American Craft Beer Week was created in 2006 by the Brewers Association to promote American craft beers and protect the independent brewers who make them. The first Craft Beer Week had only 124 participating breweries, but by last year there were over 1,300 official events in all 50 states, with who knows how many local promotions on top of that. May is for drinkers, people.
Connecticut is home to some of the best beers in the country - a fact regularly ignored or glossed over in even regional beer reporting - but this year marks the first ever Connecticut Craft Beer Week, which runs May 11-18 to coincide with American Craft Beer Week, May 13-19. We have some highlights from around the state below, and we'll update this post as new info comes in over the transom. Feel free to tell us about events you've heard about or will be attending in the comments.
The first event of CT Beer Week opens the taps at the Rising Pint Brewfest, where over 230 craft beers from 70+ brewers will be on offer at Rentschler Field in West Hartford. Area restaurants will also be in attendance to keep attendees upright, since food from places like Caseus, Firebox and Vaughn's Publick House tastes better than turf at The Rent. Kenny Mehler Band and Musical Monk will provide the soundtrack to the day’s festivities.
Here’s what the Connecticut Beer Wholesalers Association has to say about the event:
“The 2013 CT Beer Week is focused around the “Brew & Buy Local” campaign created by the Connecticut beer industry to celebrate the vibrant beer industry in Connecticut. The campaign’s message is simple: from breweries to restaurants, our industry produces fabulous products and contributes a significant amount to the local economy. So, when you are making a choice, we ask you to choose to support local Connecticut companies.”
Local craft beer from Back East Brewery (Bloomfield), Broad Brook Brewing (East Windsor), City Steam (Hartford), Olde Burnside Brewing (East Hartford), Two Roads (Stratford) and more will be available, along with Connecticut's own hooch: Onyx Moonshine.
Buying local means getting the freshest possible beer, but there’s also a little chest-puffing to be done with the knowledge that by attending events like this you are supporting small, and often struggling, members of Connecticut’s economy. Plus, these business just want to help you catch a tasty buzz, so it’s really a noble enterprise all around.
Tickets (21 and over only) are $40 in advance through TicketBastard here, or $45 at the gate. The price includes a tasting cup, and parking is free.
Meet The Brewers in Plainville
Elsewhere in the greater Hartford area, J Timothy's Tavern will host the brewers of Back East Brewing and Relic Brewing on May 16 at 7p.m. The event is just $25 at a place I've been meaning to check out, and includes food, beer samples, tax, tip, rubbing elbows with/possibly spilling beer on the brewers.
Big Week, Small Brewers
Back in Fairfield County, Coalhouse Pizza will take American Craft Beer Week to ridiculous levels by hosting a tap takeover per night for the entire week. Multiple beers from Sebago Brewing will launch the event on Monday, May 13, followed by Half Full, Harpoon, Sam Adams, Captain Lawrence, Stoudt's and Finch's, Tuesday through Sunday.
"I DEMAND TO HAVE SOME BOOZE!" - Withnail
Impatient types should head to Two Roads Brewing in Stratford this Friday, May 3, as his honor John Harkins, the mayor of Stratford, will be on hand to tap the first keg of the brewery's new Hizzöner Maibock. Bocks are German beers in the mid 6% alcohol range, and maibocks are brewed in the colder months and released in, you guessed it: May. Ever had a Rogue Dead Guy Ale? There you go. I'm interested to see what Two Roads does with the style.
Even more impatient? Then take a ritalin and head up the day before, as Two Roads kicks off their new First Firkin Thursday promotion, wherein a keg of specialty Two Roads beer will be tapped in their tasting room on the first Thursday of every month. May 2 will feature a cask of their Road 2 Ruin IPA dry hopped with the new Mosaic hops.