March 1, 2012

Post AZ Beer Week 2012 Thoughts

Get it out of your heads, Phoenix. We're just as good or better than anyone else at putting on a beer week. I overheard almost every out of state brewer or rep asked the question by an eager beer drinker, "Are we as good as ____?" and I walked away before the question could be answered. I know the answer. Just a few metrics to prove my point:

  • Among the notable nationally known brewers to be here for the ENTIRE week, David Walker of Firestone Walker and Doug Odell,
  • Other out of state guests coming in mid-week and staying for several days, (Typically most come in for Strong Beer Fest (SBF) and leave on Sunday,
  • The logjam of must-go events on Thursday,
  • The well attended SBF and Brewing Up Hope event on the final Saturday. 
  • One of the largest brewouts The Arizona Society of Homebrewers (ASH), has ever put on on the Sunday after Arizona Beer Week.

Pomp and Circumstance
From a personal perspective, the events that I had a hand in planning went better than expected. On Hot Scotchy Monday, Moto chalked up 60 servings while the Hungry Monk ripped through 9 gallons worth in 2 hours. ASH managed to educate the crowds about the brewer's cocktail and homebrewing. We even had a brief ceremony to denote the first pouring of the drink in this state.

We had an ASH meeting with New Belgium's Lauren Salazar as our guest. Lauren provided an informative and entertaining sensory discussion surrounding some of the Lips of Faith offerings. She shattered some myths about aging and her tasting notes were incredibly descriptive--connecting a flavor with a memory or an experience.

Lauren Salazar at ASH
The Love of Beer Movie was well attended both nights. Many commented on how pleasantly surprised they were about Film Bar. A few memorable notes on debut night:
  • There were unexpected cheers by industry folk during a beer line cleaning sequence,
  • During the GABF awards scene, the crowd roared when Lumberyard was announced as a medalist for its IPA,
  • Melissa Osborne's cameo was much longer than I remembered. Melissa really identified with Bend Brewer, Tonya Cornett's story and had some heartfelt words during the panel after the screening,
  • There were some spontaneous cheers when Alyssa Medina's blog was mentioned during the panel. (These are the types if things that keep a blogger going.)
As mentioned above, we had a big turnout for our ASH--Beer Week Ends When We Say It Ends Brewout. 
ASH Brewout
I also had the pleasure of being a bit of an ambassador to Alison Grayson, the film maker of the Love of Beer. I tried to show here the high points and low points of living in Central Arizona and how that experience maps (literally) to our beer culture. Our tour range extended from Papago Brewing to the Bikini Lounge and an equally good time was had everywhere we went.

I think that next year will have some challenges in terms of topping this year. Some thoughts on that are for a later post. 

Cheers AZ!


  1. Yeah! Film Bar was awesome. I'm glad I got to meet and talk to Alison Grayson. My biggest regret is not getting to many events. I'm looking forward to next year!

  2. We enjoy reading about all the beers and beer stories this blog reports on. We are in the planning stages for a new brewery in Northeastern USA called Charter Oak Brewing Company LLC and our business plan is to grow to over 25,000BBL within 5 years.
    The breweries and stories you report on, allow for much encouragement.
    A True Legend!