Whether you’re a local or from out of town, craft beer connoisseur or casual drinker, the buzz isn’t just from the beer. Everyone has heard about Brewgaloo. The name alone is fun and implies there will be plenty of libations to be had. This Raleigh festival celebrates its 7th year this weekend with a few new things in store for attendees.
Greater Raleigh Merchants Association developed a special interests group, called Shop Local Raleigh. The goal of this non-profit organization is to celebrate, promote, and advocate for shopping local from clothing to food. In order to expand their presence here in the Triangle, they looked around to see just what consumers in this area wanted but were lacking. Thus, the local beer fest, Brewgaloo, was born in 2010. Jennifer Martin serves as organizer for Brewgaloo in addition to her full time work with Shop Local Raleigh and Greater Raleigh Merchants Association.
Brewgaloo gives attendees a chance to taste local brews, eat local food and enjoy local entertainment in the form of music and performances. Jennifer has been working on Brewgaloo since its beginning and has watched it grow steadily with each passing year. With just 12 brewers in its inaugural year, Brewgaloo will have 87 at this year’s festival. Many other beer festivals are based on a donation model. Jennifer says they wanted to create something where “there was a solution for the brewers to get paid for events. We’ve committed to purchasing 100% of all kegs tapped, with over 680 tapped last year alone.” This is incredible for not only the community to be able to experience the plethora of small breweries, but also an investment in them as local business owners.
Jennifer continues, “We have doubled in size each year since we started. Even with the rainy weather last year, around 18,000 people were in attendance. Despite the numbers, we’re excited to be supported by the community members to, in turn, support craft brewers and provide customer engagement. Craft beer has really grown in popularity over the years and we’re proud to have a format for brewers to showcase that to the public. We’re so thankful for the public’s positive feedback in past years and really couldn’t do it without all of our volunteers on festival day, too. This is a grassroots event everyone is starting to become familiar with here in the Triangle and throughout North Carolina.”
This year Brewgaloo has expanded to include events on Friday and Saturday. This Friday, April 22, 2016 and Saturday, April 23, 2016 include all things Brewgaloo. Friday is a Taster Event with 35 breweries to sample in addition to food trucks and entertainment for a flat ticket price from 6-10pm at City Plaza. Saturday is open to the public and includes 85 breweries, food trucks, live bands and local vendors from 2-10pm in a by the pint or by the taste purchase format all down Fayetteville Street.
Many places showcase singular local items, but Brewgaloo is a truly local festival from vendors to the entertainment. This is a low key format to try out new beers that are being developed and brewed by craft brewers right here in North Carolina in addition to noshing on delicacies cooked up by local business owners and food trucks. Brewgaloo is an enjoyable way to spend a leisurely Saturday drifting tent to tent to taste the goodies, chat with the owners and connect with fellow beer-lovers.
We hope to see you out there this weekend partaking in a few brews and delicious bites. Check out Brewgaloo’s site for more information including breweries, food trucks and vendors who will be in attendance. There is also more information on how to purchase tickets for Saturday (tokens for by the pint or by the taste consumption of beer). Keep in mind you must be at least 21 to attend either day of the festival.
Tessa Nguyen is a chef and registered dietitian working in the Triangle area. She is an alumna of Johnson & Wales University and Meredith College. When Tessa isn’t traveling and discovering new food spots, she teaches culinary nutrition cooking classes at Duke and works as a consultant in the health and wellness industry. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter @