Tag: Borderlands

10 Arizona Beers to Crack Open for Winter

It’s hard to believe that 2016 is still lingering—and still taking its toll.

Thankfully, there’s beer and plenty of it. With new breweries seemingly popping up on a daily basis across the country, it can be quite daunting to seek out something that isn’t only enjoyable but also supports the local community.

Here’s a list of 10 of the best Arizona beers to warm you up on a chilly desert night or mild winter’s day. >>>Read more

This article originally appeared on TucsonFoodie.com

Inaugural Sour Fest this weekend at Tap & Bottle in Tucson

2014-05-24 10.23.18-1

TUCSON, Ariz. — The latest rage in the craft brew industry is the onset of sour beers. These beers are exactly what they sound like, ales brewed and fermented to give a notable sour taste and aroma. The highly acidic beers can range in color from golden to brown with a low to medium hop bite. Unlike traditional brewing, sour beers are made by allowing wild yeast strains into the brew.

The most common strains are Lactobacillus, Bretannomyces and Pediococcus while tart fruits like cherries and raspberries are sometimes added during the aging process to activate a secondary fermentation.

Tucson’s very own Tap and Bottle at 403 North 6th Ave. is celebrating the sour beer this weekend with the inaugural sour fest.  Co-owners Scott and Rebecca Safford, who opened up the craft and beer tasting room last June with the hopes of creating a community where one could sample local, regional and national craft beer and wine in a relaxing and creative atmosphere.

The Sour Fest begins with a class entitled Sour 101 at 11 a.m. and continues with a tasting of bottle tasting at 1:30 p.m. Later in the afternoon, the Destihl Brewery will take over with eight separate beers on tap.

Sunday will offer a brewers panel at noon with local brewers explaining how to brew sours at noon. Another sour bottle tasting will be at 3 p.m. as well as a sour tap takeover at 5 pm.

The following is a list of beers that will be available so make your way to Tap & Bottle this weekend to expand your flavor palette and immerse yourself in sour beers—Pucker Up!

(Bold denotes local Tucson beer)

Saturday

  • New Belgium La Folie

    New Belgium La Folie

    Destihl Counter Clockweisse – Easy drinking, hints of lemon and pleasantly tart

  • Destihl Gose – Bright, citrus, salty, refreshingly sour.
  • Destihl Flemish Amber – Rich, malty, hints of oak, and wild lactic sourness. 
  • Destihl Flanders Red  – Sweet-sour, complex, lots of dark fruits, slight caramel.
  • Destihl Adam Bier  – Exotic malt profile, figs, and hints of citric acid. 
  • Destihl Black Berliner Weisse – Slight roast, nicely attenuated, and all the more sour. 
  • Destihl Sour Apple – Tart apple skin, boatloads of funk, slightly sweet.
  • Destihl Sour Strawberry – Tart strawberry and lemon, crisp, with a funky finish.
  • Petrus Aged Pale – Bright, apple skins, hints of wood, crip finish, mild sourness. 
  • Monks Cafe Flemish Red – Slightly sweet, mild complexity, lactic body, tart finish. 
  • Rodenbach Grand Cru – Delicate, semi-sweet, dark fruits, acetic finish. 
  • New Belgium La Folie – Malty, sharp lactic sourness, funk on the nose. 
  • Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura  – Bright, citrus, salty, refreshingly sour.
  • Professor Fritz Briem Berliner Weisse – Crisp, refreshing, mild funk, easy sour finish. 
  • Unity Vibration KPA – Funkmaster, vinegar, hoppy bouquet, complex finish.  
  • Dragoon Daisy – Funky citrus nose, wild, crisp, tart finish. 
  • Duchesse De Bourgogne – Lots of balsamic vinegar, oak, dates, mild lactic sour finish. 
  • Upslope/Crooked Stave Ferus Fluxxus – Amazing

Sunday

  • Monk's Cafe Flemish Red

    Monk’s Cafe Flemish Red

    New Belgium Love  – Sour and juicy, berries, oak, and hints of balsalmic vinegar. 

