Don’t fear the beer

Intimidated by the sheer scale of Beer Week? Our top 20 picks will lead you to the best of the brews!

Spin Burger Bar in Midtown will offer a $2 craft beer every day during Beer Week.

Spin Burger Bar in Midtown will offer a $2 craft beer every day during Beer Week.

Photo By Ryan donahue

Complete event details including menus and beer offerings at

The second annual Sacramento Beer Week encompasses more than 300 events over 10 days of foamy, bubbly revelry from February 25 through March 6. It’s enough to overwhelm even the most experienced hophead. To help you focus, we’ve chosen 20 indispensable Beer Week happenings. Our selections range from swank VIP tastings to budget happy hours you can fund with the change in your couch cushions. Mark your calendar with a few of our surefire choices and then customize your Beer Week agenda with the full schedule at

Beer-tastic special events

1. Sacramento Brewers Showcase:
Sample brews from nearly every local brewery (Auburn Alehouse, Sudwerk, Two Rivers Cider and more) inside the gloriously remodeled Crocker Art Museum on Thursday, February 24, from 5 to 9 p.m. Live music by discount-jazz duo Freebadge Serenaders and small plates by Mulvaney’s round out this Beer Week kickoff event. Admission is $20.
Crocker Art Museum, 216 O St.; (916) 808-7000;

2. Hopheads Scavenger Hunt:
Form a team and activate your Beer Week experience with this multiday quest. On Thursday, February 24, the official list of rules and scavenger-hunt items goes up on You’ll need a digital camera to collect photographic evidence of your team’s Beer Week participation. Turn in your results to the judges at The Shack at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 6. The Hopheads Scavenger Hunt Awards Ceremony follows at 3 p.m. (Hint: All participating teams won prizes last year, so your efforts will likely be rewarded.)
The Shack, 5201 Folsom Blvd; (916) 457-5997;

3. Craft beer pub crawl:
Sample nine beers at nine bars for only $10! The pub crawl is entirely located in Old Sacramento, so all the bars are within easy stumbling distance from one another. (Watch those cobblestones!) Start crawling on Thursday, March 3, between 7 and 11 p.m.
Old Sacramento,

4. Bar-lympics:
It’s like a quadrathlon for barflies! A $20 entry fee makes you a registered athlete in the Bar-lympics at Hilltop Tavern. Show up at noon on Saturday, March 5, and bring your best skills in shuffleboard, pool, pingpong and darts. After a heavy day of competition, celebrate your victory with Sierra Nevada Torpedo Pint Night at 9 p.m.
Hilltop Tavern, 4757 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 456-2843;

5. Capitol Beerfest:
Beer Week’s signature event offers tastings of more than 60 quality brews from California and around the globe on Saturday, March 5, from 1 to 4 p.m. A $60 VIP pass grants access to the festival’s rarest beers at noon, an hour before the masses descend. Free shuttles will operate to and from Midtown throughout the day. General admission is $30, or $5 for designated drivers. Tickets are available online or at the Cal Expo box office.
Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd.;

Impeccable tastings

6. American Funk & Sour Festival:
Do you like it funky and sour? If so, then Samuel Horne’s Tavern is your destination Saturday, February 26, for the American Funk and Sour Festival. The tavern will feature eight sour beers from across the country on draft, including ales from The Lost Abbey, Jolly Pumpkin and Bear Republic. Be sure to vote for the best in show!
Samuel Horne’s Tavern, 719 Sutter St. in Folsom; (916) 293-8207;

7. Mexican microbrews:
How do you say “Get me a taxi!” in Spanish? You’re gonna have to figure that out before Monday, February 28, when Rubicon Brewing Company celebrates Mexican microbrews with Chupacabras Pale Ale and Obscura brown ale from Cucapá, “la cerveza gourmet de Mexico.”
Rubicon Brewing Company, 2004 Capitol Ave.; (916) 448-7032;

8. Lagunitas ParaDime Black IPA:
Tuesday, March 1, is an easy one. Show up at any participating Beer Week bar at 4:20 p.m., when everyone simultaneously will be tapping kegs of Lagunitas ParaDime Black IPA. The hoppy dark ale made with barley, wheat and rye is a Sacramento exclusive made especially for 2011 Beer Week. Visit for locations.

9. Belgians vs. Americans:
On Thursday, March 3, be ready for war at The Shack! It’s Belgians vs. Americans beer night. Brace your palette for six-on-six tasting action from 6 to 9 p.m.
The Shack, 5201 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 457-5997;

10. On a BOAT:
On Beer Week’s final night, Sunday, March 6, end the week in everyday beer-drinking style. The Gold Country Brewers Association will drop anchor on their BOAT, or Brewery on a Trailer, in the alley next to the Rubicon and whip up some home brew. Indoors, Rubicon brewmaster Scott Cramlet will demonstrate his ale production skills. Bonus: happy hour prices all day.
Rubicon Brewing Company, 2004 Capitol Ave.; (916) 448-7032;

Pingpong, darts, shuffleboard—March 5 is the Bar-lympics at Hilltop Tavern in East Sacramento.

