Beer weeks, celebrations that showcase an area’s beer culture and brews, have become a global trend. These “weeks” often last 10 days or more, spanning consecutive weekends, and include a variety of events such as press-the-flesh meetings with local brewers and full-blown beer festivals. The Brookston Beer Bulletin lists nearly 100 beer weeks, from Kalamazoo (held this past January) to Tokyo (coming up May 25-June 3).
In our region, Frederick Beer Week in — you guessed it — Frederick kicked off Saturday. “Twenty months ago this was little more than a Tweet between me and Flying Dog,” says organizer Kevin Smith. “Twelve months ago we had a five-day, 18-event beer week. . .This year we are on the verge of an eight-day, 26-event celebration of Maryland beer.”
Highlights include a Beer vs Wine Showdown at Frederick’s Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center on Tuesday; the the Great FBW Scavenger Hunt this Friday; and a FirkinFest set for noon on Saturday at Stillpoint Farm in Mount Airy, soon to become the site of the Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm.
American Craft Beer Week, a promotion of the Colorado-based Brewers Association, starts today and encompasses all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia. Individual events are too numerous to list here; check the online calendar for a breakdown by date and state. But you could do worse than plop yourself on a barstool at ChurchKey. Tonight, the Logan Circle bar is featuring 10 draft selections from Victory Brewing Co. in Downingtown, Pa., including a few made with experimental hop strains so new they don’t have names, just numbers. On Wednesday, ChurchKey will host the rollout of Hell’s Bottom, the new oatmeal stout from DC Brau.
Philly Beer Week, first celebrated in 2008 and set for June 1-10 this year, is the oldest and largest of the beer weeks, the template for similar bacchanals elsewhere. Last year, the Philadelphia craft beer community hosted more than 900 events. Festivities will get underway with a relay of the “hammer of glory” to Independence Visitor Center, where Mayor Michael A. Nutter will wield the mallet to bang in the opening tap.
Philadelphia is a quick enough jaunt from Washington. But if you want to celebrate Philly Beer Week’s opening weekend in style, with accommodations at the Four Seasons and VIP tickets to Opening Tap and the International Great Beer Expo, check out this contest from Southwest Airlines. The deadline to enter is Thursday.
It’s not too early to start planning for DC Beer Week, scheduled to unfold Aug.12-18. Six local breweries have announced they’ll brew a Belgian-style farmhouse ale to mark the event. Their efforts will then be blended into a single brew, which will be served in keg and cask throughout the week. Tickets for the opening extravaganza — a brews cruise along the Potomac on the luxury yacht, Odyssey — go on sale Wednesday at $100 a pop. For a $15 discount deal, check out this offer at Washington City Paper.