  • Monks Cafe Flemish Red – Slightly sweet, mild complexity, lactic body, tart finish.
  • Borderlands Citrana  – Loads of citrus, wild nose, devastatingly refreshing. 
  • Uinta Birthday Suit – Barnyard nose, nice tart body, complex finish.
  • Strubbe’s Grand Cru – Semi-dry, leather, caramel, mild lactic finish. 
  • Dragoon Daisy – Funky citrus nose, wild, crisp, tart finish
  • Iron Johns Sour Xmas
  • Iron Johns Collins Folly
  • Iron Johns Beared Mary 
  • Duchesse De Bourgogne – Lots of balsamic vinegar, oak, dates, mild lactic sour finish.
  • Sentinel Peak Berlinner Weisse
  • Struise Welzmertz Blond Stout 

The Tucson Craft Beer Lover’s Guide to Arizona Beer Week

Craft BeerArizona Beer Week begins February 15 with the 14th Annual Strong Beer Festival in Phoenix. For those in the “Old Pueblo” that are looking to partake in Arizona Beer Week without making the 120-mile trek to Steele Indian School Park, here is your handy guide to all things crafty in Tucson during Arizona Beer Week.

Nightly Events:

  • Boca Tacos y Tequila at 828 E. Speedway Blvd. will be hosting a daily “Crafty Hour” from 3-6 p.m. with $1 off all local Arizona beer.
  • All Risky Business locations will be offering $1 off all Arizona brewed draft beers all day long throughout the week.
  • Nox Kitchen & Cocktails at 6370 N. Campbell Rd. will take $2 off their four Arizona brewed draft beers throughout the week.

Saturday, February 15

Brew and Bikes

  • Location: Begins at Barrio Brewery  800 E. 16th St.
  • Time: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Event takes the riders through the heart of downtown Tucson looping around University and ending at SkyBar.

WOB_extFour Peaks Brewing Company Spotlight Weekend

  • Location: World of Beer Tucson  350 E. Congress St.
  • Time: 2 p.m. -2 a.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Four Peaks will bring some of their specialty beers to the World of Beer Tucson location on opening weekend. These beers are usually only served at the brewery including Double Knot, Hopsquatch, Barrel-Aged Kilt Lifter and others.

Arizona’s 102nd Beer and Brats Birthday Bash

  • Location: Playground Bar and Lounge  278 E. Congress St.
  • Time: 4 -10 p.m.
  • Cost: $15

A rooftop BBQ in celebration of Arizona’s 102nd birthday featuring eight Arizona breweries including Dragoon, Barrio and Borderlands from Tucson. All-you-can-eat food and a flight of four 4-oz. Arizona brews included in admission cost.

Sunday, February 16

Blues, Brews & BBQ

  • Location: Loews Ventana Canyon Resort  7000 N. Resort Dr.
  • Time: 11 a.m. -2 p.m.
  • Cost: TBA

An amazing brunch featuring locally brewed beer by Dragoon Brewing Co. with favorites from the grill. Enjoy live blues music while taking in the beautiful view of the Catalina Mountains.

Monday, February 17

Dogfish Head A-HOP-Eclipse

  • Location: World of Beer Tucson  350 E. Congress St.
  • Time: 2 p.m. -2 a.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Dogfish Head will bring some of their hoppiest beers to Tucson. Get your fill of 60, 61, 90 and 120 Minute IPAs while they last. Also on tap will be specialty brews ApriHop, Indian Brown, Burton Baton and Hellhound. There will be special prizes and giveaways as well.

Borderlands Brewery Tap Take Over at e. River Bar

  • Location: Whole Foods River Rd.  5555 E. River Rd.
  • Time: 6-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Meet and greet the crew from Borderlands Brewing Company while enjoying their beers on tap. Happy Hour specials also offered from 4-7 p.m.

thunder-canyon-brewery-logoBrewery Open House

  • Location: Thunder Canyon Brewery  7401 N. La Cholla Blvd.
  • Time: 6-8 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Stop in, tour the brewery and talk beer and brewing with the brewers at the Foothills Mall location.

Ten Fifty-Five Brewing at 1702

  • Location: 1702  1702 E. Speedway Blvd.
  • Time: 7-10 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Meet the brewers and taste the beers of 1055 Brewing while enjoying some of the best pizza in town.

Tuesday, February 18

Beer, Burgers and the Four Peaks Brew Master

  • Location: Nox Kitchen & Cocktails  6370 N. Campbell Rd.
  • Time: 11;30 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Lunch with the Brew Master and friends of Four Peaks Brewery. Nox will be offering a burger along with any one of four Arizona draft beers for only $10.

Taco Tuesday with Dragoon and Four Peaks

  • Location: Fini’s Landing  5689 N. Swan Rd.
  • Time: 4-7 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

A collaborative event hosted by two of the state’s most popular breweries. Fini’s Landing will be offering $2.50 tacos to go along with $1 off Arizona craft beers. The Collaboration Weizenbock, brewed by six Arizona breweries will also be available along with special giveaways including a commemorative Four Peaks pint glass.

