Since 2016, the Cape Fear Beer Alliance (a group of local business owners and beer enthusiasts) has been working to promote the vibrant craft beer scene in the greater Wilmington area.
One effort was to establish a Craft Beer Week, scheduled just as the busy spring and summer season is getting started. Another was to create the Craft on the Coast initiative to spread the word.
Although things were stalled during the pandemic, all of those elements are coming together for a lineup of more than 30 beer-related events beginning March 25 and continuing until April 3 and beyond.
“It’s really about everything from breweries to bottle shops that make this area such a hot spot,” said Ellie Craig, with Front Street Brewery and president of the Alliance.
She said the 2022 events are especially diverse and inspired, with more being scheduled in the days leading up to the start. They include dinners, food trucks, collaborations, music and efforts to give back to the community — through a blood drive and a fundraiser for Nourish NC.
With so much planned, here’s an idea for how to enjoy the week day-by-day and where to find more information.
Friday: Ultimate Brewing Championship
The official start of the beer week is this fourth annual event where local brewers compete in a blind tasting to crown the champion. It takes place 6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday, March 25 at East Coast Volleyball Academy, 4608 Coddington Loop.
Saturday: End of Season Oyster Roast
With the end of the wild oyster season approaching, Wrightsville Beach Brewery at 6201 Oleander Dr. in Wilmington, is hosting an oyster roast beginning at noon on March 26. Look for local raw and steamed oysters available and live music.
Sunday: Dawn Patrol Beer Release Party
New Anthem Beer Project (110 Greenfield St. in Wilmington) says this event will be the first in a series of culinary collaborations. They’ve partnered with chef Keith Rhodes for the event that begins at noon March 27.
The Dawn Patrol beer is a “super fresh, amazingly crushable wheat beer” and should go well with fresh seafood and a Low Country-style pig roast. A dollar from every draft will go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Monday: Hi-Wire & three10 Beer Dinner
Hi-Wire brewery and three10 restaurant in the Brooklyn Arts District are pairing up for a five-course beer tasting that includes a newly released addition. It takes place 6-8:30 p.m. March 28.
Tuesday: Tuneful Tuesdays at Catawba
Catawba Brewing’s Wilmington outpost at 712 New Centre Drive is hosting several events throughout the week — including this open mic night hosted by Delia Stanley.
Wednesday: Battle of the Breweries Blood Drive
With blood supplies at a 10-year low, the local chapter of the American Red Cross is asking beer lovers to donate in the name of their favorite brewery or bottle shop. It will be held 11 a.m.-5 p.m. March 30 at the Hotel Ballast, 301 N. Water St. You can sign up to donate, receive a special T-shirt, and get a wooden nickel to use at your favorite brewery. The brewery with the most donations gets a trophy and bragging rights.
Thursday: Carolina Treet Beer Dinner
Two Wilmington classics combine at this event at Bill’s Brewing, 4238 Market St. The menu includes five hand-crafted small bites that all feature Carolina Treet Original BBQ Sauce, which was created locally in 1953. It’s 6-9 p.m. March 31.
Friday: Mad Mole/Vicious Fishes Release
Wilmington’s solar-powered brewery at 6309 Boathouse Road in Wilmington is working with Raleigh-based Vicious Fishes Brewing to create a New England IPA. The event starts at 5 p.m. April 1 and will feature live music and a food truck.
Saturday: Cape Fear Craft & Cuisine
The week’s other signature event is this one held at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher beginning at 7 p.m. April 2. Twenty local chefs and are working with 20 local brewers (in some cases both are from the same restaurant, or they are paired with a partner) for a unique tasting experience.
Sunday: Spring Succulents at Makai
Maybe one week isn’t quite enough. Some events also spill over to Sunday, including this spring succulent and flower-wreath making workshop to be held beginning at 2 p.m. April 3 at Makai Brewing Company at 5850 Ocean Highway West in Ocean Isle Beach.
Allison Ballard is the food and dining reporter at the StarNews. You can reach her at [email protected]
This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: Breweries in Wilmington, Brunswick, Pender plan craft beer week events