Strong Beer Fest 2012: Totally Worth the Wait

By the looks of the lines, the fact that Tops Liquor went through 5000 bottles of water, and the throbbing pain in my forehead, I'd say the 2012 Strong Beer Fest was a success.

Check out our slideshow here, and read on for details of the best -- and not-so-best -- beers of the day. 

Saturday's sold out event drew somewhere close to 4000 people out of their local bars and away from their TVs to enjoy a perfect 70 degree day while getting hammered on strong beer samples from about 75 breweries.

Unlike last year's Strong Beer Fest (a rain-soaked adventure for those that braved the weather), the people were out in full force which created a rather intimidating line to gain access to all the beer waiting inside the chain-link fence. Thankfully, the lines moved quickly and we didn't end up standing outside thirsty for more then 15 minutes. Once we made it inside, it was game on!

Four Peaks stole the show with one of the longest lines and the most beer. The local boys brought 13 different brews including their wine barrel aged Begium Black, the infamous bourbon barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout, Sirus Black, and one of my favorites of the day -- the ML209 West Coast Malt Liquor. I know, right? With a never ending supply of IPAs I kept going back for more of the super easy drinkin' 8.2 % malt liquor?!

The Odell Brewing truck seemed to be the second favorite of the day and with good reason. The Colorado brewing company brought several of their best beers out including the delicious Footloose (a strong, unique sour brew that I'd never heard of), T.A.P. (totally awesome pale), and they even tapped one tiny keg of Footprint (a rare beer brewed with one ingredient from 10 states including Arizona prickly pear and green chilies from New Mexico).

Another local favorite was the Baconator from some new kids on the Flagstaff beer block, Mother Road brewing. I missed out on the super smokey beer but heard it tasted like "liquid smoke in a glass -- but in a good way". I tried out their Roadside Pale Ale (a light and hoppy drinkable pale) and their Black IPA.  Both were awesome and I'm super stoked that these guys are around. I cannot wait to visit them up in Flag.

Tucson Brewery Borderlands brought their sustainably brewed Ol' Loco (a fruity beer that I could have done without) and the unforgettable Noche Dulce. The super dark vanilla porter has more vanilla bean flavor then any other beer I've ever tasted and may be one of my new favorite dessert beers.

Other breweries that deserve a mention -- Port Brewing's Boob Shaka Laka (surprisingly good for a pink beer), The Bruery's White Orchid (an interesting witbier with the essence of flowers and a shocking 9% ABV level) and Left Hand's Nitro Stout.

All in all it was a great day. Good job and a great big thank you to everyone involved. Can't wait till next year!

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Shannon Armour
Contact: Shannon Armour