Meet the Brewers

  • Location: Zona 78  7301 E. Tanque Verde Rd.
  • Time: 4-6 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Brewers from 1055 Brewing and Dragoon Brewing will be on hand to discuss their brews.

Pastiche Food and Drink Arizona Beer Dinner

  • Location: Pastiche  3025 N. Campbell Ave.
  • Time: 6:30-9 p.m.
  • Cost: $45

Five course meal by chef Tim Moore paired with some of the best craft beer that Arizona has to offer.

Sonoran Brewing Night

  • Location: Mr. Head’s  513 N. 4th Ave.
  • Time: 7-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Jim Layrd, the president of Sonoran Brewing, Arizona’s first microbrewery, will be at Mr. Head’s sharing knowledge along will samples and brewery goodies.

FourPeaks BrewFour Peaks Sweet 16

  • Location: Monsoon’s Tap & Grill  6781 N. Thornydale Rd.
  • Time: 7-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Monsoon’s, northwest Tucson’s newest craft beer bar has always offered Arizona only beers on tap since they opened last fall. Tuesday night’s event welcomes Ted Golden and Jim Roper of Four Peaks Brewing as they bring along 16 barrels of their specialty suds including rare beers like Short Hop Session IPA, Poppin’ Pils, Tequila Barrel-Aged Raj IPA, Odelay, Diablo Rojo and Sirius Black. The always popular Bourbon Barrel-Aged Kilter Lifter, Collaboration Weizenbock and their standard eight beers will also be flowing.

“Brewing Arizona” Book Signing and 1055 Brewing Showcase

  • Location: Tap & Bottle  403 N. 6th Ave.
  • Time: 7-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Author Ed Sipios will be signing copies of his book while the brewers of 1055 Brewing will showcase four of their beers including the first sighting of Two Sons Imperial IPA outside of their tap room.

Wednesday, February 19

dragoonDragoon and 1055 Brewing Collaboration Tour

  • Location: Dragoon Brewing Company 1859 W. Grant Rd.
  • Time: 2-8 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Join 1055’s J.P. Vyborny and Dragoon’s Eric Greene for a tour of an operating brewhouse.

Borderlands Brewing at Sir Veza’s

  • Location: Sir Veza’s  4699 E. Speedway Blvd.
  • Time: 3-5 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

The brewers of Borderlands Brewing Company will be offering their new winter beers as well as standard favorites.

Celebration of Southern Arizona Beers

  • Location: Good Oak Bar  316 E. Congress St.
  • Time: 4 p.m.-12 a.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Good Oak Bar will be offering a variety of beers from Southern Arizona.

Old Bisbee Brewing Company Tap Take Over at e. River Bar

  • Location: Whole Foods River Rd.  5555 E. River Rd.
  • Time: 6-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Meet and greet the crew from Old Bisbee Brewing Company while enjoying their beers on tap. Happy Hour specials also offered from 4-7 p.m.

Grand Canyon Flight Night

  • Location: Tap & Bottle  403 N. 6th Ave.
  • Time: 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Experience some of the lesser known beer from Grand Canyon Brewing in Williams, Ariz. Bryan Young will be offering the Black Iron IPA, American Pilsner, Shaggy Bock and Double IPA. Young will also be on hand to answer questions and give away beer-centric prizes.

ten fifty-five1055 Beer Dinner at Proper

  • Location: Proper  300 E. Congress St.
  • Time: 6:30-9:30 p.m.
  • Cost: TBD

A multiple course beer dinner featuring the beers of 1055 Brewing Co. paired with plates prepared by the Chef d’Cuisine, Kris Vrolijk.

Borderlands Beer Quiz

  • Location: Borderlands Brewing Company  119 E. Toole Ave.
  • Time: 6:30-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

An epic beer-related pub quiz with questions submitted by the leading minds of the Tucson beer community. Teams of four will compete for a generous Borderlands bar tab.

Barrio Brewing Late Night

  • Location: Mr. Heads  513 N. 4th Ave.
  • Time: 10 p.m.-12 a.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Samples and explanations of Barrio’s brews.

mudsharkThursday, February 20

A Night of Lunacy

  • Location: World of Beer Tucson  350 E. Congress St.
  • Time: 2 p.m.-2 a.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Mudshark Brewing of Lake Havasu City will feature eight different varieties of their Lunacy beer.

