At the start of a new month, it’s time to scout new beer destinations. The new year brings a fresh crop of events, festivals, and grand openings. Here’s where to toast 2016 this month:
Ernie’s Northside Porter Month, Denver: Fans of roasty, dark beer, listen up. Sunnyside bar Ernie’s Bar & Pizza clears eight of its 30 draft lines and dedicates them solely to porters beginning Jan. 5 through Jan. 31. Choose from straight-forward versions like Dieboldt Post Card Classic Porter or flavored versions like Denver Beer Company Graham Cracker Porter and Verboten Caramel Porter.
Carton Brewing tap takeover at The Shepherd & the Knucklehead, Haledon, N.J.: One of the best craft beer bars in the Garden State clears room on its 90 tap lines for local hero Carton; pouring Boat, BDG, 077XX, Milk Stout, Canyon, Sit Down Son, Epitome, Ship Wreck Porter, Decoy, Gilded Lily and more on Jan. 28.
SF Beer Week, San Francisco: The eighth annual SF Beer Week goes down Jan. 22-31 and includes more than 350 events around the Bay Area. The opening gala takes place at Pier 35 and will see 110+ Northern California breweries tapping more than 300 beers. The rest of the week includes the Festival of Firkins, Battle of the Beer Bands, and a Battle of the Guilds (San Fran, San Diego and LA guilds pitted against each other). See the full schedule and plan your itinerary here.
Deschutes’ Bus to Bachelor, Portland, Oregon: If you’ve visited Bend, you know how crazy locals are about the skiing and snowboarding on Mt. Bachelor, one of the most popular mountains in the country. Deschutes Brewery coordinates a bus from its Portland pub to the mountain; a $109 ticket includes transportation, a lift ticket, plus dinner and beers at the pub after your snow day. Choose from a few Monday and Saturday dates in January, February and March.
Intrinsic NYE party, Garland, Texas: If shotgunning a beer is closer to your idea of a NYE toast than sipping champagne, listen up. Intrinsic Smokehouse and Brewery will host a New Year’s Eve party that includes a prime rib dinner, plenty of brews from Fort Worth’s Martin House Brewing Co., plus a midnight shotgun toast (OK, they have champagne, too, if that’s your speed). A $70 ticket includes live music, dinner, firkin tappings, and more.
The Surly Goat Encino, Encino, Calif.: Beloved Encino oasis Sweeney’s Ale House recently reconcepted into The Surly Goat, pouring Cali-brewed beers from Phantom Carriage, Modern Times and Ballast Point. The best time to check out the new incarnation may be New Year’s Eve, when the bar hosts an 8 p.m. to midnight bash; $50 presale tickets get you access to all draft beers, plus wine, well cocktails and live music.
The Labrewatory, Portland, Ore.: Set up as a sort of playground for brewers, this collaborative brewing taproom recently opened with Thursday through Sunday hours. Pull up a chair for some experimental Labrewatory pours made by area homebrewers and visiting brewers, as well as guest taps that include BTU Brewing, Epic, Boulder Beer Company and others.
Crooked Stave 5th Anniversary Party, Denver: Can you believe it’s only been five years since Chad Yakobsen founded Crooked Stave, a brewery dedicated to mixed fermentation and Brett-fermented beers? The brewery celebrates with five days of special tappings and events beginning Jan. 6. We’re especially intrigued by the Jan. 6 “Mini-Festival,” (beginning at 5 p.m.) featuring beers from top breweries like Perennial, Cantillon, Freemont and Bells.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. Brews and Views, Half Moon Bay, Calif.: The brewery’s speaker series returns this month with a new line-up of interesting folks who will share their views on social issues and politics, including Villy Wang, founder and CEO of nonprofit social enterprise BAYCAT (Jan. 7) and Carla Marinucci, a Politico reporter and former senior political reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle (Jan. 21). The events are free and open to the public, and normally conclude with a Q&A session.
McMenamins’ High Gravity Extravaganza, Bend, Oregon: It’s pretty cold right about now in Bend, so gather friends and gloves and gather around McMenamins’ fire pits for some high-octane beers on Jan. 16. Participating breweries include other McMenamins breweries (McMenamins hotels also operate their own breweries and pubs) plus Bend favorites GoodLife, Deschutes, Worthy, Crux and more. Purchase 10 tasters for $15, or buy them pours individually for $1.50 each.