Archive for: September 2016

Twelve Arizona Breweries Headline Great Tucson Beer Festival

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TUCSON — The suds from the the local craft beer industry are overflowing this weekend in the Old Pueblo. Moving into the third decade of providing a delicious respite from the sweltering summer months, the Great Tucson Beer Festival is stronger than ever. The major fundraising event for Sun Sounds of Arizona, who bridges the information gap by providing audio access to people who cannot read print media because of a disability will celebrate its 30th anniversary in Tucson on Saturday.

Repping The Grand Canyon State

The local Arizona beer community has grown by leaps and bounds and with over 30 breweries statewide brewing up the simple mix of malt, hops, yeast and water. The interesting side note to this festival is that many of the state’s heavy-hitters are noticeably absent including several of Tucson’s darlings. The upside to this being that festival goers will get to sample some of the state’s smaller breweries like 1912 Brewing Company and Old Bisbee Brewing Company.

Choose AZ Brews

Choose AZ Brews

Joining 1912 and Old Bisbee from the Grand Canyon State are as  follows:

The city with the most representation is our beach-y neighbor, San Diego with five breweries in attendance including world-famous Stone Brewing and local favorites Mike Hess, Coronado, Mission and Longship. Filling out the rest of the roster is heavily west coast with eight other California breweries, ten from the Rocky Mountain states of Colorado and Utah and seven from the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington. In total, there will be more than 50 breweries in attendance along with distilleries, cideries and specialty beverages from Not Your Father’s and Diageo.

Everybody In Style

Variety will be the name of the game but if you’re into a single style, you’ll be sure to find several that fit your taste buds; from blondes and light lagers to porters and coffee stouts. The most popular beer style, the IPA, will be well-represented from most breweries but if you are looking to expand your beer-tasting repertoire, here are the beers that I would suggest sampling:

A Beer Fest MUST TRY

A Beer Fest MUST TRY

  • Prescott Brewing Achocolypse – Chocolate Porter
  • Boulevard Brewing Tell-Tale Tart – American Sour
  • North Coast Old Rasputin  – Nitro Russian Imperial Stout (that’s a mouthful)
  • Funkwerks Tropic King – Imperial Saison
  • Mother Road Tower Station – India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • Huss Brewing Koffee Kölsch – Kölsch steeped with coffee beans
  • Mike Hess Habitus – Double IPA
  • Stone Mocha IPA
  • Sentinel Peak Dew Point – Dunkel
  • Uncle Bear’s Peanut Butter Cup – Porter
  • Crazy Mountain South Rim – Barrel Aged Wild American Ale

Let’s not forget about the seasonal beers— fall means Oktoberfest-style märzens and  pumpkin beers, what better way to welcome October than with a Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest or Barrio Pumpkin Porter?

The Details:

The event will take place on Saturday, October 1 at the soccer stadium portion of the Kino Sports Complex at 2817 E. Ajo Way. For those that are fans of the MLS or FC Tucson, you will know the stadium well; for others, it is on the north side of Ajo Way across from the baseball stadium just east of the freeway.

The event opens at 4:30 pm for VIP ticket holders and 6:00 pm for general admission with the last pour being at 9:30 pm. There will be food vendors as well as three bands on the main stage. Other events include a silent auction, a horseshoe pit, steer roping, corn hole and Best Damn Beer Pong Period.

Tickets are available citywide at select Food City locations, Noble Hops, Plaza Liquors, Chaco’s Downtown Cafe, On the Border, Beverage Depot and Brew Your Own Brew. General admission tickets are $45 ($20 for DD) with VIP tickets at $90 ($40 for DD.) Day-of ticket sales will also be available at the gate only with prices increasing slightly to $50 for GA and $100 for VIP.

 

 

Local Coffee Shop Gets Into the Craft Beer Biz

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TEMPE—Nothing beats the smell of freshly-brewed coffee in the morning…unless that smell is beer.

Arizona State University alum David Arnce has had his fair share of experience brewing both, add a passion for remodeling old houses and you have the perfect recipe for the newest brewery in downtown Tempe – The Shop Beer Company.

 

The Human Nutrition graduate with a knack for “flipping” houses enjoyed a successful business after the real estate market floundered in 2008. Using his entrepreneurial spirit, Arnce help bail out another company—a friend’s coffee shop on University Drive.

 

The rest, as they say, is history.

