Carolina Beer Guy: Beat the heat at Oskar Blues’ Burning Can brew fest

THE CAN CAN: Oskar Blues Brewery hosts the Burning Can beer festival Friday-Saturday, July 21-22, at its REEB Ranch space.
THE CAN CAN: Oskar Blues Brewery hosts the Burning Can beer festival Friday-Saturday, July 21-22, at its REEB Ranch space. Photo courtesy of Oskar Blues Brewery

Summer beer season is upon us, and with it comes Oskar Blues Brewery’s annual Burning Can canned brew festival at its REEB Ranch space in Transylvania County. This year’s event, billed as the biggest Burning Can yet and the region’s only canned craft beer festival, will feature dozens of canning breweries plus plenty of live music and outdoor sports, Friday and Saturday, July 21-22, at the foot of DuPont State Forest.

Brewery spokesman Aaron Baker expects up to 3,000 people at the event. 2017 marks the fourth year for Burning Can in Brevard and the third year at the REEB Ranch. Another Burning Can festival is held in Lyons, Colo., home to Oskar Blues’ original location.

The music is spread over both days. On July 21, Florida’s JJ Grey and Mofro kick off the weekend with their Southern soul sounds. Also performing Friday are roots rocker JD McPherson and eclectic Nashville rockers Los Colognes. Performing on July 22 are Portland, Ore., folk rockers Fruition as well as The Hip Abduction, the Jon Stickley Trio, Dead 27s, Devon Gilfillian and The Suitcase Junket.

The REEB Ranch bike park will also be open, part of a slate of outdoor activities ranging from trail running to a yoga session. Early birds can come Friday and camp overnight with the purchase of a camping pass.

The beer event is Saturday with a wide array of canned beers. Baker notes that offerings will all be poured from cans into tasting cups that are themselves small cans. Oskar Blues popularized canned craft beer with its now legendary Dale’s Pale Ale in 2002 — a time when most craft beer was sold on draft or in bottles. Today, hundreds of breweries sell canned craft products, including many in Western North Carolina. Oskar Blues has a list of 500 canning craft breweries, and Baker says there are likely more.

Breweries taking part in Burning Can 2017 are:

  • Asheville Brewing Co.
  • 4 Hands Brewing Co. (St. Louis)
  • Aviator Brewing Co. (Fuquay Varina)
  • Bell’s Brewery
  • Bhramari Brewing Co.
  • Birdsong Brewing Co. (Charlotte)
  • Blue Blaze Brewing (Charlotte)
  • Boojum Brewing Co. (Waynesville)
  • Blowing Rock Brewing Co.
  • Bold Rock Hard Cider
  • Blueprint Brewing Co. (Harleysville, Pa.)
  • Cabarrus Brewing Co. (Concord)
  • Catawba Brewing Co.
  • Champion Brewing Co. (Charlottesville, Va.)
  • Cigar City Brewing
  • D9 Brewing Co. (Cornelius)
  • Deep River Brewing Co. (Clayton)
  • Destihl Brewing (Normal, Ill.)
  • Fullsteam Brewery (Durham)
  • Green Man Brewery
  • Highland Brewing Co.
  • Lazy Hiker Brewing Co. (Franklin)
  • Lonerider Brewing Co. (Raleigh)
  • Mother Earth Brewing (Kinston)
  • Narragansett Brewing Co. (Provident, R.I.)
  • New Belgium Brewing Co.
  • New Sarum Brewing Co. (Salisbury)
  • One World Brewing
  • Palmetto Brewing Co. (Charleston, S.C.)
  • Pisgah Brewing Co.
  • Ponysaurus Brewing Co. (Durham)
  • Raleigh Brewing Co.
  • RaR Brewing (Cambridge, Md.)
  • Red Hare Brewing Co. (Marietta, Ga.)
  • River Rat Brewery (Columbia, S.C.)
  • Rivertown Brewing Co. (Cincinnati)
  • Second Self Beer Co. (Atlanta)
  • Seventh Son Brewing (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
  • The Southern Brewing Co. (Athens, Ga.)
  • Southern Pines Brewing Co.
  • Squatters Craft Beer (Salt Lake City)
  • SweetWater Brewing Co. (Atlanta)
  • Tampa Bay Brewing Co.
  • Terrapin Beer Co. (Athens)
  • Tröegs Brewing (Hershey, Pa.)
  • The Unknown Brewing Co. (Charlotte)
  • UpCounry Brewing
  • Wasatch Brewery (Park City, Utah)

The $75 weekend pass includes entry to all events. The Saturday all-entry pass is $55 and covers the Saturday music and the beer festival. A Saturday music-only ticket does not include beer. Pre-ordering is encouraged as tickets will cost $10 more at the gate. Children ages 12 and younger are admitted free but must be accompanied by an adult. According to Baker, there is plenty of parking on-site.

The festival raises money for the Can’d Aid Foundation, which Baker says has purchased bicycles that will be donated to needy area children. Order tickets and get more information at burningcan.com/nc.

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About Tony Kiss
Tony Kiss covers brewing news for the Xpress. He has been reporting on the Carolina beer scene since 1994. He's also covered distilling and cider making and spent 30 years reporting on area entertainment. Follow me @BeerguyTK

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