We love our beer here in Humboldt -- the thriving local microbrew industry shows it. And what better time to honor the magic potions made from hops and grain than the beginning of fall as local brewers, amateur and professional, celebrate the first ever Humboldt Beer Week.
Saturday begins an eight-day beer-a-thon with more brew-related activities than any one drinker can handle. It starts at noon with the F Street Beer Fest in the parking lot across from The Local, a beer lover's paradise with 26 taps, maybe a hundred different bottled beers and more in a beer cellar downstairs.
"Beer Week is a new thing for us, but other cities have been doing it for a while," said The Local owner Darren Cartledge. "We're going crazy at our place and everybody's doing something."
The Local is collaborating with Humboldt Homebrewers and the brewer's supply house Humboldt Beer Works on the fest offering "an excuse to drink outside," as they put it none too subtly. They'll have beer making demonstrations, all sorts of ales, beers, etc., food and music by Gunsafe, The Plum Uglies, The Wax Catastrophe and DJ Gabe Pressure. "We're also doing the Iron Brewer Challenge, sort of like Iron Chef," said Cartledge. "We'll unleash some ingredients and a homebrewer will go head-to-head with a pro brewer."
On any given day during Beer Week you can visit some Humboldt brewery or pub and get your brew on. For example, Eel River Brewing Company in Fortuna launches a "Brewer's Flight Weekend" Saturday offering tastes of various brews. Mad River Brewing Tap Room begins a week long "Hoppy Hour" that day and celebrates its 23rd anniversary with a party that night starting at 5:30 p.m.
The new Humboldt Regeneration Brewery CSA offers "Beer Brewing 101" Sunday morning at 10 a.m. (pre-registration required). Then on Monday, the McKinleyville brewery hosts an open house starting at 11 a.m. Also on Monday, at 5 p.m., Mad River Tap Room has a "Beer Walk" while Humboldt Brews hosts a Sierra Nevada tap takeover and The Local offers beer and Cypress Grove Cheese pairings.
Food pairing continue Tuesday, Oct. 2, with Eel River Brewing's "Beer-N-Brats" and Lost Coast Brewery's tapas and beer. Meanwhile The Local hosts a Belgian Beer Night and HumBrews has a Firestone Walker Beer Trivia Night at 7 p.m.
Eel River Brewing celebrates Octoberfest Wednesday, Oct. 3, while Mad River Tap Room has its weekly Pints For Non Profits. It's Sour Night that night at The Local with eight different sour beers, including some rare ones in bottles you can take home. And the women-owned Six Rivers Brewery hosts a "Women Only" food and beer pairing starting at 6 p.m. (Is excluding men even legal?)
Thursday Eel River Brewing pairs beer and bread. The Local has Heretic Brewing Company up from Pittsburg, Calif., for a tap takeover. HumBrews hosts a Beer Pong Tournament (8 p.m.) and Libation has a German Octoberfest beer tasting and meal. (The Plaza wine shop also carries lots of exotic beers.)
On Friday, Oct. 5, HumBrews hosts a beer and buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m. Friday is also "Crazy Beer Shirt Day" at Mad River Tap Room, whatever that might mean.
Finally on Saturday, Oct. 6, 15 breweries and four bands converge on Perigot Park in Blue Lake for Humboldt Hoptoberfest, a benefit for Blue Lake Education Foundation.
And that's just a taste of what's available. See the complete Beer Week calendar at www.humboldtbeerweek.com for more imbibing possibilities.