We got word that Arizona was going to get its very own beer week back in November and we have been giddy ever since. More than just a one-day beer festival, we would finally join the ranks of real cities and get a whole glorious week!
But when we heard there were going to be at least 150 different events around the state, our first thought was, Why so many? Do we really need that many events?
Shortly after that, our imaginations took hold and we were transported to a land of exotic breweries in far away lands such as Michigan, and the East Coast, sipping on samples of their fragrant brews and having lengthy conversations with the saints that made them about rare homegrown hop strains and oak-aged barrels.
That dream quickly came to an end when we saw that Four Peaks Brewery dominates the schedule of "events". Not just dominates -- overwhelms. Drowns.
Our list includes 148 event listings, a whopping 55 of which happened to be Four Peak Brewery-related, with Whole Foods beer tastings coming in second (13) and SanTan and SunUp tied for third (10 each). How much of a "beer week" is it when the usual suspects (and a grocery store chain!!!!) make up so much of the content?
Maybe we misunderstood. Is this a week to celebrate beer or a week to celebrate local Arizona beer? We were under the impression it was suppose to be a little of both.
We were more than a little disappointed. We were heartbroken. We can drink Four Peaks any day of the week and to tell you the truth, after years of drinking the stuff, we're kinda bored. Pretty much every establishment around here that serves beer has at least one or theirs on tap. We're surprised you can't get a Kiltlifter with a Big Mac these days.
We are also a disappointed in the list of national breweries that are participating. All but 4 of the 22 participating brew companies are from outside of Arizona, California, or Colorado..... Alaskan, Big Sky, Bells and Schmaltz. Sorry guys, but it's not a very exciting line up.
Where are the Oregon brews? Not a single Rogue tasting? No Deshutes? And what about New Belgium? It seems as though we should have seen a bigger presence from the Tour de Fat folks. Even more important..... Where are the imports? Is beer week only for American beers? We're all about local, but we've heard Belgium make a couple really tasty beers.
Don't even get us started regarding the fact that Arizona Beer Week is now backed by our lovely governor, Jan (heh heh, yeah that's her real name) Brewer.
As heartbroken as we are, we are not the type to look a gift horse in the mouth. We will celebrate Arizona Beer Week like no beer week has ever been celebrated before. We will enjoy all of the local beer we can, savor every delicious sample we can get our hands on, embrace the hangover, and pray to the beer gods to help us muster up the strength to do it all over again the next day.
Arizona Beer Week kicks off this Saturday with the 11th Annual Strong Beer Festival at Indian School Park and continues throughout the week with various events around the State. Click here for the official Beer Week website.