The Girls Guide to Rochester Real Beer Week 2012

rochester real beer weekIt’s coming… the first annual Rochester Real Beer Week, a weeklong series of craft beer related events including tastings, food and beer pairings and dinners, socials, concerts, and craft beer launches!  Events will run June 15-23rd in and around Rochester, with many local bars and restaurants getting into the action with great specials and events all week long.

The main event, The Rochester Real Beer Expo, is set to kick things off on Saturday, June 16th at 6pm.  Tickets will set you back $40 and includes unlimited tastings of over 80 craft beers.  VIP Tickets  are also available, granting early admission for an additional $20.  Last I heard, the following breweries have been confirmed:

Besides the Expo, there are a TON of happy hours, bar specials, and other fun stuff to do throughout the week.  If you live in the area and you’re looking to make it out for beer week, pick up a copy of CITY Newspaper and look for the insert all about Rochester Real Beer Week.  The event directory lists events and venues along with a little bit about Rochester’s craft beer history.  ROCbeer also offers a calender of beer events in the Rochester area and has listed a ton of stuff during Real Beer Week.  With so many events planned, it’ll be impossible to hit them all. (What’s a girl to do!?) Here’s a few highlights to guide you through the week…

Friday, June 15, 2012

If you’re looking for a party, make sure you hit up the Official RRBW Kickoff Party! Sticky Lips Juke Joint in Henrietta is hosting and it’s going to be a total tap takeover (55 lines!) of Rochester Only beers. The event starts at 5pm and is open to all. *Update: looks like there’ll be a $5 cover starting at 9.

For the craft beer lover looking for something unique… Check out Bombs Away at Donnelly’s Public House, featuring bomber specials all day long and a FREE tasting of rarely-seen-in-Rochester bombers from 5-7pm.  Check out this list of beers…


  • Hop Henge Experimental IPA (Deschutes Brewery, OR)
  • Bourbon Barrel Abominable (Fremont Brewing Co, WA)
  • Whoop Pass Double IPA (Silver City Brewing Co, WA)
  • Rye-on-Rye (Boulevard Brewing Co, MO)
  • Hop-15 Ale (Port Brewing Co, CA)
  • Lips of Faith – La Folie (New Belgium Brewing, CO)

I also hear that Donnelly’s has just finished some behind-the-scenes renovations that allowed them to add an additional 8 tap lines!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday’s big event is definitely the Beer Expo.  It’s a street party with over 80 of the most exciting craft beers from all over the world.  The expo will be held on Gregory Street in the South Wedge (outside Tap & Mallet, from Whalin to Bond Street).  Along with killer brews they’ll also be serving up wine, locally made cheese and baked goods, Cajun BBQ, fresh pizza, wraps and sandwiches, locally roasted coffee, hand rolled cigars, and more.  Oh, and they’ll be live music from local musicians.  Last year they sold out so don’t expect to get tickets at the door.  Ticket info is mentioned above or you can find more details at

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Show Dad how much you love him at the Fathers Day Beer Brunch at The Owl House!  Their special brunch menu with suggested beer pairings is way better than a new necktie.  Bacon and Eggs?  Try Smoked Pork Shoulder & Beans Over a Cornbread Waffle paired with a Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen… poppa like!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Like to plan ahead?  Stop by The Basin Pub in Pittsford and pick up a ticket to their Food & Beer Pairing EXTRAVAGANZA!  The last of a series of 4 beer pairing dinners, Chef Dave has matched his finest four course dishes with delicious craft beer from the folks at Brooklyn Brewery.  Tickets are available at the pub for $35 each.

