Sacramento’s first Beer Week started with more of a dull roar than a bang.
The local-beer kegs at the opening-night event at the Colonial Theatre were placed directly in front of the stage, where the guest speakers struggled valiantly to deliver their talks. The mood was similar to a school assembly—complete with shushing—but with brew.
Author Ed Carroll’s lecture on early Sacramento brewing history was lost in the shuffle, although he was chuffed to see Darrell Corti pick up 15 copies of his book. Louder and more forceful local beer journalist Rick Sellers fared better; he began with a slide show about the selection Americans had in beer before advent of microbreweries. A picture of a Budweiser bottle elicited a chorus of boos and cries of “They’ve got nice horses!”
Cider made a very strong showing during Beer Week, thanks to the two events sponsored by local Two Rivers Cider Company brewer Vince Sterne. Preceding Saturday’s cider pub pedal, on Wednesday night, he had an open house at his brewing facility behind Sacramento City College. The nondescript exterior conceals a wonderland of cider within. There were 13 (!) Two Rivers Cider varieties on draught, a selection of bottled ciders from other craft breweries in the United States and Europe, and tons of delicious food that paired well—all free of charge. There were dogs and kids weaving between the legs of the chattering crowd, with a dog fight breaking out here and there.
Friday night, the urge to celebrate Beer Week was outweighed by the urge to see a small man in only underwear and a dirty bunny mask sing deliriously catchy garage rock. So I headed to the No Bunny show, which was the inaugural show at the Sol Collective gallery, two doors down from Trails restaurant on 21st Street.
The space is a bit cavernous, reminiscent of a Fools Foundation (RIP) show. There was beer of a (headache-inducing) kind for sale there: Rubicon Brewing Company IPA. I grimaced and swigged as No Bunny pumped up the crowd with shout-outs to local bands Mayyors, Mom, and the Bananas.
Saturday was spent recovering, sans suds, from Friday’s excesses, but I did swing by the Beer Week Hophead Scavenger Hunt check-in party on Sunday at The Shack in East Sacramento. Beer Week organizer Dan Scott and scavenger-hunt director Kassandra Sutherland, who, yes, was wearing a hop hat, both remarked that during beer week they saw new faces and heard time and again that people had visited businesses for the first time. Scott looked remarkably chipper and is already slated to begin planning for next year’s Beer Week. His Sunday post-Shack plans? A nap.