American Craft Beer Week under way

by Dominick Cross

The Jefferson Street Greenroom downtown and several hundred additional pubs and breweries nationwide are celebrating American Craft Beer Week with special events this week.


If so, American Craft Beer Week, now under way, can take care of that for you and educate you at the same time.

Robert J. Guercio, co-owner/manager of Jefferson Street Greenroom says the week "is the only significant recurring craft beer event in the United States that I know of,"  and because of the inroads craft beers are making in the classic domestic market "you'll find craft beer is eating away at it in big chunks."

The Greenroom carries craft beer brewery products of La 31, Parish Brewery, Covington, Abita, NOLA Brewery.

"It's a really, really fast growing area of our particular industry - that being the pub industry," Guercio says. "And so we thought we would be remiss if we didn't even celebrate the impetus to the creation of our own business."

Guercio says the growth of craft beer breweries is similar to other local movements going on around the country.

"From my perspective, as shipping costs become more considerable and as people begin to recognize the advantage of buying products made locally - farm to table, go local, buy local - all of these movements are kind of coming together and it's driving start-up businesses in local, regional areas," he says, drolly adding, "and beer is a very heavy object to ship and so it makes a lot of sense for all of these regional breweries to pop up."

Tonight at the Greenroom is Growler Night, Wednesday is Flight Night, a Tapping Party Extraordinaire, featuring Amarillo Hopped Restoration Ale is Thursday night, Friday's Pint Night is sponsored by NOLA Brewery.

After all of the thirst-quenching, the education portion comes in Saturday with Brew Day, sponsored by home brewers including members of the Dead Yeast Society. It begins at 1 p.m.

"There's a lot of mystery behind how does it go from grain and the other ingredients to this great product that everybody enjoys," Guercio says "We open early so people can come and watch beer being made, how to do it. They can ask questions, talk to the other home brewer members and find out information on where to get their own kits.

"And five weeks from this Saturday [June 16], they can come back and sample the beers that they watched being made for free," he says.

Guercio says food will be served and he also encourages people to exercise common sense by having a designated driver or to make arrangements to get home.

By the way, locally produced beer isn't the only alcoholic beverage being crafted in Louisiana. Louisiana Spirits is currently in the process of building a new state-of-the-art distillery in Lacassine.

For more information on American Craft Beer Week, go here.