The fourth annual Sacramento Beer Week commenced on Friday, initiating a week of festivities and business promotions to celebrate the thriving craft beer culture of Northern California.
The event, which runs through March 3, offers experts and newcomers alike the opportunity to experience a wealth of different beers from some of the very best local breweries.
While the majority of events take place in Sacramento, Sacramento Beer Week transcends city and county boundaries, encouraging businesses based in localities in the vicinity of the city to partake in the festivities.
Organizers expressed the importance of a wider involvement in Sacramento Beer Week, given Northern California’s current prominence in the craft beer industry.
“Northern California is the epicenter of the craft beer movement, and you’re incredibly lucky to be at this place at this time if you love good beer,” said Dan Scott, executive director of Sacramento Beer Week. “This is the best place in the world right now to be trying cutting-edge, 21st century beer. We wouldn’t even consider making Sacramento Beer Week only about Sacramento County.”
The importance of encouraging surrounding areas to participate was a sentiment echoed by beer experts in the field.
“The brewing community in the region as a whole is vibrant. We have great brewers from as far west as Winters to as far east as Placerville — and the world’s best beer educators are in Davis,” said Charles Bamforth, Anheuser-Busch endowed professor of brewing science at UC Davis.
Local Davis businesses have already been getting involved in the event, with Nugget Market on East Covell Boulevard and Sudwerk Brewery hosting tasting sessions last Friday and Monday, respectively. Both businesses are also hosting events this Friday.
Nugget Market’s event will feature flights costing $5 from Deschutes Brewery & Boulevard Brewing Company, while Sudwerk will be offering its self-brewed soured doppel bock, aged in French oak for over a year.
Sudwerk, which has been part of the Davis microbrewery scene for almost 24 years, was a key incentive for organizers to broaden the scope of Sacramento Beer Week.
“Our brewery has been around for a lot longer than some of the Sacramento breweries, so it’s nice to include that aspect of history,” said Mark Gojkovich, general manager of the restaurant. “The best thing that I like to get out of it is to encourage people to try new things and to try our produce if they’ve never ventured into a microbrewery before.”
Scott said he believes that by hosting these sorts of events, local businesses can enjoy the economic benefits fomented by an increased interest in beer throughout the course of the week.
“I love running this event and working with hundreds of local businesses to create something that is not only special and local but also economically prosperous,” Scott said. “Every bar that I attend during beer week is packed with local beer lovers, enjoying what we have to offer here in the Sacramento area.”
While Scott acknowledged the number of events on offer has decreased from previous years, he felt this facilitates a higher-caliber event.
“The events are better quality. I’m all for having better, rather than more, events. In that sense I think it’s hugely successful. I’m really happy with the line-up we have this year,” Scott said.
Sacramento Beer Week will culminate with the Capital Beerfest this Saturday, which will feature up to 100 different breweries showcasing the best Northern California has to offer. The festival will also encapsulate the importance of local agriculture, an element which Scott believes is the secret to Northern California’s success in the brewing industry.
“We’re taking the Capital Beerfest to another level, and we’ll be showcasing the best of Sacramento-area breweries,” Scott said. “It’s all part of the whole Farm-to-Fork movement that Sacramento has embraced to honor our local agriculture and our local food and beverage producers.”
While encouraging punters and aficionados to take full advantage of the wide variety of beverages available, Scott also stressed the importance of doing so responsibly.
“We here at the Sacramento Beer Week Organization want people to drink responsibly,” Scott said.
Scott said he also felt that the onus was partly on the organization to encourage responsible consumption.
“While I think the craft beer community is ahead of the curve as far as understanding how to drink safely and how to be responsible with the bounty that you’re presented with at a festival like this, as organizers, we still have a responsibility to provide the safest possible environment for our guests,” he said.
JOE STEPTOE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.