Twenty years ago, this wouldn't have been a thing at all. But it's 2014, and the craft beer movement is bigger and more awesome than ever.
And just in case you needed an excuse to indulge in craft beer made right here in the ol' US of A, some marketing genius has created American Craft Beer Week, a celebration of small batch American brews.
Houston bars, restaurants and breweries are taking this opportunity to showcase special beers and knock down prices in honor of the event, and many places have specials going on all week. Here are the best bets for your brews.
Karbach Great American Bottle Share May 14, 6 to 8 p.m. Karbach is bringing back a popular event that asks attendees to BYOB. It's not that they don't have beer at Karbach, of course, but for this event, people must bring at least 22 ounces of beer not available in the state of Texas. That means you've got to get an out-of-state friend to mail you something or make a quick trip to Louisiana to pick up an unknown brew if you don't already have a stash. True beer nerds come out for this party, and Karbach usually opens a few experimental things for tasting. There's no admission fee, but you must RSVP online.
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Uchi May 14, 7 p.m. For the first year, Uchi is joining in the celebration with a special meal featuring seven courses created with specific beer pairings in mind. Beverage director Dhal Smith has worked with chef Kaz Edwards to create a meal that features and highlights beers from 8th Wonder and Karbach. Representatives from the breweries will be at the dinner to discuss the flavors behind the brews, and as usual, the chefs will come out and discuss each course as well. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased by calling Uchi.
Hay Merchant All week long, Hay Merchant is celebrating with a different event every day. On Monday beginning at 5 p.m. Karbach will take over taps and casks and serve a variety of brews, including four F.U.N. series beers, which are generally only available on the Karbach brewery tour. On Tuesday, Hay Merchant will be tapping Saint Arnold's Homefront IPA, brewed to benefit Operation Homefront. All proceeds from the evening's sales will help provide financial and other assistance to families of American service members. Wednesday check out the Lone Pint tap invasion and sip one of my favorite brews, Yellow Rose. Thursday, Sierra Nevada is taking over the taps, and Friday Rogue Ale is on sale for $9 per glass of Double Chocolate Stout, Chocolate Stout, Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout on Nitro and Mocha Porter. Limit one per person.
Witchcraft Tavern Like Hay Merchant, Witchcraft Tavern is celebrating all week. On Monday, they'll be debuting Cycler's Brewing's Domestique French Oak Wit, produced in Montgomery, Texas. Tuesday they're tapping a special keg of Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #14, a Belgian/American Hybrid. Wednesday, Witchcraft is giving away free brewery tour passes with the purchase of a craft beer. And Sunday, they're wrapping up the celebration with an all-day parking lot party featuring beer from 8th Wonder and a whole smoked pig.
Houston Press Brewfest Last but certainly not least, we've got our own Brewfest celebration coming up. On Saturday, May 17 from 2 to 7 p.m, we'll be pouring the biggest selection of craft beers in town. More than 30 different breweries will be on site, each with several beers to taste. There will also be food trucks and grub provided by Whole Foods for the VIP section. This event usually sells out, so get your tickets now!