I feel like I say "blank is my favorite time of year!" a lot. Here's the deal. I love Christmas. I do. I also really love Autumn. So, there are seasons and holidays that have my heart. But, I have to put those aside for a minute to exclaim that April is my favorite time of the year! And if you love the state of North Carolina, craft beer, and good times, then it should be yours too.
This year will be my second NC Beer Month with the Johnston County Visitors Bureau. Which means it has been more than a year since I moved home to pleasantly rediscover the county of my youth. And doesn't that sound winsome? As it turns out, in the years since I was away, Johnston County is now home to 2 craft breweries. I moved home from Asheville, so this knowledge came with great joy and consolation. And if you thought that Deep River Brewing Company and Double Barley Brewing brought their NC Beer Month A-game last year, you are in for a pleasant surprise.
It has been an absolute joy over the last year to work with creative, motivated, beer-loving, big-picture-seeing people like Lynn and Paul Auclair (#TeamDR), and Cheryl and Larry Lane (#TeamDB). Both breweries have been busy this year. Between the two of them they've added beers to their line-up, expanded distribution, increased brewing capacity, and started canning. Basically, their 2015 was a lot like Justin Timberlake's 2002 when he went from being that guy in that boy band to a certified pop star. Started from the bottom, now we here. That sorta thing.
If adventure is your natural inclination, and full-of-beer is your natural state, you should spend at least part of your NC Beer Month in Johnston County at both our breweries. I can assure you that you'll be right at home. The barstool will feel like it was molded for your tush. The clouds will open metaphorically and you'll hear the Lion King theme song in your head. Definitely. Probably. Is that just me?
Even better, Johnston County is located conveniently in North Carolina right where I-95, I-40, Hwy 70, and Hwy 301 converge. In a sense, all roads lead to beer. I mean, all roads lead here. Basically, if April finds you transversing the great state of North Carolina, you're going to go right by Deep River and Double Barley. Trust me. It's basic geography.
One thing is a guarantee. You will find a beer you like. You might even find THE beer. You know the one. Because Deep River and Double Barley have a variety of styles to choose from and even more specially concocted masterpieces foaming at the tap for just the month of April. I have included a full list below of NC Beer Month activities happening in Johnston County. You're welcome! Cheers!
The 3 Year Anniversary Party is April 7th - 10th (you read that right, it's a 4 day party). There will be an anniversary glassware giveaway each day to the first 100 customers, special release beers on draft, limited edition mixed 4-packs for sale that include a Tangerine White IPA, Sour Cherry Ale, Hoppy Pilsner, and Munich Dunkel, live music, and food trucks all weekend.
Pinapalooza is April 9th at 2PM and there will be 20 cask beers on tap, all of which were made by the employees. Tickets are $25 and include a limited edition commemorative tasting glass, free samples of all of the cask beer, and a vote for your favorite. Limited tickets available day of the event in the taproom.
There will be a Deep River Beer Dinner with the Cleveland Draft House in Clayton on April 27th at 6:30PM. The 5 course meal will be paired with 5 courses of beer. Ticket prices and availability to be determined at a later date. To keep you in suspense.
An on-going promotions for the month of April include a $3 pint special every Wednesday and Randy Thursdays. What is a Randy Thursday, you ask? It's a different beer and flavor infusion every week concocted by a Double Barley employee and placed on the Randall system every Thursday. I can't explain more than that because I can't science very well. But ask upon arrival.
Give Em Hell Release Party will be April 2nd from 2PM to 7PM and will celebrate the second release of "Give Em Hell", the Double Barley Imperial Red Ale. The proceeds from the sale of this beer are donated to the Beer Army Foundation for college scholarships in NC. Event also includes live music, food trucks, and limited edition t-shirts.
Enjoy Craft Beer Cocktails on April 16th. Double Barley will have a special menu of their beers mixed together with other ingredients to create craft beer cocktails. Live music with Ken and Cricket will be from 7PM to 10PM.
Double Barley hosts "Q, Brew and You" for the first annual Down East Beer and BBQ Festival and Competition at the brewery. Nothing goes better with BBQ than beer! Competition starts at 11AM on April 23rd, taproom opens to the public at noon.
On May 1st from 12 to 6PM there will be a Benefit for the Mama Edna Project. Double Barley is wrapping up NC beer month on a sweet note with a fund raiser for the Mama Edna Project. Edna Honeycutt McLamb was a Johnston County native who was able to enjoy a better quality of life during her battle with cancer because of juicing. This non-profit places juicers with cancer patients and gives them information on juicing to help them with boosting their immunity and reducing symptoms from cancer treatment. Manna Food Truck will be on hand, as well as live music from Abby Davis and Petty Larceny (Tom Petty tribute band).
For all there is to know on an on-going basis about beer, wine, and spirits in the Johnston County area, visit beerwineshinetrail.com.