Lester Black
I was sitting on a sailboat in the middle of Lake Union this week when my friend Aaron told me the best advice for navigating Seattle Beer Week. "I say stick with the classics, the Brouwer's, the Chuck's, and the breweries you already love. They're the ones that are going to crush it," Aaron said.

Aaron is the type of person who you might turn to if you're lost in a store with 1,000 beers and you need to pick one—he works for a local beer startup, he has a large but also a well-kept black beard. And he's totally correct about how to approach Seattle Beer Week. This annual festival, which runs from May 9 to May 19, is full of entirely too many amazing beer events. Local bars and breweries tap some of their best and hardest to find beers and out-of-town breweries drop in with some of their fanciest kegs.

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It can be overwhelming deciding which events are worth calling in sick from work to recover from. But the most important thing for Seattle's beer drinkers to remember is that this is the time to visit the breweries and bars you already love. They will be doing something special for Seattle Beer Week. If they're not, maybe they should no longer be one of your favorites.

That being said, there are a few events worth trying to get to. I've pulled together the standouts for each day of the festival. If you're a beer drinker this is one of those weeks where your taste buds will appreciate you making it count.

Friday, May 10
Stillwater Artisanal and Future Primitive Collab Night at Pine Box: Brian "Stillwater" Strumke made a name for himself as a globe-trotting house DJ before launching his brewery, Stillwater Artisanal. Now he's made a name for himself brewing beers around the world under his label. Meet him in person at Pine Box with the guys from Future Primitive, one of Seattle's newest breakout breweries.

Chuck The Puck Up at Chuck's Greenwood: This sour beer event features some of the best sour breweries in the world, including Holy Mountain, De Garde, and Cascade Barrelhouse. Get ready to get sour.

Saturday, May 11
Haze Fest at Reuben's Brews: Reuben's hasn't announced what other breweries will be pouring at this event but it's safe to assume that this Ballard haze maker will be bringing the opaque and juicy goods. They will have 25 hazy beers on tap, including multiple variations of their tasty Crush series.

Lambicalooza at Full Throttle Bottles: Lambic is the traditional aged sour beer of Belgium. It's one of the most vaunted beer styles in the world and intensely sought after by those who understand its probiotic powers. Full Throttle plans on tapping a long list of rare lambic at this event.

Tea and Beer Tasting at Figurehead Brewing: This Magnolia Brewing is pairing four beers with four different teas with a 30-minute tasting talk. This sounds fucking weird, I'm in!

Sunday, May 12
WA vs. OR Pilsner Fest at Altstadt: Which state makes a better pilsner, Washington or Oregon? This event is featuring some heavy hitters in the Lager game including Pfriem, Heater Allen, and Chuckanut, so expect to taste some heated competition.

Monday, May 13
Cloudburst Mai Tai Monday: Why is one of Seattle's best breweries celebrating beer with a Mai Tai event? I have no idea! They say, "Maybe we'll even have some beers?" But I can confirm that yes they will bring their beer and yes it will taste good.

Women in Beer 2019 at Pike Brewing Company: This annual event is one of the most anticipated nights during Seattle Beer Week. The event celebrates the woman in the beer industry and all the profits go to Planned Parenthood. Tickets include unlimited food and ample drink tickets.

Tuesday, May 14
IPA Blowout at Chuck's in Greenwood: Chuck's says they will be tapping "30 of the best IPAs that we can get our hands on" at their annual homage to the hoppiest of ales. For most bars, this claim wouldn't mean much, but Chuck's has a knack for finding crazy good and crazy delicious beer, so the 30 IPAs at this event are likely to be showstoppers. They'll also be tapping a collaboration IPA they made with Fort George Brewing.

Get Shucked Up! at The Pine Box: One of Capitol Hill's best beer bars is serving oysters from Taylor Shellfish and bottle pours from two amazing breweries from the north: Aslan Brewing and Garden Path Fermentation. It's hard to imagine a better oyster pairing than Garden Path's subtle, expressive mixed fermentation beers. This event is going to be tasty.

6-Pack at the Troll: Some people call this event the 6-pack at the troll, others call it the 12-pack at the Troll, either way it lasts only 15 minutes under the Aurora Bridge. "If you know, you know."

Holy Mountain tap takeover at Slow Boat Tavern: The southend's best beer bar gets a visit from one of Seattle's tastiest breweries. This will be good for everyone other than those with peanut allergies.

Wednesday, May 15
Hump Day with Crackle the Camel: Ounces Taproom is taking hump day seriously: they're serving a "HumpDay IPA" from Chainline Brewing while a living, breathing, and spitting camel hangs out in their West Seattle beer garden. They say Crackle the camel will be available for "photos, pets, and snuggles."

Blind Tasting with Andechs & Seapine at Prost! Tavern: Who makes a better German Helles lager, Seattle's Seapine or Bavaria's Andechs? You be the judge at this blind tasting event.

Vintage De Dolle Brouwers Tasting at Bottleworks: If you want to try vintage bottles of De Dolle, one of Belgium's most vaunted breweries, you'll need to buy tickets in advance and in person at this Wallingford bottle shop. It'll be worth it.

Thursday, May 16
Sourfest at Brouwer's Cafe: Brouwer's annual sour fest is always one of the best times to drink tart beer. The storied Fremont bar hasn't released a tap list yet but they don't need a splashy brewery's name to get people to line up for this event. Everyone already knows Brouwer's is going to be tapping some unbelievably awesome sour beers.

Friday, May 17
TeKu Tavern's Nitro Fest: This is possibly the most absurd event during Seattle Beer Week. What's more absurd than a camel in West Seattle? A bar with 50 nitro beers on tap. "Nitro" refers to a beer that is pressurized with a mix of nitrogen gas instead of just being "carbonated" with carbon dioxide. Nitro beers are smoother and creamier than traditional draft beers and most craft beer bars will have one or two on tap. But for this event, TeKu is serving 50 nitro beers. It's madness.

Holy Mountain Brewing and E9 Brewing tap takeover at Masonry Queen Anne: Holy Shit this is going to taste good.

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Next Friday in QA. 😘

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Saturday, May 18
Invitation Festival at Reuben's: Rueben's Brews is inviting some of their favorite breweries from around the country to pour their beers at this festival. I just learned that they will be pouring beers from some of Seattle's best breweries as well as Wander, Matchless, Alvarado Street, Moonraker, pFriem, Great Notion, The Bruery, Grains of Wrath, Funkwerks, and Old Town.

Battle of the Beer Bands at Conor Byrne: This Irish bar in Ballard is hosting four different bands composed of people in the beer industry, with The JV, Hammerschlagen, Oyez, and Stranger in the Alps. Go enjoy local beer and local music made by people that make local beer. Fun!

Sunday, May 19
My Liver Hurts BBQ at Fremont's beer garden: If you make it to Sunday still looking for beer, you should head to Fremont's beer garden to enjoy their annual end-of-the-beer-week barbecue. They'll be serving chicken, pork, and a vegetarian barbecue option. The event starts at noon and all of the food is free while it lasts!