Sample the season at these fall beer festivals

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From traditional Oktoberfest celebrations to festivals celebrating pumpkin, canned or sour beers, there’s no shortage of beer festivals around Charlotte this fall — and they start this weekend. 

olde-mecklenburg-brewery-mecktoberfest

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s 8th Annual Mecktoberfest

Friday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 25

Mecktoberfest the beer has been out for a few weeks, but Mecktoberfest the festival is the real celebration. Now in its eighth year, the brewery’s Mecktoberfest event kicks off this Friday at 4 p.m. and goes all weekend. Expect authentic German music, a limited food menu, dirndls and lederhosen and, of course, beer. 

Waldhorn Oktoberfest

Weekends through mid-October

OMB isn’t the only home for a more authentic Oktoberfest. The Waldhorn Restaurant in Pineville will pitch its big tent and host weekend celebrations through mid-October. 
sycamore-brewing-pumpkin-fest

Sycamore Brewing’s Pumpkin Fest

Saturday, Sept. 24

This Saturday, Sycamore Brewing taps several pumpkin beers and fall seasonals at Pumpkin Fest. Some will be their own (their popular Gourd Have Mercy returns, for instance), and some will be from other breweries across the Carolinas. Five bands will play throughout the day, and five food trucks will be parked onsite (many with pumpkin-themed menus).   

Lake Norman Beerfest

Saturday, Sept. 24

The Lake Norman area’s biggest beer festival returns Saturday with that alliterative trifecta of “Beer, BBQ and Bands.” The festival’s new Southern Sauce area features a variety of barbecue options, which are available for purchase separately. 

Tap the Rock Craft Beer Festival

Saturday, Sept. 24

This first-year festival brings 30 breweries to historic Rock Hill. The brewery lineup includes a mix of breweries from both North and South Carolina, with some regional and national brands as well. Live music and food trucks will also be on hand. 

the-amazing-canival

The Amazing Canival of Charlotte

Saturday, Oct. 1

As you might guess from the name, The Amazing Canival of Charlotte is all about cans — more than 60 of them, to be exact. Enjoy samples from canned beers from across the Carolinas (with some national brands as well). The inaugural festival takes place in the alley between The Unknown Brewing Co. and Craft Tasting Room and Growler Shop, and it benefits Project HALO, a non-profit, no-kill animal rescue based in Charlotte. 

gibson-mill-brewers-harvest

Cabarrus Brewing Co.’s Inaugural Oktoberfest and Gibson Mill Brewers Harvest

Friday, Sept. 30 to Sunday, Oct. 2

Over the course of three days, Cabarrus Brewing Co. in Concord will celebrate its first Oktoberfest with new beers and live music. On Saturday, Oct. 1, the brewery teams up with its next-door neighbors at High Branch Brewing Co. and Failover Radio for the first annual Gibson Mill Brewers Harvest Beer and Music Fest from 3-10 p.m. If you haven’t visited these two breweries yet, it’s a great time to do so. 

Gastonia Grizzlies Pumpkin Beer Fest

Saturday, Oct. 8 

The Gastonia Grizzlies Pumpkin Beer Fest returns to Sims Legion Park from 4-8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8. As you probably guessed, pumpkin beers are the focus here — but they’re joined by Oktoberfests, ciders and other fall seasonals. The event is also a great chance to check out offerings from new Gastonia-area breweries, like York Chester Brewing Co., Ole Dallas Brewery and Rivermen Brewing. Proceeds benefit the Junior League of Gaston County.

Brewer’s Ball Charlotte

Saturday, Oct. 15

For six years now, the Brewer’s Ball–Charlotte has raised funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The festival is held at Discovery Place and features a variety of local beers and ciders, as well as samples from area restaurants. As if benefiting a worthy charity wasn’t good enough, you can also peruse the Discovery Place exhibits and check out the auctions (silent and live).

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BrewFest weekend at the Carolina Renaissance Festival

Saturday, Oct. 15 and Sunday, Oct. 16

Less a beer festival, more a festival with beer. Every year, the popular Carolina Renaissance Festival dubs one weekend to be BrewFest weekend. During these two days, you can catch a brewing demonstration and sample this year’s winner of the Gambrinus Cup, the festival’s own homebrew competition. Plus, gigantic turkey legs. 

oktoberfest-in-old-town-rock-hill

Oktoberfest in Old Town Rock Hill

Saturday, Oct. 15

Like the aforementioned events at OMB and Waldhorn, the Oktoberfest in Old Town Rock Hill takes the more authentic approach. The Bavarian-style street festival features family-friendly events, traditional German music, a German Food and Beer Garden with the Alemannia Society, and a wiener dog race (if you wish to enter your pup, you’ll need to pre-register). 

Matthews Chamber FallFest

Saturday, Oct. 22

With new spots like Temple Mojo and Seaboard Taproom and Wine Bar and “old” favorites like Moe’s Barbecue and Carolina Beer Temple, Matthews has become a beer town all its own recently. Now, the Matthews Chamber of Commerce and Harley-Davidson of Charlotte will present the inaugural Matthews Chamber FallFest in the motorcycle dealership’s parking lot (9205 E Independence Blvd). The inaugural event includes a “craft beer crawl,” arts and crafts, vendors and a cornhole tournament. Proceeds benefit the Matthews Free Medical Clinic. 

release-the-funk-sour-beer-festival

Release the Funk Sour Beer Fest

Saturday, Nov. 19

If you’re a fan of sour beers, you’ve probably had this one circled on your calendar. And if you’re not, experiencing the diverse selection of beers at this festival just might convert you. Presented by Salud Beer Shop, Fonta Flora and Free Range Brewing, this fourth-annual festival offers one of the best chances to taste some of the finest (and oftentimes most elusive) sour beers around. Tickets are on sale now. 

Beer Quest: A Beer-Tasting Adventure (UPDATE: Canceled)

Saturday, Nov. 19

UPDATE: Beer Quest, scheduled for Nov. 19, has been canceled by organizer All About Beer Magazine. Refunds are refundable at the original point of purchase. 

At Beer Quest, attendees can walk around the concourse of BB&T Ballpark sampling more than 75 beers or journey through four clearly marked paths: Hoppy & Curious, Fizzy Yellow Greatness, The Dark Path and Not 4 n00bs. (Full Disclosure: I work for All About Beer Magazine, presenters of the festival.)

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