February is typically a bad month for beer. It’s a month that is in a brewing limbo, so to speak. While winter is a season for stronger, maltier beers, most breweries have already brewed their winter seasons and have started their spring seasonals. So with the strong winter beers dying out and the spring beers not quite ready, what’s a beer enthusiast to do?
Well, if you’re lucky enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, February is Strong Beer Month. A celebration of strong beers between 21st Amendment Brewery and Magnolia Pub and Brewery in San Franciso that showcases 12 different beers, 6 from each venue. If you’re lucky enough to have drank all 12 (they give you the entire month of February to do so, so don’t worry), you’ll have earned yourself a commemorative glass.
Toronado is having their Barley Wine Festival this month as well. This is another hugely popular event and I have been advised to arrive early as the popular beer will sell out quickly. For those of you who don’t know what a Barley Wine is, it’s basically a beer (don’t let the name fool you!). A big beer. It’s high in alcohol (8% – 12%), intense malt flavor with matching hop flavor. Check out the BJCP style guideline for more information.
Also up in San Francisco, the Beer Chef Bruce Paton will be hosting Beer and Chocolate Beer Dinner Event on Friday, February 15, 2008. It is easily one of his most popular dinner events. Unfortunately for us, BetterBeerBlog is having a Beer and Food Pairing Event that night inspired by Chef Paton’s event and can’t make it. We definitely plan on attending one of Chef Paton’s dinners this year though.
This Saturday, February 9, 2008, the Bistro located in Hayward will be holding their 8th Annual Double IPA festival. I was able to make it to last year’s IPA festival and I had a blast. Because the IPA is hugely flavorful and hoppy beer, my palette was pretty much shot after the 4th tasting of the day. I think I had 7-8 tastings at that time. I look forward to having my palette blown away by the 3rd tasting this time around.
The Bay Area Mashers Homebrew Club is currently soliciting entries for their 2008 World Cup of Beer Homebrew Competition. Entries should be received by March 8th. Judging will be on March 22nd and 29th at Trumer Brauerei in Berkeley.
Finally, Celebrator beer magazine is celebrating their 20th year Anniversary with Beerapalooza 2008! Wow. 20 years is an awful long time to be around and it’s definitely worth celebrating. Visit their website to get more information.
As you can see, there’s a lot going on in February in the Bay Area to celebrate beer. I suggest you go out and try something different. You never know what you may end up liking. Just remember to drink responsibly, drink in moderation, and to drink better beer.