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Craft Beer in the Cuse!

I’m not a big fan of any month in Syracuse that ends with “-ber” because to me that translates to the beginning of “brr” for a very long time.  However, I do enjoy November not just for Thanksgiving.  What I really love about a good portion of this month is all of the craft beer activity that takes place every year here!  If you haven’t heard of Syracuse Beer Week or participated it in past years, mark your calendars for 2015! 

I’ve been going since 2010 and each year has never disappointed.  Local craft beer lovers rejoice, the general public gets exposed to new educational and fun experiences, Syracuse businesses (bars, restaurants, brewpubs, breweries, beer and grocery stores, etc.) participate, and everyone has a great time.  The diversity of events available is sure to please all palates and budgets.  Ranging from free tastings to brew fests, music, food and Christmas themed events, Syracuse Beer Week is a great way to get introduced to craft beer if you’re a newbie, to support local businesses, and to enjoy a very festive time of year in the Salt City.

While the full calendar of events isn’t available at the time of this writing, I will give you the big picture and some detailed information as well.  Things kick off on Saturday, November 7th at the Landmark Theater, who will be hosting the Craft New York Brewers Festival for the third year.  This festival showcases New York State craft breweries as brewers and brewery staff pour for you so you can talk directly with the people who make the delicious beer you’ll be enjoying!  This fundraiser for the New York State Brewers Association is worth every penny!  The VIP session starts at 4:00 p.m. and regular session at 5:00 and runs until 8:00 p.m.photo-1

Sunday the 8th:  Tipp Hill Brewfest at Coleman’s (time TBA) – eight breweries will be represented with each brewery showcasing five styles that will consist of flagships, seasonals, and some limited edition beers.  Like the event at the Landmark, all breweries will have some sort of brewery personnel present so that patrons can interact and learn all about each brewery.  Confirmed breweries include Lagunitas, Middle Ages, Good Nature, Brooklyn, Bells, Southern Tier and Samuel Adams.

Monday the 9th:  Brooklyn Brewery at Kitty Hoynes will launch their newest IPA, Defender (time TBA).

Tuesday the 10th:  One of my personal favorites is the Cask n’ Bluegrass night upstairs at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.  Cask ales join forces with great live bluegrass music!  Food is available for purchase.  Some breweries participating this year will be Tröegs, Oskar Blues, Good Nature, Middle Ages, and Bell’s.  This fun event starts at 5:30 p.m.2013-11-13 20.28.30

Wednesday the 11th:  Another favorite!  Get in the holiday spirit early with the Great Lakes Christmas and Ugly Sweater Party.  See the Blue Tusk transformed into a winter wonderland complete with all things Christmas including Santa arriving in an 18-wheeler beer truck as he carries in the traditional keg!  Party starts around 7:00 p.m. but get here earlier because the Tusk gets very crowded for this one!

Thursday the 12th:  East Coast vs. West Coast IPAs at Kitty Hoynes who will feature IPAs that are new to the Syracuse marketplace!  Time TBA.  It’s also Oskar Blues night at Beer Belly Deli with limited styles available as well as a cask (time TBA). There’s also a “Stone Invades World of Beer” complete with customized ‘Cuse Stone t-shirts available as well as a meet and greet with one of Stone’s brewers (time TBA).

Friday the 13th:  One of the best events of the week is Duvel Day at The Blue Tusk.  I’ve never been to this one myself, but from what I know it’s not to be missed, so this will be my year to go – make it yours too!  (Time TBA)

665543_10151182685198509_1357629007_oAs if that weren’t enough, local businesses are participating in Syracuse Beer Week all week long!  Here are some of the offerings: Southern Tier tap takeover at Pastabilities; Bell’s and Beef specials at Clark’s Ale House; Samplings at Party Source, Syracuse Real Food Co-Op, and Stafford Convenience Store; Featured breweries every night at J Ryan’s Pub at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Oysters and Oarsman Ale specials at The York; and Cooking with Dogfish Head and Oskar Blues at Beer Belly Deli.  Phew!   You can find the latest updates on the “Syracuse Beer Guy” Facebook page.

As I’ve said, this isn’t a comprehensive list but you get the idea!  As if that weren’t enough, there’s also another brewfest happening in the month of November on Saturday the 14th! The OnCenter is hosting America on Tap from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. This three-hour event will showcase over 100 releases from American craft breweries; live music and food for purchase.  You can find out about it on their Facebook page.IMG_2811

November’s chill doesn’t bother me as much when for one magical week, I am transported to a plethora of craft beer events right here in my city surrounded by fun loving folk.  I usually travel far for beer, but this time I’m not going anywhere but here!  Hope to see you at some of these fine events!  Cheers!

Gloria Rakowsky