A celebration of suds: Wilmington Beer Week now underway

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Nearly 5,000 avid craft brew enthusiasts are expected to gather at this year's Lighthouse Beer and Wine Festival downtown. Courtesy photo.
Nearly 5,000 avid craft brew enthusiasts are expected to gather at this year’s Lighthouse Beer and Wine Festival downtown. Courtesy photo.

It’s time to raise a glass for Wilmington Beer Week.

The annual local celebration of brews, which kicked off Saturday, continues today through Friday and culminates Saturday in the mother of all tasting events–the Lighthouse Beer and Wine Festival at North Waterfront Park on the corner of Nutt and Harnett streets.

If you want to gear up for the weekend’s festivities, Fermental, 7250 Market St. in Ogden, hosts a circus-themed fundraiser beginning at 5 p.m. tonight. There will be carnival performers, belly dancers and tarot card readers, as well as live music. A food truck will be onsite, and there will, of course, be lots of cask ale flowing. The event is a fundraiser for the Carolina Pine Music Festival.

Then, at 7 p.m., head over to Palate Bottle Shop and Reserve, 1007 N. Fourth St., for an ’80s dance party and 30-year anniversary celebration of Bells Brewing.

Thursday, Wilmington Brewing Company, 824 S. Kerr Ave., teams up with Boombalatti’s to pair cold brews and frozen treats starting at 5 p.m.. Wilmington Brewing will be slinging Blair’s Breakfast Stout floats made with Boombalatti’s homemade ice cream.

Fermental serves up Ballast Point creations at 6 p.m. and Palate hosts a collaborative release from Wilmington Brewing Company and Daddy Day Care Brewing at 7.

If you fancy yourself an avant garde drinker, the Voracious and Rare Beer Festival, a precursor to Saturday’s blowout, gets underway at 6 p.m. Friday on the deck of the U.S.S. Battleship. Billed as an event for the true aficionado – or beer geek, if you will – the fest will feature the latest and greatest limited releases from more than 30 breweries. Tickets are $75 and are required in advance for this intimate evening.

On Saturday, it’s time to toast with thousands of your peers at the 14th annual Lighthouse Beer and Wine Festival. It kicks off at 1 p.m. (noon for VIP ticket holders). You can sample drinks from over 100 craft breweries–including six from right here in Wilmington–and 40 wineries all in one place. Asheville-based band Holy Ghost Tent Revival will perform live and there will be plenty of food trucks on hand.

Tickets are $50 each for VIP beer or wine passes, or $40 for general admission. Both Friday and Saturday’s festivals will benefit The Carousel Center, a Wilmington non-profit that advocates and provides a nurturing, safe environment for victims of child abuse.

Click here for a full schedule and ticket information.

Hilary Snow is a reporter for Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.