This week marks the eighth year of American Craft Beer Week. ACBW is the brainchild of the Brewers Association, the national non-profit association on behalf of the majority of today’s U.S. breweries, and publishers of CraftBeer.com.
By definition of the Brewers Association, an American Craft Brewer meets the following requirements:
Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less.
Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer.
Traditional: A brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers brands) or has at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.
The explosion of craft beers on the scene has been phenomenal as of late and it seems as if there is a new brewery opening up in Arizona every time I turn around. The history of microbreweries in Arizona can be traced back to 1988 when Dave Harvan opened Dave’s Electric Brewing Company in the small southeastern town of Bisbee, Arizona. Bandersnatch in Tempe was the first brewpub in the state but closed its’ doors a decade ago.
At last check, there were nearly 50 local breweries spanning the state with breweries in Lake Havasu City, Flagstaff, Bisbee and myriad options in Tucson and the metropolitan Phoenix areas. There are several national breweries that have locations across the state and although their beer is made on site, the revenue generated does not support local business owners.
If you are looking for a fresh brew and want to support the local economy, steer clear of places like BJ’s, Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch. The last two along with two-thirds of Old Chicago locations nationwide are owned by the conglomerate CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, Inc. out of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Here is a listing of all craft breweries in Arizona by city, so if they have a location be sure to stop by or hit up your favorite craft beer bar for some great American Craft Beer Week Specials:
- Mesquite River Brewing Company
- North Mountain Brewing Company
- O.H.S.O. Eatery & nanoBrewery
- Old World Brewery
- Phoenix Ale Brewery
- Sun Up Brewing
- Veritas Brewing Company
- 1702/The Address Brewery
- Barrio Brewing Company
- Borderlands Brewing Company
- Catalina Brewing Company
- Dragoon Brewing Company
- Gentle Ben’s Brewing Company
- Nimbus Brewing Company
- Sentinel Peak Brewing Company
- Ten Fifty-Five Brewing
- Beaver Street Brewery
- Flagstaff Brewing Company
- Grand Ganyon Brewing Company
- Lumberyard Brewing Company
- Mother Road Brewing Company
- Wanderlust Brewing Company
Lake Havasu City
- Barley Brothers Brewery
- College Street Brewhouse & Pub
- Mudshark Brewery
- Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company – Gilbert
- Desert Eagle Brewing Company – Mesa
- Fate Brewing Company – Scottsdale
- Four Peaks Brewing Company- Tempe
- Four Peaks Grill & Tap – Scottsdale
- Freak’N Brewing Company – Peoria
- Mischief Brewing Company- Peoria
- Papago Brewing – Scottsdale
- Peoria Artisan Brewery – Peoria
- SanTan Brewing Company – Chandler
- Sleepy Dog Brewery- Tempe
- Sleepy Dog Pub & Bistro – Gilbert
- Sonoran Brewing Company – Scottsdale
- Dave’s Electric Brewery
- Old Bisbee Brewing Company
- Granite Mountain Brewing – Prescott
- Prescott Brewing – Prescott
- Mountain Top Brewing Company – Payson
- Oak Creek Brewing Company – Sedona
- THAT Brewery – Pine
Many of the above brewers ship their beers off to restaurants and retail locations across the state while the larger ones bottle and can their beers and this Saturday will be the culmination of Arizona Craft Beer Week with the Third Annual Ameri-CAN Canned Craft Beer Festival hosted by SanTan Brewing Comapany.
The Scottsdale Civic Center will be the home to the Festival on Saturday, May 18 from noon-6pm. There will be over 60 local and national breweries present to crack their cans for thousands of suds-lovers and hop-heads. Tickets begin at only $25 at all Whole Foods (including Tucson) but admission will cost you $35 at the gate. VIP tickets are also available for $100 (presale only) and includes a lanyard and exclusive entry in to the shaded VIP area with catered food, treats and private bathrooms. The VIP area will also have a meet and greet with the brewers for the beer “groupies.”
Four different bands will entertain the festival goers and their will be food trucks on site for those not willing to shill out the Benjamin for VIP tickets.
The following Arizona breweries received awards this year:
- Flagstaff Brewery Lumberyard IPA – Silver American Pale Ale
- Flagstaff Brewery Lumberyard Red Ale – Silver English-Style Pale Ale
- Grand Canyon Brewery Sunset Amber – Gold Ambers & Browns
- Four Peaks Brewery Sunbru Kölsch – Gold Golds, Blondes, Pilsners & Light Lagers
Do yourself a favor and listen to your old buddy, David and try some of these local beers. If not at the festival on Saturday, then treat yourself in the near future.
In my world, every week is American Craft Beer Week.