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Craft beer contest at this fall's N.C. State Fair

So first things first: No. You will not be able to drink beer at this year's N.C. State Fair.

(Sigh.)

But for the first time ever, North Carolina craft brewers and home brewers can compete in a statewide contest to be declared the best beer in one of 15 categories. The contest is divided in two: one series for commercial brewers who vie for ribbons, and one series for homebrewers who vie for cash prizes ranging from $5 to $10. The categories include pilsner, light lager, English pale ale, American ale and 11 others.

Go HERE to read details about the contest and how to enter.

The North Carolina Brewers' Cup, the group organizing the contest, is hosting an event this weekend to get the word out. A launch party is being held from noon-4 p.m. Saturday at The Standard in Chapel Hill. They will be serving beer samples from five commercial brewers from across the state and one yet-to-be-named secret beer. Tickets cost $15 ahead of time or $20 at the door. It's a limited ticket event. Go HERE for details.

Organizer Richard Mitchell says the launch event and others to come this summer will not only make people aware of the contest at this year's state fair but also offer people a chance to taste craft beer from all over the state.

Like the wine contest at the state fair, Mitchell says judging will happen before the fair and the winners will be displayed inside the Education Building.

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