[Photograph: NY Craft Beer Week]

New York's third annual Craft Beer Week officially runs from Friday, September 24 to Sunday, October 3rd, but it's not too early to start wrangling your friends to make plans. It's going to be a crazy a week full of delicious (and rare) beers, some incredible beer-and-food pairings, and the chance to meet your brewmaster-idols in person.

Wondering which events you shouldn't miss? Check the highlights below and be sure to get tickets in advance where possible; space is limited!

Friday, September 24

3rd Annual Freaktoberfest Beer & Music Festival at Rock Shop
Friday, Sepember 24th, 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Take in live music (and a little burlesque) and try special limited-release beers from Shmaltz Brewing, Captain Lawrence, Ithaca, Founders, Cigar City, Allagash, Southampton, Sixpoint, Victory, Speakeasy, Brooklyn Brewery, Fire Island, and many others. $55 includes unlimited tastes. 249 4th Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn NY; 718-230-5740; Buy tickets here.

Saturday, September 25

Get Real NY Cask Ale & Food Festival
Saturday, September 25th and Sunday, September 26th, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., VIP tickets start at 4 p.m.
Sample cask-conditioned beers from breweries including Heavy Seas, Two Brothers, Cigar City, Defiant, Captain Lawrence, Pretty Things, Barrier Brewing, and more. Try pumpkin ales from Sixpoint and Nebraska, too. Meet brewer Dave Yarrington of Smuttynose, Jim Carruso of Flying Dog, Scott Vaccaro of Captain Lawrence, Bill Covalski of Victory, as well as a number of impressive local homebrewers. $65 ($80 VIP), 135 West 18th Street, NY; event website.

Long Island City Craft Beer Festival at Water Taxi Beach
Saturday, September 25th, 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Head out to Water Taxi Beach to sample beers from 25 breweries, including Founders, Sea Dog, Boulder, Empire, Little Kings, Hometown, and new Long Island breweries Great South Bay Brewery and Barrier Brewing. 2 Borden Ave, Long Island City NY $45 online, $55 at the door if available; event website.

Kelso Night at Moonshine Bar
Saturday, September 25, 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
Enjoy four-dollar pints of Kelso Oktoberfest, Recessionator, Satisfaction, IPA, Carrollgaarden Wit, and more, and meet owner/brewer Kelly Taylor. No tickets required. 317 Columbia at Hamilton Ave, Brooklyn, NY; event website.

Sunday, September 26

Get Real NY Cask Ale & Food Festival continues.
See listing above.

Brewed in Brooklyn Tour
Sunday, September 26th, 12:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Check out 19th-century brewery buildings in Brooklyn, which once was home to 48 breweries. Get a behind-the-scenes look at how beer is made in the borough today. Stop by a distributor and learn a bit about the three-tier system, too. $49; event website.

Sunday Supper with Nomads and Nano Brewers at Jimmy's No. 43
Sunday, September 26th, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
A dinner in celebration of tiny breweries. Enjoy an amuse bouche, an appetizer, main course, and dessert, all paired with a specially selected beer. Featured breweries include Blind Bat Brewery, Barrier Brewing Company, Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, and Greenport Harbor Brewing. $75; 43 East 7th Street, NY; 212-982-3006; event website.

Tuesday, September 28th

Victory Brewing Company Beer Dinner at Colicchio & Sons Tap Room
Tuesday, September 28th, 7:30 p.m.
Five course tasting menu with beer pairings presented by Victory's Bill Covaleski. First, pastrami cured sturgeon, American caviar, and rye bread sauce paired with Prima Pils. Then, pheasant with radicchio paired with Saison du Buff. Continue with braised suckling pig, roasted figs, and Stumptown Pork Jus paired with Victory Storm King Stout. The cheese course is paired with Golden Monkey Tripel, and dessert is paired with Old Horizontal Barleywine. Yum. Reservations required, 212-400-6493; $75 per person.

Pretty Things v. Funky Cheese at d.b.a. Williamsburg
Tuesday, September 28th, 7:30 p.m.
Taste seven beers from the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project paired with seven full-flavored cheeses. $30 per person, 718-218-6006; event website.

Wednesday, September 29th

Beer 2 Garden presented by BrewYork
Wednesday, September 19th, 1:00 p.m. to close.
A benefit to raise funds and awareness for East New York Farms at d.b.a. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A chance to taste rare craft beers from great local breweries--an amazing tap list including Captain Lawrence's BIrra DeCicco, Sixpoint's Missionary IPA, Dogfish Head's Bitches Brew, North Fork Fresh Hop ESP from Southhampton, Cookie Jar Porter from Brooklyn Brewery and more. Pay as you go, all proceeds go to East New York Farms. d.b.a., 113 N 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY; event website.

Thursday, September 30th

Brewer's Choice at City Winery
Thursday, September 30th, 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
15 brewmasters present their select small-batch beers and some favorite food pairings in a walk-around tasting event. Meet Greg Hall (Goose Island), Luc Boivin (Dieu du Ciel), Phil Leinart (Ommegang) and others. $75, 155 Varick Street; event website.

Sunday, October 3rd

Stone Brewing Takes Over the Taps at Rattle 'n' Hum
Sunday, October 3rd, 3:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Wrap up your beer week on a high note. 40 Stone beers on tap, including Stone Vertical Epic '06 through '09, as well as Stone Smoked Porter with vanilla beans, bourbon barrel-aged Stone Imperial Russian Stout '08, and more. Stone co-founder Greg Koch will be there (and I will be, too.) 14 East 33rd St, pay as you go; event website.

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