It's almost time for the Seattle Beer Week. From May 19-29 (yes, beer is so important it makes a week 11 days long) beer lovers, brew masters, and beer aficionados will celebrate the importance of beer in Seattle. Events are spread throughout the city, so no matter where you live, there is likely to be an event near you. There are pub crawls, beer-tasting bike tours, beer dinners, special brews, and blending seminars.
Seattle Beer Week co-founder Matthew Younts explained why he and Ian Roberts started the festival. "Ian and I were at The Great American Beer Festival in Denver in the summer of 2008, and noticed that most other major cities were very proactive about promoting their beer scene. We kicked around the idea of starting some sort of beer festival to show the world Seattle is the best beer city in the world. " Younts recalls that on the flight home he was reading Michael Jackson's Great Beers of Belgium, and in the introduction Jackson writes that "Seattle and Portland are the two greatest beer cities in the world." That was all the more reason to start Seattle Beer Week, which debuted in 2009.Now in its third year, Seattle Beer Week packs dozens of events into each day of the festival. On their website, you can search events by date or location. Some details are still being added, and the number of the events and locations makes the site a bit cumbersome, but spend time clicking around and you'll find everything you need to know. I asked Younts if there were any musts for a newbie:
"The Freakshow at Brouwer's Cafe is always a rad time. It is sponsored by Shmaltz Brewing. The Pig Roast at Quinn's is also a must for beer and food. The Tour de Pints always is a big hit for those who like beer and bike riding, and Stout Fest at Brouwer's." He also added that the opening-day pub crawl is a must if you have never been to Seattle Beer Week.
For beer aficionados, Younts suggests The Blending Symposium hosted by New Belgium at The Stumbling Monk; the Trappist Dinner at Quinn's; and Iron Brewer at The Beveridge Place Pub. Also check out Sour Fest at Brouwer's, and Hair of the Dog events at both Bottleworks and The Dray.
Many events require advance registration, so plan your schedule soon. I'm looking forward to the Ladies of Craft Beer event. It's geared toward Seattle-area women who love craft beer, and those who are curious to learn more about it. Gentlemen are also invited to attend. Laura Stoudt from Pike Brewing will be on hand to answer questions about the Seattle brewery and provide sample tastes of their craft beers.
Maritime Pacific brewed this year's official beer, named Decompression. Head Brewer Corey Blodgett says "The color is designed to remind you of the sun setting beyond the Olympics to the west. Thanks to the careful addition of Falconer's Flight hops, you will have no doubt you are in the Pacific Northwest. Decompression's strength and complementary malt complexity nudges you on the shoulder and says, 'It is spring in Seattle.'" Yes it is.