Category: Tucson Sports

Craft Beer – Not Just for Beer Snobs Anymore

The Great Tucson Beer Festival this past Saturday brought out all types…sure, there were your typical beer snobs present, but I was impressed more by the sheer number of regular folk and more importantly, women. Beer festivals used used to be jam packed of beer nerds and snobs that left their wives or girlfriends at home…if they had one. My wife is in the non-craft beer camp and loves the mass produced macro brew out of Milwaukee and I don’t fault her for that. I enjoy an easy drinking session beer as well, but only if we are playing drinking games or watching my drinking mentor, Zane Lamprey & Pleepleus on Drinking Made Easy.

This year’s festival was one for the ages with all proceeds going to a wonderful charity Sun Sounds of Arizona.  Many thanks go out to Mitzi Tharin, the Sun Sounds staff and the many, many volunteers who put on this year’s festival.

Hundreds of beer were available to  sample including offerings from 16 breweries statewide ranging from Mudshark Brewery in Lake Havasu City to Old Bisbee Brewing in Bisbee.  All of my local favorites were included in this year’s festival and I made sure to steer my group of friends towards these local masterpieces. Four Peaks Brewing had my favorite with their American IPA, Hop Knot. This wonderful beer gets it’s name from weaving seven different hops added at seven different times throughout the brewing process. This hop-head favorite packs a punch at 6.7% ABV yet isn’t too overpowering when it comes to the IBU level only measuring 47. This beer was absolutely loved by each person that had yet to try it and loves their hops.  Chandler’s favorite brewery, SanTan Brewery was also represented well with three of their standard beers, Devil’s Ale, Hefeweizen and Hop Shock IPA. They also brought along a specialty brew, their Count Hopula Blood Red IPA; this brew boasts an intense Simcoe Hop bitterness with a 99 on the IBU scale and balanced with six different malts to produce a spooky blood red color and 7.0% ABV – scary good.

I must say that I was impressed with the little guy, Old Bisbee Brewing Company was situated just outside the VIP tent and next to the Bud Light truck (they weren’t serving Bud Light, by the way) and they offered up a light & refreshing Whitbier. This unfiltered brew hit the spot after trying a litany of heavy or hoppy beers. Perfectly balanced with three malts and four hops, the brewers at Old Bisbee also add Coriander seed and bitter Orange peel to give this brew an outstanding flavor and great freshness.  Another Tempe favorite, Sleepy Dog Brewery was there in grand fashion, right next to neighboring Tempe brewery, Four Peaks.  For the Tucson locals that have yet to try Sleepy Dog, I would say that most were impressed with the Red Rover Irish Ale. A sweet, malty amber ale with a big flavor of noble hops,  dark malts and a little bit of chocolate in the finish. This brew was worth a second try for a several in my group.

The Beautiful People at Tucson Beer Fest

The beers in and of themselves were worth the price of admission, but no party would be complete without the food. All food in the general admission area as well as the VIP area was included and we chowed down at several tents in order to maintain our ability to continue sampling many more great brews. We visited Brushfire B-B-Q, Wing Stop and Zona 78  for some great grub. Inside the VIP was more great food including a catered steak dinner from Desert Diamond Casino Steakhouse, pasta from Brio Tuscan Grille, gyros from My Big Fat Greek Restaurant and clam chowder from Trident Grill.

When the sun set and night fell on Hi Corbett field, the crowd swelled into the thousands with beer lines growing longer and longer, but I would have to say the longest line for most of the night was Tucson’s newest brewery and recently crowned “Best Beer in Tucson”  for their IPA – Dragoon Brewing Co.  They had their IPA as well as the Ojo Blanco witbier but for those in the know, the real draw was for their very limited offering of “The Uno.” This Russian Imperial Stout was first brewed and served in their tasting room over the summer and it blew my mind. With a full body and complex flavor profile, this beer has quickly become one of my favorite Arizona beers joining the aforementioned Hop Knot and Devil’s Ale. Coming in at a hefty 10.4 ABV and 92 IBU’s this rich brew has flavors of spice, coffee & toffee. The Uno was so popular that they had a line solely for it’s tapping at 8pm and it was gone within 20 minutes.

