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The biggies of Beer Week

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The third annual Sacramento Beer Week (SBW) is nearing, and the week will start off with a bigger bang than ever. Friday marks the official start of SBW and already Saturday, beer enthusiasts from all around will gather for the Sacramento Brewers Showcase and the Capital Beerfest at Cal Expo.

The Brewer’s Showcase, previously held at the Crocker, will be held at the Cal Expo Pavilion this year and will begin at noon on Saturday, Feb. 25. Tickets are $20, or $55 when paired with the Capital Beerfest. The Beerfest, also located at Cal Expo, will begin at 3 p.m. and will feature over 80 breweries. Tickets can be purchased online or at various businesses in Sacramento, at Samuel Horne’s in Folsom or at Perfecto Lounge in Roseville.

The cream of the crop in terms of beer festivals may well be “The Art of Beer: A Celebration of California Craft Beer and Fine Art.” The event will take place this Thursday, Feb. 23 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Sacramento Grand Ballroom and will feature 20 great breweries from around the state. General admission is $40.

Proceeds from the Art of Beer event will go to the University of California, Davis M.I.N.D. Institute. Sponsors include the California Craft Brewers Association, Bokeh Box Media, Eben Weisberg and the Northern California Brewers Guild. For those considered to be VIP, ($100 will make you one), the event begins at 5 p.m.

Not to be forgotten are the mini beerfests hosted by local businesses throughout the week. The Tentfest and Pig Roast, hosted by Dad’s Kitchen, is one such example. This Monday will be like none other. The Davis Beer Shoppe will be holding a beer and cheese pairing event that will feature Berryessa Brewing Co. brews. Shackfest is yet another fabulous event for which you will want to get a ticket.

Come beer week, dozens of local and regional establishments pull out all the stops to bring you the best they’ve got. With more than 300 hundred events and counting, it can be difficult to navigate your way through the week, especially with so many craft brews that now nudge up to 10 percent ABV – and higher!

Should you stay close to home and remain a loyal local at your favorite bar, or should you try something new at River Rock Tap House or even make the trip to Davis to visit The Graduate or the fairly new and always at capacity, Davis Beer Shoppe. (Yes, SBW is for more than just Sacramento). Should you go for broke on the hops or drink a little Belgian goodness at The Shack or Pangaea Two Brews Cafe?

Sacramento Beer Week officially spans from Friday, Feb. 24 through Sunday, March 4. Before SBW really gets started, take a moment to check out all that the celebration has to offer. Use the Beer Week’s stellar tag system to search your favorite places or varieties and styles of beer. Click Cask Ales if you are interested in something rich, dark and aged with the sweet touch of a cab, merlot, brandy or bourbon barrel. Check out IPA’s and DIPA’s for more than a little bit of hoppiness, and still others might investigate Ciders or Sour Beers. You can also search by venue or location. Once the week gets going, you can use the website, clearly organized by day, to find out what happy hours, beer dinners and late night specials they have to offer.

If you’ve done the bar circuit, don’t forget to stop at the many brewpubs and microbreweries that have popped up in and around Sacramento in the last 25 years. Rubicon, who will celebrate their 25th anniversary this year and Sudwerk of Davis, where a stein holding competition will be held on Sunday, are not to be forgotten. Hoppy Brewing and River City Brewing Company will both also have special events for the weeklong celebration of craft beer ingenuity.

New this year is Ruhstaller, under the direction of Brewmaster Peter Hoey, which is so popular they’ve been known to run out before the next batch is done fermenting! Just where exactly is Ruhstaller beer brewed, anyway? Track 7, located in Curtis Park, had over a thousand people at their grand opening on Dec. 31. Berryessa Brewing Co. is another newbie, located in Winters, that is playing a role in more than a dozen events this beer week. Make sure to try their Disorderly Strong Ale. Other new developments include Black Dragon Brewery of Woodland and American River Brewing of Rancho Cordova.

The craft beer industry has been excelling. Some of the pioneering moments of the industry happened in California and still today, brewers young and old are finding new ways to experiment with hops, malt and yeasts of all varieties. Before you even step foot out of your house, take a look at Beer 101 on the Sacramento Beer Week website and learn a little about the art of brewing.

As always, the organizers and participating businesses of Sacramento Beer Week encourage safe and responsible consumption. All beer festivals include ticket options for as little as $5 for designated drivers. In addition, Capital Beerfest attendees can take buses from the R/30 light rail station in Midtown to and from the event at Cal Expo. Buses will utilize 29th and 30th streets. Take it from one who knows, the bus ride home can be one of the very best parts of the day (School bus + beer tasting = new friends). Try it!

To wrap up a week of incredible, beer-based events, take in the Sacramento Beer & Chili Festival on Saturday, March 3 at 12 p.m. at the Southside Park Amphitheater. Buy a ticket for the chili, or buy a ticket for the beer and partake in both for four hours of good food and fun all to benefit the Sacramento Artists Council, Inc. Presale prices are $15.75 for chili only and $35.50 for both chili and beer, $20/$40 at the door. The event is organized with the help of Dad’s Kitchen and the Sacramento Press.

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