Every other Thursday, Brewed for Thought and BetterBeerBlog are teaming up for a piece called Hopinions. We will alternate who picks the topic and trade emails on the subject, two apiece. This week, I’m tapping into Peter’s calendar to see what he has planned. It’s a busy weekend, where will you be?
From Mario at Brewed For Thought:
The weekend is about to arrive and it’s a doozy in the Bay Area. Friday is “Younger Day” with Pliny the Younger making its two week return to the Russian River brewpub and appearing at local pubs around the Bay Area. In San Leandro, Drake’s is holding a release for their Hopocalypse and the new Black Label Triple Hopocalypse. Then there’s Superbowl Sunday, which may have had a bigger impact in the Bay Area had the ball bounced a different direction.
Younger Day is one of the biggest days in all of craft beer. From a sleepy Monday release 3 years ago, to a madhouse of growlers 2 years ago and finally settling into controlled chaos for two weeks last year, the event has become something even non-beer folks talk about. Rumor is that Younger made it to the production facility so more will be available for accounts outside of Santa Rosa.
Drake’s is new to the release day drama but not to the open-air party that the brewery has been known for in years past. Food, beer and music will be available all day from 10 am until 8 pm. While this will be a highly anticipated release, the international travel associated with Younger Day may not be a factor. What may lead to larger crowds is Drake’s more central location in the Bay Area. With two beers released on the same day and a full barrel house of beer, I wouldn’t be surprised if the overall crowd compares with the Santa Rosa release.
Then there’s Super Bowl. No Niners, but there are still commercials. Big screens, fatty foods and plenty of beer, this is the menu for the day and they should all be accompanied by a large group of friends. The Bay area hasn’t had a representative in the Super Bowl since 2003, but how many have you missed in that time?
My question for you is what event excites you most and where might we find you? What’s the biggest thing going on this weekend? Did I miss something? Will you go for the trifecta of hitting all three events and finding a way to then drink Black Label and Younger while watching the Super Bowl?
From Peter at BetterBeerBlog:
Just to show you how out of things I’ve been, I didn’t even know about Younger Day or Drake’s Hopocalypse and Black Label Triple Hopocalypse releases. I barely remembered that there’s football this Sunday. As a casual fan, it’s kinda hard for me to get really up for the event for the sake of the event. If anything, it’ll be good to get together with some friends and just hang out.
Chances are high that I will not be there for Younger Day. Santa Rosa is just a little too far to drive solo, even for Pliny the Younger. Blasphemy, I know. My saving grace is that the South Bay will have several places who I’ve heard will be carrying Pliny the Younger and I’ll be looking to get my fix that way.
Going to Drake’s seems like a much more reasonable option for me. I like the people there, I love the beers, it’s a win-win all around. Plus it’s a lot closer, and in my old, curmudgeonly state, whatever is easier is better. Besides, I’d like to see what other triple IPAs taste like.
That said, it looks like you forgot to list the Beer Revolution 2nd Anniversary party on Saturday, February 4th. From what little I know, the event will feature beers brewed by several local breweries in honor of the event. The party is something that’s been on my calendar for some time now and I’m looking forward to trying the finished Steve Donohue/Steve Altimari collaboration beer St. Eve’s Belgesque Goldish Strong Revolutionary Ale.
I’m starting to feel a little frazzled. If it’s not one event it’s another and SF Beer Week isn’t even here, close but not quite here yet. So much for a craft beer “off” season.
Since you’re in Santa Rosa, I’m taking it you’ll be there for Younger Day. Will you be making the trek south for the Beer Revolution Party? How about Drakes? What’s on the menu (beer and/or food) for Superbowl Sunday?
From Mario at Brewed For Thought:
I will definitely be at Younger Day, but that will be it for beer events. As you mentioned, doing things and driving places, that stuff is hard. If this weekend were 2 weeks earlier, I’d likely make it an East Bay Day and hit both events, but I’ve got a lot on my plate this week and next week.
For the Super Bowl I’m certain everyone in the family will have their favorite snack; wings for the wife, onion dip for Kaleigh, beer and guacamole for me, and Kianna eats everything. I’m preparing an article featuring the beers of the Super Bowl for RateBeer, so I’ll have some regional New York and Boston beers to join me.
Your comment about everything leading up to Beer Week is something I’ve been thinking about. For the most part, February sucks for everyone. SF Beer Week is the biggest local event, but beer reps get to look forward to Sacramento Beer Week the following week. Local restauranteurs in Sonoma County have Restaurant Week two weeks after. We’re already seeing the pre-Beer Week crush of events, and it can be argued that it began last week with the Winter Brews Festival.
I think more than anything, the busy schedule is a symptom of the success of craft beer. After multiple years of double digit growth, we’re starting to see the true effect. In 2007, Craft Brewer’s brewed roughly 8 million barrels. In 2010 that number came close to 10 million, with a reported 15% increase in the first half of 2011. If that rate holds true, the craft beer segment will have brewed 11.5 million barrels in 2011, an over 40% increase from 2007.
Does that mean we’re 40% more busy with events? I guess that would seem about right. While before, we could attend every event, every festival, every major release. Today, I accept the fact that I’ll miss out on something.
With that in mind, we know what’s going on this weekend, but what do you plan to miss during SF Beer Week? What events would have garnered an Estaniel appearance in the past that now will simply pass you by? As I won’t have a response, I’ll simply list mine: Bistro Double IPA Festival, Jupiter Sour Sunday, Speakeasy-Ninkasi-Shmaltz dinner with Sean Paxton, everything after Thursday as we’ll be heading for Oregon.
From Peter at BetterBeerBlog:
I have to admit my priorities are shifting. I’ve long accepted the fact that I can’t make it to all the events, and this was before the deluge of craft beer related events, releases, and new crop of breweries. As you pointed out so well, craft beer is growing and we seem to be entering into a “Silver Age” of craft beer. Let’s just hope all the new beers appearing on the market will be up to par.
I think your comment of “February sucks for everyone” is funny. In the proper context of things you are referencing several loosely related events that are either craft beer-centric or include craft beer. These events in quick succession from each other can be taxing, especially to brewers(ies) with limited resources and personnel. That said, isn’t this growing level of success what we’ve all been working towards?
Going back to events that I would’ve gone to in the past but will now pass up, the one that tops the list would be the Barley Wine Festival at Toronado. The last time I went to this event was maybe… 2 years ago? We went 2 years running and enjoyed ourselves in both instances. It’s definitely an event that you should attend with friends, and with a plan, but I’m just over the crowds. I could always go later in the week but many of the highly regarded barley wines are usually gone within the first day.
The other event that I’m missing is the Beer & Cheese event that used to be at Firehouse Brewery & Grill. I helped organize this event with Firehouse brewmaster Steve Donohue, and with the Milk Pail market (who supplied the cheeses), and it was a glorious celebration of cheese and beer. The current situation doesn’t allow us to bring the event back but I’m hopeful it will make a triumphant return.
Once upon a time, there were no SF Beer Week events that happened in the South Bay without my knowing or involvement. Not bragging, just stating a fact; an unproven and unsubstantiated fact. Now there are more events than I can possibly attend, that I’ve had no involvement in planning, and I couldn’t be happier! The growth of the craft beer scene here, after all, what I’ve been trying to accomplish for the longest time.
But before we can even enjoy SF Beer Week, we gotta get through this weekend first! Have fun at “Younger Day” and enjoy your trip to Oregon.