The Crowd at Tucson Beer Festival

For the non-Arizona beers, I was excited to see if any of the larger breweries brought something special with them for the good people of Tucson to try. I looked no further than O’Dell Brewing Co. The Ft. Collins, CO brewery brought a firkin of their original IPA with peach added – this was a nice, flavorful beer but still big and bold with 7.0 % ABV and 60 IBUs. I came back for seconds after about an hour later only to find out that it was long gone. It was then that I had my first winter beer of the season as they were serving their Isolation Ale. Other traditional favorites that we enjoyed were the Deviant Dale’s IPA from Oskar Blues, the Little Sumpin’ Wild Ale from Lagunitas and the Oaktoberfest from Firestone Walker.

As the night went on and the beers were becoming more and more scarce, I ran in to some buddies from local radio station KLPXLocal celebrities “Sherm” the morning show producer and rock beauty Beth Simmons were in attendance with a rowdy group of peeps that I was introduced to and enjoyed getting to know. Beth’s husband seemed enamored with my flashing necklace from the VIP tent so I offered it up to him in the act of new friendship. What a great guy, he just got out of the Army and we talked about our military service. I look forward to talking with them again, perhaps a spot on the Frank Show as the resident beer expert, let’s see what the future holds. All in all, it was a great evening but it ended entirely too soon with last call coming at 9:30 and last pour around 9:40 – by closing time of 10pm, the only people left were the band 80’s and Gentlemen.

I understand that it was a long day with vendors arriving around 2pm, but I wish that they had continued pouring up until 10, we came prepared with our designated driver and wanted to continue for at least another 20 minutes.  Perhaps this is something that can looked into for future festivals, but I must say everybody in our group had a great time for a great cause, Sun Sounds of Arizona.

Great Tucson Beer Festival

Attention all suds seekers, hop heads and those just looking for a lovely evening under the stars with good friends and great beer. Sun Sounds of Arizona is back at again with the Tucson edition of the Great Arizona Beer Festival at Hi Corbett Field this Saturday, October 6th.

Sun Sounds of Arizona is a radio reading and information access service for people who cannot read print due to a disability. Each of the three beer festivals statewide The Great Arizona Beer Festival in Tempe, the Made in the Shade Tasting Festival and the Great Tucson Beer Festival are locally organized fund raising events for Sun Sounds and ALL proceeds benefit the community outreach program based out of Rio Salado College with location in the three above listed locations as well as Yuma.

As per usual, this year’ s event will be at Hi Corbett Field, the multi-use baseball stadium in midtown Tucson that used to be the Spring Training home of the Colorado Rockies a litany of other minor league teams that have come and gone. We have attended the past couple years and have learned the hard way that this is a VERY popular event and although the price may be a little steep, VIP tickets are the only way to go in order to truly enjoy the festival. For our first festival, we had general admission and arrived around 5:30 pm as the gates opened at 6pm.  Much to our disappointment, half the population of Tucson had already arrived. Do yourselves a favor and buy the VIP tickets, you will thank me later.

Drink Local

The Best Arizona Has to Offer

The next and every subsequent year, we have purchased the VIP tickets and have had a great evening. There is a separate gate for VIP ticket holders that open an entire hour earlier than general admission. This way, we can arrive right around 5pm and only have to wait 10-15 minutes to get in and start enjoying beers…with little or no lines. There is also incredible complimentary food and even a wine garden inside the VIP section. Providing the food this year for the VIP section are My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, May’s Counter Chicken & Waffles, Desert Diamond Steakhouse and Brio Tucson Grille.  There are also several beer booths inside the VIP area but I suggest arriving early and hitting all the craft brews in the main area before the onslaught of general admission festival goers arrive. Then once the crowds get too long, head back to the VIP area for short lines, more food and your very own port-a-pottys.

Speaking of the all the beers available, it looks like it will be an Arizona Craft Beer lover’s dream. With 17 entrants from all over the state, they will all be there ready to turn on new people to their great brews or to keep the regulars properly hydrated.


