Dozens of craft breweries take center stage at Art of Beer Invitational

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Photo courtesy of Art of Beer
Nearly four dozen breweries and a collection of local restaurants will participate in this year's Art of Beer Invitational.

Sacramento-area hopheads and foodies alike will be able to raise a glass for a good cause on Jan. 30 at the fourth annual Art of Beer Invitational, when 45 breweries—and their creative sides—will be on hand at the sprawling McClellan Conference Center in North Highlands.

Internationally renowned breweries like Sierra Nevada and New Belgium will join more than a dozen regional breweries (including Bike Dog, New Helvetia, Track 7 and Out of Bounds) to pour at the event, while 10 other beer makers from around the West—like San Diego’s Saint Archer Brewing Company and Los Angeles-based Golden Road Brewing—will be making their Sacramento debut.

Like last year, each brewery will display beer-inspired art pieces that will be put up for an auction benefiting Ales for Autism (Track 7 stole the show in 2014 with its custom-made metal wall hanging). Additionally, 15 local artists, including Aaron Taylor, who uses barley wheat and canvas to create impressive textured pieces, will display their work as part of this joint celebration of art and brews.

For the first time, organizers have asked each brewery to design and construct their own 15-by-15-foot space in which they will serve unlimited 4 oz. tastings. (Firestone Walker Brewing Co., also from Paso Robles, plans to build a lounge out of its own pallets and barrels.)

“This is going to be the most ambitious year of Art of Beer,” says event director Rawi Nanakul. “We’ve never done anything like this before and never seen anything like this before. It’s going to be unexpected.”

An array of regional restaurants will also craft special dishes to pair perfectly with the event’s brews, with Mikuni developing a sushi complement to Oregon’s Ninkasi Brewing Co., the Pasta Queen teaming with Firestone Walker, and Passione Pizza working with San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewing. (Sierra Nevada, meanwhile, will offer house-made sausages from pigs fed on its brewing grain.)

Designated drivers can nosh all night for $15, while ale aficionados have the option of upgrading to VIP tickets that include early admission to the event’s “Rare Beer Hour”—guaranteeing the opportunity to try limited-edition brews (paired with unique dishes), chat with brewers in a more intimate setting and get immersed in what Nanakul has dubbed, “The Brewer’s Experience.”

Jan. 30. $50 general admission; $70 VIP. 7–10 p.m.; VIP admission at 6 p.m. McClellan Conference Center. 5411 Luce Ave. North Highlands. 643-6222.

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