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Where to drink in April

Two saison festivals, plenty of outdoor drinking and more springtime events.
CATEGORIES: Beer   Travel  

On the cusp of a new month, it’s time to crack open your planner and pencil in some beer events and festivals. April proves to be full of springy opportunities, including cider and saison festivals, brewery anniversary parties and North Carolina Beer Month. Here’s the best of the bunch:

Courtesy of Cider Summit

Last year’s Cider Summit San Francisco; Courtesy of Cider Summit

Cider Summit San Francisco: The popular Cider Summit cider festival, which occurs in various cities throughout the year, heads to the Bay Area on April 23, offering 150 local, regional and international ciders. With 3,000 expected attendees, Cider Summit SF is one of the region’s largest cider tasting events. Tickets are $40; $50 for VIP, which includes an hour earlier entry and ten additional sample tickets. Buy tickets online here.

ChurchKey’s Official D.C. Launch for Founders KBS, Washington D.C.: In just a few hours, venerable D.C. bar ChurchKey hosts a party for this year’s coveted Founders KBS release, which will include seven vintage pours from ChurchKey’s cellar (2014 Big Luscious and 2012 Bolt Cutter are among the offerings). There’s no charge for admission; just show up at 4 p.m. and pay for beers by the glass.

DC Brau 5-Year Anniversary Party, Washington, D.C.: Speaking of our nation’s capital, hometown heroes DC Brau host a five-year birthday bash on April 16 with music from The Sword, Kvelertak, Torche, Serpent Throne and Loud Boyz. The party will also include beer, of course; DC Brau will tap five collaborations brewed with friends such as Cigar City, Perennial, Austin Beerworks and more. Tickets start at $45 and are on sale here.

Trinity 8th Annual Saison Fest, Colorado Springs, Colorado: Also on April 16, Trinity Brewing throws its 8th annual Saison Fest, which features top-notch saisons from around the world. A cool bonus: Attendance is limited to 150, so it’s an intimate environment in which to sip these springtime gems. Tickets are $45 in advance; $55 at the door (if available). Buy ’em online here.

N.C. Beer Month, North Carolina: N.C.’s tourism board and the state’s brewers’ guild team up for a month-long celebration of Tarheel beer. Check out the official website, which displays an events database searchable by date and location. Festivals include Greensboro’s Boil and Bru, a traditional Southern shrimp boil featuring locally crafted brews; Raleigh’s annual Brewgaloo, celebrating North Carolina beer with live music and some of the city’s most popular food trucks; the NCBeer Month Olympics in Pilot Mountain; Wilmington’s Port City BrewHaHa Tour with beer and comedy; and more. At the very least, N.C. drinkers can earn some new Untappd badges as part of the month’s promotion.

Courtesy of Brew Races

Courtesy of Brew Races

Craft Brew Races 5K, Worchester, Massachusetts: If you’ve been keeping up with your beer runner resolutions, put your feet to the test April 30 with this 5K race followed by a beer festival in Worchester. Complete the race, then enjoy three hours of brews from Wormtown, Stone, Jack’s Abby, Medusa, Foolproof and many more. Register for the 5K ($55) or just attend the beer festival ($45); sign up for both or either here.

Oskar Blues Austin Burning Can and 4/20 Smoke Out, Austin, Texas: In advance of the opening of its Austin brewery later this year, Colorado-based Oskar Blues hosts two April events in the Austin area, including the 4/20 Smoke Out on April 20 at the Scoot Inn. That event includes music from J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Nikki Lane, Eagle Eye Williamson plus Texas barbecue and Oskar Blues beer. Tickets are $15 in advance; $20 at the door. Three days later on April 23, Burning Can goes down at Walter E. Long Park and features approximately 30 national breweries and their canned beers, plus athletic events including beer relays and music by Drive-By Truckers. Tickets are $35 ($40 at the gate) for general admission; $65 ($70 at the door) for VIP, which snags you a fanny pack, amenities like shaded seating, water and separate bathrooms. See all the ticket options here.

Ardent Swine & Brine, Richmond, Virginia: Ardent Craft Ales hosts its second-annual festival of oysters, crabs, barbecue and beer on April 22. Expect a line-up of 15 Ardent beers including Szechuan Peppercorn Saison, Earl Grey Brown Ale and four batches of IPA (#9, 18, 19, 20), plus raw and steamed oysters from Rappahannock Oyster Co. and all kinds of pork goodies from The Roosevelt; Saison; Metzger Bar & Butchery; ZZQ; and Sabai and Amuse. The cost is $20 per person and includes three tickets each redeemable for a beer or food item (additional tickets cost $5 each). Purchase admission tickets online here.

Newport Craft Beer Festival, Newport, Rhode Island: Back for a fifth year, this festival sponsored by Newport Storm Brewery and Pour Judgement Bar & Grille takes place over two days, April 29-30 and includes beers from 35 regional breweries as well as some national breweries. Saturday’s session sounds especially intriguing, offering a chance to taste “Beta Beers”: beers not before available in Rhode Island or not yet released to the wider public. Tickets range from $35-$45 and are available for purchase here.

Courtesy of Thomas Jefferson Poplar Forest

Courtesy of Thomas Jefferson Poplar Forest

Thomas Jefferson Craft Beer Tasting, Forest, Virginia: The third annual Thomas Jefferson Craft Beer Tasting will be held April 9 in the picturesque Thomas Jefferson Poplar Forest. More breweries join the lineup this year; expect to see pours from Apocalypse Ale Works, Blue Mountain Brewery, Bold Rock Hard Cider, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Foothills Brewing, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery of Richmond and Old Bust Head (OBH) Brewing Co. Tickets for 20 tastings are $30 in advance and $35 at the door; tickets for 10 tastings are available for $25 at the door; tickets for 10 additional tastings can be purchased for $10 the day of the event. Get more details and purchase tickets here.

Fieldworking Brewing First Anniversary Party, Berkeley, California: The brewery celebrates its first year on April 9 with a show from The Brothers Comatose; the taproom will close to the public at 7 p.m. and offer ticket holders only a taste of beers including Arable Brett Belgian Pale Ale, Chenin Blanc IPA, Monsoon imperial IPA, Hors de Saison and more. Tickets are $30 and are available here.

Sharpen The Blades Saison Fest, Asheville, North Carolina: The third annual, totally-metal-sounding saison fest takes place April 30 at Burial Beer Co. and coincides with two wild farmhouse bottle releases from the brewery: Terrestrial Paradise Brett farmhouse ale and Garden of Earthly Delights saison. As for the festival, it features 40 breweries including a handful of locals as well as non-Asheville breweries. Entry is $8 and includes a commemorative glass and two tokens (1 token will get you a 5oz pour and 2 tokens will get a 10oz pour). Extra tokens are available for purchase for $2 each. See the brewery and music lineup on Facebook.


Kate Bernot is DRAFT’s beer editor. Reach her at kate.bernot[at]draftmag.com.

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One Comment

  • Kevin says:

    Draft Magazine April Events has a listing for Craft Brew Races in Worchester but unfortunately the city is spelled Worcester.

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