  • Four Peaks – Tempe
  • SanTan – Chandler
  • Sonoran – Scottsdale
  • Sleepy Dog – Tempe
  • Phoenix Ale – Phoenix



  • Dragoon Brewery
  • Barrio Brewery
  • Nimbus Brewery
  • Borderlands Brewing
  • Thunder Canyon Brewery
  • 1702 – The Address Brewing




  • Dave’s Electric Brewing – Bisbee
  • Old Bisbee Brewing – Bisbee
  • Grand Canyon Brewing – Williams
  • Lumberyard Brewery – Flagstaff
  • Mudshark Brewery – Lake Havasu City
  • Mogollon Brewing – Flagstaff

National and Worldwide favorites will be spread throughout the outfield as well as in the entryway under the 3rd base grandstands. If you are looking for some of the best craft beers, I suggest that you try to taste as many as you can from our great local breweries, but if you are looking to branch out of AZ, you can’t go wrong with the following:

  • Dogfish Head Brewing – Milton, DE
  • Oskar Blues Brewery – Lyons, CO
  • Lagunitas Brewing – Petaluma, CA
  • Stone Brewing Co. – Escondido, CA

The beers are the big draw, but there will be a ton of food as well as local restaurants, so do your part for the local economy and buy local. Tucson favorites Eegee’s, Zona 78, Trident Grill, Brushfire B-B-Q, Risky Business and RJ’s Replays will be serving up their delectable dishes. Entertainment for the night will be provided throughout the evening by 80’s and Gentlemen playing all the best in New Wave and Pop hits from the greatest generation of music. There will also be plenty of other areas to be enjoyed including a cigar booth, a tattoo booth(just showing their work, not giving), a horseshoe pit, Beep Ball and a stationary Steer Roping contest.
So put on your drinking pants, get your cab or designated driver on standby and prepare for an enjoyable evening knowing that you are helping out a great cause in Sun Sounds of Arizona.

Tucson’s Brainy Beauties

The year was 2004 and David Freedman was a senior studying business at a school world renowned for its bevy of beautiful women that wear as little as possible to class due to the hot desert climate. Freedman’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to start Tempe 12 at Arizona State University wherein he would select a group of the campus’ hottest women for a purpose. He knew that if he had a dozen of these beautiful women to model and promote for local businesses, everybody would benefit; the ladies, the businesses, the student body and the community.

The selection process was simple, the ladies would either self nominate or be nominated by another with three criterion; a current full-time student, a 3.0 minimum grade point average and a desire to help the community through promotions and philanthropic events with the only payment being the knowledge of being the best and brightest on campus.

After six years of building a successful brand at Arizona State, Freedman took his idea down south to the Old Pueblo and began Tucson 12 and the women were beating down his proverbial door to represent the Wildcats and the Tucson community. Freedman has expanded into San Diego this year and will announcing the inaugural San Diego 12 in the coming weeks, good luck to all the hopefuls in my hometown.

The newest group of 12s was recently announced in Tucson and their coming out party was to be a party for the ages. The venue was the recently renovated, remodeled and renamed Social House-SoHo across the street from Arizona stadium. Thursday nights on any college campus are usually super busy so that made this party extra crazy. When I arrived and tried to speak with Freedman, he was running around the club making sure everything was perfect for his next crop of ladies to be introduced to the community, but I finally captured some time to meet with him and ultimately the girls.

After interviewing all of the ladies, I noticed that all of them were very well-spoken and extremely polite as well as incredibly gorgeous – Freedman may well have the best job ever! The ladies ranged in age from 18 to 22 and hailed from across the country and even Puerto Rico. From Louisiana to Chicago, San Francisco to Las Vegas, even local Tucson and metropolitan Phoenix girls, these ladies will be a great addition to the community as they embark on several events in the upcoming year.

