I think Homer Simpson said it best……“Ah, beer. The cause of and the solution to all of life’s problems.” Be it light or dark, in a keg or in a cup, Eugenians love beer and are showing it in a big way. Eugene Beer Week kicks off May 2nd and runs through May 8th. This is Eugene’s first annual beer week, following in the footsteps of successful beer weeks in cities like Seattle and San Fransisco. Beer week is a celebration of the great craft beers we have in Willamette Valley….sorry no PBR or Coors here.

Participating breweries include; Oakshire, Ninkasi, Hop Valley, Deschutes Brewery, Hopworks Urban Brewery and Boneyard. This is a great opportunity to taste the wide variety of craft beers that are being made right here in our neck of the woods. The event is packed with your choice of tastings, dinners, discussions, contests and classes. The full event schedule can be found at http://www.eugenebeerweek.org/, but here is a little sampling of what’s in store…….

Monday – May 2
Hop Valley and Ninkasi are each unveiling their own respective beers. Hop Valley with their summer seasonal Pollination Honey Ale and Ninkasi with their Conservation Ale Release, a Golden Ale brewed in honor of EWEB’s 100th Anniversary. Marché will be celebrating all week-long (5:30-9pm) with Marché Beer Week Prix-Fixe. Chef Jonny Henry is pairing each course with local beers from all your favorite breweries. Contact Marché at the 5th Street Market for menu and more information. Capella Market will be offering Free Ninkasi tasting including newly released ConservationALE from 4-6pm.

Tuesday – May 3
Alright ladies….let’s represent at the Women’s Only Beer Tasting & Discussion at 16 Tons Beer & Wine. The discussion starts at 6:30pm, so come thirsty.  How well do you know your local IPA’s? Put your knowledge to the test, or just get to know them better at a Local Blind IPA Flight at The Bier Stein from 7-9pm. A blind flight of six local IPAs will be available to test your taste-buds. If you’re not sure that your palate is refined enough for all these great beers, then you should visit the Intro Sensory Analysis Class with Jamie Floyd. The class will cover the basics of proper beer tasting for sensory considerations and more. Two class times are available (5:30 and 6:45 pm) and will be held at the Ninkasi Tasting room. Admission is FREE!

Wednesday – May 4
Oakshire Brewing is holding a Kegerator 101 Class from 6:30-8pm. Learn how to install and maintain a home draft system. Admission is just $10 per person. The Brewpublic Whiskey Barrel-Aged Fest is your chance to try 10 specialty and vintage Whiskey barrel-aged ales. Get to The Beir Stein between 5-10pm to enjoy these specialty ales. Oakshire will be holding tastings at both the Lincoln and 5th Street Cornucopia locations. All Oakshire pints $3! The Rogue Public House is holding a Dead Guy Tasting Night…which happens to run all day.

Thursday – May 5
In the mood for a little Trivia w/ Full Sail Brewmaster John Harris? Then you’re in luck! John Harris will be throwing down some Trivia and handing out cool Full Sail gear for prizes at The Bier Stein. Contact The Bier Stein for more information. Hop Valley is throwing a release party for their Tilley’s Chili Beer at 5pm.

Friday – May 6
Boneyard Beer and Diablo’s are throwing a Boneyard Beer Party. Lots of Boneyard beer and free goodies to be had, so get to Diablo’s by 9pm. Ninkasi is honoring Glen Flaconer, with an All Day Glen’s Best Bitter Release at their tasting room. This is a recreation of Glen’s Best Bitter a beer brewed at the old Wild Duck Brewery by Glen.

Saturday – May 7
The 2011 Sasquatch Brew Fest at the Eugene Hilton, runs Saturday from 12pm-10:30pm. Ok, it’s on…Beer vs. Wine at 16 Tons Beer & Wine on Saturday. A Cheese Pairing showdown between these two beloved beverages, starts at 6pm. If you’ve never tried a beer float, here is your chance. Enjoy Ice Cream Beer Floats and a Food Fair at Capella Market on Saturday from 1:30-3:30pm. Try a FREE sampling of ice cream floats using a variety of beer styles…sorry kids, this float is for mommy’s and daddy’s only.

So much beer to drink and things to do, I think even Homer Simpson would be overwhelmed. Show your support for these great local breweries….and discover a new beer in the process. Just remember to please be responsible while you are out and about town enjoying all the Eugene Beer Week has to offer.

**UPDATE: Capella Market will be offering Free Ninkasi tasting on FRIDAY during their Food Fair, from 4-6pm instead of Monday, as previously announced.
Ah……Beer courtesy of Eugene On The Cheap

Kelly Asay is an entrepreneur, software developer and performing musician. As the publisher of Eugene Daily News, Asay is continually searching, finding and promoting the best unknown journalists, photographers and inspirational people from all over Lane County.

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