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Where to drink beer in October

Falling Rock's fresh hop festival, tons of cider events, a harvest dinner and more

Bear Republic's new

Bear Republic’s new Rohnert Park brewpub

The month of October sees the return of what is arguably still the country’s premier beer tasting: Great American Beer Festival, this year taking place from Oct. 5-7 in its usual Denver digs. (If you’ve never attended, it’s quite a sight to behold.) But if you didn’t get tickets or just don’t like crowds and high-traffic carpet, there are myriad other events this month that celebrate beer’s best drinking season: fall.

All month: Bear Republic’s new Rohnert Park brewpub Open since mid-September, the newest location from Bear Republic in Rohnert Park, California, is a family-friendly brewpub featuring a 10-barrel brewing system; a full bar with beer cocktails; a kids’ play area; games like cornhole, Jenga and foosball; and a palm tree-flanked outdoor patio. The food menu includes pizzas as well as other Bear Republic brewpub staples, perfect for complementing the 20-plus draft beer options.

September 29 -October 8: Cider Week Finger Lakes Hard cider is undergoing a huge revival in the Finger Lakes and other cider apple-growing regions of New York State. Cider Week is a prime chance to learn about the producers, orchardists and bars helping this renaissance gain steam … plus, the Finger Lakes are beautiful in autumn. Need more reason to check it out? Events take place every day of the the week and include Ithaca’s apple harvest festival, cider dinners, tastings, cider fests, meet-the-maker events and more. See the full calendar here.

October 1-7: Montana Cider Week Across the vast state of Montana, this second annual week-long event will highlight all Montana cideries with apple pressings, tap takeovers, cider dinners, harvest parties and a cider festival. Festivities kick off at 11 a.m. on Sunday, October 1st at Missoula’s Western Cider with a harvest party featuring a brunch with cider cocktails, cider pressing, food truck, live music and a special release fall cider. Events continue through the week across the state, concluding on Saturday, October 7 with Liquid Apple Night featuring five Montana cider makers pouring cider in support of the Ravalli County Museum from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. at Legion Park in Hamilton. See a full calendar of events and plan your week here.

"Detroit Beer" author TK leads a discussion on Detroit's Beer History

“Detroit Beer” by Stephen Johnson

October 4: HomeGrown Beer Co. Beer Education: History of Brewing in the Motor City A chance to learn about beer history over a pint is a solid way to spend a Wednesday night. On October 4 at Detroit’s new HomeGrown Beer Co., Stephen Johnson, author of “Detroit Beer: A History of Brewing in the Motor City” and owner of Motor City Brew Tours, will present a history of the early breweries in downtown Detroit through the start of craft beer breweries in the 1990s. He’ll also sign copies of his book. Attendance is free but the brewery asks that you RSVP here.

October 5: Plant Chicago Fall Harvest Dinner Besides generating buzz for its beer, Chicago’s Whiner Beer has also garnered attention for its unusual location inside Plant Chicago, a food production space designed to be a net-zero, closed loop system in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. See what Plant Chicago looks like for yourself (and enjoy some Whiner Beer) at the Fall Harvest Dinner on Thursday, October 5, featuring food from Iliana Reagan of Elizabeth Restaurant, Tyler Houston of The James Hotel, David Belkin of Pleasant House Bread, and Eric Mansavage of Farmhouse Chicago. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased here.

Brauhaus Schmitz Oktoberfest

Brauhaus Schmitz Oktoberfest

October 6-8: Brauhaus Schmitz Armory Oktoberfest Thought you missed Oktoberfests when you flipped the calendar page? Not entirely. This massive annual event includes four sessions, each able to accommodate 1,500 people at Philadelphia’s 16,000-square-foot 23rd Street Armory, which will be transformed into a German beer hall. Sessions begin on Friday night October 6 and continue through Sunday evening October 8; sessions include traditional Oktoberfest food from chef Jeremy Nolen, Bavarian pretzels from chef Jessica Nolen, imported Hofbräuhaus beer and live music from the Alex Meixner Band along with the Heimatklange Band. General admission tickets are $35; VIP and other packages are also available here.

October 14: Cape Cod Brew Festival Sample more than 200 beers from 75-plus local, regional and national breweries at this Falmouth, Massachusetts festival that also includes live musicians, food trucks and dozens of additional vendors. The sixth annual festival takes place on Saturday, October 14 from 2-5:30 p.m. at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds; tickets are $55 and include three and a half hours of samples and a commemorative glass. Get more info and buy tickets here.

Falling Rock's Fresh Hop Festival | Courtesy of Colorado Brewers Guild

Falling Rock’s Fresh Hop Festival | Courtesy of Colorado Brewers Guild

October 14: Falling Rock Fresh Hop Festival Back for a twelfth year, this Denver event is one of the preeminent celebrations of super-fresh hops. How fresh? The whole cones came into contact with wort within 24 hours of harvest. Pioneering beer bar Falling Rock will tap dozens of these beers starting at noon on Saturday, October 14; participating breweries include Avery, Comrade, Epic, Great Divide, Jagged Mountain, Left Hand, Lone Tree, Odd 13, Stone, Spangalang, Wibby and many more. Rather than operating as a ticketed events (as in previous years), this year’s event is first-come, first-served, with beers available by the pour (50 cents per pour will be donated to the Colorado Brewers Guild).

October 20-29: Cider Week New York City Didn’t have enough fermented apple juice at Cider Week Finger Lakes (above)? Cider Week New York takes place later in the month from October 20-29, designating Cider Spots across NYC that will host events or provide cider specials; these include bars like Alewife, Bad Seed, Berg’n, Fools Gold NYC, Jimmy’s No. 43, Spuyten Duyvil Upright Brew House and more; restaurants like Casellula Wine and Cheese Cafe, dell’anima, Murray’s Cheese Bar, The Breslin, TXIKITO and Würstbar; and markets like Ambassador Wines, Prospect Wines, Stinky Brooklyn and more. See all the events and spots here.

The Brew Hop 5K | Photo by Key Frame Photography

The Brew Hop 5K | Photo by Key Frame Photography

October 21: The Brew Hop 5K and Craft Beer Festival Fact: It’s easier to run when there’s beer at the finish line. The Brew Hop 5K and beer festival provides the motivation to get through your workout with a post-race beer festival featuring breweries like Sixpoint, KCBC, Interboro, Southern Tier, Ommegang, Singlecut, Rockaway, Citizen Cider, Captain Lawrence and more. It all takes place at Randall’s Island Park in NYC on Saturday, October 21. Buy tickets for the race and festival, or each individually; tickets start at $44.95 and are available here.

October 21: Ohio Craft Brewers Association Ale-O-Ween Formerly known as Dia de las Cervezas, October 21’s Ale-O-Ween will be the first public event held at The Steam Plant, a former Dayton Power & Light power-generating facility that has been renovated for use as an event venue. The Ohio Craft Brewers Association has brought together 30 Buckeye State breweries for the event, including The Dayton Beer Company, Little Fish Brewing Company, Municipal Brew Works, Seventh Son Brewing Company, Warped Wing Brewing Company and more. Tickets start at $40 for general admission and are available here.


Kate Bernot is DRAFT’s beer editor. Reach her at kate.bernot[at]draftmag.com.

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