Craft Beer Week—which actually lasts nine days, but who's counting, or has the ability to count during Craft Beer Week?—kicks off Friday, and this one promises to be the biggest, craftiest week of all! For starters, over 100 beer destinations and 30 restaurants across the five boroughs are honoring the Craft Beer Week "passport," which costs $10 and entitles the bearer to one special beer for $3.And then there are the myriad special events.
It's hard to know where to begin, but if you're free Friday night you might as well begin at the beginning, at the Freaktoberfest Boutique Beer & Music Festival at the Rock Shop in Park Slope (tickets). Presented by Shmaltz Brewing Company, over 35 brewery owners will pour specialty beers while performers from the Coney Island Sideshow host the event alongside local indie-rock bands, burlesque dancers, and DJs. This official "opening night" celebration is book-ended by the Brewer’s Bash at acclaimed restaurant Eleven Madison Park. These four hours of heaven, which cost $125, includes six beer-makers serving their beer inside and outside, two live bands, a cask beer tasting with Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver, specialty beer cocktails and Executive Chef Daniel Humm’s take on beer-friendly bites.
In between these opening and closing extravaganzas, there are tons of other beery fun events, such as Brewer's Choice at the City Winery on September 30th, during which 15 brewmasters will present their best beers and favorite food pairings. Also note the Get Real NY Cask Ale & Food Festival, which features an array of specialty cask-conditioned beers from all over the world (including several from NY area homebrewers), jazz bands, and food from nearby restaurants specializing in locally sourced food. And for those who like to drink with freaks, Shmaltz and Tribeca Grill are serving an $85/person beer pairing menu, consisting of a five-course feast paired with eight Coney Island Craft Lagers and HE'BREW Beers, served while Coney Island Sideshow emcee Donny Vomit (Human Blockhead), and Heather Holiday (Sword Swallower) perform circus sideshow acts.