Living as an expat in a foreign country provides you with many excuses to get out and experience the flavor of your local culture. In Raleigh, an annual excuse or event we love to participate in is the Raleigh Beerfest. Downtown Moore Square is converted into two giant beer halls as thousands of locals flock through the doors to sample beer from over 100 breweries in the US and all over the world. For $40 you can choose to attend the day or evening session, drinking as much beer as you can fit in.
This year we had a couple of new people joining our usual Beerfest crew, and we all converged into the beer halls at kick off time to make the most of our evening. Elbow nudging and queue jumping started immediately, as all the beer lovers of Raleigh fought their way through the packed halls, desperate to quench their insatiable thirst for the golden nectar. Spoilt for choice, we headed first for the international tent, where we tasted too-bitter Belgium pilsner, Brazilian black beer, plenty of German heff wiesner, the oddly tasting watermelon beer, the delicious blueberry wheat beer and many others whose names just ran into each other after the first couple of tastings.
We were really excited to see that Beer Lao was present with a sampling table and thoroughly enjoyed drinking our favorite Asian beer again, conjuring up old memories of river-tubing pub crawls in Vang Vieng, Laos. Our friends weren’t that fussed with it which led to our discussion on how some beers you love, not so much for it being the best tasting beer in the world, but because it comes wrapped up with the memories of the time you spent drinking the beer.
One thing we’ve learned about the US culture is they really love beer and are surprisingly very good at making it. Now, please remove all thoughts of Bud Light from your mind, there are plenty of US micro-brewery’s that do an outstanding job of producing delicious ales. Raleigh is actually full of these micro-brewers and we love to frequently visit establishments like these to sample some original, flavorsome beers.
My favorite beers of the night were all brewed in the US. We found ourselves lingering around these sampling tables towards the end of the festivities. The pick of the bunch were beers brewed from Moon River, Savannah, the Weeping Willow from the Mother Earth Brewery (how could you not love a beer with a name like that?) and of course our very own Tar Heel favorite ‘Old Well White’ from the Top of the Hill, Chapel Hill.
The festivities for us, did not end with the ringing of the eleven o’clock bell. Our motley crew made our way to the Raleigh Times Bar to carry on the fun with more beer sampling, and enlightened conversations over a cigar. The Annual Raleigh Beerfest once again proved a hit and we’re all looking forward to going it same time, same place next year.