With such stunning beauty, you might assume that these ladies were looking to get by on their looks alone…and you would be wrong. Bear in mind that the minimum GPA for a 12 is 3.0 and many of the girls are above 3.5 so it was not surprising to hear about their lofty goals and dream jobs. Seanise Hawkins is a Pre-Business & Marketing major that is a member of the Blue Chip Leadership Program and aspires to be a political advisor. Lydia Sampson is a Psychology major and works with Best Buddies designed to assist those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and plans to become an Air Force officer upon graduation. Julia Peerenboom is also a Psychology major that works with Girls on the Run that inspires young girls to be joyful, healthy & confident; she is heading to Grand Canyon University in Phoenix for graduate school and plans on being a Pediatric nurse.

Julia & Nicole

One of my favorite ladies of the evening was Leah Goedecke who is double majoring in Veterinary Sciences and Nutritional Sciences and is an amateur boxer, yes – a boxer. She plans on continuing boxing and helping people and animals, what a great spirit. One of the most common responses among the other 12’s was to enter the media upon graduation, there are myriad opportunities for intelligent women with stunning beauty and I can’t wait to see these girls follow in the footsteps of U of A graduate Alex Flanagan.

Tales of a Tailgate Hero

In the dusty borderlands of Tucson, Arizona there lies a basketball school many regard as Point Guard U. After 25 straight trips to the NCAA Basketball tournament, the University has tried in vain to exhibit success in the mother of all collegiate sports. They have everything in place to make a great program, great weather, an exuberant student body and a huge grassy area known as the mall that welcomes thousands of co-eds and locals alike partaking in the age-old tradition of drinking fermented beverages as “punishment” for losing in any number of games including red solo cups, ping pong balls and bean bags. You thought I was talking about their football program??? I’m sorry, Head Coach Rich Rodriguez has a long way to go but their pre-game tailgate is top-notch.

Getting the Party Started at U of A Tailgate

The Mall at the University of Arizona is a multi-use facility that is available to rent by students, clubs or its most important use – tailgating. The area has become overwhelmingly popular over the past decade that the University sells season passes for the mall depending on the size of your vehicle and party. Since its inception, the school has sold out passes well before football season begins and has a waiting list for those hoping to get in on the action. You may be asking how do thousands of people show up with limited passes distributed and the answer is that the passes are only to bring your vehicle onto the mall, anybody (and seemingly everybody) can park and walk and party on the mall.

Tailgating Paradise in Tucson

Last Saturday was Opening Day for the football team and eager tailgaters were all waiting for the mall gates to open six hours prior to kickoff since there is a first come, first choice policy for all those holding the “golden ticket” or tailgate pass. After talking to friends that have passes, the best spot depends on what mood they are in or how they feel about their chances of winning the game. If they feel like they are going to get blown out, it is best to park right by the front gate for an early exit, if it is going to be a packed rivalry game than they prefer to be in the middle of the action to check out the best “scenery.”

Tents for miles

Expectations going into Saturday’s game were high as they had a new coach, a new regime and were going up a lesser opponent in the Toledo Rockets out of the MAC. We arrived around 2pm and fought our way through the maze of young, nubile bodies all decked out in their red Zona Zoo shirts and began drinking. A game of beer pong was progressing slowly at our area so we meandered to a neighboring spot that had the roar of flip cup and although we didn’t know them from Adam, we asked if we could join in the next game. Although my friend and I graduated college many, many years earlier, we were gladly welcomed because we knew how to impress the kids… a lot of free beer. We definitely held our own against the youthful group and headed back to our area for some of the best food in the region – carne asada. For 24 hours prior to each game, my friend would buy a couple hundred dollars worth of the Southwestern specialty and marinate in what I call “magic juice,” it makes the meat, so sweet yet with a spicy kick, so tender that you don’t need any utensils other than a tortilla, incredible with beans and rice or by itself.

Is it Game time yet?

After chowing down, my buddy and I went for a stroll throughout the vast landscape “to see what there was to see” and we were by no means disappointed. As the day grew hotter and the coeds became drunker, we were privy to several displays of flashing females as well as our fair share of drunken douchebags, the god outweighed the bad and we even had a chance to meet up with some cheerleaders. The next day, I saw that my buddy had posted his picture with the cheerleaders as his profile picture on Facebook and the running theme in the comments was that he was their tailgate hero. All in all, I would say it was definitely one of the best ways to spend a hot Arizona afternoon on the campus at the University of Arizona, now to work on that football team.

