North Carolina loves its craft beer.
To celebrate being home to 100 craft breweries, April has been declared North Carolina Beer Month by Governor Pat McCrory; and in the spirit of that celebration, the Greater Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce hosts its fourth annual Hops of Spring Beer Festival.
The festival will serve up craft beer and live music from noon to 7 p.m. April 26 on a 23-acre property located at 25488 U.S. 17, a location chosen for its easy accessibility from Wilmington and Jacksonville. Tickets cost $25 in advance and can be purchased at the chamber’s office or online at etix.com or topsailchamber.org, or bought at the gate for $35.
Tickets get attendees in the gate and a cup to drink beer and wine samples throughout the day.
Greater Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tammy Proctor said they will have 20-plus breweries featuring craft beers at the event.
“There’s something unique and unusual for everybody,” Proctor said.
One highlight of the festival includes a brewery selling its product within the state for the first time.
“We are excited about Crazy Mountain Brewery from Vail,” Proctor said. “They are going to debut at our Hops of Spring.”
The beer festival isn’t all about the libations, however. Proctor said some people come just as much for the music, and this year they have four bands in the line-up.
“Some people call it a beer festival, some people call it a concert with beer,” she said. “It depends on what your focus is and what you enjoy.”
Headliners Madison Rising is a nationally-famous “patriotic rock band,” according to Proctor — their rendition of the National Anthem has more than 5 million views on YouTube.
Lead singer Dave Bray served as a Fleet Marine Force corpsman for the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, out of Camp Lejeune.
“It will blow your socks off, there’s nothing like it out there,” said USO North Carolina Jacksonville Director Deb Fisher of Madison Rising’s rendition of the national athem. “The reason he’s so passionate about it, he can back it up because he’s been a corpsman.”
The chamber is working in conjunction with the USO for the festival — Proctor said they are giving the USO a booth at the festival to recruit new USO volunteers. The USO will raffle off souvenirs autographed by the band at the festival, and Fisher said corpsman school students will volunteer at the festival.
Also, there will be a public meet and greet for Madison Rising at Sywanyk’s Scarlet and Gold from 7:30 to 9 p.m. April 25.
There are three local bands also playing. The Wilmington trio Blue Tang Bandits will play rock, reggae and R&B; and another local band called Ragdoll will play. Annandale Heights, an alternative pop-punk band that plays originals and covers, is comprised of former students of Topsail High School, Proctor said.
Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chairs to enjoy the music.
The chamber is also continuing its tradition of donating a portion of the proceeds to Hope for the Warriors, an organization with a mission to enhance the quality of life for post-9/11 servicemembers and their families.
In addition to beverages and entertainment, local vendors such as jewelry makers will also be on hand. Proctor said they will also be serving concessions.
Want to go?
The Hops of Spring Beer Festival will serve up brews from noon to 7 p.m. April 26 at 25488 US 17.
For more information, call 910-329-4446 or visit topsailchamber.org or the Hops of Spring Beer Festival Facebook page.