For beer drinkers, the pinnacle of the craft calendar begins today. Today is the first day of Arizona Beer Week, a statewide celebration of local beer culture.
Arizona Beer “Week” consists of 11 days of events focused mostly around the local craft brew scene. This year’s festivities will last from February 8 to 18. There will be more than 200 events, so no matter where you live or what you like to drink, there will probably be something to suit your needs. Breweries will be hosting events. They will be collaborating with other breweries and getting their beers in front of us drinkers. Breweries from near and far will be pouring their best stuff. It's a wonderful time of year.
On February 8 there will be a diverse lineup of craft-centric events. O.H.S.O. locations will be doing an Arizona tap takeover and pouring Donut Daze, a series of 13 doughnut-inspired beers (such as an apple fritter brown ale and a strawberry sprinkles brew). At Wandering Tortoise, McFate will be releasing a collaboration it did with La Crumbe Brewing Company (Albuquerque), an old-school German style kellerbier. Kings Beer & Wine will be hosting a tap takeover with two of Arizona's most popular breweries, Dark Sky Brewing and Tombstone Brewing Company. (If you go to the Kings event, you may actually get to taste a Northeastern Style Blueberry IPA that I helped brew with Dark Sky.)
This Saturday, February 10, is the big day in Phoenix. Saturday is all about the 18th Annual Strong Beer Festival at Steele Indian School Park. At this blowout event, just about every great Arizona brewery will be pouring.
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The wide-ranging event will feature more than 500 brews, many that come from outside Arizona. Regional stalwarts like Marble Brewing (New Mexico) and Great Divide (Colorado) will be present, as will national leaders likes Prairie Artisan Ales (Oklahoma) and Bell's Brewery (Michigan). Simply put, if you go to one Beer Week event, this should be the one.
General admission tickets cost $60 and will get you in the door at 1 p.m. They come with 40 beer vouchers, each redeemable for one 2-ounce pour. The final pour will be at 4:30 p.m. You should probably get your tickets sooner rather than later, as they typically sell out by the day of the event.
There will be many other promising events. On February 13, Abita, a brewery from New Orleans, will be hosting a Mardi Gras event at The Whining Pig in Gilbert. On February 14, Phoenix Public Market will be pairing each course of its Valentine's Day dinner with a beer from Huss Brewing. The list goes on.
You can search for events on Arizona Beer Week's website and filter by geographic area: northern Arizona, southern Arizona, or metro Phoenix. If you limit your search to metro Phoenix, the site will show results organized by town.