Looking for something to do last minute?  If you didn’t buy tickets to one of the pairing dinners, stop over at Donnelly’s for Can You Dig?  They’ll have $2 canned craft beer all day and a Sixpoint Canned Craft Ale Party from 5-7pm. (Have you tried Apollo yet?  It’s SO. GOOD.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My recommendation for Tuesday night is the Cans & Clams Clambake, 6-9pm at Tap & Mallet.  Welcome the summer season with a can of Brooklyn Lager, Summer Ale, or East India Pale Ale and a pile of potatoes, clams and corn on the cob on the deck.  Looks like the price is still TBD and quantities may be limited so be sure to show up on the early side to get the good stuff!

food truck rodeo - rochester public market

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Head to Lovin’ Cup from 7-9pm for Meet the Brewer Night!  Luke Purcell, head brewmaster at Great Lakes, has crafted some great recipes and they’ll be offering some special beers just for the event.  This is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the mastermind behind Great Lakes amazing portfolio of beers.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I’m excited for this one… The Rochester Public Market is hosting a Food Truck Rodeo & Home Brew Competition!  Rochester’s finest mobile kitchens all in one place along with a Rohrbach Beer Tasting, Cash Bar, Upstate NY Homebrewers Association Summer Beers Competition, and live music by The Public Market Band featuring Dick Storms.  Proceeds benefit the Market District Business Association.

The Weekend

By now the week is coming to a close but you’ll need to save some energy for the Cask Ale Festival at The Old Toad.  They’ve put together more than 30 casks from all around to put on one hell of a cask party!  VIP tickets for Friday are available for $50 (only 50 available!) to people who want first crack at the rarest of the rare for this event.  Check out some the breweries that will be featured:

  • Roc Brewing Co
  • Three Heads
  • Custom Brewcrafters
  • Naked Dove
  • Brooklyn
  • Southern Tier
  • Sixpoint
  • Mahr’s
  • Bear Republic
  • Great Divide
  • Brewdog
  • Thornbridge
  • Harviestoun
  • Firestone Walker
  • Victory
  • Lagunitas
  • Tröegs
  • Ithaca
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Stone
  • Doc’s Hard Cider
  • Blackbird Cider
  • WanderingStar
  • Southampton Publik House

If you don’t get VIP tickets, don’t worry… the party continues through the weekend (or until the beer runs out!) so there’ll be plenty of time to get a taste of these rare ales.  You can purchase tickets for Saturday at the Pub for $40.  Admission is FREE on Sunday along with growler specials of what’s left.


BEER WEEK EVENT HIGHLIGHT: Lovin’ Cup is the official venue for the finale of Beer Week. Things kick off bright and early at 9am on Saturday 23rd June with Rochester Real 5k, presented by Sam Adams and Saranac. This scenic park run departs from Lovin’ Cup and your $20 registration fee (24.00 day of race) includes participation in the race, a post-run pint at Lovin’ Cup, a Rochester Real 5k T-Shirt, the chance to win a variety of prizes and lots of live music! Following the race, both Lovin’cup and TC Rileys will be featuring alternating music, munchies and fun! We will hear music from The Reactions, Sisters of Murphy, Teagan and the Tweeds and much, much more! We will also be featuring some fun lawn games and such, so you can hang all day and drink some delicious and special treats! You can sign up for the Real 5K at

So there you have it!  Other venues featuring events and specials throughout the week include:

Of course, this is only a small view of what’s going on that week, there’s just no way I can go through them all here. Your best bet is to grab the event directory insert in the CITY or take a look at the ROCbeer calendar and find out for yourself.  Seriously you guys, it’s events like this that make me proud to live in Rochester.  The beer community here is so vibrant and welcoming… if you’ve never been to Rochester, this would be a great time to visit!

If you’ve got any tips of your own, or there’s something that I left out that you think should be mentioned… feel free to leave a note in the comments section!


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Categories: The Spirit of Craft Beer

Author:Amy Ellsworth

Amy Ellsworth is The Craft Beer Girl. Follow her as she discovers the world of craft beer through brewery tours, beer festivals, reviews and homebrewing. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and .


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6 Comments on “The Girls Guide to Rochester Real Beer Week 2012”

  1. June 7, 2012 at 9:27 PM #

    awesome post!

    • June 8, 2012 at 9:37 AM #

      Thanks Em! Are you coming with us to the expo? We’ve got VIP tickets… if you’re free you should def get online and get a ticket. It’s gonna be a blasty blast!


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