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N.C. lures beer lovers to the state with craft brew special events

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North Carolinians may have a love for craft beer year-round, but N.C. tourism officials have designated April as NC Beer Month in hopes of luring more beer-loving tourists to the state.

"North Carolina’s profile as a destination for beer lovers has risen dramatically in the past decade," stated Beth Gargan, Spokesperson with the North Carolina Division of Tourism. "With more than triple the number of craft breweries, North Carolina ranks 10th nationally and has the most breweries of any state east of Texas and south of Pennsylvania, according to 2012 figures from the Brewers Association."

Throughout the month of April, cities and towns across North Carolina will celebrate the craftsmanship of 100 breweries and destinations that embrace it.

Tourism officials believe that a month especially dedicated to beer promotion will attract craft brew lovers to the state. These are just some of the highlights of what travelers can expect to find when they travel to the Tar Heel state in April, 2014.

Kinston Beer Weekend: Three-day event featuring a beer dinner (Chef & the Farmer with Mother Earth Brewing); a downtown Barbecue, Oysters & Beer Bash; Mother Earth Brewing’s Neuse River Brews Cruise; and breakfast on the world’s only full-size replica of a Confederate ironclad.

Blowing Rock Beer Retreat: An overnight stay at Blowing Rock Ale House & Inn with dining at the Ale House Restaurant and a class with the Blowing Rock Ale brewery.

Mountain getaways: Savings of 25 percent on lodging, food and recreation (mountain biking, zip lining, kayaking and more) from a host of businesses in Brevard. And near Sylva, specials on a stay at Sunset Farm Cabins plus a tour of Heinzelmännchen Brewery, two engraved sports mugs and a copy of “Your Gnometown Cookbook.”

Beer dinners: Including Good Food Award winner Sean Lily Wilson (Fullsteam) with James Beard award winner Andrea Reusing (Lantern) in Chapel Hill; Aviator Beer Co. with Carolina Crossroads in Chapel Hill; and Heinzelmännchen Brewery and Innovation Brewing with City Lights Café in Sylva.

Hickory Hops: Festival featuring broad representation of North Carolina craft beer, with 50 to 60 microbreweries and the Carolinas Championship of Beer.

World Beer Festival Raleigh and Brewgaloo: Two festivals showcasing the range of taste in the Capital City, the first offering North Carolina beer in an international context, the second zeroing in on the local — craft beer, food trucks and entertainment.

New releases: A Scotch ale from Highland Brewing in Asheville, kicking off its “20 Beers for 20 Years” anniversary celebration. Also, new releases from Deep River Brewing in Clayton, marking its one-year anniversary; Tripel Overhead Bourbon Barrel Aged Belgian Tripel at Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston; and a raspberry wheat collaboration from Heinzelmännchen Brewery and Innovation Brewing in Sylva.

Taverns and Trolleys: Tour through historic Edenton for a view of Colonial America's connection to beer and drinking culture. Also on tap: Brews on the Bay, a pig picking with craft beer, and Boogie on Broad with The Embers, a bayside street dance.

Downtown Walkabout: An afternoon stroll through the quaint mountain town of Blowing Rock for local beer samples, treats, entertainment and special

NC Beer Month is co-sponsored by the North Carolina Division of Tourism and the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild.

Visit NCBeerMonth.com between now and the end of April to tap into celebrations from the mountains to the coast. For a map of the state’s breweries, check out NCBeer.org. And for travel planning, head to VisitNC.com. Also, check out this blog by the N.C. Beer Guys, the entire blog is devoted to beer crafted in North Carolina.

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