American Craft Beer Week is an international drinking holiday coined by the Brewer’s Association. And it’s coming to Key West next week.
Bone Island Brewing’s Jim Brady calls himself a “beer geek” and helped jump start Key West’s inaugural event.
“It started as an idea a few days ago, and grew into a citywide event. There are so many bars and restaurants that serve craft beer on the island that the holiday only made sense,” said Brady while sipping one of his fresh beers brewed in the Restaurant Store. “We are not competitive rivals like Coke and Pepsi — we all want to help each other in the beer community.”
Dave Bevens, owner of Cork and Stogie, hopped on board with no hesitation.
“I really don’t know exactly what Craft Beer Week is about, but when I heard about it, I had to get involved and be part of the festival,” Bevens said. “People are increasingly purchasing craft beers instead of domestics. It’s a trend throughout the world.”
Nationally, the holiday is entering its ninth consecutive year celebrating the taste of 2,538-plus microbreweries in the U.S., according to brewersassociation.org. The celebration hits Key West from May 12-18. The festival includes stops at The Porch, Krawl Off Duval, World of Beer, 2 Cents Restaurant and Bar, Cork and Stogies, Sea Dog Tavern, Bone Island Brewery and the Restaurant Store, Kelly’s Caribbean, Shots & Giggles and Finnegan’s Wake.
Expect to see different beers on tap and in bottles at all beer week destinations, as well as drink specials. The beauty will be in the craft beer variety.
For example, World of Beer serves Yeti Imperial Stout. It’s thick and pours out like chocolate syrup, has a nice robust smell and tastes of dark fruit according to reviewers. Middle-of-the-craft-beer-roaders can sample Swamp Ape at Krawl off Duval, described as a potent Indian pale ale. Lighter beers like Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier have a fruit flavor with a hint of lemon. Organizers said the craft beers to be showcased during the festival are designed to highlight the entire spectrum of beer flavors.
American Craft Beer Week Specials
• 2 Cents will be offering $2 off all craft beer drafts from 6 to 11 p.m.
• The Porch will have an extended happy hour from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
• Finnegan’s Wake will have $2 off all draft beers and $11 Game of Thrones 22-ounce bombers. There will also be half-off happy hour food specials (reubenesque egg rolls and colcannon balls) along with $6 burgers.
• Krawl off Duval is offering Krawl Southard Street Wheat drafts for $5.
• Sea Dog Tavern has $6 drafts on four Florida-produced craft beers.
• Mix-and-match 6-packs 10 percent off at The Restaurant Store all week.
• Extended happy hour from 5 to 8 p.m. at Shots & Giggles.
Calendar of American Craft Beer Week Events
• Monday, May 12: Kick-off party at Bone Island from 6 to 8 p.m. Bone Island and guest beer drafts will be $5. The Restaurant Store will be offering 10 percent off mix and match 6-packs including 22-ounce bombers. World of Beer will have half-off draft beer for locals.
• Tuesday, May 13: Kelly’s is having a $5 BBQ at 7 p.m. with burgers and dogs with a bunch of sides along with either $5 craft beers or half-off craft beers. Also, there is a free comedy show with Vinny K Montalto at 9 p.m. upstairs at Muse.
• Wednesday, May 14: World of Beer will be featuring half-off draft special all day and night for locals from 5 to 10 p.m.
• Thursday, May 15: The Cork & Stogie will hold a Cigar City Tap Takeover from 6 – 9 p.m. All Cigar City beers will be $2 off and free appetizers will be served including Leslie’s “Fabulous Beer Cheese Soup”.
• Friday, May 16: Shots & Gigggles has $4 drafts from 5 to 9 p.m. and complimentary appetizers from White Street Grill.
• Saturday, May 17: “One Craft Beer Family” Pub Crawl. Start time is between 1 and 2 p.m. beginning at Cork & Stogie. The order of bars on the crawl is as follows: Cork & Stogie, Sea Dog Tavern, Krawl Off Duval, 2 Cents (doors open at 3 p.m.), Kelly’s Caribbean, The Porch, World of Beer, Shots & Giggles, Finnegan’s Wake, Bone Island Brewing @ the Restaurant Store.
• Sunday, May 18: Want more? Recover at Sea Dog Tavern with a 30 percent locals discount on everything … including Bloody Marys in case participants have had their fill of beer.