The Capitol City to See a Surge in Visitors for Sacramento Beer Week 2016
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Sacramento Beer Week is back! The eleven day celebration of all things craft beer kicks off Feb. 26 with the Brewers Showcase at its new home at Cal Expo, followed by tons of events at bars, restaurants, and breweries across the Sacramento region. In what has become Beer Week tradition, the festivities are bookended by the Showcase and the Capitol Beer Fest, an event with over 125 brewers, 300 beers, and 7,500 of your closest friends.
This is the sixth year for the Capitol Beer Fest and it appears they have learned from some of the hiccups in previous years. There will be two main entrances on both the north and south sides of 5th Street and an exclusive VIP entrance. A VIP ticket will also get you a parking voucher, free car wash, and some swag. The fest runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on March 6, and there will be 15 food trucks and live music to help you pace yourself with all that beer. General Admission tickets are $40 and VIP are $65, but both will go up $5 on the day of the event. As always, the proceeds will go to Running for Rhett, and their volunteers in light blue t-shirts will be there pouring brews.
During every day of Beer Week places all over Sac will host tap takeovers, dinners with beer pairings, ‘meet the brewer’ nights, and there is even a cornhole tournament at Sudwerk on Feb. 27. If you were miffed that the Brewers Showcase isn’t at the California Auto Museum again this year, you may be interested in their ‘80s-themed Beer Prom on March 4. Some of the events I’m stoked for are the 4th Annual Homebrew Competition at Cap Tap, the IPA Invitational at Track 7 Natomas, and the Pinewood Derby at Oak Park Brewing. Check out the calendar of all Beer Week events on the SBW website, where you can search by day, city, and brewery, or even beer style.
Collaborative brews are cool because they’re uniquely influenced by the different brewers, and almost always are made in small batches, so you have to try them when you can. Fortunately, many of the breweries in town love working together. Sage Smith from Bike Dog Brewing Co. told me that they’ve collaborated on a Kettle Sour Saison with Julien Lux of New Glory Craft Brewery. They shared a wort they brewed together, and then took it back to their respective breweries to ferment and dry hop. Track 7 Brewing Co. and Device Brewing Company are also working on a joint brew (see below). And I’m sure there are lots of other local and non-local collaborations that you’ll see out there during Beer Week too.
As always, the Sacramento Area Brewers Guild (recently re-named from the Northern California Brewers Guild) is heading up the organizing efforts of Beer Week. I talked with Ryan Graham, newly elected President of the Guild and the owner/brewmaster at Track 7 Brewing Co., about the guild, Beer Week, and what Track 7 has in store for us for Beer Week.
Q - What is your title with the guild and when were you elected?
A - I am the current Board President for the Sacramento Area Brewer's Guild. I was elected at the January meeting.
Q - Is the "Sacramento Area Brewers Guild" more than just a change in name from the Northern California Brewers Guild?
A - The name change is a reflection of the change in times. When the Guild was originally formed, San Francisco didn't have its own functioning guild and the breweries were spread out much farther throughout Northern California. With the proliferation of breweries, the regional guilds are taking on a more region-centric role.
Q - What is the Guild's role for SBW?
A - The Guild's role is to serve as the promoter and facilitator of the Sacramento Beer Week. This is the Guild's opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of all breweries throughout the Sacramento region. It's also a chance to introduce new breweries to various restaurants and bars as well as to help promote festivals intended to fund on-going Guild activities like the California State Homebrew Competition and California State Commercial Craft Beer Competition.
Q - Are there any specific goals the guild has for SBW this year? The future?
A - I think the goal for the SBW this year is to continue highlighting the hard work and great beers to be had throughout the Sacramento area.
Q - In regards to Track 7, I am impressed (but also disappointed because I can't go) by the IPA invitational. How did that event come about? Are tickets sold out? Anything you're personally looking forward to trying at the invitational?
A - Thanks for the compliment. The idea came about in conversation with Dave Gull (New Helvetia) and AJ Tendick (Bike Dog). We were talking about the need for an event separate from the current festivals that was intended to introduce Sacramento to a number of breweries not typically found in the region. Part of the philosophy is that hopefully these breweries each go back impressed by the quality of beer to be had in the region. The other part is to thank the many passionate Sacramento beer enthusiasts, and introduce them to breweries they otherwise would not easily drink. As for tickets, we are almost sold out at this point. The event will certainly sell out in advance of the event, so I wouldn't wait. I think we have about 100 more to go. I'm looking forward to the brewery fellowship competition component of the event. We really are fortunate to work with so many great breweries.
Q - Is Track 7 doing any collaboration brews for SBW?
A - We are doing a couple restaurant collaborations - LowBrau and Pangaea - as well as a collaboration with Device. I think that after three years in a row, it’s kinda become our beer week tradition. Plus Ken is awesome and really easy to work with. We are also helping Peter Hoey recreate the old Sacramento Brewing Co. Russian Imperial Stout.
Q - Any other SBW events you'd like to get the word out about?
A - There are so many great events throughout Sacramento. They can all be found at the Sacramento Beer Week website. For us, we are doing a total tap-takeover at Final Gravity Roseville. I'm pretty impressed. Twenty-six handles, one nitro handle and a cask. I didn't think we made that much beer. Cheers!