I understand how Meryl Streep's Sophie Zawistowski must have felt when she had to make her gut-wrenching choice. With so much beer and so little time during San Diego Beer Week, tough decisions have to be made. There will be sacrifices (and perhaps a tear or two). But these are my recommendations for the ultimate events that beer geeks can't miss:
Friday, Nov. 6, from 6 to 9 p.m.: Guild Fest VIP Takeover at Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier (1000 N. Harbor Drive)—SDBW's official kickoff will figuratively shower guests with rare beers and plenty of food to sop them up. Tickets available online, but get 'em quick, it will sell out.
Saturday, Nov. 7, from 12 to 5 p.m.: Meet the Homebrewers! at The Homebrewer (2911 El Cajon Blvd., #2)—Celebrate Learn to Homebrew Day with the Mash Heads Homebrew Club. Sip, snack and squeal about DIY beer geekery. Free with RSVP.
Saturday, Nov. 7, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Pucker Up With Cascade Brewing at Holiday Wine Cellar, Escondido (302 W. Mission Ave.)—With a price tag that normally gets you a single Cascade bottle, sour devotees can enjoy a whole slew of beers and rub elbows with Portland's finest. Call the venue for tickets.
Sunday, Nov. 8, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Modern Times' Danksauce For Dogs at Quartyard (1102 Market St.)—Modern Times' inaugural dog show promises prizes for your pooch, food trucks and plenty of drinkable beers. Pre-register your dog for guaranteed entry or live dangerously and hope to register at the door.
Sunday, Nov. 8, from 2 to 4:30 p.m.: Sunday School Tastings at Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant (2202 4th Ave.)—The eternal argument of beer vs. wine probably won't get settled during this comparison tasting, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try, right? For $45 you get beer, wine and food plus an educational overview from sommelier Molly Brooks-Thornton. Call 619-231-0222 for tickets.
Friday, Nov. 13, from 6 to 9 p.m.: Cask in Glory at Border X Brewing Company (2181 Logan Ave.)—Be the first to try Border X's casks. Get beer, a pint glass and tasty lengua nachos to wash it all down for $32.64. If tongue isn't your thing, head instead to Craft Beer & Bites at SILO (753 15th St.) to select from 15 breweries and an army of food trucks. $20 in advance, $30 at the door.
Friday, Nov. 13, from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.: Baja Beer Craft Industry After-Party at Com˙n Kitchen & Tavern (935 J St.)—This late-night fiesta will wrap up the first Baja Beer Craft Tasting Event, so clink a glass with border-hugging beer enthusiasts and toast to international collaboration.
Sunday, Nov. 15, from 12 ñ 3 p.m.: The Beer Garden at The Lodge at Torrey Pines (11480 N Torrey Pines Road)óFor the swankishly-inclined, head to the official closing event of SDBW, featuring 12 chefs and 24 breweries for your polite drinking and nibbling pleasure.