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.
Joining 1912 and Old Bisbee from the Grand Canyon State are as follows:
- Barrio Brewing Co. – Tucson
- Nimbus Brewing Co. – Tucson
- Sentinel Peak Brewing Co. – Tucson
- Beast Brewing Co. – Bisbee
- Uncle Bear’s Brewery – Phoenix
- Huss Brewing Co. – Tempe
- Prescott Brewing Company – Prescott
- Grand Canyon Brewing Co. – Williams
- Mudshark Brewery – Lake Havasu City
- Mother Road Brewing Co. – Flagstaff
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:
- 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 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.