Being A SunDevil in Tucson is Tough

ASU Young Alumni Old Pueblo

This past Sunday saw 15 brave souls tough it out by wearing their beloved Maroon & Gold in enemy territory – Tucson. Union Public House holds a brunch each Sunday with half priced specialty cocktails and champagne drinks and the Old Pueblo Chapter of the ASU Young Alumni thought that it would be the perfect setting for our inaugural gathering.

They had reserved the back private dining are for us which made it more intimate for getting to know new friends and fellow alums but I really think they just couldn’t handle the sight of the bright gold that we were all sporting! Welcomed by the ASU Alumni Association‘s Executive Director of Operations Jenny Holsman & President of ASU Young Alumni Council Meghan Dorn made it feel extra special. The table was filled with various gifts ranging from water bottles to zip drives all branded with the ASYA logo.

The brunch menu looked fantastic, ranging from sweet treats to complex dishes. I knew that I had to try the Union Bloody Mary made with Absolut Peppar & garnished with a full strip of bacon and pickled veggies.

The Union Bloody Mary

It was incredible as expected and then the appetizers arrived – pretzel knots with cheese & mustard, sticky buns oozing with icing & nuts & lightly sugared donuts. The perfect amuse bouche for what led up to an incredible breakfast in the Soft Shell Crab Benedict with cured pork belly – Phenomenal.

It was great for everybody to meet one another and discuss the trials & tribulations of being a Devil in the Old Pueblo. Everybody shared their own memories of what they loved best about ASU and made plans to keep up the good fight of rooting for the “most hated team in Tucson” and I felt like I immediately made a room new best friends.


David A. Bowers ’99

Top 10 Best Things to do in Tucson

Everybody in the Valley needs to get away. Although the metropolitan Phoenix area has some of the most exciting and eclectic events happening round the clock, our little sister city 90 miles southeast of us is turning into quite the destination for Phoenicians seeking a change of scenery without breaking the bank. I have compiled a Top 10 Tucson Must See & Do with something for everybody including the furry & non-furry children.

The first thing that you need to decide is if you are coming down for a day trip or looking to stay the weekend. Two places for lodging immediately jump to the forefront each with their own special qualities; it all depends on who is accompanying you on this getaway.

  1. 1.      Hotel Congress/Club Congress           311 E. Congress St.

For those traveling without the children and looking for the historic yet hip & trendy feel of downtown Tucson, the Hotel Congress is the place where the ‘in’ crowd goes to see and be seen. Built in 1919, the Hotel Congress was built across the street from the Southern Pacific Railroad Line to serve the passengers coming into Tucson. The hotel is most famous for leading to the capture of John Dillinger in 1934, the original “Public Enemy #1.

The hotel boasts a gorgeous lobby, 3 bars serving signature cocktails and a bartender that has been there for 50+ years.The rooms haven’t changed much over the past century with no TVs, only an old-time radio. There isa quaint café that offers an incredible Sunday brunch with an outdoor patio.  The hotel and patio are pet-friendly so bring Spike or Tabby along with you. It is also home to one of the city’s best venues for live music & dancing. Club Congress is an intimate venue that has been labeled as one the Best Rock Clubs in America.The Entertainment Director is the former lead singer of Tucson’s favorite bands The Sand Rubies & The Sidewinders so he knows A LOT about the music scene.


 2.      Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa        3800 E. Sunrise Drive

If this is a family trip, Tucson has you covered here as well. The Westin La Paloma resort nestled in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains is a haven for adults and children alike.  There is 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course with awards from Golfweek, Golf Digest & Condé Nast. The Red Door Spafocuses on a holistic approach to work on your mind & body with 16 private rooms as 2 outdoor cabanas for that return to nature feel. I haven’t forgotten about the little ones either, in fact, that is what ranks this hotel & resort above the others in the city. La Paloma has five different pools; the main pool has a swim-up bar, a kids pool, a secluded adults only pool and the Southwest’s largest water slide, the Slidewinder that twists and turns for 177 ft. In addition to all that, there is a Kids Club with arts & crafts & a litany of other kid-centric activities to keep them occupied while you explore the area.

