American Craft Beer Week kicks off Monday and lasts through next weekend, so if you need an excuse to enjoy a locally brewed craft beer, this is it.

American Craft Beer Week kicks off Monday and lasts through next weekend, so if you need an excuse to enjoy a locally brewed craft beer, this is it.

Congress, the Ashland City Council and Mayor John Stromberg have officially recognized the week, with Stromberg noting in a proclamation earlier this month that American craft brewers employ nearly 100,000 workers and annually generate more than $3 billion in wages and benefits. Local breweries contribute to the community economically and through their philanthropy and sponsorship of local events, city officials said.

In a time when many businesses are in a holding pattern or failing, Ashland's Caldera Brewing Co. is expanding with a new 28,000-square-foot manufacturing, warehouse, storage and administrative office building with a tasting room near Exit 14. It sells its beer in 10 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Japan — bringing in money for the local economy. The company provides a meeting spot for friends and a venue for live music with its Caldera Tap House on Water Street. Its website is www.calderabrewing.com.

Standing Stone Brewing Co. on Oak Street is known for its support of sustainability and community events. This weekend alone, it's hosting a fundraiser for Ashland CarShare, showcasing poetry and drama presentations from Ashland High School students, pouring beer at a "Meet Your Farmer" event and holding a post-race party for the 20th Annual Spring Thaw Mountain Bike Festival. The brew pub is still fleshing out plans for American Craft Beer Week, so check its website at www.standingstonebrewing.com for times and dates of events, which will include specialty beers every day, samples and a bike ride to Alpha Beta Hop Farm on Ashland's outskirts.

Ginger Johnson, the local founder of Women Enjoying Beer, will speak about the history of women in brewing from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday at the Frau Kemmling Schoolhaus Brewhaus in Jacksonville. The cost is $20 per person, which includes a pretzel and a beer. For reservations, call the Brewhaus at 541-899-1000.

In honor of American Craft Beer Week, Johnson created a special "Summer Beerinade" recipe to share with Daily Tidings readers. You can use it as a marinade when you plan to barbecue beef, chicken or pork. To round out the meal, Johnson recommended serving with fresh salsa, guacamole, chips, beans, rice — or whatever suits your fancy. Here are the ingredients for every pound of meat:

3 diced fresh garlic cloves Half of one fresh diced Jalapeño pepper OR Anaheim pepper if a more medium pepper is desired Medium bunch of fresh chopped cilantro Juice of one medium lime 1/4 cup olive oil 6 oz. fresh beer matched to your taste (Johnson recommended a lighter-bodied, well-balanced beer that isn't too hoppy or malty, such as Standing Stone's Indy Pilsner or Na Zdravi pilsner from Southern Oregon Brewing Co. in Medford) Salt and ground pepper to taste

Prepare the meat of your choice by slicing it into quarter-inch-thick pieces across the grain. Chilling the meat beforehand will make it easier to cut.

Place the strips in a shallow, flat-bottomed dish large enough for a single layer of meat. Mix the above ingredients and pour the "beerinade" over the meat, covering all the strips.

Marinate the meat on both sides, up to 20 minutes total.

Place the strips on a hot grill for two or three minutes per side. Since the meat is thinly sliced, the cooking time is short, and it will keep cooking for a short while even after it's removed from the grill. Cut open the meat to test whether it's done. Beef can be medium rare, but chicken and pork should have no pink flesh.

Remove the meat to a clean plate, let it rest for a few minutes, then serve and enjoy.

Reach reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.