This past weekend my husband and I went to a craft beer festival here in Raleigh called Brewgaloo! Funny enough, this was kind of a last minute decision as I was originally not planning on being in town this weekend. Earlier in the week I had found out that my original out of town plans were cancelled. My husband and I both have been stressed with work recently and I knew we needed a weekend out and about. When I had heard the weather was going to be BEAUTIFUL (Like sunny- 77 degrees, zero humidity, a nice breeze, and not a cloud in the sky kind of beautiful!), I knew we needed to find something to do outside. I firmly believe a good dose of vitamin D can do wonders. I actually knew nothing about Brewgaloo, nor had ever heard of it before! I had mentioned to one of my co-worker’s that we were going to be in town over the weekend and was brainstorming something we could do together – she immediately suggested Brewgaloo! She told me that her and her husband had gone in years past and they loved it. Andy and I are normally huge homebodies on the weekends, spending the majority of our time our in our yard or on our back deck, but with the weather as gorgeous as it was going to be and that happened to fall on a weekend where we had no plans, it was hard not to at least consider.
We have lived in the Raleigh area for a year now, and I think we have gone “downtown” mayybeee three times and have yet to attend a large festival/event (Clearly we are a young, hip couple). I always hear about fun things going on but we either a.) are not in town b.) are just tired from the week and would rather veg-out c.) don’t want to have to deal with what to do with both our dogs or d.) have things we want to get things done around the house. I know, I know. Always excuses. We always say we need to make the effort and go do more things, experience the city. We never regret going places, yet it is so easy to find excuses not to do something. A fuzzy blanket and some good Netflix at home are ALWAYS calling my name. Now, I will be honest, I am not a huge beer drinker – okay, more honestly – I don’t like beer. I can drink a good stout but all these IPA stuff… Oh dear goodness no. I just don’t get it. I have tried and tried to like it but I can barely sip it. So, obviously, I was mainly excited about just getting out and having some quality time with my hubs (that and the fact I had heard there are some awesome food vendors)! When I mentioned this festival to Andy (who is a beer drinker), he was all for it. When we heard that dogs were welcomed – well – that sealed the deal.
The Non-Beer Drinking Chick at a Beer Festival
I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect with this craft beer festival but I was definitely pleasantly surprised! We ended up bringing our littlest pup Amos (pictured everywhere on this post) and let me tell you… this little guy was the STAR of the show (I will talk more about his adventures a little later). As we drove up to the festival – I was immediately surprised how huge the festival was. It shut down all of the streets in downtown Raleigh completely. It was also surprisingly easy to find parking (coming from Nashville – we have a new appreciation for what it means to find easy parking). We found a parking garage just a block away from one of the entrances. Already, I could tell this festival was BUSY. Their were probably 100 or so people in lines either at will-call or in line to purchase tickets. Since this was a pretty last minute decision for us, we obviously did not have any tickets. Luckily the line went pretty quick. Now, the ticketing system for the festival was very unique – it wasn’t a ‘buy one admission ticket’ type of system. The way it worked is that you purchase a certain number of tickets and they give you a wrist band and plastic glass. The tickets serve as a form of currency in the festival. Five tickets give you 1 pint of beer or two tickets give you a sample of beer. You just give them your beer glass and they will re-fill your cup. The tickets work at all of the beer vendors! It was a really cool way to get to try all kinds of beer because you didn’t think about price or if you wanted to spend all your money on one vendor.
When we walked in, I was immediately shocked by how absolutely packed it was! Like corner to corner with people. We walked for a little bit and then decided to try and get a beer. Oh my goodness, the lines at EVERY beer vendor were NUTS. We kept searching to try and find a shorter line somewhere with no avail. We eventually gave up and decided we just needed to bite the bullet and pick a line to wait in. The line probably took about 10-15 minutes or so – which definitely could’ve been worse. I got a vanilla/coffee stout (really- the only kind of beer I can drink) and I admit – it was pretty good!! Also- I feel I should mention that there were dogs, kids, families, etc. This was not just a giant “college-aged” festival. It honestly was a great mix and a great atmosphere. If you have young kiddos, the only struggle that I could see would be fighting with the crowds, dealing with port a potties, etc. – otherwise very family friendly! Right after we got our beers, we found out that a good friend of ours, Jason, was going to be coming out as well and wanted to meet up with us. We decided we wanted to find a spot to ‘camp out’ somewhere to make it easier for him to find us. There was a pretty good DJ nearby so we found a spot in the shade that we could sit, sip, and listen to some awesome music. It was pretty amazing.
