While you’re probably doing your calisthenics and training for the events leading up to and including SAVOR, across the country craft beer lovers are celebrating American Craft Beer Week.  From Alaska to New Hampshire, it seems that every city with a brewery has something going on, and if you listen closely you can hear the sounds of celebration.

Colorado, with its multitude of breweries and brewpubs, has a full calendar of activities.  And Michigan has quite the schedule as well.  At dc.beer, a few of us were discussing the apparent lack of events in DC during American Craft Beer Week.  As it turns out, in some cities the local beer week surpasses the national beer week in terms of number of events and brewery participation.  For example, in Philadelphia, the “Philly Beer Week” is a bigger event than American Craft Beer Week, though they won’t turn down an opportunity for this nationwide celebration.  The same could be said of San Francisco, whose early February celebration, “SF Beer Week” nearly rocked the fault lines.  Even our fair District celebrated DC Beer Week last August, and this author hopes we’ll repeat the revelry again this year.

While American Craft Beer Week may not be the high holiday of our DC beer calendars, it is a great opportunity to reacquaint yourself with the Craft Beer Declaration of Independence, and recommit to “informed consumption.”  Celebrating the American Craft Brewer and the art that they practice is an important part of furthering the craft beer revolution.  Even Steven Colbert agrees…


Colbert Report – American Craft Beer Week

“This isn’t one of those fake holidays…No, this is officially sanctioned by congress, as of 2006. Which in my book makes it the equal to the separation of church and state.”
–Steven Colbert, May 18, 2008


Here are some events going on around town that celebrate the American Craft Brewer:

Tuesday, May 18th: Heavy Seas Barrel Aged Below Decks Cask Social – A very special firkin night hosted by Max’s & Heavy Seas featuring Below Decks Bourbon Barrel Aged and Below Decks Cabernet Barrel Aged.  Although both Below Decks Barleywines will be available in 22oz bottles, these firkins are 2 of only 10 that were made. Don’t miss the opportunity to try these very rare firkins and have a pint with the Heavy Seas crew. 6-9pm. 888-675-6297 or www.maxs.com.

Tuesday, May 18th: St George Beer Dinner at Fireflies in Alexandria – Four courses for $35. 7:30pm. Tickets and menu at www.firefliesdelray.com. 703-548-7200.

Thursday, May 20th: Flying Dog Beer Dinner at Capital Ale House, Richmond – Five delicious courses created by their Executive Chef specifically to pair with some of Flying Dog’s best brews.  Tickets on sale at all Capital Ale House locations and online. 7-9:30pm. 804-780-ALES or www.capitalalehouse.com.

Thursday, May 20th: Olympic Rematch – Beer v Wine Dinner at Magnolias at the Mill, Purcellville – 540-338-9800 for details. www.magnoliasmill.com.

Friday, May 21st: Saranac Tasting at Total Wines, Springfield – 3-7pm. 703-912-9387 or www.totalwine.com.

Friday, May 21st: Chevy Chase Tröegs Beer Sampling – Featuring Hopback Amber, Dream Weaver Wheat, Sunshine Pils, Pale Ale, and Tröegenator. 4-7pm. 202-363-4000 or www.chevychasewine.com.

Friday, May 21st: Hook and Ladder Beer Tasting at Fenwick Beer and Wine – Come out from 4-7pm for this free tasting.  Located 2 blocks from the Silver Spring metro, Fenwick’s offers the largest selection of craft beer in Montgomery County (360 at current count with more to come!).  Free parking in front. 301-650-5770 or www.fenwickbeerandwine.com.

Saturday, May 22nd: Howard County Pub Crawl – Featuring T Bonz Grille and Pub, Victoria Gastro Pub, Friscos, and Judges Bench. $50 ticket includes: Four 5oz samples at each bar, over 75 drafts to choose from, bus ride to each bar, and wings and things at T Bonz. 410-461-4748 for tickets. Noon-5pm. www.tbonzgrille.com.

Saturday, May 22nd: Pyramid Tasting at Total Wines, Springfield – 1-5pm. 703-912-9387 or www.totalwine.com.

Saturday, May 22nd: River City Beer Fest – Over 50 craft, micro and import beers. Food, live music, and family friendly fun at The Diamond in Richmond. Proceeds benefiting the cullather brain tumor quality life center at Bon Secours Hospital.  Noon to 6pm. www.ballparkreviews.com/richmond/richmond.htm

May 17 – 23rd: Belgian beer mecca Belga Café, (514 8th Street, SE; Washington, DC; 202-544-0100; www.belgacafe.com) will celebrate the work and expertise of American breweries with a special menu from May 17th to May 23rd to honor American Craft Beer Week.  For a limited time, Belga Café will serve a selection of exceptional craft beers from California to Michigan, including Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale, Avery Brewing Company’s White Rascal, and New Holland Brewing Company’s Golden Cap.  Vandaele’s Craft Beer Week menu is available a la carte or as a three-course prix fixe for $38 per person.  This mouth-watering combination of Belgian and American fare includes Belgian Waffles stuffed with Crabmeat topped with Saffron & Mussels; Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Garlic Confit, Baby Back Ribs & Beer Braised Pork Belly; and Slow Cooked Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta, Turnips topped with Ginger, Blood Orange & Brown Beer Sauce.