Full Disclosure: Wilmington Ale Trail is a sponsor of Marchtoberfest and the owner of the Ale Trail is one of the organizers for the beer festival. This is a puff piece.
If you have seen the videos you may be a little confused as to what Marchtoberfest actually is. Well, at its core it’s a beer festival . We talked to Ellie Craig, the marketing director at Front Street Brewery and one of the organizers for Marchtoberfest.
AT: So what is Marchtoberfest?
EC: Marchtoberfest is a beer festival based on the German Fruhlingsfest, in Munich. Traditionally, they celebrate in late April or early May when the weather turns warmer. It is really just a smaller version of Oktoberfest with the same costumes, games, and rides just on a smaller scale. We wanted to throw a Spring beer festival and use that as the theme.
AT: Do we really need another beer festival?
EC: There was a beer festival called Cape Fear Beer and Wine festival during this time in previous years. We found out that the owner was not going to continue so we approached the convention center about Marchtoberfest. It will be a very different type of festival. All our breweries are from NC and they will all be bringing at least one “German-style beer”. We hope everyone will dress in their finest German festival attire and come ready to have a great time!
AT: Who benefits from the festival?
EC: ILM Beer is our charity partner. They host local beer-based events to raise money for charitable organizations and local people in need. The beneficiary of this year’s Marchtoberfest is the Steve Haydu St. Patrick’s Day Lo-Tide Run. They are an all-volunteer organization that donate 100% of their proceeds to cancer patients in New Hanover county. They put on a great event and are a great organization that has helped some of our local beer peeps.
There will also be a smaller donation to the NC Brewer’s Guild. They are integral in ensuring that our craft beer industry continues to grow. We are grateful for their support and they will be on hand to sell some cool NC Beer merch as well.
AT: What’s up with the Oktoberfest Trip Giveaway?
EC: Being a first-year festival, we knew we were really going to have to catch the public’s attention. We partnered with, AwayBug Travel, to plan an awesome Oktoberfest adventure. The owner, Angie, has been to Oktoberfest several times and lived in Germany. She was instrumental in our planning to make sure we got the best deal possible.
We are giving away two trips to Oktoberfest 2020 in Munich. If you have a VIP ticket, you will be entered into the pool of VIP ticket holders. We are only selling a maximum of 600 VIP tickets.
We are doing the same for General Admission ticket holders. We can only sell a maximum of 2000 general admission tickets. The trip itself includes airfare, hotel, and a reservation in one of the beer halls. Check out our website for the details. Angie will help you addon any extra days, tours, or excursions you want to do.
AT: Bottom-Line, why should people come to Marchtoberfest?
EC: Well first off, the beer. Over 40 NC breweries, including all your local favorites as well as breweries from Asheville, Charlotte, Triangle, and other parts of the state. Many of these breweries don’t distribute to this area so this might be the first-time people get to try them.
We are also going to have the HarborTowne Fest Band which is amazing. They will pump up the crowd and get people dancing. I just met with Ken, the band leader, yesterday and he is really excited for the event.
Finally, we are going to have games. We will have around ten carnival-style games for people to win small prizes. We are also working on a couple larger surprises.
It’s going to be a great time and we are looking forward to turning it into a multi-day event in the future.
Aletrail fans use code WILMALETRAIL to take off $5.
A weekly roundup of local and craft beer that can be found around the area on tap, in bottles, or in cans. These are not beer reviews and should be used for entertainment purposes only.
Tempest: 6% A Pale Ale fermented in oak with a Norwegian Farmhouse yeast then aged in stainless steel with guava and hopped with Citra.
Festbier: 5.3% A refreshing golden lager with a pleasant toasted cereal flavor, brewed in the lighter and crisper style actually served in Munich during Oktoberfest (as opposed to the heavier amber style). It has more depth than a pilsner, but retains the easy drinkability.
Lavish: 6.4% Lavender pale ale brewed with East Kent Golding, then dry-hopped with centennial and conditioned on lavender. Subtle fruit notes with notes of baking spices; their 2019 fall seasonal.
Save the Fest for Last: 5.4% This beer is a showcase for the balance of Munich malt and Nobel hops used for the traditional Oktoberfest beer style. The aroma offers rich bready malt notes, while the flavor profile is balanced with floral & spice character from the Hallertau hops. Finish is clean and crisp off the palate.