18 taps of hometown love

18 taps of hometown love

 

Cartel Coffee Lab opened in downtown Tempe in 2008 and now has six locations statewide, including two in Tucson. With the success of the coffee business, Arnce started experimenting with brewing beer. Four years later, Cartel Brewery was born out of the back of the original Cartel location with a 1/2 barrel brewing system.

 

Now, with head brewer, Matt Johnson at the helm, Cartel expanded to a 5-barrel system and are now operating a 20-barrel brewhouse as a spin-off from the original Cartel name, enter The Shop Beer Company.

 

I was fortunate to be in attendance for the grand opening of The Shop located at 922 W. First St. last month and was pleased not only with the selection of beers but also by the prompt and friendly service.

 

The 64-year old house that Arnce renovated to be the heart of the property is an 1100-square-foot gem that has all the charm and mystique of visiting grandma’s place but instead of fresh cookies, you are getting fresh beer.

 

Behind the quaint taproom, is the mammoth beer garden with sprawling picnic tables and of course, a misting system to keep things somewhat cool on a sweltering summer’s day.

On opening day, there were four beers available, but there are a total of 18 taps which will soon all be pouring glorious suds.

 

Hours for The Shop Beer Company are:

Monday-Thursday: 11am-11pm

Friday-Saturday: 10am-midnight

Sunday: 10am-10pm

Local Products Foster & Westerman Among Others to Make NFL Rosters

DJ Patriot

With the National Football League preseason coming to an end, fans of the game couldn’t be happier. For those hoping to make an NFL roster, this weekend was gut-wrenching and ended up with some former Arizona State football players having their lifelong dreams broken.

After the smoke cleared, as of Monday afternoon, only 11 former Sun Devils saw their names on an active roster, with three more signed to a practice squad and second-year defensive tackle Marcus Hardison placed on Injured Reserve for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Good News

Following a 2016 draft that only saw two ASU players drafted, five more were signed as unrestricted free agents. The Sun Devils highest draft pick, Christian Westerman, out of Chandler’s Hamilton High went in the fifth round as the 161st pick to the aforementioned Cincinnati Bengals. Westerman has little hope of starting for the Bengals but he is listed second on the depth chart at right guard behind five-year veteran Kevin Zeitler.

Right Guard Christian Westerman

Right Guard Christian Westerman

Also in Cincinnati is six-year linebacker Vontaze Burfict who starts the season on the suspended list and will be eligible to return on September 29 when the Bengals host the Dolphins at home.

The New England Patriots selected the other Sun Devil with the fourth pick of the seventh round when they picked up wide receiver Devin Lucien. The Arizona State standout who had 1,074 receiving yards to go along with eight touchdowns in his senior year struggled to find his way among one of the most prolific receiving corps in the country which carries five receivers and four tight ends. Lucien, unfortunately did not make the 53-man roster but found his way on to the 10-man practice squad.

The surprise coming out of Foxboro was Lucien’s college teammate, D.J. Foster. The undrafted free agent was one of four running backs to make the 53-man roster and looks to challenge James White at the receiving back position until Dion Lewis is activated from the PUP (Physically Able to Perform) list. The slash running back/wide receiver led many categories in his sophomore and junior seasons with 10 scores (six rushing, four receiving) and 12 touchdowns (nine rushing, three receiving) respectively.

The Baltimore Ravens bring back a couple of seasoned veterans in seven-year defensive tackle Lawrence Guy and 15-year linebacker Terrell Suggs. After missing the entirety of last year to a torn Achilles tendon in week one, Suggs impressed many playing only two series against Detroit.

The Chicago Bears have seen some turmoil due to the ineffectiveness of their quarterback situation in Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer but their defense has always been their strong suit. Will Sutton is listed as the second-string Nose Tackle and has started 12 games over the past two years while playing in 28. Needless to say that Sutton can wreak havoc and looks to improve on his seven starts in 2015.

The bad news out of the “Windy City” is the confusion surrounding cornerback Omar Bolden. The four-year veteran was brought in during the offseason to bolster the Special Teams but was unceremoniously released prior to training camp.

Hanging by a Thread

With Jamil & The Cup

With Jamil & The Cup

Three former standouts at Arizona State have been relegated to the practice squad for their respective teams after a tough 2016 preseason. The Green Bay Packers have enjoyed continued success from cornerback Damarious Randall and he is listed atop the depth chart at the left corner.

