May 16-22, 2011 is American Craft Beer Week (ACBW) and for the first time in its brief six-year history, official ACBW events will take place in all 50 states, including our state.
Right here, in the Triangle, we are very lucky to have abundant sources for crafted beverages of the beer persuasion. I’m certain you’ve had the chance to sample several of our local brews at area restaurants and brew pubs (for example, in Raleigh you’ll find Boylan Bridge Brewpub, Busy Bee Cafe, and the newly opened Draft, with nothing but NC beers on tap). This week local breweries and restaurants will host several events to celebrate ACBW. I’ve compiled a “short” list of local brewery-related events, and if you know of other events taking place this week, please feel free to add the details in a comment (and I’ll update the post). So let’s get to it… to the important brews news, that is.
Fullsteam in Durham starts a Monday off on the right foot with an all-day (well, a “4 pm to midnight” day) $3 special on pints, and a brewery tour at 4 pm. Other ACBW-themed events for the week include the release of Summer Basil Farmhouse Ale (Wednesday, May 18th), a paddle dinner-beer tasting adventure on the Eno (Friday, May 20th), and wraps up Sunday (May 22nd) with a cooking competition (see Fullsteam’s site for the full contest details). Fullsteam’s really into ACBW (and we love that).
You’ve heard it before, “Beer does a body good.” And the new Big Boss Run Club proves it. Each Tuesday evening at 7 pm, you can join in the “all paces welcome” 5K run/jog/trot/walk (maybe skip, maybe not) along the Capital Area Greenway behind Big Boss. Wednesday, in celebration of ACBW, a cask of Monkey Bizz-ness will be tapped at the brewery tavern. Then Thursday, you can join Big Boss at The Beer Dispensary in downtown Apex as they take over the tasting bar from 4:30 pm to 7 pm.
Carolina Brewery and Triangle Brewing Co. pair up for a four-course craft beer dinner held at the Chapel Hill location of Carolina Brewery, Tuesday (May 17th). The menu includes courses featuring local ingredients prepared with the brewery’s beers and/or paired with ales, porters, and pilsners from each company. $35 for courses such as “Firecracker Shrimp – grilled shrimp in a jalapeno boat wrapped with bacon and drenched in Copperline Amber Ale BBQ Sauce” and “Oatmeal Porter Braised Beef Shortribs, served with blue cheese mashed potatoes with a wild mushroom reduction, grilled asparagus and topped with crispy onion straws” is a steal! Call 919-942-1800 to make your reservation.
At Brewmaster Bar & Grill on Tuesday (7 to 9 pm), you’ll find the latest “outlaw” from LoneRider Brewing Co., Sundance Kid, “a traditional Bohemian-style Pilsner”, in the nick of time for warmer weather. If that new release isn’t enough to quell your beer appetite, how about tapping into a keg of Espresso DeadEye Jack, and all the other Outlaws for a mere $3.00? Yeah, I thought that’d make your day.
There’s no shortage of beer dinner options this week, no matter which part of the Triangle you call home. In Raleigh, Roth Brewing‘s beer dinner at Crabtree Tavern (Thursday, May 19th, 7 to 9 pm) features food pairings with Hopbligatory IPA, Raleigh Red, Dark Construct Stout, and the extra heavy FoeHammer Barley.
Though reservations are no longer being accepted for the Monday night beer dinner at Panzanella in Carrboro, you can still get your reservation in for the June 6th Carolina Brewery beer dinner, and/or the Aviator Brewing dinner scheduled for June 20th.
In Durham, you can always have beer with your dinner at Bull City Burger & Brewery. No need to wait for a special craft beer week – they’ve got your craft beer, all year, to pair with a burger or hot dog. In fact, you can build your own burger and beer pairing. How about a Pro Bono Publico Porter with a carmelized onion-chili-cheddar burger? Go ahead ‘n give ‘er a try. I did, and I liked it.
Many of our Triangle breweries offer guided tours of their facilities, sort of a behind-the-scene view of your favorite brew. Aviator Brewing Co. in Fuquay-Varina offers a beer appreciation class (including tour, beer samples, a full growler, and pint glass… in case you prefer to drink from the glass and not the growler) for $35. Next class is Saturday, May 21st, 1 to 3 pm, so sign up soon!
Saturday night (May 21st) is Cask Night at Casbah in Durham (6 to 10 pm). Samples of cask conditioned ales from Triangle Brewery, Roth Brewery, Natty Greene’s, Top of the Hill and Carolina Brewery will be served, and food trucks will be on hand (Hey! Here’s another opportunity to create your own beer-food pairing). Event tickets are available for $30 in advance, $35 day of (if any are available the day of), and because Casbah is a private club, if you don’t have your lifetime membership already, add another $5 to cover the (once in your lifetime) membership fee. A portion of proceeds from Cask Night will benefit Durham Central Park. Do the park a favor, and purchase that ticket now.
Shew, all this typing about beer is making me thirsty! Think I’ll quit while I’m ahead (and while the fridge is stocked with my local favorite). I’m sure I missed something, so please feel free to leave me a comment pointing out what I overlooked (and thank you, in advance, for picking up my slack).
Enjoy your week and let’s get out there to support our local brewers. Let’s show ’em how much we love ’em, this week and every week.