My buddy Mark Washburn made Raleigh folks real rowdy last month with his Observer column Boredom Takes Flight In Raleigh. People were so angry, I even received an email about his piece. The email prompted me to spend a little time hanging out in Raleigh. (Okay, it doesn’t take much to get me to hang out somewhere, heck anywhere. I love a good party.)
I visit Raleigh at least once a month to teach motorcycle class, but I typically chill at the Aviator in Fuquay-Varina. This weekend, I was determined to head downtown. It just so happened that Saturday was the World Beer Festival Raleigh. Perfect timing. I love a good beer festival. I’ve been to several in Charlotte. My high school friends used to visit from Maryland to attend Charlotte OktoberFest with me.
Raleigh’s festival was one of the largest beer festivals that I’ve attended in recent memory. Held in Moore Square park, it featured more than 100 breweries and vendors. Like most festivals these days, there were two tasting sessions. I did the evening session. The lines at the two entrance gates stretched for nearly a block at opening time. (Tip: Wait an hour after opening time. There will still be plenty of beer and no lines.)
I liked the festival. Moore square was spacious, and lush. It was a great setting for the festival. Most beer festivals that I’ve attended are held in parking lots or big meeting spaces. There is rarely anywhere comfortable to sit and chill.
World Beer Festival was extremely organized. There was plenty of water and portajohns. I loved the sitting area near the food trucks. It was a covered tent and had chairs and tables. The festival had a Belgium beer garden, my favorite area. There was also a North Carolina brewery beer zone. Cornelius’ D9 and Charlotte’s Unknown represented for us. Montford Misfits, a Charlotte-based graphic design company targeting the craft industry, was also there.
I was also pleased with a few of the vendors. The Kentucky Bourbon and Pink Vanilla cupcake from Durham’s Smallcakes A Cupcakery were delicious. I can’t wait for my dogs to try their all natural treats from Whisker Biscuits.
I realize one beer festival does not mean the city isn’t boring, but after seeing how Raleigh does their beer festival, I’m anxious to spend more time playing there. I still need to try Poole’s Diner. The party continues…