Best Beer Festival 2016 | Arizona Strong Beer Festival | Food & Drink | Phoenix

If you took a year and dedicated it to tasting a different craft beer every day, you would still need an additional month and then some to sample all of the beers available at the Strong Beer Festival. In 2017, there will be 400 different craft beers for brewheads to taste at the festival that will take over Steele Indian School Park. Four Peaks, the Phoenix Ale Brewery, SanTan Brewing Company, Mother Road Brewing Company, and many more all participate to show that Arizona knows beer, knows how to make it well, and probably most importantly, knows how to drink it.

In a tight-knit space, Central Wine seemingly does it all — they have wine by the glass, in half-glass flights, and by the half-bottle (always a good variety, whether you want to, say, start with a skin-fermented chardonnay or end the evening with a nice Californian syrah); great local beers (i.e., Historic Brewing Company's Piehole Porter from Flagstaff — and beer flights, too, if you can't decide on just one at a time); and plenty of snacks. That means everything from burrata and balsamic on Noble Bread toast or a local Crow's Dairy cheese board, all the way down to a Patti Cakes fudge brownie. Wine has never been so much fun.

The French know their rosé. And though they swirl it in their glasses, sloshing with ice, they have never taken the drink to its logical American conclusion: Throw it in a can and add fizz. In terms of refreshment, nothing beats Dos Cabezas' canned Sparkling Pink Rosé. It exploded on the scene last year, and, due to its popularity, was scarce on the market. No other wine quite captured that same magic this year, which means that Dos Cabezas remains king of the summer. Challengers are accepted; we like our wine cooler, so long as it doesn't include wine coolers.

Be Coffee is tucked away in the monOrchid gallery and office space off Roosevelt Row. A good amount of be's coffee comes from Swillings Coffee, a Colombian roaster started by SeedSpot's C'pher Gresham — it's nice hot, but even better cold. There are many schools of thought as to what a good cold brew should be like, but these guys are keeping it classy, with a cup of java that is clean as a whistle, has great malty and chocolatey flavor, a smooth feel — and, very importantly, is plenty strong to begin with, seeing as how ice melts at rapid speeds here in the desert.

Plenty of coffee shops claim to be all about forging relationships directly with coffee farmers, but there isn't anyone in metro Phoenix doing it quite as well as Peixoto Coffee in downtown Chandler. The coffee shop gets a portion of its beans directly from Brazil — specifically from the Peixoto family farm called Fazenda São José da Boa Vista — and they're then roasted right before customers' eyes inside the comfortable East Valley storefront. Purists will appreciate the shop's single-origin coffees, which can be explored at the shop's pour-over bar, while those in search of something more playful can look forward to seasonal menus with creations such as summery coconut cold brew and rich hot cocoa made with local bean-to-bar chocolate during the cooler months.

Old Town Scottsdale didn't exactly need another good coffee shop option — but it was screaming for a little diversity (the Fifth Avenue Shops boast a Cartel outpost; Sip down the street serves Cartel as well), so we're happy we not only got a shop serving famed San Francisco roaster Four Barrel, but along with it the unexpected, delightfully Porsche-themed nature of the shop, tucked into a little garage next to a multiuse space. Fourtillfour is quality performance in a compact and sleek package, just like a classic Porsche. The menu is short, simple, and built for speed.

Slow and steady wins the race. Press Coffee Roasters is nowhere near the flashiest of roasters in town, but when it comes to a having a warm, welcoming staff and a high-quality product, Press continues to deliver. And it doesn't stop there; the roaster is also know for its cold brew, served both in standard fashion and tapped with nitrogen as well, creating a luscious, creamy texture that has us craving more.

Looking for a rare spirit? Maybe you heard good things about that quadruple nitro triple-hopped IPA from the friends who've tried everything good and bad so that you don't have to? Head to Tops. The offerings in this Tempe liquor store are piled together and overflowing — in a manner that's arguably charming — in an attempt to stock as much as humanly possible onto their shelves and into their fridges. Go ahead, dust off that bottle, create your own six-pack of everything you needed to cross off your to-drink list. You're at Tops, where pretty much anything is possible, and, thanks to the knowledgable staff, findable.

Nikki Buchanan

Let's face it, juice bars can be intimidating. They're usually full of energetic, healthy people who just finished a marathon run or yoga sesh and need to replenish their fine-tuned bodies with pure fruit-and-vegetable goodness. But whether you're a pro athlete or just struggle to eat your daily recommended dose of greens, there's nothing to fear at Old Town Scottsdale's Juice Core. This tiny juice shop offers everything from hardcore, no-fruit, all-green juice cleanses to super hydrating smoothies and even some simple food options. Best of all, the shop's staff are usually happy to help you decide on a product, asking what you're looking to achieve through the powers of organic, cold-pressed juice.

Jacob Tyler Dunn

For many, the Palo Verde Lounge is a beloved oasis known for its jukebox, strong drinks, and some Tekken Tag faceoffs. But this neon-lit, band-sticker-laden, cash-only Tempe establishment at Beck Avenue and Broadway Road is known for yet another neighborhood treasure: the Pickle Shot. Acting as a night starter, eye opener, and for some, a holiday tradition, the Pickle Shot comprises a shot of well tequila or whiskey with a pickle juice chaser. So, it's not mixology at its best, but it gets the job done. And though this award is for the Pickle Shot alone, a quick pro tip here: If you ask them to add a shot of hot sauce to the tequila or whiskey, you've now got yourself a Tijuana Hooker shot. Just saying.

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