Raise a glass to local beer — it’s CR Beer Week.
The celebration of Cedar Rapids breweries returns Friday (5/5) through May 14. The event, which a small group of local brewers and bar owners started last year, includes a host of events, from beer trivia to brewery spotlights to competitive events.
Taylor McGurk, director of destination development for GO Cedar Rapids, said Beer Week began as a natural extension of a quickly growing local brewery scene.
“The timing was right with beer culture here thriving. The organizers really wanted to harness that momentum,” he said.
The week is under the auspices of GO Cedar Rapids this year, though it has remained semi-informal — any local brewery or bar could submit a related event for inclusion on the Beer Week calendar, gocedarrapids.com/cedar-rapids-beer-week.
The week kicks off Friday with a collaboration between Lion Bridge Brewing Company and Zeppelins, where special Lion Bridge beers will be on tap and food specials meant to be paired with Lion Bridge beers will be served.
Other highlights include Sunday Funday beer games at Parlor City, in which teams can compete for prizes, and a Brewer’s Olympics on May 12 that will see teams from different area breweries competing against each other at Lion Bridge.
The week peeks May 13 with Benz Beerfest, which will feature dozens of local, regional and national breweries pouring samples. The event benefits the American Heart Association. Tickets are $25 or $35 for VIP, which includes a special tasting glass and allows entry an hour early.
Throughout the week, beer enthusiasts can try a special collaboration brew. In honor of the event’s start on Cinco de Mayo, brewers from Iowa Brewing Company, Lion Bridge, Quarter Barrel, Another Road Brewing and Third Base worked together to create a Mexican-style cerveza. It will be available to try at several area establishments.
“The whole week is a celebration of what the community has accomplished so far,” McGurk said. “It’s also sort of a thank you to all the people who have given it so much support."