We're getting ready for the third annual Sacramento Beer Week, a celebration of all things beer that remains ever popular.
Today though March 4 which is technically 10 days roughly 300 events will flow around the area in honor of Sacramento Beer Week. Some of them are pint night specials at the local pub, while others involve bus tours, classes, beer dinners and even a skee-ball tournament.
You'll also find what's dubbed as Sacramento's largest-ever beer celebration on Saturday at Cal Expo, along with a showcase featuring the rapidly growing local craft beer industry.
"There are now 20 breweries within an hour of Sacramento," said Dan Scott, executive director of Sacramento Beer Week, in between sips of Rubicon IPA. "We're a boomtown for craft breweries and alehouses. All these new guys are hitting it hard."
This year's version of Sacramento Beer Week has been scaled down from 400 events last year. In 2011, Sacramento Beer Week events were hosted as far out as the Gold Country, but organizers opted to keep the focus closer to Sacramento proper this year.
"We love Gold Country, but it was too much to focus on," Scott said. "We're bringing it home a little closer to Sacramento."
By the way, here's a friendly reminder to keep safe while imbibing during Sacramento Beer Week. Have a designated driver or taxi cab phone number handy, or for the smartphone-inclined, download the Sacramento Beer Week app from iTunes or the Android market, and check its link to local taxi services.
So where are the best spots to hoist a pint for Sacramento Beer Week? Here are some highlights:
Tonight: Let's get this Sacramento Beer Week party started with an official kickoff at Ten22 in Old Sacramento (1022 Second St., Sacramento). For $20, you get two draft beers (Rubicon's Monkey Knife Fight and Deschutes Black Butte Porter) and an all-you-can eat "hog bar" featuring slow-roasted pig. Yee haw! This sudsy soiree runs from 6 to 10 p.m.
Tonight also features special beer and cider tastings at area Nugget Markets. Flights of beer and cider cost just $3, and they'll be running specials on beer purchases as well.
Saturday: Sacramento loves its beer gardens, and you'll find a massive one at Capital Beerfest. About 100 breweries will offer beers for the tasting at Cal Expo (1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento), along with live music and food. For those who plan on imbibing plenty of beer, note that a free shuttle will run between midtown and this event to and from the light rail station that's on R Street between 29th and 30th streets. It all goes down from 3 to 6:30 p.m. The cost is $40.
And if that's not enough beer for your belly, you can show up at Cal Expo earlier,between noon and 2:30 p.m., for the Sacramento Brewers Showcase. Get a taste from 20 local beer makers for just $20 or attend both of these Saturday events at Cal Expo for $55.
Sunday: Get into the swing of things with an indie and vintage vibe, plus plenty of beer and grub. Bows & Arrows (1815 19th St., Sacramento) will present Brunch 'n' Brews, courtesy of the Fat Face cafe (located in the back of Bows & Arrows) and beers from Sacramento's own Ruhstaller. Some of those beers will even be poured from Ruhstaller's mobile beer truck. Woot! This event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Leave the Sacramento Beer Week driving to someone else, and hop on the brewery bus tour. The trip starts at Extreme Pizza (1140 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento), and then it's off to local breweries including Track 7, American River Brewing and Loomis Basin Brewery. The cost is $45. To reserve a seat: (916) 925-8859.
Two popular local festivals join forces and will test your tummy's capacity. Bacon Fest Sacramento vs. Sacramento Beer Week will pair a bacon-themed menu with beers at Pangaea Two Brews Cafe (2743 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento). How about a pale ale with a strip of bacon, better known as the IPA Suicide? Note that Pangaea Two Brews Cafe logged its busiest day ever during January's Bacon Fest, so prepare for a packed house.
Monday: Who said skee-ball was just for Chuck E. Cheese's? OneSpeed (4818 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento) will hold a skee-ball tournament from 5 to 10 p.m. The winner will score a full keg of some non-beer from Two Rivers Cider Co. Now that sure beats a little plastic toy or candy from the prize counter. Pay $35 for a spot in the tournament, two pints of cider, two slices of pizza and a keepsake glass. To register: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday: The mash-up of Bacon Fest Sacramento vs. Sacramento Beer Week continues at the Golden Bear (2326 K St., Sacramento). A keg of special brew from Lagunitas will be on tap, plus a bacon menu by chef Billy Zoellin and company. And if that's not enough revelry for you, DJ Shaun Slaughter will be in the mix for this second annual "moustache party."
For the less hirsute, free moustaches will be available. The party starts at 7 p.m.
Feb. 28: Quick, what was the length of Prohibition? Test out your beer knowledge with beer trivia night at River City Brewing Co. (545 Downtown Plaza, No. 1115, Sacramento). Get your team of six or fewer together, and email email@example.com to reserve your spot. The event runs from 7 to 9 p.m.
March 1: Bonn Lair (3651 J St., Sacramento) goes Around the World With Beer throughout Beer Week with a veritable tour, with "passports" stamped in each country. This night features good ol' American beers. Look for giveaways, too. On March 4, you can "come home" with your passport and find more beers and giveaways.
March 3: Sacramento and Concord go mano a mano in a beverage kind of way with an ales vs. cider dinner at Dad's Kitchen, 2968 Freeport Blvd. Two Rivers Cider Co. and Ale Industries will be showcased in a beer-and-cider dinner that costs $45 a person. For reservations: (916) 447-3237.
March 4: Wind down Sacramento Beer Week by soaking in some knowledge. Take the Beer Judging 101: Tasting and Describing Beer class at Pyramid Alehouse. 1029 K St., in Sacramento. Whether you see beer judging in your future or not, this class is the perfect way to get a better understanding of the beverage we love so much. Sessions run from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 to 5 p.m. It's $30.
EVENTSACRAMENTO BEER WEEK
What: In its third year, this event showcases local breweries and beyond with tastings, dinners, tours and much more around the region.
When and where: Beer Week starts today and ends March 4 at various locations. Check out Chris Macias' picks in the accompanying story. Other times and locations are at the website below.
Cost: Prices vary by venue.
Information: Be sure you and everyone else on the road has a chance to be here for Beer Week in 2013. If you plan to drink, bring along a designated driver. Get the full list of about 300 events at http://sacramentobeerweek. com.
For more on events sacbee.com/calendar