Each year, beer weeks celebrate the culture and community of craft brewers across the United States—and Coachella Valley Beer Week, which I am organizing, will commence for the second time, on Nov. 11. Before I get into the details of what will be happening here in the desert, let’s get into the history of beer weeks, why they exist—and why they’re important.
Back in 2008 (the same year when I started The Beer Goddess website), Joe Gold, of Victory Brewing (who would become the founder of Baltimore Beer Week), traveled to Philadelphia to talk with some beer loving friends: Tom Peters, of Philly’s Monk’s Café, and Don Russell, the “Joe Sixpack” columnist. They discussed the possibility of a week-long celebration of beer.
Thus, Philly Beer Week was born. It started the “beer week” tradition in 2008 and today is the country’s largest, boasting more than 1,000 events. The area boasts more than 400 beer bars that feature craft beer and food.
In 2011, I spoke with Greg Koch, of Escondido, Calif.-based Stone Brewing, about beer weeks and how they help a community. (Side note: Stone just went through a massive layoff, perhaps because the brewing company grew too quickly—but that’s a topic for a whole other column.)
“I like it, because I think that the most important thing about beer weeks is that it moves the needle … among people in a region,” he said. “When you have all these events going on, and then it gets in the papers, and they’re even maybe mentioning on the evening news or something, and all the bars are promoting it, that causes not just beer fans, but just the more average beer consumer, to perk up and go, ‘Huh? I wonder what this is all about.’”
Since 2008, beer weeks across the nation have been popping up to celebrate the craft and the people behind the craft.
It should be repeated why these beer weeks exist: At its best, the craft brewer embodies not only an entrepreneurial spirit, but also a basic human kindness toward his or her fellow brewer, as well as an infatuation with the art of brewing, and a respect for its American consumers.
Beer weeks also show off the vitality of today’s American brewing community, which is using ridiculous amounts decadent ingredients and embracing radical beer styles. Breweries that celebrate beer weeks believe in collaboration and, generally, are incredibly welcoming and egalitarian.
This brings us to Coachella Valley Beer Week, a 10-day area celebration of local and original beer. This year, we are celebrating with festivals in Indio and Palm Springs, a brewmaster beer dinner at the Purple Room, an art-and-beer painting event at Coachella Valley Art Scene, a BBQ and Beer event at Stuft Pizza, an event at the Date Shed, and much more. See the complete and updated schedule at www.coachellavalleybeerweek.com.
Let’s talk a little more about the “Beer Craft” event at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Coachella Valley Art Scene in the Westfield shopping center in Palm Desert. CVAS is dedicated to advocating local art and culture at their Westfield pop-up art space, MAKE. Come check out the scene while listening to tunes and trying some tasty brews. Guests will get to decorate beer bottles and help make an interactive sculpture using them. It will be a night of fun with crafts, music and craft beer!
However, Coachella Valley Beer Week is not the only beer event worth celebrating in November: On Thursday, Nov. 3, pubs, breweries and restaurants around the world will once again celebrate that iconic beer style—the stout, with International Stout Day. Guinness itself will be hoisting a pint with a special celebration of their own at their new Open Gate Brewery in Dublin on Nov. 4.
Since 2011, Stout Day (which I helped create) has grown by leaps and bounds, with events held around the world, in Australia, Spain, Ontario, Nova Scotia, England, South Africa, Ireland, Croatia, Sweden and nearly every state across the United States. Celebrate Stout Day by collect the Untappd 2016 Stout Day badge, and be a part of a revolution that’s being embraced internationally.