Borderlands Brewing at Pub 22

  • Location: Pub 22  15920 S. Rancho Sahuarita Blvd.
  • Time: 3-5 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

The brewers of Borderlands Brewing Company will be offering their new winter beers as well as standard favorites.

Dragoon Brewing Cask and Food Truck Pairing

  • Location: Tap & Bottle  403 N. 6th Ave.
  • Time: 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Dragoon Brewing will be bringing two cask conditioned and other other special beers to Tap & Bottle. Chef’s Kitchen Food Truck will be on site with a special menu paired with the Dragoon beers.

SanTanLogoSanTan Up and Down Congress

  • Location: Starts at Proper  300 E. Congress St.
  • Time: 6 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

A mini pub crawl tasting two unique Arizona beers at Proper, Hub Restaurant and Creamery, Good Oak Bar and World of Beer.

Thunder Canyon Brewing Tap Takeover

  • Location: Monsoon’s Tap & Grill  6781 N. Thornydale Rd.
  • Time: 6 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Thunder Canyon Brewing brings 18 different beers to Monsoon’s for your tasting pleasure.

SanTan Brewing Company Tap Take Over at e. River Bar

  • Location: Whole Foods River Rd.  5555 E. River Rd.
  • Time: 6-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Meet and greet the crew from SanTan Brewing Company while enjoying their beers on tap. Happy Hour specials also offered from 4-7 p.m.

Borderlands_BrewingThe Biology of Beer

  • Location: Maker House  283 N. Stone Ave.
  • Time: 7-8 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Mike Mallozzi, co-owner of Borderlands Brewing and Ph.D. microbiologist, will discuss how the sciences of molecular biology, microbiology, and biochemistry all started with beer.

Barrio Brew Master’s Dinner

  • barrioLocation: Barrio Brewing  800 E. 16th St. .
  • Time: 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
  • Cost: TBA

Five Course Dinner paired with Barrio brews. The Brew Master will also be explaining each beer served.

Dragoon Brewing Night

  • Location: Mr. Head’s  513 N. 4th Ave.
  • Time: 8:30-10 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Samples and explanations of five Dragoon brews with collectible and prize giveaways.

Friday, February 21

Dragoon Brewing and Food Pairing

  • Location: Time Market  444 E. University Blvd.
  • Time: open
  • Cost: N/A

Time Market will be pairing custom-built plates with featured Dragoon beers.

sentinel_peak___2.largeLemon-Wit Collaboration Release

  • Location: Sentinel Peak Brewing Company  4746 E. Grant Rd.
  • Time: 3-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

The release of a Lemon-Wit that uses Marana grains and Tucson lemons. This is a collaboration recipe with Granite Mountain Brewery from Prescott, AZ. They have brewed the same recipe (with the same ingredients) and will also be releasing it this week.

Barrio Brewing Company Tap Take Over at e. River Bar

  • Location: Whole Foods River Rd.  5555 E. River Rd.
  • Time: 6-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Meet and greet the crew from Barrio Brewing Company while enjoying their beers on tap. Happy Hour specials also offered from 4-7 p.m.

1702azLocals Only-Arizona Brewers Unite!

  • Location: 1702 1702 E. Speedway Blvd.
  • Time: 8-10 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Several local Arizona beers all in one place on one night.

Borderlands Movie Night – “Beer on a Roll”

  • Location: Borderlands Brewing Company  119 E. Toole Ave.
  • Time: 7-9 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

The Arizona premier of “Beer on a Roll”, The story of one man, one bike, 3000 miles, and a craft beer tour of America.

Dragoon Night on the Patio

  • Location: Che’s Lounge  350 N. 4th Ave.
  • Time: 8-10 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Che’s Lounge will be featuring several Dragoon beers along with the premier patio in Tucson.

Collaboration Brewday

  • Location: Mr. Head’s  513 N. 4th Ave.
  • Time: 9:30-11:30 p.m.
  • Cost: N/A

Mr. Head’s will have the Arizona Weizenbock thanks to Four Peaks, 1055, Dragoon, Huss Brewing and Wanderlust Brewing Companies. Four Peaks will also be on hand offering samples, explaining the brewing process and handing out prizes for all in attendance.

Saturday, February 22

ACBGSouthern Arizona Brewers Festival

  • Location: Maker House  238 N. Stone Ave.
  • Time: 2-6 p.m.
  • Cost: $35/ $45-day of event

The end cap festival for Arizona Beer Week featuring Southern Arizona’s premier breweries. Participants will get a commemorative pint glass and exclusive access to your local brewers. Enjoy your brews while you listen to local live music from The Bennu and local eats available for purchase from a selection of Tucson food trucks.

