American Craft Beer Week may be over, but don’t despair! The fun is never over, because craft beer week celebrations happen throughout the year all across the country. In fact, some states even host a full MONTH of beer (hello Oregon, Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland)! These celebrations often include brewpub tours, tastings, workshops, and some friendly inter-brewery competition, and they provide a great opportunity to meet the craftspeople behind your favorite craft brews.
Many cities plan their beer weeks to coincide with American Craft Beer Week, which takes place in mid-May, but in case you missed out on the official festivities, here are our top three beer week picks for the rest of the year:
[image courtesy of the Asheville Humane Society]
Asheville Beer Week
North Carolina is one of the states that features a craft beer month, and since Asheville is, after all, Beer City USA, with one of the highest ratios of breweries per capita, we had to include them on our list. Asheville Beer Week begins at the end of May and stretches into June. The highlight of the event is the Beer City Festival, featuring great live music and beer from over thirty breweries, but the week is full of other fun events like Craft Brews and Rescues, an adoption party and fundraiser for the Asheville Humane Society. Beer + baby animals? Yes please.
Colorado Craft Beer Week
Last year, Colorado Craft Beer Week introduced the IPA Throwdown, in which breweries pit their finest IPAs against each other to raise money for a worthwhile cause (this year it was the National Sports Center for the Disabled). Cheers to that! Although this year’s Colorado Craft Beer Week has already passed, the world’s largest beer festival—the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado—is yet to come. October 2016 will be the festival’s thirty-fourth anniversary, and craft brewers will flock to Denver from all corners of the Earth to compete for some of the most coveted awards in the industry. A panel of judges participates in five three-hour judging sessions over three days to determine the three beers that best represent each category—somebody please tell us how to get that job!
Portland Beer Week
Since Portland is our home turf, we may be a bit biased, but we strongly feel that Portland Beer Week is the best beer week of them all. Taking place this year from June 9th to 19th (that’s right, it’s a ten-day week) Portland Beer Week festivities take place all over the highly walkable city, so there are plenty of opportunities to burn off that buzz between destinations. This year’s highlights include a fifth-anniversary party for The Love of Beer, a movie documenting the rise of women in the beer world, and the premier of PDX: Brew City, a history of Portland’s craft beer scene from 1980 to the present. Oh, and how could we forget: Portland Beer Week is just the precursor to Oregon Craft Beer Month in July!
If you aren’t near Portland, Denver, or Asheville, you can find the next beer week or month near you on the Craft Beer Week website. If you visit a beer festival while traveling, make sure to grab a copy of Niki Ganong’s Field Guide to Drinking in America to brush up on local liquor laws—like that pesky law in Colorado that prevents beer over 3.2% ABW from being sold at grocery and convenience stores.