I noticed something interesting while looking at the weekend’s event calendar. See if you can spot the theme:
– The N.C. Brewers and Music festival in Rural Hill, May 12-13: More than 40 breweries to sample from, live music and food trucks.
– Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival at Symphony Park, May 13: More than 20 breweries to sample from (plus 16 distilleries), live music and barbecue.
– South End Hops Festival on Carson Boulevard, May 13: More than 30 breweries to sample from, live music and food trucks.
Yep, three beer festivals on the same day in the Charlotte area. Is it just me or is that a little much?
And that list doesn’t include Moo & Brew Festival, the massive beer and burger festival that happened less than a month ago, BeerMe Brew Fest and Tuck Fest (that counts, right?) in April, Brawley’s Black and Blue in March, and Queen City Brewers Festival back in February.
It also doesn’t include Charlotte Oktoberfest (assuming it returns this year) or any of the smaller beer festivals hosted at various breweries, like Mecktoberfest at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and the Friends and Beerfests over at Legion Brewing.
And I’m sure there’s even more I’m missing.
Look, if you know one thing about me it’s that I love — love — craft beer, especially Charlotte craft beer. If you know another thing about me, it’s that I love food, including the kind that comes from trucks. And if you know a third thing about me, it’s that I love listening to live music outside.
So I do love a good beer festival, and that combination — beer, food, live music — is gold. It works. And most of these festivals support a cause or charity, which I can always get behind.
But there can be too much of a good thing.
The more beer festivals we have in a year, the less special each one becomes. Why go to x beer festival when y festival is coming up in a couple of
months weeks days? And it’s gotta be a strain on some brewers to make beer for — and staff — all of these events throughout the year. And, let’s be real, it’s just tiring. I heard people in the office this week — real beer-loving people — talk about how they were getting worn out by having to go to these beer festivals they bought tickets for. That’s a problem.
I’m not arguing that we should get rid of the festivals altogether. That would make me quite sad (but probably skinnier). But what if Charlotte just had a few big ones spaced out each year — QCBF, N.C. Music and Brewers Festival, Oktoberfest? — along with a few of the smaller, specialty ones — Black & Blue and Salud’s Release the Funk Sour Beer Fest, for example.
Or let’s at least get more creative with the festivals. I can sit outside and drink beer and eat from a food truck and listen to music at just about any brewery any weekend — without paying admission.
But we’ve gotta do something. Three beer festivals on one day can’t be good for anyone — the beer drinkers who have to make a choice, the organizers who have to compete against each other and the breweries who have to choose sides or try to be everywhere at once.
I’d love to be at all of those beer festivals this weekend. They all sound great. But I’m bad at making choices, so I’ll probably just stay home. And drink a local craft beer. Outside. With some music playing.
Photo: Marty Price