Take the Hometown Hops Challenge!

April 6, 2018

Remember how I told you April is the best month to visit the Fayetteville area? I’m giving you yet another big reason why: NC Beer Month. Now that Cumberland County can boast five breweries, we have even more reasons to celebrate big this month. To help our visitors discover all five destinations, the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau created a Hometown Hops Passport. You’ll want to grab this handy guide from any of the breweries and start collecting your stamps, because I'm sharing a ton of great reasons for you to think of our “hometown” as a brew-lover’s dream destination.

nc beer monthBright Light patron with his Hometown Hops Passport

Exercise Your Right to Drink

Our breweries have embraced a growing trend by offering their patrons experiences that combine craft beer with exercise.

Join up with runners at Bright Light Brewing Company (BLBC) tonight, April 6th, for the NC Beer Month Pub Run. If you purchase a bracelet, you’ll be entitled to one pint of beer at each stop on the 2-mile downtown loop: Third Base Restaurant & Bar, Huske Hardware House Restaurant & Brewery and BLBC.

Take yoga to the next level at Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom, in Hope Mills, with Yoga, Beer & Stuff on April 8th and 22nd. Instructors from one of Fayetteville’s premier yoga centers, Hayat Yoga Shala, lead these bimonthly classes, and DBA provides one free beverage of your choice. Having participated in a session before, I can attest to the fact, you don’t have to be a die-hard yogi to enjoy this fun, coed experience.

Tip: Yet another recreational event takes place at DBA every Thursday evening, when beer-loving runners are invited to join their Run Club (weekly thru September 27th).

Pub runners making a stop at Huske

A yogi practicing her poses at Dirtbag Ales

Party Like It’s #NCBeerMonth

Folks who love beer also tend to appreciate a great party or festival, and April is truly the month when festival season kicks off here.

Head out to DBA’s brand-new brewery, in Hope Mills, to help Sustainable Sandhills kick off the new Dirtbag Ales Farmer’s Market with an epic Strawberry Festival. You’ll have two opportunities to enjoy the fest, on April 15th and April 22nd, but the market will continue every Sunday thru September. At this celebration of spring, you’ll find everything strawberry, even the beer. Look for DBA to debut the Sandhills American Blonde, made with locally sourced strawberries, at the fest. The whole family will also enjoy the kids’ activities, dog park, food trucks and entertainment that’s being planned. It’s going to be a Sunday fun-day at DBA!

Help BLBC celebrate their First Birthday, festival style, on April 21st. This brewery has invited their local brewer friends and favorite vendors and food trucks to help throw a big bash. Your kids will especially enjoy practicing their skills on Climbing Place’s mobile wall and taking the challenge on Xscape Factor’s game table. There’s plenty of other entertainment planned, along with great beer and grub. Feast on roasted pig or grab some tastiness from 507 Empanadas or R Burger food trucks. Pressed - A Creative Space will be there, as well, selling their super popular t-shirts. Grab your kids, grab your dog, grab your buddies . . . it’s party time at Bright Light!

Don’t look further than the last week in April for festivals. I simply can't talk about NC Beer Month festivities without discussing our city’s marquee event, Fayetteville Dogwood Festival, one of the largest fests in the Southeast. At this four-day event (April 26-29), you’ll find thousands of folks in Downtown Fayetteville, enjoying multiple concerts, street performances, midway rides, carnival-style food and much more.

Thanks to Bud Light, Dogwood can offer their festival-goers 10+ types of alcoholic beverages for just $5 a pop. New to the festival this year is the retro-looking Pacifico Beer trailer, offering folks one of my favorite cervezas on draft. You’ll find other beer stations strategically placed around Festival Park and the promenade. Grab a cold one before you pick your spot in the concert crowd, because you will not want to miss this year’s nightly concert headliners: Rodney Atkins, Coolio, Rob Base, Young MC, Jackyl and Zoso.

Tip: Both Lake Gaston Brewing Company and Huske will have some of the best views of the Dogwood Festival in all of downtown. Pop into either brewery during the fest to try one of their signature craft beers and grab a seat on their patio for a bird’s eye view of the festivities.

nc beer monthPacifico Beer trailer coming to Dogwood

nc beer monthConcert goers enjoying the show at Fayetteville Dogwood Festival

Get Artsy with Your Crafts

Just like the exercise-and-beer trend, breweries are also bringing to their taprooms arts and crafts, quite literally.

Reserve your spot now for the first of many Crafts & Drafts classes to be hosted by area breweries. TapHouse at Huske, located next door to Huske Hardware House, is hosting this fun event on April 10th. All crafting materials will be provided for participants to make a handsome, wooden bottle opener that can be mounted on a wall. Plus, your reservation includes one complimentary beer of your choice from TapHouse’s selection of 80 brews on tap—the largest number of taps at any facility in Cumberland County.

