Look: ‘Dark Week’ isn’t about the snow. Or the frigid temps. But it’s also not NOT about them, either, okay?
The rationale behind Finnegans’ second annual “Dark Week,” which runs today through Saturday, January 18, goes something like: Everyone needs a push to get out of the house during these cruelly cold doldrums, and six consecutive days of unique beer releases, punctuated with a party and a bottle release, are as decent as any reason for leaving one’s den to seek out real, live human interaction.
United in the temporally and seasonally appropriate trope of “dark,” head brewer Ryan Mihm said of the difference between this year's offerings for Dark Week compared to last, "Variations are a theme."
Beginning with today's release of their Baltic Porter, aged in Pinot Noir barrels for a full year—rich in oaky notes and packing a chocolaty punch—a new beer will debut daily. Concoctions for the occasion vary from one day to the next without exact repetition from the previous year's celebration.
As he toured me through the brews, Mihm really guaranteed there's a little something for everyone.
Beyond the Baltic Porter, look for Tuesday’s release, “Thin Lizzy,” to be as unforgettable as its namesake; the full-bodied black IPA was brewed with chocolate rye malt before it was dry hopped with Loral and Centennial hops to add floral and mild citrus notes.
Expect Wednesday's "Tulip Poplar" to be funky and vanillin thanks to whiskey and bourbon aging. Friday's "Raspberry Brown" is a white oak-aged American Brown Stout that's mildly sweet and heaped with raspberries before aging.
The “Lucifer” milk stout will descend in time for Thursday night's blowout party from 4 to 8 p.m. General admission is open to all, though tickets are recommended, as the advanced VIP price includes not only access to the Brewers Den (with its live music and perfect beer-sopping treats like Potato Keg Tots, BLT sliders, and desserts courtesy of Surdyk’s), but also a free pour in your very own commemorative glass, plus complimentary valet parking—which should not to be taken lightly downtown these days.
For the extra enthusiastic, Finnegans is offering a Dark Week Passport. Buy all six Dark Week beers, marking them off on said passport as you go, and receive a free 10-ounce pour of your choice at Saturday’s BB2 release party—a culmination of the Dark Week festivities. This limited release is an oak-aged American Stout with blackberry, packed with dry, roasted malt character, and mild barrel funk, plus a little spirit pickup from that barrel-aging.
If the aforementioned goth-rainbow of beers, promise of like-minded compatriots in drink, and a week-long beer party isn’t enough to make Finnegans a destination for your social outings this week, here's where we remind you Finnegans donates 100 percent of its profits to the Food Group, whose mission ensures those in need have access to fresh, organic produce.
A trip out into the world is sounding a little less dark by the second, hmm?