4th Annual Arizona Beer Week Returns in February

az-beer-weekArizona is prepping for the biggest and best beer week ever.

From the tall pines of Flagstaff to the dusty borderlands of Tucson, the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild will be celebrating the state’s craft beer industry from February 15-22. The annual event will focus on craft beer education, the artistry of brewing and the all-important tasting of the state’s best suds.

“The purpose of Arizona Beer Week is to reconnect beer with celebration and sense of place,” Rob Fullmer, Executive Director, Arizona Craft Brewers Guild said Tuesday. “Of course, it starts with the Arizona Craft Brewers, but some of the most original and exciting events are those put on by the state’s bars, restaurants and homebrew clubs.”

The week begins with my favorite annual beer festival, the Strong Beer Festival. For the 14th consecutive year, the Strong Beer Festival features several beers with high alcohol content.

The event takes place at Indian Steele Park, 300 East Indian School Rd. Strong-Beer-Festival1in Phoenix with gates opening up to the V.I.P. crowd at noon and going until 5 p.m. Last pour will be called at 4:45 p.m. but it is highly doubtful that even general admission entrants (who are let in at 1 p.m.) will be clamoring for more beer come that time.

General admission tickets for the event includes a commemorative 4 oz. mug and 15 tasting tickets for $50. V.I.P. tickets for this event are well worth the price of admission.  For the $70 price tag, you will receive five additional tickets and an added hour of tasting. Other swag includes a t-shirt and towel from the event along with access to reserved seating and restrooms; a meet and greet with the brewers, a pretzel necklace and a $10 food voucher. For the early birds, the first 100 to purchase V.I.P. tickets will also receive a reserved parking space for the event. Designated driver tickets will also be available for $10 each. Although strong beers will be the focus of the festival, several other craft beer types and styles will be available along with various food and music. Click the above picture to purchase tickets or through Showclix.com.

One of the hottest new trends is “beer running.”  For more on the trend, check out @TheBeerRunner on twitter. Four Peaks Brewery will be hosting the Skirt Chaser 5K at the Tempe Beach Park from noon-5 p.m. There will be a beer garden, live music and an after party. Tickets for the race and after party range from $35-$75, register online here.

brews_cruise_2014To complete your weekend, hop on your bicycle and head over to SanTan Brewery in Chandler for the annual BrewsCruise 2014. Plan on arriving early to enjoy their incredible pub fare and delicious variety of craft beers. The party leaves SanTan at 2 p.m. en route to The Hungry Monk, Dos Gringos-Chandler and ending up at Chandler’s newest nanoBrewery, Restaurant and Bar—The Perch. The $25 ticket price includes food at SanTan and a beer at each location. For more information and to purchase tickets for the BrewsCruise 2014, click here.

Boulders on Broadway in Tempe will also be hosting their 4th Annual Beer Festival at their location.

“Some of the bigger events are in Phoenix where the larger beer market is, but there are a number of events throughout the state,” Fullmer said. “It’s about the people and places throughout the state. As a person that is in tune with craft culture, you may not find a happy hour featuring a local pale ale too exciting, but to someone who is able to make that connection during beer week, well that’s worth it to us.”

Some notable events outside of the metro Phoenix area happening on a Monday night are Tucson’s Thunder Canyon Brewery craft beer education open house at their Foothills Mall location from 6-8 p.m. Brewery tours and discussions with the brewers will take place and there is no charge.

Flagstaff’s Wanderlust Brewing will collaborate with Pizzicleta Kitchen to host the Biggest Little Beer Dinner. The five-course dinner paired with craft beer will cost you $50, contact Caleb Schiff at Pizzicletta for reservations.

For the first time ever, Arizona’s two foremost breweries, Four Peaks Brewing & SanTan Brewing will collaborate for a beer dinner at Vintage 95 Wine Lounge. Executive Chef Michael Wahlberg has created a Brazilian theme dinner to pair with the rarest brews from SanTan and Four Peaks including SanTan’s Saison di Aleatico, Four Peaks Double Knot IPA and SanTan’s Russian Imperial Stout. A collectible beer glass with logos from all participants will be handed out to the first 100 patrons. $65 per person, tickets are available here.

homebrewers-association-logoTucson’s 1055 Brewing Co. will host a beer dinner Wednesday night in the hip, downtown restaurant, Proper.  Chef d’Cuisine Kris Volijk will offer up a multiple course dinner featuring beer from Ten Fifty-Five. Staying in downtown Tucson, Borderlands Brewing Co. will be hosting “an epic beer-related pub quiz.” Get your team of four together to battle it out for a paid-in-full bar tab at Borderlands Brewing Co.

