The stats on Charlotte, N.C.’s U.S. National Whitewater Center are impressive, to say the least. Built for $38 million in 2006, the center boasts the world’s largest and most complex re-circulating artificial whitewater river, pushing 12 million gallons of well water and is the official Olympic Training Site for whitewater slalom racing. The nearly 4,000 feet of whitewater is divided into two channels and ranges from Class I to Class IV, dropping 21 feet in the process. Not only that, the 400 acres the center sits on also contains 14 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails and one of the largest outdoor climbing centers in the world with 40 roped climbs. Throw in a zip-line, canopy tour, and aerial obstacle course, and you have a virtual outdoor recreation amusement park right in our backyard. And if you can believe it, there is even more going on at the USNWC this Saturday: The Second Annual Brew Stash Bash craft beer festival.

The Brew Stash Bash is a great opportunity to sample craft brews from around North Carolina and the U.S. As with most beer festivals, brew reps will be on hand with new releases and to answer questions – and possibly top you off with a freebie sample – about your favorite beers. Beer sample tickets will run $5 and get you four samples starting at 1 pm and running until 6pm. Over 25 breweries will be at the festival including N.C. stalwarts like Highland, Triple C, and Catawba, but also national brands like Bell’s, Anchor, and Stone. A full rundown of participating breweries, as well as a lot of questions answered in the comments section, can be found here.

The event is free for non-samplers who just want to come, hang out with the kids, and see the live music. Oh, I didn’t mention the music? Well, as much as we love a beer festival, the music may be the best part of this one. New-grass super-group Railroad Earth will be headlining the line-up of bands performing that also includes Town Mountain and the Black Cadillacs. To round out the event, there will be a 6k trail race on the center’s trail system, aptly called the Brew Dash.

An opportunity to see a band of Railroad Earth quality for free – if you’re not sampling, but even if you are, you don’t have to pay to see the band – is as rare as a southern brewery without an IPA on tap. So grab a fake mustache, or grow one really fast, and don’t squander the chance.


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