February 26, 2013

Arizona Beer Week Is Over. Now What?

We keep drinking good beer, duh. We keep moving forward in growing Arizona's amazing beer scene. Beer Week saw a staggering number of events (400+) hosted at a staggering number of places. Too many? Maybe. Our large, spread-out landscape makes getting to multiple events the same night a difficult, and oftentimes dangerous, task. Also, some of the local diehards would argue there were a lot of functions overly focused on out-of-state beers. No matter your point of view, there's no doubting Beer Week showed the incredible growth in our state's beer culture. Let's look at some of what went down last week.

Strong Beer Fest
The premier beer festival in Arizona, likely the Southwest, kicked off Beer Week in style. Local breweries killed it, and a number of new ones really made their presence known. Not to mention a slew of special suds from non-AZ breweries like Bell's, Marble and Odell. Read a full review here.
Great, Scotch, is this good.

ASH Hot Scotchy Night
The fine folk at the Arizona Society of Homebrewers hosted Hot Scotchy night at two locations this year — The Hungry Monk and Moto. For those not in the know, a Hot Scotchy is the brewer's secret cocktail, in that it consists of the first runnings from the mash (aka wort) and is then blended with a scotch or bourbon of your choice. But I'm not the expert in explaining the specifics of this sweet concoction. Mr. Fullmer tells it best.

Arizona Total Tap Takeover at Taste of Tops
Greg blurrily walks by.
Huge props to long-time Tops Liquors owner Greg Eccles for having the gusto to dedicate all his tap lines to Arizona brews. Derek Osborne's cask of Tatonka Stout aged in Woodinville Whiskey barrels was a real treat. Other standouts included College Street Brewhouse's Death by Chocolate, which was on tap for the first time in the Valley, Oak Creek's Cherry Chocolate Porter and Four Peaks' infamous Sirius Black. Keep it up, Greg.

New Belgium's Eric Salazar hammers it home.
Colorado Cask Night
I missed this last year and wasn't going to make that mistake again. Held in front of a packed house at Flanny's, there were seven special Colorado casks made exclusively for this night: Great Divide Chocolate Yeti spiked with curacao (my favorite); Odell Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout with cherries; Ska Decadent Imperial IPA married with mango and habanero (good, but needed more habanero spiciness); New Belgium Trippel that had been dry-hopped (dank city); Left Hand Velvet Night Milk Stout dry-hopped with Columbus hops; Oskar Blues oSKAar the G'rauch Smoked IPA; and Breckenridge Agave Wheat infused with orange and cloves (too clovey for my tastebuds). 'Nuff said.

Jim Lolli addresses the Monk faithful. 
(photo courtesy of David Rojo)
Bell's Eccentric Cafe, Arizona-Style
What many consider to be the main event outside of Strong Beer Fest, The Hungry Monk brought back their popular Eccentric Cafe to the delight of crazily-dressed crafties statewide. Owner Jim Lolli, a Kalamazoo native and one of the friendliest people you'll meet, pulled out all the stops this go-round. Patrons were presented with over 20 Bell's beers from which to quaff, including rarities like bourbon barrel-aged 9000 (perfectly balanced), Cherry Stout and Black Note, the Brettanomyces-laced Kal-Haven Rye, among many others. A wonderful way to round out this writer's AZ Beer Week.


  1. Good job spreading the gospel of the Hot Scotchy, brother Fullmer!

  2. Jeff, at this point, it's Ezra, you and I. Cheers!

  3. Revolutions have had more paltry champions. Forward!