A Taste of Local Brews at Redding Beer Week VIII
By Richard DuPertuis
A Celebration of Suds
Story by Richard Dupertuis
Photos by Carson Blume and Courtesy of Redding Beer Week
BEER LOVERS, mark your calendars! The day you’ve been waiting for arrives in Redding on Saturday, Aug. 10. For the eighth year in a row, local brewers and restaurants will coordinate an estimated 40 to 60 beer-themed events over a period of eight solid days. As in years past, Redding Beer Week calls locals and volumes of visitors together for a splendid Shasta County celebration of suds.
Even better, this year’s celebration commences hours earlier than in previous years, as described by Redding Beer Week committee members Max Ruffcorn Jr. and Rio Miner. Miner says the opening ceremony kicks off “Alegust” 10 from 1 to 5 pm. Ruffcorn says the earlier time will draw people into town for the evening. “From the start, our goal has been to highlight and drive business to local establishments,” he says.
During Redding Beer Week, craft beer enthusiasts will be able to sample brews from more than 30 local vendors.
“We don’t have just Redding breweries,” Miner says. “We have independents from all over the region. We aspire to be a destination event. We think the rest of the state needs to know about the Redding area’s great beer culture.”
To this end, an eight-member volunteer committee working under the banner Redding Beer Week coordinates beer party after beer party to last more than a week. But they don’t think up these scores of events, according to Ruffcorn. “The whole city of Redding makes Beer Week what it is,” he explains. “It’s all up to them. They submit events to our website and we take it from there.”
Ruffcorn, a four-year committee member, shares memories of Beer Week parties past: Themed parties such as toga parties, eating contests and a giant beer pong competition held in a volleyball court. Then there was the golf tournament with a new beer waiting at every hole. Ideas submitted for this Alegust include a beer-soaked day at Waterworks, dubbed “Suds and Slides,” and an overnight summer beer camp out at Win-River Casino, paired with dinner, accompanied by a limited-release beer brewed for the occasion.
And organizers expect much, much more.
How much, much more? The press release from the first Redding Beer Week, in 2012, promised “meet the brewer” gatherings, beer/food pairing tips – even home brewing lessons on everything from pale ales to sours. Back then, a beer week was only five days. Ever since, that week has grown, with vendors’ and venues’ submitted events now overflowing into an eighth day.
Those getting real thirsty right now can find an updated list of events and other information at www.reddingbeerweek.com.
Redding Beer Week is a brainchild of Catalyst, Redding Young Professionals, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the culture of the Redding area. The first Redding Beer Week grew out of a Catalyst event called Breakfast of Champions, which showcased knowledgeable speakers who shared their expertise, according to Josh Markle, a former committee member. In 2012, Markle recalls a Breakfast of Champions speaker was to be Charles Banworth, an Anheuser-Busch endowed professor teaching malting and brewing sciences at UC Davis. The standard breakfast quickly evolved into a dinner with fine beer to taste. This became the kickoff for a five-day celebration of everything beer.
It grew quickly from there. “Years later, Redding Beer Week opening ceremonies hosted more than 1,000 attendees and nearly 35 breweries to sample from with 50-plus events held the following seven days,” Markle recalls.
Ruffcorn gives credit for the rousing success of Redding Beer Week to what he calls the blossoming of the craft beer industry these past eight years. “We have successful brewers in town that started in garages,” he says. “Typically, they will open a tap when they are ready to make a profit. Some will open restaurants, with more focus on beer than food.”
The result, he says, is good news for local brew enthusiasts. “We have so much more variety compared to what it was like even five years ago.” •
Redding Beer Week • August 10-17