Today marks the first day of a long week packed full of craft beer events, quite possibly the best week of the year for craft beer, next to Craft Brewers Conference and Great American Beer Festival weeks, American Craft Beer week. There are events going on all over the US with Craftbeer.com doing an excellent job keeping everyone informed.
Check out their map for the long list of events.
Or read their list of recommendations on how to celebrate craft beer week. They have some great suggestions including downloading the Declaration of Beer Independence which you can print off and share with friends and your favorite bars around town.
I do have a suggestion for our friends in the midwest… Join me (Maria) at the Omaha Beer Fest this weekend! They have events Thursday, Friday and Saturday, all guaranteed to expand your mind in craft beer all while trying some of the best beer brewed in this fine nation. Trust me, we’ve made our rounds and I am as big of an advocate for beers brewed in the Midwest as I am the ones brewed in San Diego and Tampa. (There is still a chance to win some tickets here!)
Last year we were fortunate enough to attend the first annual Omaha Beer Fest and were blown away by the Thursday night Connoisseur event, which was sponsored by Goose Island, this year it’s sponsored by one of our local favorites, Boulevard Brewing Company. If you join me Thursday night you will be able to experience 4 different Boulevard Craft Beers poured in your very own set of Spiegelau connoisseur glasses specially made for each style of beer. Even better, after the event you will be able to take home the Spiegelau Connoisseur Set. Big deal you might say? Well, let me be the first to tell you that the glass really does make a difference. Now, I’m not just talking about the shape of the glass paired with the correct beer, even though that is important! If someone were to tell me that the taste of my beer is different without actually doing a taste comparison of a Spiegelau glass versus the regular ol’ standard pint glass, I’d a say “get outta here, you’re full of shit”. But, I must say, after a first hand tasting, there really is a difference!! I heard so many people remark that they never liked an IPA before this tasting. Spiegelau uses a superior fine grain silicone to achieve the best possible drinking experience you could imagine. We were so impressed we actually took a set with us on the road in the RV, which if you can imagine, nice glass in a RV is not necessarily an ideal thing, but these glasses are legit!
[box]If you attend Connoisseur Night on Thursday, May 17 at 7 PM and the Omaha Beer Fest on Friday, May 18 you can get a deal on tickets for just $50 for both if you buy before Wednesday, May 16th. That’s a $20 savings and essentially free tickets to both events when you consider the $50 value of the beautiful Spiegelau glasses you will get.[/box]
Friday the events just keep rollin’. Not only does Friday night feature the first ever Homebrewers Competition at the festival but it is packed with awesome seminars that will most likely grab my attention. You will probably find me at the 5:00PM ~ Beer and Chocolate pairing presented by Craig Pijanowski, Lead Brewer at Boulevard Brewing Company and Suzi Bonnett, owner of Chocolaterie Stam. They most likely won’t have the Chocolate Ale everyone clamored for this year (only to receive a few batches of recalled beer and a very nice apology from Boulevard along with a refund) but beer and chocolate… come on… what could be better! After that there are some great seminars for people that are new to craft beer or homebrewing.
6:00PM ~ CRAFT BEER 101/INTRODUCTION TO BEER STYLES
Presented by Jeff Crabtree, owner of Crabtree Brewing Company in Greeley, Colorado
7:00PM ~ HOMEBREWING 101 / INTRODUCTION TO MEAD
Presented by Brian Schlueter, Railroaders Brew Club and owner of Moonstruck Meadery
Saturday might be my favorite of all though with two of my most favorite breweries ever, Nebraska Brewing Company and Free State Brewing Company hosting two seminars. Couple that with some cupcakes and Wisconsin Cheese and you can pretty much see where I will be spending most of my Saturday… under the tent!
3:00PM ~ BEER AND CUPCAKES PAIRING
Presented by Eric Kaizer, Ska Brewing Company in Durango, Colorado, and Bill Jones, Jones Bros Cupcakes
4:00PM ~ NEBRASKA CRAFT BEER REVOLUTION: A BREWERS PERSPECTIVE
Presented by Paul Kavulak, owner, Nebraska Brewing Company, from Papillion, Nebraska
5:00PM ~ EXTREME BEER AND CHEESE
Presented by Jeffrey Pohl, Schell’s Brewing Company in New Ulm, Minnesota and Judy Gilliard, Wisconsin Cheese
6:00PM ~ BEER TRIVIA
Hosted by Geoff Deman, Head Brewer at Free State Brewing Company in Lawrence, Kansas
After all these great events what I am most looking forward to? The afterparties with some of the best people I’ve met while on my beer travels, and who would have thunk it, all in my hometown, where I was born! A thriving craft beer scene and incredible people 🙂 And even a small chance I convince my dad to come along to discover what I already know Craft Beer Rocks!!