Ein Prosit! Marchtoberfest in the Port City!

Ein Prosit! Marchtoberfest in the Port City!

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.



Weekly Mixed Six January 19th

Weekly Mixed Six January 19th

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.

Flytrap Brewing

Tart Cherry & Boysenberry Gose: 4.1% A fruit-filled sessionable sour brewed with Sea Love sea salt.

Skytown Beer Company

Me So Corny: 6.8% From the brewery, “Me So Corny was brewed with 2 full pans of Chef Stephen’s cornbread and caramelized honey! You’ve gotta try this lightly tart, highly complex brew!!”

Makai Brewing Company

‘Ula ‘Ula: 4.5% From the brewery, “‘Ula ‘Ula mean’s red in Hawaiian. There’s your lesson of the day! Dry but sweet, malty but balanced, delicious but even more delicious.”

Mad Mole Brewing

Rufus Saves the World: 7.3% From the brewery, “New England IPA, deep and hazy with a palate of grapefruit mingled with hints of Apricot.”

Front Street Brewery

Hoppy 2020: 5.9% From the brewery, “The perfect marriage of malty amber lager and American hops. Our gold-medal winning Oktoberfest simply shines with citrus and floral notes from the novel addition of Cascade, Centennial, and Amarillo hops. Imagine America’s favorite pale ale transformed into a clean, crisp lager!”

Wrightsville Beach Brewery

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: 4.0% Chocolate stout with dark chocolate and fresh strawberries.

Brunswick Beer and Cider -This is the Way

Brunswick Beer and Cider -This is the Way

As if owning and operating a brewpub isn’t challenging enough, Wilmington native Jud Watkins has decided to take on another one—cider.

Brunswick Beer and Cider Company is coming soon(ish) to a Brunswick Forest near you.

We sat down with Watkins to get the scoop.

Ale Trail (AT): Congratulations! Let’s get the most annoying question out of the way first—what’s your timeline?

Jud Watkins (JW): 2020 might be a little ambitious but I definitely hope to be operation winter 2020/2021.

AT: What do you think staffing will look like? Will brewers be splitting time between Brunswick Beer and Cider (BCC) and Wrightsville Beach Brewery?

JW: Regarding brewers specifically, we will definitely be bouncing staff back and forth, but we would also like to bring in someone with a lot of cider experience. As you know, TTB treats cider more like wine than beer. In our eyes, there is a lot more overlap with beer, than wine, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be an entirely different challenge for us.

AT: That’s great! So, what are you most excited about?

JW: I am probably most excited about the cider portion and the challenges that will ensue. I look forward to retraining myself and training alongside our staff as we attempt to perfect fermentation techniques with ciders. There are so many fun opportunities with ciders; barriers to be broken down as we have seen with craft beer over the last two decades.

AT: Will the food menu mimic Wrightsville Beach Brewery’s or will you be going a different direction?

JW: I anticipate we will take about half of our menu over with us to BBC (if we don’t serve the Thai Chili Cauliflower Tempura, I fear there would be rioting). But I also want BBC to have some of its own trademark items on its food menu. We hope to continue to keep the ingredient sourcing as local as possible as we have done here at Wrightsville Beach Brewery.

AT: Who else is tackling this with you?

JW: I am fortunate to be joined in the business adventure with my lifelong friend, Will Cameron. Will and I grew up together selling Brunswick County grown Silverqueen corn on the side of the road. We have wanted to work together for a long time and it’s exciting to have finally reached the point in our careers where we can work as business partners.

AT: Anything else?

JW: Don’t be surprised if you see a tie-in with a local theme at BBC too. We have a lot of fun naming beers here at Wrightsville Beach Brewery; sometimes its a random fun name we all loved but more times than not, the names are a nod to the awesome community we live in.

Weekly Mixed Six January 19th

Weekly Mixed Six January 12th

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.

Wilmington Brewing Company

Donut Party: 7.6% A collaboration with Wake N Bake donuts, this robust porter was brewed with chocolate coconut donuts.

Broomtail Craft Brewery

Nefarious Words: 5.8% The latest NE IPA brewed with South African Southern Passion hops.

Salty Turtle Beer Company

1949: 4.8% Lighten up with this bright, zippy German-style lager. Ultra-delicate malt and crisp carbonation combined with subdued bitterness on the finish make for one easy drinking beer.

Flying Machine Brewing Company

Volare: 5.2% From the brewery, “[An] Italian Pilsner that is crisp and floral with hints of white grape thanks to a healthy dose of Hallertau Blanc and Mittlefruh. This bad boy hits the taproom draft lines tomorrow, so come over and remove this from your Lager bucket list.”

