It was a mellow evening under the late summer sky; the river flowed by in a peaceful backdrop to our festivities. Fly casting and various boaters framed a crowd that meandered in at a relaxed Sunday pace. More than one set of casual river-goers appeared at my beer station, professing serendipity to being there at the right time.
As for beer stations, we had 11 different beers from six breweries, a pretty good spread. The one genre that went un-represented was a darker ale, a porter or stout. But on such a warm afternoon, only a few missed these staples. Fall River poured its outstanding signature IPA, the Hexagenia, which sold out. At my station we had the light, refreshing Sharkinator White IPA (IWA?!?) and the ever delightful Tangerine. Next to me were a strong Steelhead Double IPA and its clean, cool cousin the Steelhead Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing.
Lastly, a jockey-box poured pints of Wildcard’s crisp 530 Hometown Ale and Hop Valley’s fresh, hop-bitter and but light bodied Citrus Mistress IPA. A case or so of cans was also present: Hop Valley’s Light Me Up Lager and Pale Ale. I wasn’t able to sample everything, but have tasted most of these previously and can assure you, it was a killer lineup.
The tempo of the evening really hit crescendo as the Buckhorn Mountain Stompers tore in to some back-country music. They are inspired by many styles, including blues, jazz and alt country, aiming for a hillbilly kitsch style, perfect for the stage with the river coursing in the background. We also heard from Four Pounds of Lightning, who describe themselves as Part gypsy, part whimsy, part rock, and all fun. Both were certainly dance inspiring, and the crowd buzzed along under the waning day.
C.R. Gibbs provided delicious burgers to feed our afternoon hunger. Heritage Coffee offered a little jolt to anyone who was a little burnt out; their specialty was cold brewed coffee. With scrumptious food, great beer, and foot-stomping music, it made for a well-rounded evening. The vibe was relaxed and friendly, with numerous familiar faces from the events of the week.
It was a fitting end to a week of reveling in the fruits of the fermenting arts. Throughout the ten-day extravaganza, we imbibed more beer than we thought possible and we toured the town. As a community, Redding came together to celebrate the diverse and wondrous incarnations of the joyful brew. Whatever Redding might have or not have to offer, its beer game is on point.
All of us made Beer Week in to a spectacular time: you, the consumer, filled venues all over this small city and spent your hard earned funds to show your appreciation of the craft. We, the volunteers gave our time and our organizational skills to try and create a unique brand that’s bigger than all of us. The distributors provided access to venues and breweries, not to mention gallons upon gallons of liquid gold for us to imbibe. And the venerable merchants of the city offered up their varied meeting rooms, culinary talents, and impeccable service, all to create a massive network of events that is larger than the sum of its parts.
This is beer week, this is celebration, and this is joy we can all get behind.