Take in an exhibit and meet the artist at DBA on April 20th with The Inferno: A Michelle Bir Exhibition. This brewery now hosts a different exhibit in their taproom every month, and April’s exhibit features digital manipulation photography by the talented Michelle Bir. One of the things that makes DBA unique is their belief in supporting local artists, like Bir, and promoting our growing arts scene. In addition to the exhibit, patrons will be enjoying a live show by Black River Township and chowing down at Chirba Chirba Dumpling’s food truck.

Learn a brand-new skill at a class that has become quite popular at our breweries: Brush Lettering and Beer. Lake Gaston is playing host this time, on April 22nd, with Pressed - A Creative Space instructing everyone in basic techniques for beautiful hand-lettering. Your reservation includes all the supplies you’ll need, to include a pen and instruction booklet to take home. Bring your appetite for good brews and food, as well, because Lake Gaston’s Chef Lou is preparing a special menu just for this event (additional cost for food/beverages).

Tip: Follow Crafts & Drafts and Pressed on Facebook to track all their crafty classes, rotating between our breweries year-round.

nc beer monthLake Gaston Brewmaster Troy

nc beer monthFolks enjoying a recent event at Dirtbag Ales

Taste Your Heart Out

Naturally, foodie experiences go hand in hand with beer sampling, and I’m highlighting three events happening this month where you can have the best of both worlds.

Enjoy a delicious celebration of all things Carolina at The Mash House Brewing Company & Restaurant on April 11th. With the Carolina Craft & Courses Beer Dinner, you’ll be treated to five curated courses, featuring products selected from around North Carolina, all paired with Mash House’s own craft brews. This popular tourist destination was built here right as the microbrewery trend was starting to take off in the South, and it was one of our first restaurants to feature ingredients sourced directly from local farmers and growers. You’ll want to make reservations for this special event before it sells out.

Kick off Dogwood Festival week on April 25th with Cork & Fork—a brand-new event that will be taking place at Dogwood’s VIP tent in Festival Park. Folks will be given a sample card and will then rotate around to the different chef stations, sampling their gourmet creations. In addition to the complementary wines being served, you can count on beer being available for our brews lovers. This elegant evening will also include a raffle, door prizes and entertainment. Tickets are limited for this VIP event, so I’d advise purchasing them now.

Spend a lovely April evening at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden for Toast of the Town on April 26th. One of the highlights of this fabulous event will be the brew sampling from three of our local breweries: DBA, Mash House and BLBC. Additionally, Pierro’s Italian Bistro will be serving heavy hors d’ouevres, and Anstead’s Tobacco Company will be onsite with a selection of their quality cigars. This event offers folks a chance to experience springtime in the garden and sample local craft brews, all while supporting an amazing organization—The CARE Clinic.

Tip: Lake Gaston regularly hosts beer-and-food pairings, as well as hearty weekend brunches. Follow their Facebook page to keep track of all their tasty, upcoming events.

nc beer monthBeer sampler from Mash House

nc beer monthBeer sampler from Bright Light

Find the Hoppin’ Specials

There’s not a single day of the week that you couldn’t find a fun event and/or drink special at one of our breweries.

In celebration of NC Beer Month, Mash House is offering select $3 pints all month long. If you happen to be joining them for Brains & Brews Weekly Trivia on a Wednesday night, you can take advantage of their $2 half-pint special, as well.

Huske and TapHouse both offer drink specials Monday through Thursday all year long. I’d be hitting Huske on Monday for $2 drafts and TapHouse on Wednesday for half-price drafts. A couple of the fun events on TapHouse's calendar are Live Music with Crow Kozak on April 6th and Karaoke with Gilbert Baez on April 7th.

Fridays in April are the days you’ll want to be at DBA, because brew-master Tito is releasing a new Firkin/CASK-conditioned ale each week for Firkin Friday. If you stop in on a Sunday afternoon, make sure you take advantage of DBA’s free (and educational) Brewery Tour.

Tap: All five of our breweries sell cool merchandise that make for awesome gifts or souvenirs to take home. Make sure you get a growler filled with your favorite beer or grab a t-shirt to memorialize your brewery experience.

nc beer monthMash House Brewmaster Reuben

nc beer monthDirtbag Ales Brewmasters Tito & Hope with Manager Shannon

Have I got you convinced we’re a brew-lover’s dream destination, yet? Learn more about the Hometown Hops Passport program at Cumberland County’s Hometown Hops. If you take the challenge and collect stamps from all five of our breweries this month, make sure you bring your passport to the Gift Shop at the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (FACVB) to claim your big prize (hint: take your pick of all their souvenir items). Meanwhile, April is full of a lot more things to do here, to include 10 performing arts events; read more about those on “Soak Up the Arts in April,” or just check out the FACVB’s Calendar of Events.

Pacifico Trailer picture above courtesy of Fayetteville Dogwood Festival.

nc beer monthGrowlers available at Lake Gaston

nc beer monthBartender Scott (aka "David") serving brews at Huske

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