Now that you are settled in to your hotel, it is time to go out and discover all that Tucson and its gorgeous surroundings has to offer. With an elevation of more than twice that of the metropolitan Phoenix area, the temperatures tend to be on average 5-7 degrees cooler making the outdoor adventures just a little more bearable.

 3.      Mt. Lemmon/Summerhaven                     10300 Ski Run Rd.

Just a short hour’s drive north east of Tucson lies the playground for Tucsonans looking to cool off. At 8,200 feet in elevation, Summerhaven is truly a breath of fresh air. The village atop the mountain is aptly named with the high temperatures rarely, if ever reaching into the 80’s.There are a couple restaurants and a general store to service the local residents and winter visitors coming to the Ski Valley, the southernmost ski destination in the continental United States. There are several cabins that are available for rent and I personally spent my bachelor party weekend up there and we were snowed in the entire weekend, a great getaway from the hustle & bustle of the city.

 4.      Pima Air & Space Museum/AMARG Boneyard                6000 E. Valencia Rd.

One of the most awe-inspiring things that I have seen is on the southern fringe of Tucson and goes on and on and well, you get the idea. The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) is a storage facility at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base that “mothballs” planes to store indefinitely or to salvage them later for parts. With over 4,400 aircraft and aerospace vehicles from all branches of the U.S. military and federal agencies such as NASA, this vast collection provides the country with a savings account from which the military can use as they see fit. Bus tours are given Monday – Friday from 9am to 4pm and the cost for touring the Boneyard is $7 each. The Pima Air & Space Museum is one of the largest museums of its kind in the world which consists of five separate hangars, a Museum, a WWII Barracks, a Space Gallery and much, much more.

 5.      San Xavier Del Bac Mission               1950 W. San Xavier Rd.

Staying on the south side of Tucson on the road to Mexico is a National Historic Landmark;The White Dove of the Desert stands out majestically among the desert landscape and serves as a beacon to the Catholic Church. The mission was founded in 1692 by Father Eusebio Kino yet the current building wasn’t built until 1797 when the mission was still part of New Spain. The church is open to the public from 7am to 5pm daily and there is no admission charge to visit the mission. There is a museum on the premises that explains the rich history of the mission with artifacts dating back to the 18th century. Masses are still held every day as well three services on Sunday.

After a long day of sightseeing and exploring the great outdoors in southeastern Arizona, it is now time to head back to the hotel, clean up and get ready for Tucson’s offering of food, wine & FUN. With the University of Arizona so close to downtown Tucson, the 4th Avenue district of college bars and eateries is connected to the hipster downtown locale. In the northern part of the city are upscale areas for those looking for a more refined atmosphere. I have selected one restaurant from both areas as they are both tops in the city.

6.      Maynard’s Market & Kitchen                        400 N. Toole Ave.

Situated at the historic train depot of Tucson is Maynard’s Market & Kitchen, an Über-hip eatery that has garnered several accolades including the cover of Arizona Highways Best Restaurants for 2012. You can choose the dark & intimate seclusion of the 30-seat restaurant or enjoy your meal on the back plaza with the rumble of locomotives against the panoramic backdrop of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

 The Market is chock full of local foods & groceries such as Café Luce coffee, Tucson Tamales & specialty hot sauces. There is a vast wine selection sure to please any wine lover with local Arizona wineries represented. The craft beer selection is second to none and offers many local brewers such as Four Peaks & San Tan Breweries.Fresh soups, pizza & Cuban sandwiches are made daily as well as several grab & go sandwiches. There is a large community table inside the market to hold meetings or smaller tables on the front patio to enjoy the wonderful Arizona day.

 7.  The Grill at Hacienda del Sol Resort    5501 N.  Hacienda del Sol Rd.

For the oenophile or wine enthusiast, The Grill at the Hacienda del Sol Resort has been listed in Wine Spectator’s “Best of” issue for 15 years running and has twice been conferredthe Award of Ultimate Distinction from Wine Enthusiast.No other restaurant or wine bar in Arizona has received that distinction, let alone twice, so if wine is what you are looking for, you cannot do any better than the 2,000 labels and 10,000 bottles in The Grill’s wine cellar.

