design. Also, there was a ridiculous amount of porta-johns. This matters. They wouldn’t have sold less tickets if they skimped on the restrooms, but they knew it made for a much better experience for us. It’s the little things. It might seem weird to brag about but have you ever been to an event that skimped on the porta potties?