The news for fellow Sun Devil Carl Bradford isn’t as promising. The third-year inside linebacker was waived over the weekend and was “saved by the bell” being signed to the practice squad. Bradford couldn’t have done much better in preseason with 15 total tackles and a pass defended with play in all four games. This will be Bradford’s third year with the Packers and and the second on the practice squad.

Down in Miami, after two seasons on the offensive line, guard Jamil Douglas was waived and signed to the practice squad. Douglas, who started six games last year at guard and center didn’t impress the new coaching staff this preseason and will look to prove himself worthy in practice.

My new favorite team with a starting quarterback and starting slot receiver is the Houston Texans. Quarterback Brock Osweiler and Jaelen Strong never played together at Arizona State University but I think this tandem will light things up in H-Town. A teammate of both Osweiler and Strong, cornerback Robert Nelson has been signed to the Texans practice squad. Nelson, who was with the Cleveland Browns for the 2015 preseason was waived and then signed by the Arizona Cardinals. After two months on the practice squad, Nelson was named to the active roster only to be released a month later. A month following his release from Arizona, he was signed to Houston’s practice squad and failed to make the 53-man roster again this season.

Still Hoping

Will Berco Make San Diego's Practice Squad?

Bercovici’s Future is now in limbo

Several other seniors are still in the mix for spots on practice squads including most notably, quarterback Mike Bercovici and offensive guard Vi Teofilo in San Diego. Berco seems to be a lock for the practice squad after the Chargers waived journeyman QB Zach Mettenberger.

{Edited to add that neither Bercovici nor Teofilo were selected to the Chargers practice squad.}

Defensive tackle Demetrius Cherry played the 2016 preseason with the San Francisco 49ers and still has lingering hope to sign with the practice squad as only nine spots have been filled as of Monday afternoon.

{Edited to add that Cherry was not selected to the 49ers practice squad.}

Five-year veteran center Garth Gerhart found himself back on the Cleveland Browns for the 2016 training camp and preseason. Gerhart who was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Browns in early 2013. He never made the active roster and was picked up by the Packers where he remained on the active roster for the 2014 season. Gerhart was in the Browns camp this season and was waived on the final day. All hope isn’t lost for Gerhart as there are still two open spots as of this writing on the Browns’ practice squad.

{Edited to add that Gerhart was not selected to the Browns practice squad.}

Two other Sun Devils are looking to make the final spot on their respective practice squads. Third-year safety Alden Darby looks to latch on in Indianapolis after spending the past two years on practice squads in San Diego, Pittsburgh and New Orleans.

Another local product, Scottsdale Chaparral High’s Deveron Carr has bounced around the practice squads, much like Darby. The cornerback played in nine games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013 before being waived. Carr eventually got on with practice squads in Indianapolis and Washington before heading to Kansas City for the 2016 preseason.

{Edited to add that neither Darby nor Carr were selected to the Colts or Chiefs practice squad.}

End of the line for Pic6Darb?

End of the line for Alden Darby?

Linebacker Lloyd Carrington was invited to Washington Redskins camp and joined two fellow Sun Devils with Shawn Lauvao and Rashad Ross. Seven-year veteran offensive guard Lauvao and second-year receiver Ross made the cut, but Carrington did not. His dreams were further dashed as the Redskins filled out their 10-man roster without including Carrington.  He, like all other players waived can be signed by any team after clearing waivers.

Lastly, third-year defensive tackle Davon Coleman who jumped around from the Bears to the Buccaneers to the Giants before being waived yet again this weekend. The 2014 undrafted free agent made the Cowboys roster in 2014 as a rookie and again in 2015 but was released in week three of the season. He was picked up by the Bears and signed to the practice squad only to be released three months later. Coleman was invited to the Giants camp this season but was cut early in the process.

Non-Playing Futures

Nothing was quite as heart-wrenching as the story of redshirt senior safety Jordan Simone. The heart and soul of the Sun Devils, the defensive captain had his career ended after tearing his ACL last November.  Simone had rehabbed the knee and was slotted by many to be drafted until he re-injured his knee. He hasn’t given up and remains positive while once again rehabbing and is no stranger to overcoming obstacles.

To wrap it up, we come full-circle with center Nick Kelly who was invited to Patriots’ training camp along with Foster and Lucien. He was released early in the process and is now an offensive line assistant coach back at Arizona State.