Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Impending Beer Fest

I am quite excited about the upcoming beer festival at Tempe Town Lake. After finishing the Strong Beer Fest 2 weeks ago I really am in the mood for more tastings. The AZ Beer Fest has a list of the vendors that will be in attendance, and while I am disappointed that several local breweries appear to have opted out (I hear it is due to the fact that the festival is requiring the breweries to acquire insurance in addition to donating beer and time). While I understand the pressures the breweries are under with these festivals and I kind of feel that I am taking advantage of them, I can't let that stop me from trying out some new beers from them. I take solace in the fact that I actually do support them outside of the festivals. I buy their beer and I write reviews of their beer on this widely read blog (this is where I need some kind of confirmation, because I am relatively sure that I am the only person reading the stuff).

Anyway, I am quite interested in the Unibroue offerings. They don't bring kegs, rather cases and cases of their bottles and it is all good if you re a fan of Belgian style ales. Locally I am interested in the Prescott Brewing Funkendunkel. I make it a point to stop by Prescott Brewing every time I am in town and was on their newsletter distribution until the killed it to save costs. I am also interested in the Oak creek King Crimson. I heard some good things about this beer form the Strong Beer Fest, but didn't get a chance to try it. Look for pictures and reviews to come. I have also added a Twitter feed to my blog so expect to see some live updates from the fest itself.


Monday, February 18, 2008

2008 Strong Beer Festival

On Saturday, Matt and I went to our first Strong Beer Festival in Mesa. Held at the Mesa amphitheater it was quite fun with a number of brewers on hand. I got to taste some things that I really wanted to try. I started with an oldy but goody, the Four Peaks Hopsquatch Barleywine. I had heard they were only bringing a single keg of this and wanted to make sure I got a taste. From there I had:

Prescott Brewing RIS
Papago Brewing Grand Cru, Double Dry Hopped IPA
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery Cask Milk Stout
Sonoran Brewing Cask Barleywine
Anchor Brewing San Francisco, CA Anchor Steam
Beer Valley Brewing Ontario, OR Black Flag Imperial Stout
Big Dog Brewery Las Vegas, NV Barleywine
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Chico, CA Bigfoot
Stone Brewing Co. Escondido, CA 10th Anniversary Ale, Old Guardian
Widmer Brothers Brewing Portland, OR '08 Special

I did the math and I had 2 more tastings, and can't recall from where. I think one was a Flying Dog ale, but I can't remember the name. As you can see from the picture Matt wore his X-Mormon Drinking Team shirt, but he didn't leave with it. A guy from Sonoran Brewing offered him a shirt for trade and he took it. We eventually got 2 shirts for the trade and he gave me one. Now I owe Matt a shirt. I hope they are at the Tempe festival in 3 weeks so I can buy him one.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Spring Beer Festivals

In the next 5 weeks I have some great beer events to look forward to. First up is the Strong Beer Festival in Mesa. I had thoughts of attending this last year, but the birth of my second born 2 weeks before the fest killed that hope. This year I think I deserve double tastings to make up for the sacrifice. Second, we have the so called Great Arizona Beer Festival that I tend to refer to as the Tempe Beer Fest. The Sun Sounds organization actually hold 3 events each year in the state (well 2 in AZ and one in North Mexico). Last year I went to the Tempe and Flagstaff editions of this festival and I have to say that Flagstaff was better in almost every aspect. I had VIP tickets to both and the Flagstaff version of VIP was much nicer. You can't knock the Flagstaff weather, but it is totally possible for a Tempe early March to be nicer than Flagstaff early July, although last year it was a toss up, with uncomfortably warm for both. I will be attending with my wife for the second and with my buddy Matt for the first. Look for reviews and pictures in the coming weeks.