In early April, a group of 12 North Carolina brewers gathered at Salud Bottle Shop. They huddled around a giant draft board, submitting their pored-over picks, and carefully assembling their line-up. But this wasn’t some impossibly early Fantasy Football meet-up. They weren’t drafting players; they were selecting brewing ingredients.
Each brewer had to assemble a core line-up: base malt, two hop varietals, two specialty malts, and an adjunct. The yeast was randomly drawn at the draft’s completion. Once an ingredient was selected, no other breweries could choose it.
The end result? The beer-nerdiest whiteboard I have ever seen, and the foundation for a unique brewers competition.
On Sunday, July 10 at 2 p.m., attendees to the inaugural NC Brewers Draft Release Party will get to try those draft results on draught. A limited number of tickets ensures an an intimate and memorable gathering.
“We have been doing a homebrew version of the draft for a year or two,” says Daan Muller, one of the event’s organizers. “Joe (Domm, another organizer) and I started thinking about how we can incorporate this idea to the professional brewers. To allow them to get creative, have fun and to compete the same way we did as homebrewers.”
Of the 12 participating breweries, half of them hail from Charlotte. Of the submitted beers, all of them look brilliantly-named and wholly-intriguing.
- Appalachian Mountain Brewery – GF Banana Milkshake – N.E. Style IPA with Lactose, GrapeFruit
- Burial – The Ocean Swallows the The Sun – Hibiscus Gose
- Fortnight – Duchess of Porkshire – Maple Syrup, Smoked Bacon Raisin Ale.
- Four Saints – $3 Bill – Breakfast Saison
- Heist – Ripper Roo – Guava Blood Orange DIPA w/ Australian Summer and Galaxy Hops
- Mystery Brewing – Best Laid Schemes – A Peach White Pepper Strong Ale
- OMB – First Offense – Berliner Weisse w/ Passion Fruit Aged on Yellow Birch
- NoDa – Wonka’s Hangover Induced Elixir! – Fun Dip, Pop Rocks and Beer.
- Salud – Working Man Blues – BlueBerry Stout aged on Oak
- Triple C – Runt of the Litter – Chocolate Strawberry Hefeweizen
- Unknown Brewery – Still Getting Tropical – Tropical IPA w/ Cucumbers, Coconut Sugar and Cuties
- WaterLine Brewery – Mindless Monk – Experimental Imperial Belgian Braggot Aged on Organic Cherries & WormWood
Tickets to the (now sold-out) event run $27.50, and provide attendees with a flight of each submitted beer, plus an additional pint of their choosing. For those keeping count at home, that’s 12 pours at 4 oz. apiece plus an additional full pour.
Two prizes are to be awarded, for Judges’ and People’s’ Champion. Brewers get a year’s worth of bragging rights, plus an awe-inspiring WWE-style belt or towering trophy. Attendees get to tell all their friends (that for some reason didn’t attend) how much they missed out.
Proceeds from ticket sales benefit Pints For Prostates, a nonprofit designed to raise prostate cancer awareness “through the universal language of beer.” Attendees will also be entered into a raffle that will send a lucky winner on a European trip for this year’s Oktoberfest in Munich.
“Joe and I spent some time thinking about beer related charities and their impacts,” adds Daan Muller. “Immediately we thought about Pints for Prostates. Clearly this was going to be a great partnership.”
Personally, it’s worth my cost of admission simply to finally see OMB throw their closely-guarded connection with the Reinheitsgebot beer purity law to the wind, with their aptly-named “First Offense” entry.
Throughout, the NC Brewers Draft is a rare chance for professional brewers to indulge in a bit of fun, testing their recipe-creation skills under duress and indulge in a throwback to their homebrewing roots, all the while benefitting a local non-profit organization.
NC Brewers Draft will be hosted by NoDa Brewing at their original taproom, located at 2229 N Davidson Street. The ticketed event runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 10. Additional information and ticket sales can be found here.