See also: - Arizona Strong Beer Festival at Steele Indian School Park, 2/16/13 (Slideshow) - Chow Bella Rides with Mother Road Brewinn - Chow Bella Chills Out in the Fridge At Papago Breing Co. - 6 Don't-Miss Events During Arizona Cocktail Week
Light beer is for wusses. This year marks lucky 13 for the Arizona Strong Beer Fest, Phoenix's celebration of high-alcohol brews. Tickets -- $35 now and $45 at the door -- include admission, a four-ounce commemorative tasting mug and 15 tasting tickets. Those with low tolerances need not apply.
Beers to try: Bell's Brewery - Bourbon Barrel-aged Batch 9000, Hopslam Crispin Cider - Prepare to Die Desert Eagle Brewing - Imperial Oatmeal IPA Green Flash Brewing Co. - Candela Rye Barleywine Lightning Brewery - Old Tempestuous Noble Ale Works - Big Whig IPA Sonoran Brewing Co. - Figmentation Double Abbey Ale
Grab your bike and join the crazies at SanTan's Chandler brewpub for a pedal-powered pub crawl. The ride begins with a pint and grub at SanTan, followed by stops at Sidelines Sports Grill, Uncle Bear's, and Coach and Willie's. You gotta burn off all the calories you took in at the Strong Beer Fest somehow.
Beers to try: SanTan Sex Panther Double Chocolate Porter, Hopfarm Belgian IPA
It's well-known that a round of golf is greatly improved with a beer in hand. Pera Club's Country Club Classic makes it even better by taking the clubs, handicap and frustrations at your short game completely out of the equation. Instead of whacking balls, at each "hole" you'll blindly sample three beers and attempt to match the beer you tasted with one of the options provided. Strokes are given for every incorrect guess, and the lowest scores take home some pretty nifty prizes. The event also raises funds for Camp Not-A-Wheeze, a camp for kids with asthma.
Beers to try: It's a mystery!
Monday, Feb. 18 ASH Presents the Brewer's Cocktail - Hot Scotchy Night Moto and The Hungry Monk 6-10 p.m. The Hot Scotchy is among the rarest of cocktails, made by mixing a pint of the hot, unfermented malt sugar of a beer mash (AKA wort) with a few ounces of Scotch. This year, the Arizona Society of Homebrewers, one of the largest homebrew clubs In the country, brings it back bigger and better. Join ASHers at both Moto and The Hungry Monk for Scotchy-drinkin' and beer-learnin'.
Beers to try: Hot Scotchy
Odell's largest tap takeover in Arizona history will feature more than 20 brews from the Colorado brewery, including the gWOBba IPA, and imperial guava IPA brewed by World of Beer employees on Odell's pilot system.
Beers to try: Odell gWOBba IPA, Legal Pad, Featherie, Bourbon Barrel Stout, Amuste, Tripel Threat, Wooden Elephant, Cocoa Joe
This ladies-only event features five samples of beer brewed by women or at female-owned breweries, plus appetizers and dessert.
Beers to try: Something from California's female-owned and operated Lost Coast Brewery
This Beer for Brains Foundation event -- the only one benefitting the charity during Beer Week -- will feature multiple dishes paired with beers from Firestone Walker Brewery and wine from Hedges Family Winery. Guests then vote on which beverage they thought matched the dish better. The $59.00 cost includes food, beers and wine.
Beers to try: Firestone Walker Double Jack
Wednesday, Feb. 20 Fretzy's Life on Tap Charity Golf Event - Aces and Ales 2013 Anthem Golf and Country Club 10 a.m.
Greg Fretz, co-founder and director of sales at the Phoenix Ale Brewery, has been battling stage four throat cancer since October 2012. This four-person best ball golf tourney, along wi being a nice way to spend a Wednesday afternoon, will be a fundraiser for Fretzy and his family.
Beers to try: Phoenix Watermelon Ale
New Belgium Brewmaster Eric Salazar will be on hand for this brewery spotlight featuring mouth-puckering wild ales from Colorado's New Belgium Brewery. Sours like Mo Betta Bretta, Peach Porch Lounger and La Folie can be tasted alongside New Belgium regulars like Dig, Shift, Ranger and Fat Tire.
Beers to try: New Belgium La Folie, Biere de Garde, Peach Porch Lounger
Grab a pint of your favorite local brew as Tops rounds out Beer Week with an all-Arizona showcase.
Beers to try: Four Peaks Sirius Black, Oak Creek Cherry Chocolate Porter
Odell, Left Hand, Ska, Great Divide, Oskar Blues, Breckenridge and New Belgium invade Flanny's for the Second Annual Colorado Firkin Festival with seven different cask-conditioned beers and even more specialty stuff on tap. Brewery reps and brewers will be there to answer any questions and chat about their wares.
Beers to try: Cask ales from Odell, Left Hand, Ska, Great Divide, Oskar Blues, Breckenridge and New Belgium
Whole Foods' excellent in-house craft beer bar, The Watering Hole, hosts reps and brewers from Arizona for a showcase of real ale.
Beers to try: Cask ales from Sonoran, SanTan, Papago, Fate and more
The Yeti exists! Join Boulders for a night with Great Divide and the very many varieties of Yeti Imperial Stout the brewery puts out, including the espresso, Belgian, chocolate, oak-aged and whiskey-barrel-aged chocolate Yetis. Special pilot brews like the Peach Grand Cru and Spiced Winter Saison will also be on tap.
Beers to try: Great Divide Peach Grand Cru, Great Divide Whiskey Barrel Chocolate Yeti
Freak'n Brew Launch Party Ground Control 6 p.m.
The West Valley doesn't have much in terms of beer, but they do have Ground Control, and after this party launching Freak'n Brew and their double black IPA made in collaboration with SunUp, they'll have Freak'n too.
Beers to try: Freak'n Brew Double Black IPA
Fans of the rare stuff won't want to miss this event, which features hard-to-get, high-ABV brews.
Beers to try: Bell's Hopslam, Green Flash/Cigar City Candela Rye Barleywine, North Coast Barrel-aged Old Rasputin
To finish Beer Week strong, you have to start strong. Head to Handlebar for a special brats and beer pairing menu, bike maintenance demos and more. Ride your bike to the event and you get $1 off featured New Belgium beers like Fat Tire, Ranger and La Folie.
Beers to try: A Bloody Mary with a Shift lager back
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Celebrate the grand opening of Four Peaks' new tasting room and production facility with food trucks, homemade barbecue, live music, tours of the new brewery and tappings of special seasonal beers (Pumpkin Porter, anyone?).
Beers to try: Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter
Zach Fowle is a Certified Cicerone, an accredited guide to beer. He works at World of Beer in Tempe.