By now, most of you know that next weekend, Saturday, April 21st, marks the return of last year’s hugely popular Rocktown Beer & Music Festival. What’s new this year is the addition of Beer Week– that’s right, an entire week devoted to the celebration of craft beers, many of which will be available at the Rocktown Festival.
How are we celebrating? Steal-a-pint nights, tastings, tap takeovers, dinner pairings, and opportunities to meet the brewers in bars and restaurants throughout downtown every night of the week starting tomorrow, Saturday, April 14th, and leading up to the Rocktown Beer & Music Festival.
Beer weeks aren’t anything new. According to co-founder of the Rocktown Beer & Music Festival and Beer Week, not to mention co-owner of Jack Brown’s and Billy Jack’s, “Beer weeks are something that are popping up in cool ‘Beertowns’ all around the country, in cities like Portland, New York City, Richmond, and now Harrisonburg!”
The week will be filled with about 20 events taking place at Jack Brown’s, Billy Jack’s, Blue Nile, Ruby’s, Capital Ale House, and Downtown Wine & Gourmet. It’s a lot to keep track of, so here is a rundown of everything happening this week:
Saturday, April 14th
- Beer Week starts out with Downtown Wine & Gourmet’s Epic Brewery tasting. Epic Brewery is based out of Salt Lake City, Utah and is the first brewery to focus purely on high alcohol content beers after the state lifted their prohibition laws. Stop by Downtown Wine & Gourmet between 1 and 4pm to sample four of Epic Brewery’s craft beers.
- Later that night, check out the Blue Nile from 9 to 11pm for the New Belgium Can Release and Beer Tasting. In honor of one of the brewery’s most popular beers, Flat Tire, all guests who arrive on bike get in free! Stick around for the No Requests Dance Party later that night.
Sunday, April 15th
- 10am on a Sunday might seem a little early to crack open a beer… but not a cider! Jack Brown’s will be hosting a Morning Cider Tasting featuring six ciders.
Monday, April 16th
- On Monday, Billy Jack’s will have Belgian Beer Steal-a-Pint Night. This is no average Steal-a-Pint; a ceramic chalice will be replacing the usual complimentary pint glass. The night will feature five different breweries all united by their commitment to the Belgian tradition. Stillwater Artisan Ales, operated by a DJ-turned-brewer, and Brewery Ommegang, based out of New York, are both participating in the Rocktown Beer & Music Festival. In addition, beers from three foreign breweries, Duvel, Liefman, and Mardesous– brewed by Benedictine Monks– will be featured.
- That same night, Capital Ale House will have Port City Steal-a-Pint. The Alexandria brewery won Washington’s Best in 2011.
Tuesday, April 17th
- Breckenridge Cask Night starts at the Blue Nile at 5pm. Featured that night is the Colorado brewery’s small batch 471 double IPA, promising “more hoppiness than you’ve ever had at one time!”
- Come by Jack Brown’s starting at 5pm for Blue Mountain Steal-a-Pint and an opportunity to meet the brewer. The local brewery, based nearby in Afton, Virginia, focuses on sustainability and grows their own hops on site.
- Additionally, Capital Ale House will have Allagash Tap Takeover. The beers, all the way from Portland, Maine, are a rare find in Virginia.
Wednesday, April 18th
- On Wednesday, Jack Brown’s will have Devil’s Backbone Steal-a-Pint in addition to beers by BrewHaha, all served in a brown bag. Devil’s Backbone, out of Roseland, Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains, was awarded one gold and three bronze medals at the 2010 Beer World Cup after just two years of operation.
- Capital Ale House will also be hosting a Steal-A-Pint, featuring Foothills Brewery, based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Foothills offers a variety of craft beers from light golden ales to deep amber stouts.
- Wednesday from 7 to 9pm, Ruby’s will have Bell’s Tap Takeover. The Michigan brewery, which began with just a 15-gallon soup kettle, focuses on robust full-bodied ales. In addition to the brews, there will be live music by Jeremiah Prophet and Friends.
Thursday, April 19th
- Come to Billy Jack’s to experience Brewery on Brewery Love: A Night with Left Hand and Terrapin Steal-a-Pint. Terrapin, out of Athens, Georgia, and Left Hand , from Colorado, have teamed up to collaborate on four signature beers. Come in to try Terra-Rye’zd (black rye lager,) Depth Charge (espresso milk stout,) Oxymoron (American style IPA,) and Peaotch (brewed with peaches from both Georgia and Colorado.)
- Downtown Wine & Gourmet will have a tasting from 5 to 7pm featuring Caldera, Laughing Dog, and Troegs Breweries. Beer representatives will be on hand to tell you all you need to know about these craft beers.
- At Capital Ale House, Epic Brewery is back, this time not for a tasting but a Steal-a-Pint.
- LOCAL Chop and Grill House is getting in on the Beer Week action as well. Call in for a reservation to enjoy a 5-course meal paired with beers from local brewery, Flying Dog.
Friday, April 20th
- Between 5 and 7pm, stop in at Downtown Wine & Gourmet to meet the brewers of Stillwater Artisan Ales and Brewery Ommegang while sampling their craft beers.
- Capital Ale House will be hosting Blue Mountain Steal-A-Pint. The brewery’s Dare Hollow Artisan Ale will be on draft, an imperial stout aged in American oak bourbon barrels.
- Make a reservation at Joshua Wilton House to enjoy their featured dinner inspired by and paired with beers from Six Point Brewery at 6:30pm.
After a full week of events, the main celebration, Rocktown Beer & Music Festival, will take place on Saturday, April 21st starting at 2pm.
But that’s not all that’s happening Saturday! After the festival ends, Capital Ale House will have Stone Brewery Steal-a-Pint night. For more live music, come to Clementine Cafe at 9:30 to listen to YARN, also playing at the festival, or stop in at the Blue Nile for Cinnamon Band’s CD Release Party.
According to Ludwig, Beer Week is “a great way for beer lovers to get together, support a good product, and most importantly, support the town and culture.” With so many events in downtown this coming week, there’s no shortage of opportunities for beer lovers to support our local community and most importantly, enjoy a craft beer… or two.
Katina Stevenson is the Promotions Intern for Spring 2012. She is a senior Communication Studies major with a concentration in Public Relations at James Madison University.