With about 40 North Carolina breweries and dozens of rare offerings Saturday, the Hickory Hops Brew Festival reaffirmed its status as one of the state's best craft beer festivals.
About 2,000 craft beer lovers attended the six-hour event in Hickory on a gorgeous sunny day in the downtown square -- including a number of familiar faces from the Triangle area. Bill "QB" Quattlebaum said the event appeals to the true craft beer enthusiasts and is well worth the drive from the Triangle.
The festival showcased the true explosion of new breweries in North Carolina with at least a dozen rookies attending, including Deep River in Clayton and Trophy in Raleigh.
A number of local brewers took home medals in the Carolinas Championship of Beer, a competition for breweries at the event. (Read more below for full list of winners.)