Okay, I have to talk about Amos now. Y’all… from the moment we walked into this place, you would thought he was some kind of famous pooch. Seriously, every five steps someone would either ask to pet him (or just walking up and petting him without asking), telling us how cute our dog was, asking what kind of dog he was, or I would see some female shaking their significant other and pointing to Amos – exclaiming, “oh my goodness look how cute he is. I want one like him.” There had to have been at least 100 different people come up to pet him – AT LEAST. I would be standing there with his leash behind me and I would turn around and like 4-5 girls would be bent down , ooing and awing, petting him. One girl was so excited at seeing him, she kept saying that he didn’t look real and wanted to hug him. We even had two completely separate groups of people come up to us and gave us extra beer tickets because, “our dog was just so cute”. At one point we put sunglasses on him – I thought people were going to start crying (see pics below). I kid you not, we were standing there and a lady came up asking to get a picture with him and then her friends wanted pictures with him as well. Then came an almost line of people wanting to get a picture of him. Pretty sure he is on at least 15 different snapchat stories somewhere in Raleigh. I don’t think I have ever experienced something quite like bringing him to this festival.
Back to the story: Some Awesome Vendors!
After hanging out for about 30 minutes and our friend, Jason, had joined us, I was SO ready for some food. I had spotted a young couple earlier that evening with some Ah-maze-ing looking food, I had to ask where they got it from and they told me it was from the Bo’s Kitchen Food Truck. You best believe I was ready to make a bee-line towards that food truck. I got the spicy chicken and I was not disappointed (pictured below). Oh my goodness – it was so delicious. Andy got the spicy pork and Jason got the dumplings. We all tried a little bit of each others and Oh. Em. Gee. I don’t think I could pick out a favorite. They were all so good. If you live in the RTP area, I highly recommend them! After we scarfed down this amazing food, I really needed to use the restroom (TMI? Maybe.) Every. Single. Line. Was absolutely insane for the port a potties. Like with any outdoor festival, I don’t think this factor is unique BUT I bring this up just as an FYI if you ever plan to attend. The bathrooms were absolute chaos and just be prepared for it. Since I didn’t want Andy and Jason to have to wait for me, I told them I would meet up with them while I fought the bathroom line crowds. I ended up meeting them about 20-30 minutes later (I got side tracked watching an intense dance-off that was happening in the street- it was awesome.)
When I was finally able to reconnect with them we were so ready to try some new beers. As we began our quest, we stumbled past a hard cider vendor (!). For this non-beer drinkin’, cider lovin’ chick, I was so excited. I also love finding local vendors to support. I walked up and the sweetest man along with another young women manned the both. They were so kind and genuinely seemed excited that someone as excited as I was wanting to try their cider. This cider was so good! Now, I like hard ciders but sometimes they can be a little too sweet for me. This cider was definitely a drier cider, and the woman at the both had told me such. It had a champagne-esque kind of taste but was so delicious. I really regret that I didn’t get a picture of their booth but it is small craft cidery called Fishing Creek Cider Co. If you live in North Carolina- I have a list of all the places where you can purchase some of the cider #supportlocal (pictured below).
Okay, last but certainly not least. As the sun started to set, it was seriously so beautiful. We only planned to be there for an hour or two, but we ended up staying for about 5 hours simply because it was so nice to be out. Watching the sunset on the streets of Raleigh with not a cloud in the sky at 70 degrees with no humidity… yeah. It was beautiful. We still had some tickets left and decided that we would take a last stroll down the street to find some last minute local goodness. Well, I am super glad we did because we stumbled across a local bloody-mary mix booth, called Hail Mary Bloody Mary Mix (also, yes – can we laugh at the irony of the Catholic chick finding the Hail Mary Bloody Mary’s – Meant to be). They had some samples of the mix out to try. What was so interesting is that they had some cut up Okra next to the bloody mary samples (talk about southern). The guy in the booth suggested that we take a piece of the okra then swirl it in the mix before trying it (I am not a big Okra fan but am willing to be adventurous). I have to admit- it was really good! It wasn’t a very spicy mix (I am a big fan of spicy bloody mary’s) but the flavors were all there. I also really liked that the mix wasn’t too chunky. It is frustrating when mixes have so many things in them you are half eating it, rather than drinking it. Andy and I were both impressed enough to purchase two bottles of it (pictured below)! I definitely recommend their mix! With our bellies full of local cider, craft beer, some amazing Korean food and our bags full some great bloody mary mix, we officially called it a day.
If you live in the triangle area and have been looking for a good day out and about exploring some great locale beer, cider, and food vendors – Brewgaloo is for you!
If you don’t live in the triangle area or you don’t like beer, despise crowds, dislike local food, or just generally dislike the outdoors… this may not be your cup of tea.