Photo: By&y Will this be you during Craft Beer Week?
Hey, look at the calendar! It’s that time of year when leaves slip from trees, hooded sweatshirts are dusted off and I wander around town as drunk as a sailor on shore leave, drenched from skull to sneakers in craft beer. Dear readers, it’s time again for New York Craft Beer Week, a citywide suds celebration that kicks off Sept. 24.
But which tasting soirees, beer-pairing dinners and festivals are worth your bucks and belly space? Behold, my inebriated expertise! Below, find my picks for Craft Beer Week. Which really lasts 10 days. Now that’s some drunken math I can support.
Sept. 24: Freaktoberfest
Come to the official kickoff party at Park Slope club Rock Shop, featuring bands, burlesque and craft beer up the ying-yang. Try a pint of CBW’s official beer, Geektoberfest. It’s a blend of barrel-aged brews from Ithaca, Schmaltz and Captain Lawrence. (249 4th Ave. betw. President & Carroll Sts., Brooklyn, www. freaktoberfest.blogspot.com; 7, $55.)
Sept. 25: Homebrewers Tour Am I really a pants-less, shambling wreck with a liver the size of Luxembourg? Today’s your lucky day! I’m leading a tour of the homes of NYC’s finest amateur brewers, where we’ll meet them, discuss their craft and, most importantly, drink their delicious beer. Can’t make it today? I’m leading a second tour Oct. 2. (Email email@example.com to reserve a ticket and receive details; 1, $25.)
Sept. 25 & 26: Get Real NY More than 70 different cask ales are available, including eclectic offerings from Michigan’s fab Founders and Florida’s Cigar City. After knocking back a couple pints, work up the liquid courage to chat up on-hand brewers, including Captain Lawrence’s Scott Vaccaro and Sixpoint’s Shane Welch. Nibbles from Luke’s Lobster and Grandaisy Bakery will help keep intoxication at bay. (135 W. 18th St. betw. 6th & 7th Aves., http://www.getrealny.com; noon & 5, $65.)
Sept. 27: The Mastery of Brooklyn Hit East Village watering hole Swift Hibernian to sample some of Brooklyn Brewery’s rarest Brewmaster’s Reserve elixirs. Hops lovers will go hogwild for the Blast, Demolition and lemony Sorachi Ace, while fans of the dark side will favor the inky Black Ops stout. Plus free snacks! (24 E. 4th St. at Bowery, 212-260- 3600, http://www.swiftnycbar.com; 5, Free.)
Sept. 28: Pretty Things v. Funky Cheeses Bad breath will be on the menu at Brooklyn’s d.b.a., where owner Ray Dieter joins cheese expert Martin Johnson in presenting seven superb beers from Massachusetts’ Pretty Things—one of my favorite new breweries—paired with stinky, full-flavored fromage. (113 N. 7th St. betw. Berry & Wythe Sts., 212-533-3072,www. thejoyofcheese.blogspot.com; 7:30, $30.)
Sept. 29: Hill Country and Abita Dinner Forget cholesterol counts for the evening, as the Texas-style BBQ haunt partners with Louisiana’s best brewery for a gut-stuffing spectacle. To whet your appetite: smokedbrisket taquitos are served aside hopshinted Restoration Pale Ale, while coffeerubbed Texas tenderloin meets its match in the malty Turbodog. (30 W. 26th St. at 6th Ave., 212-255-4544, http://www.hillcountryny.com; 6:30, $60.)
Sept. 30: Brewer’s Choice City Winery is turned over to more than 15 of the country’s best brewers—Ommegang’s Phil Leinart, Ballast Point’s Colby Chandler, Goose Island’s Greg Hall—who will serve their potions paired with first-rate food from Brooklyn Larder, Jimmy’s No. 43, Jacques Torres Chocolate and more. It’s gourmet as all get-out. (155 Varick St. at Vandam St., http://www.nycbrewrschoice.com; 6, $75.)
Oct. 1: Great World Beer Festival Slim pickings today, but the best bet is the Great World Beer Festival (a.k.a. Brewtopia), counting A-list breweries such as Bear Republic and Southampton. Years ago, Brewtopia helped introduce me to craft beer in New York. Oh, how I rue that wallet-draining day. (548 W. 22nd St. betw. 10th & 11th Aves., http://www.worldbeerfest.com; 8, $65. Also Oct. 2.)
Oct. 2: Voyage of the IPA Avast, ye landlubbers! Climb aboard a 158-foot schooner with Brooklyn brewmaster Garrett Oliver, who will lecture about the history of hoppy, piney India pale ales as the boat cruises around New York harbor. Sweetening the deal are IPAs from Brooklyn Brewery and other locally brewed bitter beauties. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org; 4:30, $65.)
Oct. 3: Bike Brooklyn Beer Blitz Tour guide, amateur historian and Gut Instinct pal Matt Levy takes bikers on a tour of Brooklyn’s brewing history. In Williamsburg and Bushwick, you’ll investigate the hulking breweries and mansions built from the profits of German beer. The tour terminates at Evergreen cemetery—the resting grounds of many bygone brewers—and closes with a liquid surprise. Hint: It’s not water. (Email email@example.com; 1, $25. Also, Sept. 25 & 26 and Oct. 2.)