Next Saturday, August 25th, Dayton will mark the 14th time AleFest has been celebrated, and it has been picking up steam every year. Three hundred and fifty breweries are participating in the event taking place at Carillon Historical Park. It is the main event in an escalating series of beer celebrations around town that makes up Dayton Beer Week, August 18th – 24th. This is the week that every craft beer aficionado should be going out and looking to expand their palate. It would be harder for you this week to find a place that is NOT offering some sort of beer event.
There are going to be beer tastings, dinners, tappings, specials, and education all week long in the widest variety of venues. Places better known for wine or other spirits will be getting into the act, like the Century Bar, Thai 9, A Taste of Wine, Buckin’ Donkey BBQ, and Bruning’s Wine Shop. Beer dinners will be offered all around town to help improve your food and beer pairings at Rue Dumaine, Jay’s Seafood Restaurant, Dorothy Lane Market, Spinoza’s Pizza & Salads, Meadowlark, The Melting Pot, and Jimmie’s Ladder 11. Representatives from Samuel Adams, Stone Brewing Company, Duvel USA, Brewkettle, New Holland, Magic Hat, 21st Amendment, Goose Island, Sierra Nevada Brewery, and Unibroue will be in town to talk about their beers as well as show off some of their new products. All of the dates and times for these tastings are available on our event calendar under beer.
The festivities for the week officially begin on Sunday evening, August 19th, with the Beer Pride Parade, starting at the Dublin Pub. Line up through the Oregon District and show your craft beer pride! The over 800 owners of the new Fifth Street Brewpub Co-op are invited to a pre-parade event and will walk in the parade en masse. The first eighty bicycle riders to Biking for The Beer Of It in Miamisburg can participate in a nice ten mile ride on Tuesday, August 21st, sponsored by Goose Island. There will be some refreshments at the mid way point, and a little bit of swag for all of the participants. Five chefs and six beers will be featured on Wednesday, August 22nd, at the Dayton Art Institute’s Brewer’s Art dinner. Space is limited for this event, so you are going to want to make your reservations soon! Of course, the final event, the culmination of a week’s worth of fun and tasting and exploring is AleFest.
While you are out exploring Dayton, there are a few things you should remember as you are out doing your tastings:
- When you taste, it is very similar to tasting wine. You want a little foam on the top. You also want to look at and sniff the beer before you taste it, to see what aromas are coming off of it.
- Do not hold the beer in direct light when you look at it. You get the best idea of color when you look at it in indirect light.
- Give it a little bit of a swirl in your glass. This stirs up the carbonation a little, allowing more of the aromas to be released. Don’t underestimate the importance of scent when tasting your beer!
- Hold the beer in your mouth a little bit, allowing it to roam all over your tongue. Enjoy the flavors that come out as it is in your mouth. Take a mental note on how thick the beer is. This is known as mouthfeel.
- Allow the beer to warm up SLIGHTLY before you drink it. As with wine, a little bit of extra warmth unveils deeper flavors that may not be otherwise obvious.
And while you are going to Beer Week events:
- Car pool. Parking is going to be very limited for some of these events, and the citizens are going to be out in force. Getting more people in one car is going to be helpful for everyone.
- Get there early. You want to make sure you get there in enough time to get seats, be able to talk to the guest of honor, etc. Some events may even have limited seating. Make sure you call the venue and check out the details.
- Drink plenty of water. This is going to serve a twofold purpose. First, water will help cleanse the palate between each beer, giving you a better idea of how each beer tastes. Secondly, it will help you avoid a worse hangover than you might normally have.
- Do not eat spicy foods before you go to an event. You do not want your taste buds to be still burning from the Nuclear Hot wings you just ate. Eat a little something; just tone it down.
- Go to the dark side. If you are not at a pre-set beer tasting, start off with some of the lighter beers, and go to the darker ones. The darker beers tend to have heavier flavors and be thicker, which can linger a little longer.
- Designate a driver. No explanation needed.
Next week is going to be an exciting romp through the world of craft beer. Check out the list and plan you week carefully, participate in a few a events, and try out a few beers you have never thought about before, or may not get a chance to again. I am sure Max Spang (who helped me quite a bit with advice and research on this article) and I will see you out at some point around town. Cheers!