Best Beer Festival - 2009
Arizona Strong Beer Festival
In Germany, it's October. In Arizona, it's March. Yes, we're referring to that magical time when every weekend seems to bring a new opportunity to engage in the drunken debauchery of a massive outdoor beer festival. Kicking things off on the last Saturday in February, the Arizona Strong Beer Festival in Mesa gets many of the same brewers as the other festivals, but its prime location (the intimate and lush Mesa Amphitheatre) and its great time slot (before there's any hint of heat to dampen the fun) make it special. Oh, yes, the beer . . . The Strong Beer fest gives brewers a chance to break out the high-octane stuff, meaning the lowest alcohol content you'll find is 8 percent. Yes, every beer you drink has about twice as much buzz as Bud Light. To mark the occasion, local brewers such as Four Peaks bring stuff you've probably never tried, and such regional brew powers as Dogfish Head are known to bust out a few barrels of limited-edition suds you'd pay a mint to sample otherwise.