The Arizona Homebrewers Association Rally takes place Thursday, February 20 at the newly opened SanTan Production Brewery in Chandler. The rally includes a VIP brewery tour; a meet & greet with the brewers, an in-depth Q&A session and a chance to win prizes from the AHA and SanTan Brewing. The rally is free for current AHA members and others can join and RSVP here.

Moving back to Tucson, Barrio Brewing will be hosting a five-course beer dinner and Maker House will host “The Biology of Beer.” Maker House co-owner and Ph.D. microbiologist Mike Mallozzi will discuss how the sciences and beer interact.

Friday night will be the perfect time to venture up to Pine and THAT Brewery & Pub. They will be hosting a different type of beer pairing—with donut holes and delicious sauces. Three THAT brews and pairings for $10. Staying in the middle section of the state, Prescott Brewing Co. will be featuring a different appetizer with guest’s choice of beer every day of the week for the incredibly low price of $8.99. Friday night’s special app is the Lodgepole Light braised chicken egg roll with chipotle honey dipping sauce.

Rob Fullmer

Rob Fullmer

The week closes out with a new event in Flagstaff, the Inaugural Brewery Bowl Off at Starlite Lanes. 10 of Arizona’s local breweries are expected to compete for a coveted tap handle spot at the alley for a year. The contest will be based on 75% taste and 25% bowling. Tickets for the general public include a commemorative 16 oz. glass, drink and voting tickets. Bowling and shoes are included in the bigger packages. Ticket prices range from $30-$50 and can be purchased here.  This will be a fundraising event for the Shadows Foundation, dedicated to helping individuals who are affected by life threatening diseases.

Craft brewers have taken a big part in giving back to their respective communities that they serve and these events, while fun, all serve a greater purpose.

“The mission is to protect and promote the Arizona Craft Brewing industry through education. That’s really just the surface,” said Fullmer. “The men and women in this industry are the small business and community leaders in their towns and neighborhoods. They bring people in this state a wonderful product and they are the creators of the places where people gather together, meet their neighbors and build community. We need more of that in this state.”

We do need more of that, so make an effort to visit your local breweries and craft beer bars during Arizona Beer Week and thank them not only for their fine product but for also for creating a place for people to congregate and enjoy said libations.

I know I don’t have to wait for Arizona Beer Week for an excuse to visit my favorite breweries.

2nd Annual Born & Brewed: Tucson’s Beer Cup

born brewed

The craft beer explosion is in full swing and not only is the metro Tucson area taking notice, beer lovers from across the state and region are visiting and loving local Tucson beers. Hotel Congress Beverage Director David Torkko is taking full advantage of this increased awareness and popularity by throwing Tucson’s only celebration of all local brews.

Connoisseurs of all shapes and sizes love the experimentation and tasty treats offered up by Tucson’s eight local breweries and this Friday, the plaza at Hotel Congress will be the epicenter of awesomeness replete with fresh hops and funky flavors.

Local favorite Dragoon Brewing Company won “Best Overall Beer” at last year’s inaugural event with their India Pale Ale offering. The true West-Coast IPA is pale in color and heavy on floral citrus hop aroma. The blend of Summit, Columbus, Zythos and Magnum hops added throughout the process finish the beer with the perfect combination of high alcohol content (7.4% A. B. V.) and bitterness (85 I.B.U.)

A couple blocks west of Hotel Congress is downtown favorite, Borderlands Brewing Company. Borderlands’ flagship beer, the Noche Dulce Moonlight Vanilla Porter was named “Best Specialty Beer” by festival goers, with good reason—it was specially delicious. Brewers Mike Mallozzi and Myles Stone describe the Noche Dulce as “dark beer for those that don’t like dark beer.” Flavors of cocoa, espresso and vanilla dominate the palate for a surprisingly easy-drinking beer considering it’s stout alcohol content weighing in at 7.1% A.B.V.

Tucson Beer CupBoth breweries will be back in attendance to defend their title as they compete for a year-long placement in Tucson’s funkiest bar, the Tap Room in the Hotel Congress, a trophy and the bragging rights of “Best Beer in Tucson.”

