Durango Beer Day, Paper Bird and fruity brews

by Chris Aaland

Homer Simpson said it best when he romanticized, “Mmm, beer.” May 16-22 is American Craft Beer Week, and, as you might suspect, our four award-winning local breweries have jumped all over it. Beerfests, like the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, require training, conditioning and nerves of steel, so I’m giving all y’all an advance notice.

Monday marks Durango Beer Day, with Carvers, Durango Brewing, Ska and Steamworks each tapping a special beer from 5-7 p.m. at Ska’s World Headquarters in Bodo Park. Each brew is paired with local cheese, and Mayor Christina Rinderle will sign a “Declaration of Beer Independence” at 6:30 p.m. Proceeds from specialty beer sales benefit the Bootlegger’s Fund.

Later that week, the Palace Restaurant, Ska and the Back Space host a beer-paired dinner and a movie at 5:45 p.m. on Thurs., May 19. Five courses are paired with five different Ska beers: fried prosciutto and manchego-wrapped asparagus and True Blonde; tomato, basil and mozzarella bruscheta paired with Mexican Logger; Thai shrimp and green curry soup paired with DIFF; polenta and wild mushrooms in a truffle cream sauce paired with Ten Pin Porter; pork tenderloin with a green peppercorn cream sauce, sautéed fingerling potatoes and grilled vegetables paired with Dubbel Blonde; and Nefarious pot de crème with fresh berries and Milk Stout tiramisu paired with Steel Toe Milk Stout. The first four courses are being served at the Palace, while the dessert is doled out at the Back Space Theatre on 11th and Main along with a special screening of “I Am!” from last year’s Durango Independent Film Festival. Cost is $50 per person or $95 per couple and tickets are limited.

Finally, there’s the third annual Ska Brewing GABF Pro-Am Homebrew Competition on Fri., May 20, featuring more than 100 entries from all across the country — the most ever.

Of course, if mixing food and drink — especially when Main Ave. is closed down — is your thing, then you surely already know about Sunday’s Taste of Durango. Music, food, drink, arts & crafts, kids’ stuff: it’s all there.

The Aftertaste 2011 event will be held in the Irish Embassy Pub’s Ambassadors’ Lounge on Sunday featuring a host of local talent, including DjCK, IGene, Benjamin K, Peter Robot, Posh Josh, Bigfoot Bridges, Mikal Dark and Smiley Coyote. Sounds start pumping at 3 p.m. and continue through 1:30 a.m.

Sarah Siskind & Travis Book return to the Henry Strater Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Siskind is a Grammy-nominated songwriter whose work has been covered by the likes of Randy Travis, Allison Krauss and Bon Iver. Book, a former staple of the Durango bluegrass scene, has also been nominated for a Grammy as bassist for the genre-bending Infamous Stringdusters. The happy couple also performs a free 30-minute set at Southwest Sound at 3 p.m. Friday, and Siskind hosts a three-hour songwriting workshop from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday at the Rochester Hotel. To register for the workshop, go to www.sarahsiskind.com and click on the “house concerts” tab.

The popular folk/Americana band Paper Bird is back at the Abbey Theatre for two sets at 9 p.m. Saturday. You may have first noticed them on New Belgium’s 2008 Tour de Fat. Within the past year they’ve released their second full-length album,

“When the River Took Flight” and an EP, “A Sky Underground.” The band will also be on stage during the Taste of Durango on Sunday.

The Community Concert Hall’s spring season ends with one of country music’s breakout stars of 2010, Jerrod Niemann, who plays at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. And what a year it was for the native of Harper, Kans., what with his debut single “Lover, Lover” reaching No. 1 and “Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury” being named as one of the New York Times’ Top 10 albums of the year. He also co-wrote “Good Ride Cowboy” with Garth Brooks. Another up-and-coming country star, Tyler Farr, opens.

Comedian Dan St. Paul does a pair of shows at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Abbey. He headlined top San Francisco comedy clubs as half of the Murphy-St. Paul duo before busting out solo as a finalist at the San Francisco International Stand-Up Comedy Competition. Since then, he’s been a regular on “The Bob and Tom Show” and is best known for his “Harry Carry’s First Game” routine.

The Summit’s events for the week include Mouth tonight (the weekly Thirsty Thursday event); a “10th Birfday Party” featuring DJs Benjamin K, Smiley Coyote and Mr. Anderson on Friday; the new local outfit Uncovered on Saturday; and the regular events like Tuesday’s open mic/jam session and Wednesday’s karaoke/gong show, hosted by Double D.

This week’s Starlight schedule includes the weekly Salsa Night featuring DJ Caliente at 8 p.m. tonight; the Crags doing the weekly FAC from 6-9 p.m. on the back patio; dancing with Double D at 9 p.m. Friday; DJs B-Side and Mowgli at 9 p.m. Saturday; and Musica del Mundo at 9 p.m. Sunday.

Ska has more than just one night of entertainment this week: it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet of free, local music. Skinny Gotta Eat brings funk and groove to tonight’s Ska-B-Q; Morbid Justice does metal Friday night; the Blu Fashion Show teams a blowout sale and fashion show, live and silent auction with the limited Blueberry Blonde Ale from noon ‘til 6 p.m. Saturday; there’s the ever-popular Beer Trivia Night on Tuesdays; and Telekave rocks the brewery Wednesday.

Other good stuff: Black Velvet is at Sweeney’s at 5 p.m. tonight; Pete Giuliani plays an acoustic happy hour from 5-8 p.m. Friday at El Rancho; the Scrugglers bring bluegrass to The Balcony at 5 p.m. Saturday; and Giuliani does an acoustic set from 5-8 p.m. Sunday at The Balcony.

I’m usually not much of a fruity beer guy, but a pint of Shiner’s outrageous Ruby Redbird last week turned me. This week’s Top Shelf list acknowledges some of my favorite fruity brews:

- Shiner’s Ruby Redbird. Ruby red grapefruit: Not just for gin or vodka anymore.

- Carver’s Razzy Wheat. Each gallon’s made with a pound of real raspberries.

- DBC’s Blueberry Wheat. The purple labeled-bottles are back in liquor stores.

- Pyramid Apricot. Grandma used to send along tiny cans of apricot nectar with Grandpa and I on our fishing trips. While beer snobs often pooh-pooh this brew, the taste takes me back to good times.

A row of fools on a row of stools? Email me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net.



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