There’s no better time to be alive if you are a fan of craft beer. According to the Brewers Association, the number of operating breweries in the United States grew to 4,269 in 2015 – the most at any point in history.
Demand for craft beer has pushed barrel production from a scant 9.1 million in 2009 to over 24 million barrels last year.
People are head-over-heels in love with beer made at small and independent breweries.
“Craft breweries are a part of their communities, operating in neighborhoods and towns, returning us to a localized beer culture,” said Bart Watson, the association’s chief economist.
Next week glasses will be raised to toast the industry’s achievements during the 11th annual American Craft Beer Week. Events will take place throughout the country – including Northwest Arkansas – starting May 16 and wrapping up on May 22.
Here at home the celebration is known as NWA Beer Week. Several events are hosted by the Fayetteville Ale Trail, while others are coordinated by the individual breweries themselves.
And there’s a lot to celebrate. Though it seemed for a long time that we’d miss out on the craft beer revolution, there are now 11 active breweries in the region (12 if you count the hard apple cidery in downtown Springdale). In just a few short years Northwest Arkansas has become a bona fide craft beer destination.
So far events have been announced at Apple Blossom, Columbus House, Fossil Cove, New Province, and Ozark. Watch other breweries’ websites and social media pages for last-minute announcements as the week approaches.
Here is a schedule of known events as of today (May 13):
Monday, May 16
Columbus House – beer and grain pairing (4-10 p.m.)
New Province – $3 pints all day
Tuesday, May 17
Fossil Cove – ladies night beer and food pairing (6-8 p.m.)
New Province – pint night at The Social Taco
Wednesday, May 18
Apple Blossom – meet the brewers (4 p.m.)
Columbus House – grain-to-glass brewery tour (7-8 p.m.)
Fossil Cove – craft beer trivia (7-9 p.m.)
New Province – taproom trivia with bonus prizes
Thursday, May 19
Apple Blossom – monthly meeting of FLOPS (7 p.m.)
Brick Street Brews – nationwide toast for American Craft Beer Week
Fossil Cove – cellar night (5-10 p.m.)
New Province – French oak-aged porter release
Ozark – Craft Beer Keywords: The Terms of Tasting (7-8 p.m.)
Friday, May 20
Apple Blossom – Firkin Friday
Columbus House – patio party (7-10 p.m.)
Fossil Cove – Berliner Weisse release
Saturday, May 21
Fossil Cove – brewery tour (5 p.m.)
Sunday, May 22
New Province – $3 growler glass and $10 fills