Looking to dethrone Dragoon and Borderlands will be returning breweries Barrio Brewing, Nimbus Brewing and Thunder Canyon Brewery. Joining the fray this year will be newcomers Ten Fifty-Five and Sentinel Peak Brewing. Special guests Four Peaks Brewery and Dave’s Electric will also be on hand offering up their suds but will not in the running for the Beer Cup.

The event will also feature live music and a pretzel buffet. House-made pretzels made exclusively for the event with all your favorite fixins and toppings.

For $30, this is the best deal for three hours of sheer craft beer enjoyment.

For those who are looking to make a night out of it, Hotel Congress is offering up some great packages including two festival tickets, a room and two day-after drink tickets for the low price of $179 for a double bed (or two twins) and $199 for two doubles. The Cup Cafe has earned statewide recognition for the “Best Bloody Mary” and everybody loves  juice in the morning.

Contact the Hotel Congress at (520) 622-8848 for tickets or purchase online here.

Arizona Craft Brewers Guild Inaugural SpringFest a Big Hit in Tucson

Springfest

The booming craft brewing industry made its mark on Tucson last weekend.

Over 50 craft breweries from across the country descended on the sleepy burgh of Tucson for a day of great beer and delectable treats on one of the warmest days of the year. I was invited to the VIP treatment by a great friend of mine in the burgeoning craft brewing scene, Steene Routh.

I met Steene several years ago when I was bartending in college, long before craft beer was a “thing” in Arizona. We had Bandersnatch and Four Peaks in Tempe, Papago in old town and Sonoran Brewing in north Scottsdale.  The past five years has seen an explosion of Arizona breweries with seemingly new ones opening on a monthly basis.

Statewide, breweries have flourished in cities like Bisbee and Lake Havasu City joining established breweries such as Oak Creek out of Sedona, Beaver Street out of Flagstaff and Gentle Ben’s in Tucson.

First in line for Craft Brew

First in line for Craft Brew

I met up with Routh and her beau, Mike along with another longtime friend and beer lover from Colorado, Laura Mann. We arrived at the Rillito Racetrack around 11:30 am and were the first in line awaiting the gates to open at noon. Much like a quality ride at Disneyland, we went through one line to wait in another and there we stood, mouths agape, waiting with bated breath for the behemoth security guard to allow us entry.

One notable improvement from beer festivals that I have been to in the past is that as VIPs, not only were we allowed an extra hour to partake in the hand-crafted suds, we were given a bar towel with the SpringFest logo. This towel came in extremely handy several times—I will bring it along on all future beer events as I have been known to spill a little here and there.

Being a resident of Tucson for the past 5 1/2 years, I have grown to love the offerings from local establishments and could not wait to visit their tents and introduce my out-of-town friends to them. My favorite of the bunch was the Saison Blue from Dragoon Brewing Company. I was surprised to see the big boss, Bruce Greene at the event along with longtime employee Pat at the taps. The Saison Blue is a great beer for the warm weather. This farmhouse ale is brewed with blue corn and agave nectar then dry-hopped for a floral finish. The 7.5% ABV packs a nice punch and yet it is easily drinkable.

SF Field

Local Tucson Breweries

The gentlemen at Borderlands Brewing Company also did not disappoint with their selections and their recent brews are definitely something to write home about.  The Hibiscus Saison was another light, refreshing farmhouse ale with a sweet smell from the hibiscus and an herbal finish. The low ABV makes this selection a perfect session beer for the hot summer days in Tucson.

Nano-breweries Ten Fifty-Five Brewing and Sentinel Peak were both on hand and their beers were flowing nicely for those who haven’t yet ventured to their tasting rooms. Ten Fifty-Five made us wait until 2pm to get their Two Sons Citra Double IPA, but it was well worth the wait. The Sugar Skull Chocolate Milk Stout was also a big hit while waiting. Sentinel Peak offered up a beer that was perfect for the warm afternoon—the Summer Swelter Citrus Ale. I wholeheartedly enjoyed this offering, more than once.

Other Tucson breweries Nimbus, Barrio/Gentle Ben’s and Thunder Canyon were present and all seemed to be doing brisk business.

The biggest surprise of the weekend for me was to see a former college buddy, Jon Lane at the event…as an owner of one of the Valley’s most popular up and coming hot-spots. O.H.S.O. Eatery and nanoBrewery is located in the Arcadia district of Phoenix at 49th St. and Indian School and boasts 13 local craft beers on tap as well as four of their own. They are an environmentally friendly restaurant that is both bicycle and pet-friendly—I shamelessly packed away several of their handmade dog treats but their beer is what kept me coming back. I truly loved their Orange Pail Ale, great stuff.

