If you go birding, you bring the Peterson Field Guide to Birds. And if you go searching for the state's best breweries, you tote along the definitive guidebook: North Carolina Craft Beer & Breweries by Durham author Erik Lars Myers.
From mountains to coast, Myers tours the Tar Heel state's microbreweries, offering insight into the beers produced at these hubs of happiness and introducing us to the people who bring us one of the essential food groups. The book details some interesting lore—the brewhouse once fell through the wooden floor of the brewery at Weeping Radish, then in Manteo—and lays out a history of beer in North Carolina. This includes such pivotal moments as Prohibition and the repeal thereof, as well as passage of Pop-the-Cap, legislation that allowed the state's brewers to produce beer with a higher alcohol content and in essence launched North Carolina's microbrewery movement.
If you stopped by just one microbrewery per day in North Carolina, it would take nearly two months to visit them all. Now that's a summer vacation. Find a designated driver and hit the road. Myers offers his beer wisdom and signs books at Fullsteam at 8 p.m. He's also at Mystery Brewing Co. in Hillsborough from 6–8 p.m. on Thursday, April 12; Bottle Revolution in Raleigh from 4:30–7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18; and Carrboro Beverage Co. from 7–9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25. —Lisa Sorg