The annual week-long celebration of all things beer begins this weekend: Here’s your heads up.
On Sunday, Sept. 13, a Battle of the IPAs at Spencer Makenzie’s kicks off Beer Week, featuring Ballast Point, Stone Brewing Company and the local brewery Topa Topa, who will also be part of Monday night’s double header of NFL football alongside brews from Santa Barbara’s Figueroa Mountain and Petaluma’s Lagunitas Brewing Company at Rookees in downtown Ventura.
Tuesday, find your way to any of your local breweries for Beer Week specials, and on Wednesday, Winchester’s Firestone tap takeover will host Firestone co-founder and co-owner David Walker to talk beer over a selection of rare, special pours.
Barrelhouse 101’s Big Beer Night on Thursday can’t be missed, as cellared kegs make their way to the bar. This is for the beer nerds — expect a selection of rarities.
It all culminates with the beginning of the three-day-long California Beer Festival with a food and beer pairing competition at City Hall. Five breweries and their beers will be paired with five local chefs in a battle of the taste buds. On Saturday, Craft Beer Heaven takes hold of downtown Ventura with a four-hour free-for-all on over 60 breweries.
The weekend wraps up with the Blues and Brews Festival, featuring barbecue and musicians from around the country. This year’s musical headliners are blues favorites Booker T and Walter Trout.
Vincenzo Giammanco, president of the Festival, says that this year is the local breweries’ time to shine.
“The Ventura County craft beer scene has exploded, and it’s so exciting that when we started people were like, ‘what’s craft beer?’ ” said Giammanco. “I’m excited to see how the local breweries are going to match up against these bigger brands like Ballast Point and Firestone that are going national.”
The California Beer Festival activities will be held from Friday, Sept. 18, to Sunday, Sept. 20, with Saturday and Sunday taking place at Mission Park, 185 E. Santa Clara St., Ventura, $30-150; Friday night food and beer pairing competition, $65. Hotel packages are available. Visit www.californiabeerfestival.com for more information. For a full list of events for Ventura County Beer Week, visit www.venturacountybeerweek.com. F
Chris O’Neal will be donning his pretzel necklace for the entirety of Beer Week. Follow him on Instagram @atchrisoneal.