New Anthem Beer Project

I Exploit You: 5.3% Non-funky mixed-fermentation Berliner re-fermented with blackberries, raspberries and black currants.

Bill’s Brewing Company

Oyster Stout: 6.7% Collaboration oyster stout with Three Little Spats Oyster Company. From the brewery, “This full bodied stout is matched with 30 pounds of plump and juicy Stump Sound aquacultured oysters! Expect hints of salt and chocolate with a roasty finish.”

Looking Forward to 2020

Looking Forward to 2020

2020! A new decade! How exciting. (Yes, I know there wasn’t a year zero, so technically the new decade doesn’t start until next year, but culturally speaking we’re in a new decade. Don’t @ me.)

The 2010’s brought us the rise of the milkshake and New England IPAs as well us everybody’s new favorite boozy bev, hard seltzer. The 20’s will surely bring us new trends to love and loathe. I asked local brewers to predict those trends and also what they are looking forward to both globally and in their own breweries.

Here’s what they had to say.

Barry Owings, Broomtail Craft Brewery & The Sour Barn

In 2020 Broomtail will still likely only produce 1000 – 1200 Barrels. But the major changes will be:
• Several flagships will be fermented completely with our locally harvested yeast. Of the 7 yeasts we have banked at White Labs, at least 2 will be moving from pilot size batches to full commercial size batches in Q1 2020
• Barrel Aged Sours have historically only been released 2-3 times / year by Broomtail. Starting in Q1 2020, we will begin releasing new (larger batches) of blended barrel aged sours at least every other month. These will be available in both of our locations as well as local Bottle Shops and Restaurants vs historically being only available at BTCB and Sour Barn.
• Canning: We will begin 2020 with small runs (a few thousand cans) of 4 Broomtail beers in 12oz cans. This will include Gose, Moe, Hay Bale, and Acerbic. Starting in Q2 2020 we are converting to 16oz cans at which time we will also package our newest IPA (ILM) and Pale Ale (910). The new packages will be available at both of our sites as well as through our wholesale distribution.

Jud Watkins, Wrightsville Beach Brewery

I think nationally we are seeing more and more people who are eating and drinking in a healthier manner. My guess is this will lead to lower ABV craft beer options and maybe even some gluten free beers too (stay tuned for more from WBB soon!).

I also think that as Wilmington’s craft breweries move past their first couple years, you’ll see our loyal customers branch out a little more. The Port City is an IPA-loving town, but I expect customers will start to try another beer first, before ordering their go-to favorite.

John Savard, Wilmington Brewing Company & Wilmington Homebrew Supply

We are predicting IPAs and Double IPAs are sticking around for sure, but we also see some light lagers and classic German styles coming back around.
IPAs are still king, and we love that, we just added 2 new 30bbl lagering tanks predicting people will dig a lighter option too.

Weekly Mixed Six January 19th

Weekly Mixed Six January 5th

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.

Flytrap Brewing

Apricot Saison with Champagne Yeast: 6.9% A NYE release at Flytrap, this saison was bottle-conditioned with champagne yeast and is only available in bottles in the taproom.

Front Street Brewery

Be More Pacific: 9.5% From former Assistant Brewer Christian, “Please be more Pacific about your IPA. We’re talking West Coast classic: clean, crisp, and crushable, with a bright, piney wave of Simcoe and Amarillo hops crashing on your palate like a resin-soaked tide of tangerine, pineapple, and grapefruit. All in surprising balance that just begs for more. Our tribute to Pliny.”

Waterline Brewing Company

Peppercorn Oyster Stout: 6% From Head Brewer Dani, “Made with four kinds of peppercorns and a healthy portion of fresh oysters out of stump sound. Dry and spiced without being spicy, with a silky soft body that balances the peppercorns and roasted malts.”

Makai Brewing Brewing Company

P.O.G. Saison: 6.8% From the brewery, “Our take on the traditional Hawaiian POG drink. This belgian-style saison includes a generous amount of tropical flavors including pineapple, orange and guava.”

Waterman’s Brewing

Sandglass Sour Series–Dark Chocolate Cherry: 5% From brewer Alexis, “This addition to the Sandglass Sour Series has malty, yet tart characteristics with a lighter body. Packed with dark chocolate and cherry purée, this liquid treat is like biting into a chocolate covered cherry—delicious but not too filling.”

Wrightsville Beach Brewery

Scatter-Grained: 6% A gluten-free honey amber ale made with 4 different types of malted millet seeds, hopped with centennial and loaded with fresh local wildflower honey.