Think Atlanta Beer Week's just another excuse to booze it up on a school night? Well, okay… you're not too far off. But we like to think of this weeklong hop-holiday as a little more noble than merely a seven-day pub crawl. The annual celebration of Atlanta's vibrant and ever-growing beer culture is a glorious opportunity to raise our glasses to craft brewers around ATL and beyond, and it commences this weekend, kicking off a marathon schedule of tastings, beer dinners, tap takeovers, special cask-tapping and more. Ready your livers, prepare your palates and don't forget to hydrate: this week, we're cheers-ing to the people who make ATL one of the finest damn drinking cities we know for craft beer connoisseurs. Here are a few ways we plan on participating:
1. Kick things off at Bone Lick BBQ with Red Hare Brewing
Beer plays well with many different foods, but barbecue just might be its culinary soulmate. What better way to kick off a week of drinking than with a Saturday jam-packed with barbecue and, well, more drinking? One of our very favorite local brewers is teaming up with one of our very favorite local purveyors of fine 'cue for Beer Week's inaugural event. Fair warning: once you've had a couple Watership Browns, that Redneck Charcuterie plate's going to look mighty tempting.
2. Sample from over 100 craft beers at the Decatur Beer Festival
This venerated fest brings over 100 brewers from around the country to the Decatur Square for a marathon day of boozing. (Er, we mean, sampling.) With a beer list that'd bring just about any hop-head to tears (the happy kind), and a lineup of special tappings throughout the day (we call dibs on the Left Hand Peppermint Patty Stout), it's a behemoth of a beer fest. (Yes, tickets to this infamous beer bonanza sold out within an hour of going on sale back in September—but there are still tickets to be had if you know where to look.)
3. Snag a signed copy of Atlanta's definitive beer tome
You knew ATL's beer scene was burgeoning. But did you know it has its own book? Local authors Ron Smith and Mary O. Boyle have diligently recounted the past and present of Atlanta's beer-brewing community in "Atlanta Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Hub of the South, and the two scribes will be selling and signing their magnum opus at Ale Yeah! on Friday evening. Fret not, thirsty ones: there will, of course, be a beer tasting involved.
4. Meet the folks behind Terrapin (and drink their goods) at Brick Store
Yes, there's been a glorious resurgence of craft beer in recent years. But these guys have been at it for a little over a decade now, valiantly blazing a trail in the craft beer community with unique brews out of Athens. On Tuesday night, head to Brick Store to meet the brewers responsible for the likes of Hopsecutioner—and enjoy the fruits of their labor with a few Terrapin brews, of course.
5. Hit up the 'Stache Bash at Diesel Filling Station
The one thing we love more than a cold craft brew? Why, mustaches, of course. Give your face-follicles a good combin' and head out to Diesel on Friday for a hirsute celebration, complete with music, plenty of Finch's Beer, and — wait for it — a "Creepiest 'Stache" contest. Best of all, it's Finch's official kickoff to the merry month of Movember—which means you can rock that creeptastic 'stache and swig those brews while cheers-ing to a great cause.