This year’s Beer Week was by all accounts the most phenomenal showing by breweries and attendees across the Bay Area in the week-long event’s history (we would know, we were there). With something along the lines of 300 events throughout the tumultuous ten days, Bay Area beer lovers smelled, sipped, paired, guzzled and enjoyed craft beer in every way imaginable, and many many of them did it all with us.
We did a staggering 22 events from food pairings to pig roasts to good ole beer fests and blind tasting competitions, and it was pretty excellent to see several of our fans at more than a few of our events.
As we couldn’t possibly cover the vast amount of excellent things that happened throughout the week without spending far too much time on this blog post (still have beer to brew…), here are a few of the highlights as we saw them from Monday on.
Monday: Beer and Cheese Pairing at Mission Cheese. This tiny cheese shop helped us pair 5 beers with 5 cheeses, and the results were so delicious that we must share said pairings for your own cheese & beer adventures to come.
Pawlet (cow’s milk) with 1500 dry-hopped Pale Ale.
Aged Tomme with Hopocalypse DIPA.
Ocooch with Dire Straits 2012 Barleywine.
Classico Goat Cheese with Drake’s Amber.
Windemere Cheese (known as the Bacon of cheeses) with Moscow’s Burning Smoked Imperial Stout.
ALSO on Monday: We again participated in the Annual Barclay’s Pub Battle of the Bays with our 1500 and Hopocalypse battling it out in taste duals with foes from the other side of the Bay. For the second year in a row we emerged the big winners. 1500 won the American Pale Ale category; Hopocalypse won the double IPA category; the East Bay took the most votes over the West Bay; and we took home the most votes overall, along with this sweet trophy to adorn the Barrel House.
Wednesday: Our Sau & Brau Part Deux, whole hog pig roast was for the second year in a row a huge success. Our friends at Chop Bar in Oakland showed up early to start the two whole pigs roasting away, and come 6pm most folks were waiting just outside the Barrel House for their pig and beer fix.
This year we had the added bonus of over 22 beers on tap (up from 6-7 beers from the first year) for attendees including both the Hopocalypse DIPA, Hopocalypse Black Label TIPA, our Barrel-Aged Festival Award winner Brette Davis Eyes, The Good Sh*t Barleywine blend, a specialty firkin of Drakonic Imperial Stout with Blue Bottle Espresso and TCHO chocolate nibs added to name a few. We also had our Barrel House decked out with plenty of room for folks to hang out, drink up and pig out. Another cool addition this year was the inclusion of the piano and drum duo “Bangin’ and Clangin‘” who provided just the right tunes to go with the high spirits of the night. Really really can’t wait to do this night again next year.
Thursday: Somehow we ended up all over the Bay Area on this night. Folks enjoyed some barrel-aged beers alongside tasty spirits at Bloodhound in SOMA in San Francisco. Brewer Alex joined a host of other Bay Area brewers at the Cal Academy of Sciences for their SF Beer Week Nightlife which brought out over 2600 people (whoa). On this side of the bay, Head Brewer Brian did our meet the brewer segment at Beer Revolution, and was joined by owners John Martin and Roy Kirkorian as well as our sales rep Dow with a hefty list of cool beers including a few barrel-aged beauties. Finally, we joined our brother breweries Triple Rock and Jupiter at the first ever East Bay BrewFest at Pyramid in Berkeley for a night of East Bay craft beer love.
Friday: The Return of Jack & Jolly, our Jack Daniels Barrel-aged Jolly Rodger, for another round. Three kegs only were tapped simultaneously at 6pm in three different locations throughout the Bay Area including our own Drake’s Barrel House, The Page Bar in SF, and Iron Springs Brewery in Fairfax. This year’s version was our 2009 Jolly Rodger Imperial Brown Ale aged in Jack Daniels barrels- malty and smooth with flavors of mild smoke, tobacco and a hint of tang from the sour mash whiskey engrained in the barrel. Complex and completely satisfying.
Also on Friday, we were once again entered into a beer battle at Barclay’s Pub in Oakland for their IPA challenge. We faced off against other Bay Area hoppy offerings in a blind-tasting, and again, we took the top prize. You like us, you really like us. Thanks!
Saturday: While we grilled and chilled here at the Barrel House with Bourbon Bros. BBQ and Fists of Flour pizza, Brian headed south to meet some folks in the South Bay for the 3rd annual Meet the Brewer event at the Tied House/Hermitage. We don’t make it down to the South Bay too often yet, so it was cool to see a bunch of new faces and brewers. Added plus, the 5 food trucks at the brewery were dang tasty.
Sunday: As no highlight reel of SF Beer Week would be complete without mentioning the closing event, we must applaud the folks at Trumer Brauerei and Celebrator Beer News for once again pulling off a closing fest that exceeded expectations all around. Road weary and beer soaked from the week, we pulled into Trumer on Sunday afternoon, but it did not take long for us to perk up. A great line-up of Bay Area brewers came out once again with some incredible beers to send off SF Beer Week right. Also, those beer donuts were just incredible (with Trumer Pils cream inside… mmm).
And so it ended with a bang and not a whimper, and after a brief Presidents’ Day of rest (for most of us… Alex and Chris still brewed all day yesterday), we are back to business. In fact, today we did a big tank move in which a 60 bbl bright tank and a 60 bbl fermenter headed over to the new cellar via crane.
Also, Sacramento folks, if this post made you jealous, no worries, Sac Beer Week kicks off Thursday, and we will have events all week with some of our northern neighbors. Cheers.
Tags: Awards, Barclays, Barrel-aged beers, Brian Thorson, Celebrator, Drake's, Drake's Brewing, East Bay Beer Fest, Jack & Jolly, Jupiter, Mission Cheese, Pyramid, Sau & Brau, SF Beer Week, SF Brewer's Guild, Sour Beers, Triple Rock