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Summer Sip makes a splash

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — It’s Summer Sip’s second year, and the two-day event made a splash in downtown. The event, hosted by Downtown Salisbury Inc. featured more than 30 North Carolina craft breweries, including local favorites New Sarum Brewing Company and Morgan Ridge.

Paula Bohland, executive director of DSI said that Friday night’s Summer Sip Crawl, where participants sampled brews by visiting 35 downtown Salisbury locations, sold more than 500 tickets. Bohland did not have an estimate of tickets sold for Saturday’s festival available by press time.

But the parking lot behind the Gateway Building on N. Lee Street was crawling with craft beer enthusiasts. Those who purchased a $20 ticket to get in went booth to booth, passing an empty souvenir tasting glass to representatives from local breweries, who handed it back full of a brewery classic.

Bohland said the event went “great.”

“Of course, it’s hot,” she said, “but everyone’s got a great attitude.”

Summer Sip staff had spoken to people from Lexington, Winston-Salem and even as far away as Texas, showing that the event had regional as well as local draw, Bohland said.

John Olson came down from Winston-Salem to experience Summer Sip. Olson brews beer at his home as a hobby, and said he likes to experiment with unusual flavors like smoked tomato and Vietnamese persimmon. He and friend Leigh Strickland were enjoying the range of options offered by the festival.

“We love the event,” Strickland said. “I wish it was cooler.”

Temperatures Saturday exceeded 90 degrees, but that didn’t stop long lines from forming for a taste of local, craft beer.

Locals Anne Ellis and Joel Smeltzer said they “love the local feel” of the Summer Sip Festival.

“These events always remind me of all the cool stuff we have downtown,” Smeltzer said.

Smeltzer works in Charlotte, but said he and Ellis choose to live in Salisbury because of all the downtown and community events.

At New Sarum Brewing Company, one of Summer Sip’s sponsors, people lined up and came back for more, looking for a taste of one of the ten beers the brewery had on tap.

In addition to its solid five variety line-up, New Sarum also offered three new brews: a summer seasonal Galactic Mango beer and two taproom exclusives called Stoneman’s Raid Golden Stout and Sawmill Gravey IPA. The Salisbury company also brought back two beers from earlier this year: Brave Tart Scotch Ale and Hollaback Hefeweizen. The new beers will be available in New Sarum’s tap room at 109 N. Lee St.

VIP ticket-holders got a tour of New Sarum, as well as a cheese and beer tasting.

“I think it’s going killer,” Andy Maben, New Sarum brewmaster, co-owner and founder of New Sarum, said.

Under a tent, another local brewery, Morgan Ridge, attracted crowds with its Chocolate Cayenne Imperial Stout. Brewmaster Nikki Koontz said the company has gotten positive feedback about its beers, as well as its anticipated opening of the Morgan Ridge Railwalk Brewery and Eatery at 421 N. Lee St.

“They already know we’re moving into town,” Koontz said.

After Summer Sip came to a close at 7 p.m. Saturday, brewery representatives were invited to an after party at New Sarum.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.

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