February 11, 2016

AZ Beer Week is back, baby! So is this blog.

Guess you could say I’ve been hibernating for the winter, and last fall for that matter. But I’m back, and so is the sixth installment of Arizona Beer Week. With over 150 suds-centric events statewide, you’ll have to pick and choose what to do. I’ve culled together a shortlist of unique, lesser-known goings-on, Strong Beer Fest excluded. Speaking of…
Strong Beer Fest going strong on a sunny afternoon.

Strong Beer Fest: Saturday, Feb. 13, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The main event of Arizona Beer Week for many, SBF is in its 16th year and stronger than ever. VIP tickets are long gone, but a limited number of GA tickets remain. Here are some highlights:
•This year, space has stretched from 4 to 6 football fields and attendance is expected to spike to 7,000-8,000, up from around 6,000 last year.
•For those looking to get high (sorry, stoners), there will be hot air balloon rides every hour.
•For you crooners, or those with liquid courage, check out brewer’s karaoke. Earplugs not included.
•Food options have expanded, with great grub offerings from the likes of Brat Haus, The Traveling Monk, Tom’s BBQ and M Catering by Michael’s (peep the menu). To boot, VIP’ers get a voucher for one free M Catering food item (as well as a schwag bag). And I’ve been told VIP food will not run out like last year.
•It’s going to be hot, so don’t be a fool — wear sunscreen, drink lots of water (bottles are free!) and seek a shaded refuge or the Young’s Market Chill Lounge.
•Of course, the beers. Check out the most up-to-date list here, with special tappings and times here. You can also text “strongbeer” to 555888 to receive tapping schedule updates during the fest.

Sense-ational Experience: Friday, Feb. 12, 5 to 8 p.m.
Building a food base before Saturday’s Strong Beer Fest is key. One of Beer Week’s most distinctive events, this all-local beer-and-wine pairing dinner is being held at Duck and Decanter in downtown Phoenix. Tickets include four small meals prepared by D&D, paired with four SanTan beers and four Arizona Stronghold wines — all enjoyed while blindfolded “in the dark.” Proceeds go directly to the Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. SanTan 6-packs will be 30% off, also with proceeds benefitting the ACBVI.

Beer, Bites, Banter and Bromance: Tuesday, Feb. 16, 6 to 9 p.m.
Do you even bromance, bro? Hosted by the fine folks at Fate South, the brew bros from Fate, Huss, Ska and Breckenridge will be in the house ready to yuck it up in the cozy barrel room. Enjoy witty banter, three courses of small bites served with a beer from each brewery, as well as a special 4-way collaboration beer brewed up in Breckenridge. Tickets are almost sold out, so don’t delay!

Beer Spelling Bee at T&B: Tuesday, Feb. 16, 7 p.m.
No way was I not going to mention this grammar-centric gem. If you happen to be in Tucson Tuesday night, head over to Tap & Bottle and test your spelling knowledge of all things beer to win prizes. Brettanomyces. Lactobacillus. Reinheitsgebot. Easy, right? Signup starts at 6:30.

Women in craft beer panel last year at Tap & Bottle.

Badass Women of Craft Beer Panel: Wednesday, Feb. 17, 6 to 8 p.m.
Hosted by Historic Brewing Company and Girls Pint Out, The State Bar in Flagstaff proudly hosts a panel discussion featuring northern Arizona’s finest beer ladies chatting about what it’s like for a professional woman to work in a male-dominated industry. Proceeds benefit the teen girls of Northland Family Help Center. On a similar note, be on the lookout for the aptly named “She’s So Hop,” a red IPA brewed by a bevy of local women brewers. It’ll be on tap at various watering holes throughout the state.
Pedal Huss Amazing Adventure Race: Saturday, Feb. 20, noon to 3 p.m.
Two of Arizona’s best breweries, Pedal Haus and Huss, join forces to put your feet and scavenger skills to the test. The race will start at Pedal Haus and take you on foot to craft beer destinations all along Mill Avenue, where you’ll have to complete a fun task before heading to the next stop. Drink up and fill up your passport with stamps, then book it back to Pedal Haus for prizes, awards and a special Huss / Pedal Haus collaboration beer brewed just for the event.