The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, is Sunday, Dec. 21. Getting through that darkest day may require some beer-related assistance, and Courtyard Brewery (1020 Erato St.; www.courtyardbrewing.com) can help.
Owners Scott Wood and Lindsay Hellwig are planning a 72-hour dark beer tap takeover called Dark Hours during the winter solstice. Through the weekend, the brewery and tap room will serve some of the city's best dark stouts, porters, old ales and Belgians, including Bayou Teche Brewing's Biere Noel (from a single batch of barrel-aged cherry porter), NOLA Brewing's Irish Channel Stout and barrel-aged Smoky Mary, Saint Arnold's 20th Anniversary Ale (a barleywine) and Southern Prohibition Brewing's barrel-aged Mississippi Fire Ant.
Wood and Hellwig will offer other special beers on tap as well, including Sierra Nevada's Narwhal Imperial Stout, Terrapin Beer Company's Wake 'N' Bake 10th anniversary beer and Turtleneck Gingerbread Winter Warmer and Anchor Brewing's 2013 batch of its annual Christmas ale.
These are dark, hearty, warming beers, and Hellwig has designed a special 9-ounce tasting glass that commemorates the event. The glasses will be for sale with purchase of the dark beers. The brewery's Dark Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday (Dec. 19-21).
In other Courtyard news, the St. Clair Wood Fired Pizza food truck will be at the brewery from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and La Cocinita will serve food from its truck from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays starting Dec. 19.
After some technical difficulties, Wood has begun brewing and hopes several IPAs and a hibiscus pale ale will be available at the start of the new year.