***Yikes. I jumped the gun and didn’t look at the dates on the Seattle Beer Week website – only the logo which has yet to be updated. The actual dates for the 2011 event are May 19-28.***
I’m not beating around the bush – its beer time. With a full spectrum of excellent city beer festivals right around the corner, your liver best get ready. Here’s a short preview of what’s up.
San Fran is tapped out, but Sacto is just getting carbed.
San Francisco just killed the final keg of their beer week, which spanned through February 20. While the city dries out over the next few days, beer geeks have something else to celebrate – Sacramento Beer Week! That’s right, Sacto is tossing out its second go round of beer week fanatics with a whole eight days of beer craziness. The festival officially spans from February 25, 2011 – March 6, 2011.
Sacramento Beer Week kicks off with the Sacramento Brewers Showcase on February 24, 2011. From that point on, the event organizers have over 300 events planned. They will close out Beer Week over at The Capitol Beerfest, which will take place at Cal Expo on March 5. Fifty-nine breweries are expected to attend that event. Giddy up.
Do not forget two of the biggest brew experiences on earth – Philly Beer Week and Seattle Beer Week. These two events are certain to shock and awe the senses. Both are worth the flight, regardless of where you are. Luckily, we just so happen to be in both places while the events go down.
Seattle priming up for 3rd annual beer adventure.
Seattle Beer Week is in its 3rd year, and will span from May 19 – 28, 2011. This year, the event planners have hooked up with Maritime Pacific to craft the festival’s annual brew.
While the past two years have yielded double IPAs from Hales Ales and Pike Brewing, this year promises a Strong Ale brewed with rare Falconer hops. According to the site, “Falconer’s Flight™ Hops are an exclusive proprietary hop blend created to honor and support the legacy of Northwest brewing legend, Glen Hay Falcone.” Cannot wait for that grog.
The self-anointed original American beer week gets ready for #4
Philly Beer Week is in its 4th year, and will span from June 3 – 12, 2011. The founders of this event consider it to be the original city beer week and boast that it attracts more visitors than any other beer festival.
We know from experience that Philly Beer Week is one hell of an attraction. Over the past years, I have paid attention to the Twitter updates of festival goers with great jealousy. Hopefully this year, we will be joining the experience.
You can follow the event details on their website.
On Saturday beeradvocate.com announced, via their twitter feed, that the very long standing #1 on their list of the Best Beer on Planet Earth, Westvleteren 12, had been overtaken by Russian River Brewing Co.’s Pliny the Younger. This news comes in the wake of San Francisco Beer Week, which was kicked off with the annual release of said beer at the Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa, CA. The beer was completely drained from the coffers of the brewery in less than a day.
For all the rating nerds out there, BA has it at an A+ / 4.63, where Westvleteren 12 is at A+ / 4.62. Yes, an extremely thin margin. Just for a little perspective, the other beer rating giant, ratebeer.com, pegs the beer at #12 in its top beers in the world. Its elder uncle, Pliny the Elder, makes the list in the 18 position.
For those that don’t know, Russian River’s Pliny the Younger is a draft only triple IPA that weighs in at 11% abv and is a liquid hop candy delight poured from the chalice of God himself. It is pretty darn rare, but if you live on the West Coast, keep your eyes and ears peeled at all times, have a really fast car and no job, and know someone important in the bar industry, chances are at least plausible that you could get a taste. This is unlike the overtaken Westvleteren 12, which has been unanimously the best beer in the world for as long as I have been aware of these lists, and is even more difficult to acquire.
Westvleteren 12 is a bottle conditioned Belgian Trappist Ale brewed by Saint Sixtus Abbey in Northwest Belgium. Only 160,000 cases of 12 are produced each year and, with the exception of a very few number of crafty European beer bars, can only be purchased from the Abbey that brews it. To top it all off, due to the limited nature of the brew, the Abbey limits the amount of cases one can purchase at any one time.
Point is, as rare as Younger is, not many beers in the world are rarer than 12. One can assume, of course, that flavor plays a large role in the grand status of these beers as well. I have, luckily, had the fortune to taste the great Younger and can honestly say that I believe it is worth the hype. It is, well… a liquid hop candy delight poured from the chalice of God himself. I cannot, yet, tell you of the flavor majesty of 12, but Belgium is only a month away and you can be assured that Saint Sixtus Abbey is on the agenda.
Now, how can us Seattleites find Younger?
Sadly, the first Seattle keg has already been slain.
Collins Pub in Pioneer Square was the first Seattle bar to tap Younger, putting it on at 4:00 pm on Friday and announcing it, again via Twitter, at 12:41pm. The keg was kicked in 20 minutes. We do however believe that this was a 1/6 barrel keg (per rumor). We hold out some hope for 1/2 barrels elsewhere.
Your next chance: Naked City Taphouse in Greenwood. Today at 5:00 pm the next keg will be tapped alongside a keg of Elder. Naked City, yet again proving why it was rated the 42nd best beer bar in the world on ratebeer.com.
Beer Blotter has also caught wind of a tapping at Brouwer’s Café tonight (we don’t need to talk up Brouwer’s). Indications were that Brouwer’s would be tapping around 6:00 PM.
If you work today, or otherwise have a life not entirely dictated by beer, there may be more opportunities to savor Younger in the near future. Considering Brouwer’s relationship with Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they have more than one keg, and that they save it for Brett Pack night of Seattle Beer Week or for their annual IPA fest.
Beer Blotter, on the other hand, has a life entirely dictated by beer, and therefore will be found, most likely, at both Naked City and Brouwer’s tonight. Find us, say hi, and salute great beer!
Pliny the Younger, Best Beer in the World?