This Saturday Brewgaloo takes over downtown Raleigh. Sponsored by Shop Local Raleigh, the festival will boast 70 breweries, over 30 food trucks and will encompass all of Fayetteville Street. That sounds like a big beer festival like all the other beer festivals around the state throughout the year. What sets Brewgaloo apart from all the others is the breweries are ONLY from North Carolina. That’s right – originated and brewing in NC!
We love to go to festivals. Lately, it’s really difficult to find a weekend where there wasn’t some kind of beer festival or event and that’s great because it promotes the breweries. I will say there’s gonna be a point where breweries will have to be more picky to which festivals they participate. It’s great to get their name out and introduce their beer to a different area. Additionally, even though their beer isn’t offered in the region of the festival, and may not ever be, people do travel and they may go to the city where the brewery is located and it becomes a destination.
There are smaller festivals that will have only local breweries but Brewgaloo will boast more than half the state’s total. Other festivals say they have fifty breweries and a scant amount from out of state. Granted, most times the ones from out of state are craft beer, but it’s still not NC beer. We helped Brewgaloo go from around thirty breweries two years ago to almost fifty last year, with the attendance going from 12 thousand up to 18 thousand attendees. This year with 70 breweries and the weather is nice, it’s going to be ridiculous and I’m thinking attendance upwards of around 25 thousand people. The City of Raleigh has to love that!
Another thing that sets Brewgaloo apart from the other festivals is it’s token based. Most festivals give you a band and a 3-6 oz sample glass so you can wander from brewery to brewery as much as you like. A token based festival means your ticket gets you five tokens and a pint glass. Each token gets you full pint pours but if you don’t want to commit to that much beer at once, they have wooden tokens which are good for 3oz pours. Tokens should make people think about what they’re going to drink, which means more concentration on what brewery will pour their beer choice. At the other festivals, you walk around with your sample glass and can honestly go nuts with it. I, unfortunately, heard someone in a line at a festival wondering how many of those sample glasses it took to get totally trashed. Craft beer is there to be enjoyed, with all the styles and flavors and aromas, not a vehicle to get wasted. The festival is open to the public so anyone can wander the street and enjoy the music, food trucks, vendors and the beer ambience. Two large stages will be at each end of the festival with great bands and smaller music venues in between. The food trucks will be spread out on the street and the variety of food will be amazing.
I have several recommendations if you’re planning to attend Brewgaloo:
- There will be a pint glass holder for sale that hangs from your neck and you put the glass in it. It is a must-have for the festival! This will free up your hands as you walk and also allows you to eat and drink and not commit both hands to holding something. You don’t know how many festivals we’ve been to where people ask where we got our holders.
- Buy your tokens IN ADVANCE! You can purchase 2 or more tokens ahead of time to avoid the lines and if you want more, you can purchase them at the festival. It says Sampler Cards for the 3oz samples but they’re going to sell Wooden Tokens to make it easier on everyone and won’t be confused with the regular tokens. GET TOKENS
- Look at the map where the breweries are located on the street. Even though you may have a favorite “go to” brewery, why not try one you haven’t experienced yet and you may find a new favorite. Festivals are a great way to explore craft beer.
- Please DO NOT drink and drive!! Safe Ride Home will be there with Breathalyzers and are also offering $5 off!! They’ll get YOU and YOUR CAR home safe.
Downtown Raleigh should be your destination on April 25th! If there’s one festival this year to go to where you can enjoy the most North Carolina Breweries in one place, Brewgaloo is the place to be!! I challenge anyone to find a festival, even nationally, that has as many breweries from ONLY the state the festival resides. This is a great festival for the city, the breweries and for everyone who loves NC craft beer. Dave will be there with his camera from open to close so if you want to get your picture in the gallery, track him down and strike a pose! This festival supports what we always say – Drink LOCAL and Keep Your Beer Dollars in North Carolina!