The Sunday Brunch at The Grill has been chosen year in and year out as the best brunch in Tucson with every food imaginable including omelet, waffle & carving stations with prime rib, ham &duck to name a few. No Sunday brunch would be complete without champagne and The Grill knows how to pamper its guests with complimentary glasses of the bubbly beverage to make your day complete.

 Now that you have enjoyed some of Southern Arizona’s more delectable dishes, it is time to find a bar, but not just any bar, you want to check out what makes Tucson special. It seems that every city is becoming more homogenized with chain restaurants and sports bars that shill the same food and beer that everybody does because the corporate mentality is to quell any originality in the fear of offending the prospective guests’ delicate senses. This bar is the farthest from a corporate bar and does its best to be as non-PC as possible.

8.      The Buffet Bar & Crock Pot                                                                        538 E. 9th St.

The Buffet Bar & Crock Pot or the “Buff” as it is affectionately known is Tucson’s oldest bar that originally opened as a buffet for the Arizona railroad workers. With the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the Buffet began serving alcohol and became a hit. This classic dive bar just east of the 4th Avenue college district and north of downtown is the epitome of what a dive bar should be. The Buffet is the nation’s largest retailer of Coors products with only Coors original & Blue Moon on tap. The jukebox is packed with classic oldies, the pool table only costs a quarter and the shuffleboard is free! If you are wondering about the Crock Pot in the name, it is because they boil hot dogs in beer all day long in the crock pot and serve ‘em up on steamed bun for only $2. Esquire magazine named the Buffet Bar & Crock Pot the “Best Bar in America” in 2011 and I wholeheartedly agree with them as the colorful clientele &dark, cool atmosphere makes me want to return time and again.

Rounding out my Top Ten Tucson Must See & Do are seasonal events, please check to make sure that you are coming during the right time of the year to enjoy these limited time pleasures. Sporting events are unique in that they pull members from all walks of society to make a cross-generational, multi-racial and all around interesting mélangeof people.

 9. Accenture Match Play Golf Championship                                The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain

Every February, the best in the world of golf descend upon the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain in Marana, approximately 30 minutes north of downtown Tucson. The top 64 golfers according to Official World Golf Rankings are invited to the tournament and are matched in a single elimination tournament resembling the NCAA Basketball tournament except that all matches take place on the same course. This is the social event of the year and Tucsonans swarm the event for its specialized format. For weeks heading into the tournament, the entire metropolitan area buzzes with golf fever. Unlike other regular golf events, golfers are matched and only the remaining 2 golfers vie for the Championship trophy on Sunday. Because of this format and limited golfers, the final day of the tournament is “Follow the Leaders” day where the general public can walk the course and literally follow the leaders through the final hole of the Championship to get the authentic feel that no other tournament can offer.

10. Tucson Padres Baseball                           Tucson Electric Park

There is nothing in the world like Minor League Baseball; the wacky promotions, the ability to see past & future baseball stars and the family atmosphere that can be enjoyed without the exorbitant costs associated with Major League Baseball. From April to September, the boys of summer take the field at the Kino Sports Complex south of the city and put on a great show regardless if they win or lose.

The Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres baseball club, the Tucson Padres are a member of the 16-team Pacific Coast League including affiliates of the Diamondbacks, Dodgers & Giants. The promotions are what make this a must do. Ranging from “Thirsty Thursdays” which offers $1.50 beers to the infamous bat nights (which will never be held in conjunction with Thirsty Thursdays again) to Military Appreciation & “Bark in the Park” wherein all active duty &veterans receive free admission and you can even bring your dog for a $5 donation to the Humane Society and enjoy time in park with your furry friends and family.

This is not an exhaustive list of things to do and see yet only my observations since moving down to Tucson from the Valley five years ago. Be sure to keep an eye out for future Top Ten Tucson articles as I go in-depth looking at all that this fair region has to offer.