By Natalee Haldeman, Uniquely Northwest Project Manager
No, seriously – I love to talk beer from an event industry standpoint. I am completely biased when it comes to beer because I live in Ballard, a trendy neighborhood of Seattle that is the proud home of over 10 microbreweries. But craft beer is big everywhere in the U.S. and it is fun to incorporate into our programs in many of our destinations.
Whether you enjoy a light pilsner in the summer, a darker heavy stout in the winter, or you’re a devout follower of the Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Law), it is hard to deny the presence and appeal of the growing craft beer industry. In the U.S. local craft beer has flourished alongside the focus on buying local and dining from “farm to table”. Homegrown novices, hobbyists and college graduates with beer-related degrees are starting microbreweries in big cities and small towns, gaining respect and supportive fans from their neighborhoods.
For events, craft beer is a new and exciting element to add to the checklist. Many breweries, in addition to producing great-tasting beer, are designing experiences such as food-pairing dinners and tastings, ‘Meet the Brewer’ tours and unique event spaces. Here are just a few of my favorite examples in our destinations:
• The Seward Brewing Co. in Seward, AK, favorite part: beer-infused food and the views of Resurrection Bay from the private loft
• SanTan Brewing Co just outside Phoenix, AZ, favorite part: the beautiful Brewer’s Reserve private room, for a sophisticated beer-focused meal
• Angel City Brewery in Los Angeles, CA, favorite part: their amazing connection to their community through weekly art bazaars in the brewery, a daily onsite food truck rotation… did I mention private brewer tours and incredible event space?
• ThirstyBear Brewery in San Francisco, CA, favorite part: the private rooms feature pool tables and dart boards, plus it doubles as a Spanish Restaurant
Choosing a favorite Seattle-area brewery is by far the hardest, so I’ll choose two:
o The Pike Brewing Co. in Seattle, WA, favorite part: location, location, location – inside the famous Pike Place Market with great space for groups and awesome service
o Reuben’s Brews in Seattle, WA, favorite part: the beer! I have to give a shout out to Reuben’s because they are my favorite neighborhood brewery with award-winning beers. I love their beer so much that I will be serving it at my wedding this summer!
And if all else fails, or the decision is far too hard, you can always take a brewery tour and visit multiple fantastic breweries for a true taste of locality. I am so excited for summer and toasting a cold craft beer with friends.
Beer on patio photo by Chris_Parfitt via creative commons
Man serving beer photo by Juan Monroy via creative commons“We are proud members of the Association of Destination Management Executives International”