San Francisco and Philadelphia have been doing it for years. Now Atlanta joins the ranks of major American cities honoring craft beer with a week of celebrations.
Atlanta Beer Week runs May 16-22, with beer bars, beverage stores, restaurants, brewpubs and breweries in Atlanta and Athens holding dinners, special tastings and educational seminars.
Look for about 100 events at 50 different venues over the seven days of the inaugural festivities.
Five Seasons Brewing Co. brewer/partner Crawford Moran took the lead in organizing Atlanta Beer Week. Moran said he and several other local beer aficionados decided the time had come to make it happen, even if that meant something of a shaky start the first year.
“Trying to get anything off the ground is always a challenge but the response has been pretty good,” Moran said. “It’s kind of like the All-Star Game. You have all these people who might be rivals on the same team working together for a week. We have a nice mix of places doing different things and it’s a great foundation to get things going toward next year.”
Among the places participating with dinners and tasting events, beer bars such as Brick Store Pub in Decatur, the Porter Beer Bar in Atlanta and Trappeze Pub in Athens are no surprise. But several Atlanta fine dining restaurants, including Abattoir and Shaun’s, also have joined up.
Abattoir is offering five menu items with suggested beer pairings every night, including house-made sausages, charcuterie and sticky toffee cake, plus beer and cheese flights. On May 20, Star Provisions cheesemonger Tim Gaddis will be on hand for an informal beer and cheese tasting.
Shaun’s chef/owner Shaun Doty said Atlanta Beer Week prompted him to bolster his beer list, adding 30 American, Belgian, British, German and Japanese craft beers. And every night during beer week, Doty is offering a different seasonal three-course menu for $29 plus suggested beer pairings.
Moran said he’s satisfied Beer Week will be a success, if only because it has already highlighted how much Atlanta’s beer culture has grown over the past decade.
“There will be something incredible to do every day of the week,” Moran said. “If you went back 10 years, all the things that will be happening that week would have fit into a two- or three-year calendar. Back in the ’90s, just convincing a restaurant to do a beer dinner was impossible.”
More Atlanta Beer Week events
At 1 p.m. on May 16, Brick Store Pub will kick off the week with several rare beers on draft and a ceremonial cask tapping. 125 E. Court Square, Decatur. 404-687-0990, www.brickstorepub.com
At 7 p.m. on May 17, Max Lager’s presents Beer Judging 101 with brew master John Roberts. $30, limited to 50 guests (reservations required) for a buffet dinner and beer tasting in the Brewery Tavern. 320 Peachtree Street, Atlanta. 404-525-4400, www.maxlagers.com
At 7 p.m. on May 20, Five Seasons Westside presents a five-course beer dinner featuring five different beers aged in wine barrels. $55, plus tax and tip. 1000 W. Marietta Street N.W., Atlanta. 404-875-3232, www.5seasonsbrewing.com
For more Atlanta Beer Week information and events: www.atlantabeerweek.com