Six local breweries collaborated to create the official brew of Seattle Beer Week 2014. Its tapping serves as the week's official kickoff.

The sixth iteration of Seattle Beer Week commences May 8, and at this point the concatenation of beer dinners, tap takeovers, and firkin fests is so broad that it defies a single pithy description. However five pithy descriptions seems more than fair.

Peruse the Seattle Beer Week website to marvel at the lineup of events, or sort yourself into one of these categories below and imbibe accordingly.

The Hardcore Hophead

Can You Handle My Randall? (The Pine Box)
The name sounds like an adult film for a very niche market, but in reality this is a smackdown of Oregon v. Washington beer, all run through special filters that imbue unexpected extra flavors. 

Saison Fest at Urban Family Public House
Saison is a complex farmhouse-style ale; it's one of my favorites and a 180-degree flavor reversal from the Northwest's ever-flowing IPAs. This gathering will have versions from uncommon-in-Seattle breweries like Jolly Pumpkin, Prairie Artisan Ales, Blaugies, Thiriez, Commons, Upright, Jandrain-Jandrenouille, Anchorage, St. Somewhere, and Lost Abbey.

German Sour Fest at Von Trapp's
Berlinerweiss is having a little moment here in Seattle, but this is a chance to explore some other German beer styles that are primed for rediscovery. 

The Craft Beer Neophyte

Bellevue Brewing Co Sensory Class
Brewer Scott Hansen will discuss various beer characteristics and attributes, so you can sound like you know what you're talking about. Bellevue Brewing beers will be on hand as study aids.

Beer Cruise with Diamond Knot
Whale watching and beer from Diamond Knot? Stop talking. I'm sold. 

This is Washington, Dammit at Beveridge Place Pub
The bar has rounded up a hefty sampler of 36 beers, from 36 different Washington breweries, and pints are just $3 apiece.

The Food-Oriented Drinker

Crock-Off @ Vera Project
Oregon brewery Ninkasi and California's 21st Amendment are hosting this cook-off, wherein each dish must be made with one of the breweries' beers, and must use a crock pot. Well, that's fun.

Spent Grain Beer and Bread at Porkchop and Co.
Pastry chef Laura Pyles has started doing the breakfast and lunch pastries at Ballard's new Porkchop and Co. and is making some breads using spent grains from Reuben's Brews and Fremont Brewing Co. The beers will headline what has to be a hearty menu that includes hops ice cream and spent grain brown sugar streusel, served with beers from those two breweries.

Scott Carsberg Beer Dinner
You best hustle if you want tickets to sample this menu from former Bisato and Lampreia chef Scott Carsberg, set to the tune of beers from 10 Barrel Brewing. Check out the Where Ya At Matt and Le Petit Cochon dinners, too.

The Delightfully Oddball

Critical Hit Vertical at Chuck's CD
There's nothing inherently geeky about a three-year vertical tasting of Ninkasi's Critical Hit Barleywine...until you invite Lynnwood game shop Round the Table to bring a bunch of new board games to demo, and organize a Magic the Gathering tournament. Obviously the food truck parked outside that night will be Cheese Wizards.

Canned Beer and Skee Ball Tourney at King's Hardware
The concept sounds a little trucker hatty, but the beer within those cans is the good stuff–21st Amendment, Two Beers, Fremont, Hilliard's, and Oskar Blues. Oh, $5 cheeseburgers, too. 

Caturday at Chuck's 85th
What the hell constitutes a celebrity cat in Seattle? Whoever these august felines may be, Chuck's has assembled some for you to meet whilst drinking a beer; proceeds benefit area animal shelters.

Pine Box Can Derby
You're going to consume all the beer in that can anyway, so why not fashion the empty into a tiny car, which you can race against those of other nerds beer aficionados? Make your own car at home, or put it together at the Pine Box, which has a bunch of appealing can beers at the ready. 

The Efficiency Expert

Beer O'Clock at Quinn's
The bar's entire beer list is half off every day from 3 to 5pm for the entirety of Seattle Beer Week. Have at it.

Sour Fest @ Brouwer's
The Fremont beer bar gathers up as many of these tart, funky as it can find for one of the can't-miss gatherings of Beer Week. 

 Ballard Beer Brodeo at Bitterroot
Virtually all the breweries from the beeriest part of town will gather together at Ballard Ave's barbecue joint. Look out for Bad Jimmy's, Hilliard's, Reuben's Brews, NW Peaks, Peddler, Populuxe, Stoup, Hale's Ales, Maritime Pacific, and Urban Family. This event sounds so cool that we can almost forgive the use of the word "Brodeo."

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