Photo By Ryan donahue

Beer for foodies

11. S’mores and more:
The Shack pairs the quintessential campfire traditions of beer and s’mores in this campout event at 6 p.m. on Friday, February 25. Sierra Nevada Torpedo American Extra IPA, a super-hoppy beer, will nicely offset the extra-sweet s’mores. There will even be a fire on the patio, campfire singing and live music. Kumbaya, my friends.
The Shack, 5201 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 457-5997;

12. Exotic food and beer pairing:
It’s well-known that Pangaea Two Brews Cafe owner Rob Archie stocks a good selection of Belgians. Pair that with his penchant for providing a quality European-style sandwich, and this event promises to be one of Beer Week’s unmissable food-and-beer pairings. Pangaea’s website says “five locally sourced plates with five international favorites, including a rare surprise.” Is the suspense worth it? You’ll have to answer that yourself on Sunday, February 27, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Pangaea Two Brews Cafe, 2743 Franklin Blvd.; (916) 454-4942;

13. Burger and a brew:
A great beer makes a burger taste really good. The Hideaway Bar & Grill makes a tall and juicy Rock ’n’ Roll Burger and pairs it with an Olympia lager from the tap for only $10. Olympia’s lager combines mountain water from the Northwest, golden barley and fresh herbal hops. It’s a hard deal to beat, even for Beer Week. Take advantage on Wednesday, March 2, from 4 to 9 p.m.
The Hideaway Bar & Grill, 2565 Franklin Blvd.; (916) 455-1331.

14. Tacos and a tasty Chica:
If you’re from Mexico, or even Southern California, then tacos and beer are sort of like your meat and potatoes. But when that beer is the gluten-free Two Rivers Chica Agave Cider, you can rest assured that you’re probably on the California side of the border. Sample some on Wednesday, March 2, from 5 to 9 p.m. Cafe Capricho offers Mexican and American food, and a good selection of vegetarian tacos to supplement the traditional meat ones. These include black bean and cheese, potato and cheese, and potato and pepper tacos. ¡Que asombroso!
Cafe Capricho, 3269 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 457-3916.

15. For the gourmands:
Matteo’s serves a gourmet five-course dinner by chef David Feldman on Thursday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m. Each course is paired with Sudwerk brews chosen by brewmaster Jay Prahl. The first course is an onion-and-leek tart with tomato and goat cheese, paired with a Märzen. Second is a shrimp plate with garlic bruschetta and a lager. Third is cod-and-potato ravioli with brown butter, paired with pale ale. Fourth is wild boar in dolce forte and pork ribs with Parmesan polenta, paired with Maibock. Lastly, there’s chocolate stout cake paired with stout. Tickets are $39.
Matteo’s Pizza & Bistro, 5132 Arden Way in Carmichael; (916) 779-0727;

Discount drinking

16. Craft Beer Happy Hour:
Spin Burger Bar hawks a different craft beer every day of Beer Week for only $2. Craft Beer Happy Hour lasts from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, February 28 through Sunday, March 6. Featured $2 beers include Rubicon’s Monkey Knife Fight, New Belgium Fat Tire, Widmer Hefeweizen and—in an unconventional, yet locally appropriate choice—24-ounce cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Spin Burger Bar, 1020 16th St.; (916) 233-3633;

17. Cider Pint Night:
For one night only, Friday, March 4, Sweetwater Bar and Restaurant shows a little love to the cider fans. Pints of Woodchuck, Wyder’s and Strongbow ciders are only $3. Buy two pints and a logo glass is yours to keep.
Sweetwater Restaurant and Bar, 1901 S St.; (916) 731-8857;

18. Daily promotions at Hoppy Brewing Company:
Hoppy embodies the spirit of Beer Week with unusual (and exceptionally affordable) events throughout the festival. On Fridays, it’s half-price Hoppy Hour from 10:30 p.m. until closing. On Sunday, February 27, you get a free 22-ounce bottle of beer with the purchase of any entree. Buy a half-price “Beer Ambassador” T-shirt on Tuesday, March 1, and wear it on Saturday, March 5, for $2.50 pints during lunch with live music by the Spillit Quikkers. Investigate the Hoppy calendar at for a full schedule and take advantage of the savings.
Hoppy Brewing Company, 6300 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 451-4677;

19. Kilt-wearer’s special:
The Kilt Pub offers happy-hour prices all night to anyone wearing a kilt on Thursday, March 3. If you’re not ready to bare your kneecaps, there will be hourly drink specials for the less fashion forward. (Warning: Anyone wearing “tartan troosers” will be charged extra.)
The Kilt Pub, 4235 Arden Way; (916) 487-4979;

20. Clearance sale:
On Sunday, March 6, the last night of Beer Week, Midtown’s Streets of London promises yet-to-be-priced specials on “whatever’s left over.” Heft a pint and help drink another Beer Week under the table.
Streets of London, 1804 J St.; (916) 498-1388;