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Clearing Up Confusion About the Upcoming Beer Weeks

You may have heard whispers about some upcoming events that will take place during various “beer weeks” in May. If you haven’t, you undoubtedly will, from both this site and your other favorite DC craft beer-related blogs and news sources. In talking to folks out and about in the DC beer scene, we’ve noticed that there’s some (read: a lot) of confusion. So, as a kind of public service announcement, we present this primer on DC’s craft beer weeks here in the hope that it will be elucidating for the whole community. If you can, you may want to open a beer while you read this. It won’t really be that confusing, it just seems like you should be drinking a beer while reading DCBeer if at all possible. Without further ado, here we go.

– By way of definition, when I talk about a “craft beer week,” I’m talking generically about a named week that has various bars, breweries, and other peripheral organizations (coughDCBeercough) coming together to put on tastings, glassware giveaways, beer dinners, beer cruises, and other craft beer-themed events.
– With that defined, there will be three craft beer weeks in and around DC this year.

– These three craft beer weeks, in order of appearance are:

* American Craft Beer Week (aka ACBW) (May 16-22) – This is a national craft beer week sponsored by the Brewers Association. Because it is two weeks before SAVOR Beer Week DC (see below), you can expect to be the smallest of the three. There will be some events, including tastings, beer dinners, etc. but overall we anticipate that this week will be the smallest in scale of the three craft beer weeks.

* SAVOR Beer Week DC (aka SAVOR Beer Week aka SBW aka SBWDC) (May 30-June 3) – This is a DC-specific craft beer week that is being presented by Premium Distributors of DC and its brand portfolio. DCBeer and On Tap Magazine are also partners for this week. This week will have a lot of events involving the breweries in the Premium portfolio (e.g. Dogfish Head, Flying Dog, Heavy Seas, Ommegang, Sam Adams, Firestone Walker, Sierra Nevada, Abita, Saranac, and Harpoon), but other breweries will also almost certainly get in on the fun, especially since brewers and personnel from all of the SAVOR breweries will be in town. Again, there will be tastings, beer dinners, other special craft beer events, etc. at bars and restaurants all over the city. This week is the lead-up to SAVOR, the Brewers Association’s celebration of craft beer and food, which takes place on June 3-4. Please be advised that although this week is called SAVOR Beer Week, the website for this week is capitalbeerweek.com, but Capital Beer Week is NOT what this week should be referred to as. (SAVOR is a trademark of the BA, so having SAVORBeerWeek.com was a no-go.) Makes sense, right? No? Ah well. Good thing you have that beer. Get it? Got it? Good.

* DC Beer Week (aka DCBW) (August 14-20) – THE ORIGINAL. The behemoth. The big daddy of ’em all. This is the official DC Beer Week. It’s been organized for the past three or so years by Teddy Folkman of Granville Moore’s and Jeff Wells of DOPS Distributors. Last year this event had something like 60 events, and basically every craft brewery distributing to DC and every beer bar in DC gets in on the action. There is at least one big event each night, and a host of smaller events like glassware giveaways, tastings, casks, etc. This year, with the new local breweries, this week should be absolutely nuts. This is the crown jewel of the craft beer year for the DC metro area. It should be on your calendar if it isn’t already. The website for DCBW hasn’t been updated for 2011 yet, but it should be soon as the planning progresses further. This article is a good primer for what’s to come though!

– The good news is: DCBeer will be here to provide you info about all of the goings-on for all three of this week. Per usual, we’ll be here with a calendar of events, our nightly picks, and all the latest news, views, and updates. Don’t panic. One week at a time, folks.

– I’m certain there are a number of you out there thinking, “Why? Why all of these beer weeks? Why all of this confusion?” Well, the answer is that the DC craft beer scene is growing at an incredible pace. There’s a lot of energy in our craft beer community. We’re lucky to host SAVOR in DC, and with all of the craft beer professionals coming in, it only makes sense that we would have some fun events leading up to one of the crown jewel beer events of the year on the east coast. ACBW (see how I’m using the acronym? Get used to it!) is a new addition this year, and we’ll ease into it. DC Beer Week, of course, is a tradition that has been awesomely executed in the past, and it will continue to be so for years to come. So, don’t worry so much about “Why?” instead worry about “Which of these awesome events am I going to get to?”

I hope this has been helpful as an explanatory resource! If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please be sure to put them in the comments and we’ll try to get answers for you!

And, as always, stick with DCBeer for your DC craft beer information needs! We’re hoping to hoist pints with many of you at events during all three of these weeks! Cheers!

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