Essential Beer Festivals of 2011

Craft Beer Portland

In last week’s column, I mentioned how the 3rd LA Beer Week not to be missed, to ensure that we don’t miss it or any other cool festival, let’s get out our new 2011 calendars and plan the year ahead.

First on the list occurs this Saturday! Eagle Rock Brewery celebrates one year of serving up great local beer. From noon until 4pm you can enjoy THE beer and food truck destination. Grill ‘em All and the Mandoline Grill will be onsite and $10 gets you the commemorative glass and 4 drink tickets. No better way to start off the New Year.

Every February the San Francisco Beer Week kicks off with an impressive roster of events that covers the gamut of beer styles. This year there is a barley wine tasting, a blonde ale tasting and a Double IPA fest. Beer dinners abound. You can have vegan food, cheese or chocolate with your beer. Rare beers and The Celebrator beer magazine anniversary Party are wedged into the 9 day festival as well. Check out their website on January 11th for the release of the master calendar.

If you are in the proud crowd that blogs about beer on the interwebs then this year’s Beer Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon from August 19-21 should be on your calendar. Three days of getting together with fellow beer lovers and sampling some of the finest beer in the world in Beervana. And bettering the craft of beer blogging.

Also (probably) in August will be the Stone Brewing 15th Anniversary bash at the Cal State campus in San Marcos. I have been for two years in a row and look forward to this event each year. This is a well run event with great beer choices and last year they added more fun to the mix with a dinner the night before and a special section where you could taste rare beers and meet the creative folks behind the beers. I expect another great event this year.

The granddaddy of nationwide beer events is the Great American Beer Festival held every year in lovely Denver, Colorado; GABF is the place to try beer that we do not see out here on the west coast. Starting September 29th you could possibly taste: New Glarus, Surly, Brooklyn, Founders, Bell’s. You name it and it is probably there. Plus Denver has a great craft beer scene. From breweries like Great Divide to brewpubs like Wynkoop’s to bars like the Cheeky Monk, you will not want for fine beers.

To round out the list of the majors, we head to early December and the Holiday Ale Festival in Portland. This weekend event draws rare beers like magpies to shiny lights. It seems like every Oregon brewer comes up with crazy and wonderful brew to warm the body. If you are still hoarding winter brews even though So Cal doesn’t get the snow and ice that the rest of the country does, then this festival is for you.

Those are just the big ones. Every day brings new one night meet the brewer events around town that you can catch at Tony’s Darts Away or Blue Palms. So be sure to bookmark Rate Beer and Beer Advocate to check out what is coming up each week so you don’t miss a craft beer beat.

The Beers of the Week are two big IPA’s from two of California’s most respected breweries. The first is the just released Double Jack from Firestone Walker. This hoppy marvel arrives in 22-ounce bombers so you can share the bitterness with a friend. I have one chilling in my ‘fridge. The other is Hoptimonium from Sierra Nevada. This one is in limited release and may sell out. So if you see a bottle, grab it.

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.


Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

Blog Comments

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by foodgps. foodgps said: Essential Beer Festivals of 2011 courtesy of Sean Inman […]

Sites bookmarked and festivals added to calendar. Thanks for the tips!

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