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919 Beer

NC craft beer plentiful at Raleigh festival

Posted April 1

An employee from Brice's Breaing Company in Garner pours a sample of its Honey Lavender Saison on Saturday at World Beer Festival in Raleigh.

— The first pop-up tent lining the North Carolina State Fairgrounds shaded Kris Bengtson's face from the early April sun.

A man with a beard popped his head around the corner and got Bengston's attention.

"Where are you guys from?" the man asked.

The sign hanging up under Brice's Brewing Co.'s tent gave the brewery's location as Raleigh, but someone started to scratch it out with chalk to write Garner instead, scribbling just a capital G on the sign before giving up. With just two months under the new roof, though, Bengston wasn't fazed by the question.

Bengston, who brews the beer at the two-barrel brewery with his wife, Dana, was one of more than 100 brewers out Saturday at World Beer Festival in Raleigh. At least 50 breweries, and a handful of cideries, were from North Carolina, but another 60 came from around the United States and overseas.

Event officials said roughly 5,000 tickets were sold ahead of the two-session festival, which began at noon, but that didn't count the number of tickets sold at the gate.

Down the row of North Carolina brewers was High Point's Brown Truck Brewery. Unlike the Triangle, Asheville and Charlotte, High Point isn't known for its beer, but Brown Truck, which brews only 500 barrels per year, is putting the city on the map.

Brewer Ian Burnett helped win the brewery a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival with his American Lager, beating out lager behemoths Miller Coors and Budweiser. That gold medal also helped the brewery take home the competition's Very Small Brewing Company of the Year honors.

Burnett said beer orders doubled after the lager's win—they have so many orders that they can't fill them all. Brown Truck is looking to expand, but Burnett said it has to be done the right way.

"Keep it small, keep it local, keep the craft in there," he said.

World Beer Festival draws 5,000 to Raleigh


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Get the inside track on all things beer in the Triangle and North Carolina from the 919 Beer blog.