ILM: 7.5% This new IPA has more traditional hops and bittering from some old favorites like Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, and Citra. Releases Friday, September 27th!
Goseway: 4.8% This tart, lime gose was made with mouthwatering Wrightsville Beach sea salt provided by Sea Love Sea Salt Co. A taste of wheat provides this tangy ale with a smooth, medium-bodied mouthfeel. This delicious gose is sure to remind you of your favorite salty, summer days!
Visitors and locals can purchase the Wilmington Ale Trail passport to receive vouchers worth over $100 at more than 20 local breweries, bottle shops, and craft beer-focused bars and restaurants. Our weekly Passport Picks blog post will focus on the “best bang for your buck” at one of the participating venues.
The Sour Barn
7211 Market St
Voucher: $5 off beverage, food, or merchandise.
The Sour Barn is a souring and barrel-aging facility for Broomtail Craft Brewery located in the Ogden community. It features a bright tap room and with lots of Broomtail clean beers and sours on tap. It also has beautiful beer garden with an outdoor stage that features local bands and comedians.
Your Wilmington Ale Trail passport includes a $5 voucher for the Sour Barn. I recommend Tuesday for $4 pints or combo it with a Crofton pretzel for just $6.
Purchase a passport, and receive a $5 voucher to The Sour Barn and additional vouchers worth over $100 at more than 20 area locations.
Halfway There is a celebration of reaching the halfway point to Cape Fear Craft Beer Week. ( March 20-29th) 18 local breweries are partnered with local downtown venues to all release a brand new beer for 2019. Some will release seasonal favorites like their Oktoberfest and others will release beers for the very first time.
Check in begins at noon on Saturday, September 21st, at Bomber’s Beverage Company. Here you will receive your “passport” which tells you the participating venues and has spaces for stamps from each venue. 10 stamps gets you a $15 off code for Cape Fear Craft & Cuisine. Get all 18 stamps and receive a 2020 Cape Fear Craft Beer Week t-shirt. Check in ends at 6pm.
New for this year, are the Instagram Scavenger Hunt and Costumed Keg Hunt. The Instagram Scavenger Hunt gives you tasks to be performed during the day and post them to Instagram using special hashtags. Those that perform the tasks will be entered to win various prize packs from local venues and breweries.
The Costumed Keg Hunt hides 6 kegs around Downtown Wilmington and will release clues to their whereabouts throughout the day. When a keg is found, the keg cap can be redeemed for a gift certificate for the value of that keg at Waterline Brewing between 6 and 9pm.
There will also be a roving “prize patrol” that will be looking for those playing both games to award on the spot prizes.
Also new this year, registration will include a BBQ plate at Waterline Brewing prepared by the guys at Rebellion with help from Cheney Brothers Inc and Heritage Farms. You can turn in your passport and receive your BBQ plate between 6pm and 9pm.
Early registration is $10 and day of registration is $15. To register and for more information go to https://capefearcraftbeerweek.com/halfway-there
Julie’s House on Treasure Cay
By now everyone has seen the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas and in particular in the Abaco Islands. My friend, Julie, has a house in Treasure Cay in the Abaco Islands. Luckily, it is still standing and has been able to offer people shelter during and after the storm.
The level of devastation is unprecedented and basic needs are not being met for many people. Most of those that have been displaced by the storm only have the clothes on their back and are being shuffled around to different facilities. Families are separated and scattered among various Bahama islands. Some have been trying to get on flights to the US but they cost $150 ( as of this post) and many cannot access their money.
There is a large Haitian community as well as the local Bahamians that work on the island. There is no infrastructure left. They need money. To get off the island. To get shelter. To just get a beer. So through Julie, we are going to send them money. Yesterday, she was able to talk to some of her friends and that is the best way we can help.
Through September and October every Wilmington Ale Trail passport sold we will be giving away 50% of the sales. To be clear, this money is not going through a non-profit. It is going directly to someone in the Bahamas in need, most of who were in the service or tourism industry, bar tenders, shop clerks, resort workers, tour guides, etc. There are also no string attached. We are just trying to make their day a little brighter. Use code 4TreasureCay to take $5 off.
Buy your passport here.
If you don’t want to buy a passport but want to donate directly to these people, here is a link to Julie’s gofundme page.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
Wilmington Ale Trail