Tired of your ho-hum big-bottle brews? Good news — “independents day” has come early this year. In honor of American Craft Beer Week, it’s time to raise a glass to those raising the bar when it comes to brewing beer with personality, love, and a little bit of ingenuity. Here are a few top restaurants to celebrate American Craft Beer Week 2017.
ThirstyBear Organic Brewery, San Francisco, California
It’s not all about sangria at this tapas restaurant—ThirstyBear celebrates the singular spirit of the Gold Rush State’s beer-making with three special brews, including a golden lager, an India pale ale, and an amber lager. The flight is available all week (through May 21) for $8. The style of beer known as California Common began in San Francisco during the Gold rush, when due to a lack of refrigeration and ice fermentation ran warmer than usual, getting close to ale fermentation temperatures. Today you can taste the same style known as California Common, and learn about it at the screening of “Blood, Sweat, and Beer,” a documentary about the growth of the craft beer industry and two start-up breweries, during a screening at ThirstyBear on Saturday, May 20 (admission includes a beer). Make a reservation at ThirstyBear Organic Brewery.
Public House, Chicago, Illinois
Keep it small with $5 local pints all week long, or enjoy daily samples of limited-edition brews or Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Sierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo IPA, Well’s Banana Bread Beer, and more. Bigger events include a Lagunitas game night and tap takeover, featuring large Jenga, pinball and more; and a beer and bites collaboration with Ballast Point. Pair the San Diego brewer’s unfiltered IPA with such Public House hits as buffalo or burnt-end brisket mac ‘n’ cheese, smoked barbecue, or flatbreads. Make a reservation at Public House.
Freshcraft, Denver, Colorado
Freshcraft serves up upscale comfort food in a casual atmosphere — so Craft Beer Week is celebrated in the same spirit with all brews and bites available a la carte as opposed to pre fixe. Expect three pairings that can be eaten separately or as a three-course meal, and some special limited-edition brews offered just for the occasion. Local brewers in the spotlight this week at Freshcraft’s 25 taps include Station 26, Ratio and Weldwerks. Enjoy the special menu or Weldwerks Chocolate Orange Belgian Tripel, Weldwerks Alpha Bits or Ratio Heart Tattoo Blackberry Wit alongside such menu hits as fried chicken, steak frites, and mesquite-brined pork chops. Make a reservation at Freshcraft.