It’s true….when is comes to cool brews, Durham is the place! The World Beer Festival descends on the Bull City this weekend and the annual sell-out event draws folks from all around to sample a bit of our beer culture. For more information, go to www.allaboutbeer.com.

Check out the excerpt below from the World Beer Festival Guide…hope it gets you in the spirit!

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Guy walks into a bottle shop. Looking for a light session beer on another day in a long line of sweltering days. He steps into Sam’s Quik Shop, a beer Mecca with more than 1,000 varieties. A tall, skinny, scraggly-bearded dude wearing fatigues, a ball cap, yet with the curious gaze of a professor is at your service. He goes by “Barbeque.” His mom calls him that, too. 

Barbeque, who used to work at a barbeque joint, suggests a Gaffel or Sunner Kölsch. His skill of pairing food with beer makes his job more than just a clerk at a beer store. “It’s sort of on par with being a wine sommelier,” the 32-year-old explains. Stroll just past the counter—the singles for sale and the six beers on tap—y and you’ll find a section devoted to North Carolina beers in cans, bottles and growlers. Unless you know what you’re coming in for, like maybe a keg, you’ll find the “Quik Shop” an oxymoron. Who wants to rush a beer run in nirvana? It’s more of a “beer stroll” anyway.

Like the premiere of a movie or video, Sam’s is the local place with the figurative red carpet. Adored by distributors, Sam’s gets picked to host semi-exclusive unveilings. Foothills Brewing recently released its Baltic Porter there. Ditto for Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Ops, an 11.8 percent ABV Russian Imperial Stout that lasted for one day last winter. The “If they have a beer, we’ll buy it” mentality makes Sam’s a home for boutique brews not available anywhere else in Durham.

Another element of the beauty of Sam’s is its atmosphere. “It looks like a dumpy gas station on the outside, then you come in,” explains employee Kyle Hefley. “The characters and grit make the place.”

–Scott Michaels