Have a drink for the dogs at the South End Hops Festival

The South End Hops Festival. Courtesy of Shawn Cosner

May has been a tough month for outdoor festivals in North Carolina. The rain-plagued inaugural Untappd beer festival was called the Fyre Festival of Charlotte, while the Epicenter Festival in Richmond County left thousands of patrons high and dry during another extreme weather event.

The sixth-annual South End Hops Festival hopes for better luck, with a forecast for sunny skies. The main event, a fundraiser for the RescuedMe dog adoption group, kicks off Saturday, May 18 from 2-6 p.m., with VIP admission starting at 1 p.m.

With nightly events this week leading up to the main festival, participants are certain to find a way to get plugged in and benefit RescuedMe.

At 308 W. Carson Blvd., the South End Hops Festival will feature breweries from North Carolina and is sponsored by Ohio-based Great Lakes Brewing Co., which will be releasing its new Great Lakes IPA this weekend. The release celebrates the brewery becoming an employee-owned company, and it will feature photos of staff owners on handles and labels of this Lemondrop-, Azaca- and Mosaic-hopped beer.

Great Lakes is also sponsoring a beer garden on the corner of Carson and Mint streets that will highlight the remainder of the weekend’s featured food and beverage purveyors.

“Our big push is sustainability,” field sales representative Kelly Catalano said. “We are active in our community, doing events with nonprofits we call ‘Brewing Good’ events in the 13 states in which we distribute.”

Great Lakes Brewing Co. is the main sponsor of the South End Hops Festival. Courtesy of Shawn Cosner

Catalano said event organizer Shawn Cosner is more than prepared to ensure the South End Hops Festival doesn’t encounter some of the same problems the Untappd and Epicenter festivals did. “He puts so much thought into everything he does. He reads every comment, hears every idea and accommodates whenever and wherever he can.”

For the second year in a row, Triple C Brewing Co. will be brewing Fetch Me Another IPA as the official festival beer. “Triple C works with area nonprofits weekly, and we are happy to support RescuedMe in any way we can,” brand experience manager Katherine Winchester said.

Coming in from Asheville is Archetype Brewing, taking part in their first-ever Charlotte festival. Sally Tanner with Archetype said the brewery is thrilled to be a part of this event. The American- and Belgian-focused brewery will be bringing light, bright summer beers for Saturday’s festivities.

“Charlotte folks travel to Asheville for beer all the time. We are somewhat off the beaten path and wanted to bring our beer to Charlotteans to show them what we have to offer the downtown and West Asheville communities,” Tanner said.

Beer is not the only feature in this event, however. Henry Schmulling of Merchant and Trade will be offering samples of mezcal-based cocktails all day on Saturday, as well as a cocktail demonstration at the Merchant and Trade tent at 3 p.m. Angeline’s executive chef Robert Hoffman will be demonstrating pasta making and other accoutrements.

A South End Hops Festival tasting mug. Courtesy of Shawn Cosner

Event schedule:

Thursday, May 16: 6 p.m., Wine & Design (1419 East Blvd, Suite J) will host Paint Your Pup, where guests can paint a portrait of their pups while enjoying wine and Great Lakes Brewing Co. brews.

Friday, May 17: 6:30 p.m. Angeline’s (303 S. Church St) will host the first annual Hops Fest Eve Beer Dinner. Hoffman has created 6 courses that will be paired with six Triple C brews.

Saturday, May 18: noon-12:00 – 1:30 p.m., Hoppin’ (1402 Winnifred St.) will be the site of the Pup Parade to the festival. Pre-festival, stop by Hoppin’ for brunch and enjoy a free dog grooming. The parade begins at 1:30 p.m. for the march to general admission opening at 2 p.m.

Sunday, May 19: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Zeppelin (235 Tremont Ave.) will wrap up all the fun with the first annual Recovery Brunch, featuring special cocktails.

[Related: Your ultimate spring festival guide, from local bites to arts and entertainment]


  1. Having been to this for the past 2 years and experiencing other really poorly executed similar events, I can recommend this Beer Festival with both paws up. It’s a great event for an even greater cause.


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