A relaxing day with great beer

A relaxing day with great beer

One of my favorite beers of the day came from College Street Brewhouse and Pub from Lake Havasu City. Their Big Blue Van Blueberry Vanilla Wheat was super refreshing. The unfiltered wheat beer brewed with blueberries and vanilla bean was divine and the addition of fresh blueberries put it over the top. This was a definite favorite among the group.

Other valley favorites such as Four Peaks and SanTan were on hand and I would have been remiss if I missed the spring time favorite Mr. Pineapple from SanTan and my go-to beer—Hop Knot from Four Peaks.

The beer that had the longest wait time was also the beer that put many over the edge. Goose Island treated the festival goers with one of only four kegs in the state of Arizona of their Bourbon County Stout. At 14.5 % ABV, this sipping beer had an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke.

If last weekend was any indication, it is plain to see that the city of Tucson has truly embraced the craft brew industry and is on pace with the metropolitan Phoenix area in hosting great festivals.

A huge thanks to the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild for recognizing Tucson and allowing people to see that the Old Pueblo has a lot more to offer than just Eegee’s and Lucky Wishbone.

Northwest Firefighters Top Hops Brew Challenge

nwff

Talk about sparking interest in the burgeoning Arizona Craft Brew scene.

In what started as a friendly competition between the firehouses in the Northwest portion of Tucson has blossomed into a full-on beer and music festival that will host hundreds of suds-seeking hop-heads. Every department in Tucson will be represented along with a couple from Phoenix coming down to tackle the challenge.

The Northwest Firefighters Charities through the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3572 will be setting up  shop in the parking lot of Foothills Mall just outside of Tucson’s very own Thunder Canyon Brewery.  There will be over twenty different beer booths displaying their home-brewed beers for the public. The winning beer will go on to be produced and sold at Thunder Canyon Brewery.

thunderEVENT DETAILS

  • Date: Saturday, April 6
  • Time: 6 p.m.
  • Location: Foothills Mall Parking Lot Outside of Thunder Canyon Brewery
  • Address: 7401 N. Cholla Blvd.
  • Cost: $20-$30

THE BEER

In addition to the Brew Challenge itself, several local, state and national breweries will be on hand with samples of their phenomenal beers. Along with sponsor Thunder Canyon Brewery, other local entrants that will be offered are from Tucson favorites Dragoon Brewing Company, Barrio Brewing Co. and Borderlands Brewing. Newcomers to the Tucson craft beer scene, Ten Fifty-Five Brewing and Sentinel Peak Brewing will also be present and accounted for offering samples of their glorious goodness.

Valley favorites Four Peaks Brewing and SanTan Brewing will also be in attendance as will Grand Canyon Brewery. Other regional breweries that will be on hand are Santa Fe Brewing from New Mexico, Big Sky Brewing from Montana, New Belgium from Colorado, Coronado Brewery from California and  Maui Brewing from Hawaii. Bucking the regional trend is Dogfish Head Brewery coming all the way from Milton, Delaware. Their beers transcend their humble roots and are welcomed by craft beer aficionados worldwide.

3572THE CAUSE

There has never been a better reason to drink great beer than helping out local children. Last year alone, the Northwest Charities Holiday Assistance Program assisted nearly 800 children with toys, food  and clothing.  IAFF Local 3572’s Northwest Charities also supports the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the National Fallen Fire Fighters Association, the Flowing Wells Resource Center and the Marana Food Bank.

THE REST

If the beer alone was not enough to get you to attend this great event, there will also be several food trucks offering up their culinary concoctions and a stage with live music presented by the Northwest Firefighters Pipes and Drums, The Sound Bytes, Cooper Meza, Whiskey Knuckles and other local pipe and drum corps.

Discounted tickets are on sale for $20 at Thunder Canyon Brewery on Friday, April 5th from 6-10 pm. If you are unable to make it there on Friday night, they will have tickets for sale for $25, discounted tickets are also available through Friday at:

  • Borderlands Brewery – 119 E. Toole Ave. (downtown)
  • 1702 Brewery and Pizza – 1702 E. Speedway Blvd. (at Campbell)
  • Noble Hops – 1335 W. Lambert Lane (Oro Valley)

Tickets are also available online via PayPal for $25 or at the gate for $30.

Gates open at 6 p.m. so make plans for a fun evening under the stars with plenty of great beer, good food and an all-around spectacular time while supporting an even better cause.

Who said that no good would ever come from beer?