Wet your whistle at these toast-worthy upcoming occasions -- and don't forget the mead!
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA RENAISSANCE FAIR
What better pairing for your mug of ale than a feisty joust? Oct. 6-7 at the NorCal Ren Fair means the arrival of the St. Hubertus German mercenaries, costumed troops-for-hire who wear tight colored pants. That weekend is also Oktoberfest at the fair — though of course mead, beer, and four types of cider are available throughout the four-week entirety of the bodice-busting. Just make sure you dodge the roving pack of Puritans who will be roaming ye olde paths and pubs.
Saturdays and Sundays, Sat/15 through Oct.1. 10am-6pm, $25/day, $35/weekend, $150/10-day pass. 10021 Pacheco Pass Hwy 152, Gate 6, Hollister. (408) 847-FAIR, www.norcalrenfaire.com
BREWS ON THE BAY
Because if anywhere is a good place to get drunk on nice beer, a World War II liberty ship is a fantastic place to get drunk on nice beer. After all, the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien is too large to succumb to the rocking waves of the Bay. Even if it bobbed like a dinghy, this is worth getting wet for: 15 member breweries of the SF Brewer's Guild pouring all-you-can-drink allotments of over 50 beers, from the companies' best-sellers to seldom-seen seasonals. Plus live music and food trucks. Ahoy, well-worth-it hangover!
Sat/15, noon-5pm, $50. S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien, Pier 45, SF. www.sfbrewersguild.org
SF COCKTAIL WEEK
Ask anyone –- this town has serious cocktailian chops. That's why (if you've got the cash, admission for most events starts around $45) it's worth checking out this week of artisan tastings, bartender contests, and classes that'll leave you shaking like a star.
Mon/17-Sun/23, various SF venues. www.sfcocktailweek.com
In the 1980s, a group of NorCal wine producers got together to celebrate the excellency of varietals from France's Rhone Valley. They called themselves the Rhone Rangers, and set about recreating the wines' majesty here in the Golden State. Today, they celebrate work well done on internationally-celebrated Grenache Day. Check out the special vino in its red, white, and rose forms through free tastings at 15 wineries in Paso Robles, Santa Cruz's Bonny Doon Vineyard, Santa Rosa's Sheldon Wines, and Sacramento's Caverna 57.
Sept. 21, various venues, free. www.rhonerangers.org
EAT REAL FESTIVAL
You know you can nosh away at this fest, which celebrates the best in local, sustainable nourishment — but be sure you wash it down in style. Eat Real offers a chance to sample 20 Bay beers, like sustainable Berkeley pourers Bison Brewing and its beer garden co-curator Adam Lamoreaux's Oakland-born Linden Street Brewery. 15 NorCal wineries will be represented as well. And no festival markups here — all adult beverages go for $5 per cup.
Sept. 21 1-9pm; Sept. 22, 10:30am-9pm; Sept. 23, 10:30am-5pm; free. Jack London Square, First St. and Broadway, Oakl. www.eatrealfest.com
TOUR DE FAT
The beer and bike carnival of the year is back, with all its usual circus magic and a costumed bike parade under the trees of GGP. Onstage, Fat Tire beer has another full musical line-up planned: Los Amigos Invisibles, He's My Brother She's My Sister, Yo-Yo People, and more. Sip the Colorado brand's brews, and stick around for the end, when a lucky car owner trades their wheels in for a bike during a elaborate yearly ritual.