May 11-17 is American Craft Beer Week. This is important to know. This is the Mother of all Beer Weeks. If you like craft beer, this is the week that your local favorite tapster will have their best available and probably at a discount. This week there will be specialty brews just everywhere. 22 states have Craft Beer Week events, and the American Homebrewers Association has a goal to reach all 50.
As part of the festivities, the American Homebrewers Association has crafted a Declaration of Brewing Independence. Home brewers are having signing parties; pubs and microbreweries are blowing it up to poster size (you can get them at the bottom of the page here) and hanging it in the tap room. I confess I was skeptical. I expected haranguing language (I live in the greater Washington, DC area; I am So Bored with haranguing) and something about why more states should allow homebrewing and microbreweries (that’s right, Federal law does but some states still have very sticky laws). Instead, it reads like a pretty darn reasonable policy statement. The downloadables have a nice historic document look, too, and you can download them in several sizes from page to poster size. The opening paragraph is a bit rococo for my taste, but then I don’t just luuurve beer the way some do – and I want good solid technique from my beer more often than ‘artistic creation’. But there’s nothing here for me to nitpick, not at all:
“I declare the beer I choose to enjoy is not a commodity, but more importantly an artistic creation of living liquid history made from passionate innovators. The beer I drink furthers our culture and teaches us geography and helps to nurture a sense of community, and helps to make the world a better place…
…I declare to practice the concept of “Informed Consumption,” seeking and deserving to know if my beer comes from a small and independent brewer or if it is owned by a large brewing company. I want to know why so many of my local beer brands are not available in many of my favorite restaurants, bars and beer stores, and I encourage beer sellers to offer a wide selection of beer styles and beer brands that includes beer from my local and regional breweries, and,
I declare American craft brewers provide flavorful and diverse American-made beers in more than 100 distinct styles that have made the United States the envy of every beer-drinking nation for the quality and variety of beers brewed. I declare that beer made by American craft brewers helps to reduce dependence on imported products and therefore contributes to balanced trade…”
Blake Hennon of the LA Times has been running around town getting every restaurant and bar in his area he could get to in his spare time in a week to sign one big copy, and has been blogging about it. Sounds like he had a great time!
There are Beer Week events going on all over the country, including our own local Maryland Craft Beer Festival, featuring our local Clipper City (home of Heavy Seas beers) and Flying Dog Breweries. Hopefully The Raven Brewery lager will get some traction from the movie by the same name – it’s in Baltimore, where Edgar Allen Poe lived for many years and is now buried. Pub Dog drafthouse is bringing a wild sour cherry porter I’m pretty eager to try. Maryland’s a small state, but we have some darn good beer around these parts!
In July I’m headed for Indianapolis for three days with beer bloggers from around the country. At the very end we have a bottle swap. The challenge is choosing which beers to put in my sixpack to swap for other regional delights!