The Great Arizona Beer Fest

This coming weekend marks the 21st Annual Great Arizona Beer Festival in Tempe.

If you’re so lucky as to attend, you’ll be treated to over 150 cold craft brews and loads of education on the good stuff. Each attendee gets 24 beer samples – no more – so you’d best choose wisely from the plethora of offerings.

Some of the brews you’ll find at the festival include:

Widmer Hefeweizen. 2006 gold medalist at the GABF, this is a great brew for those who enjoy lighter, unfiltered beers. Considered America’s first hefeweizen, it is Widmer Brothers Widmer Brothers HefeweizenBrewing’s chief brew, and described as an easy-to-drink, golden wheat beer.

Bright Angel Pale Ale. A full bodied ale with a dry finish, this beer touts a rich amber color along with a slightly bitter taste, as is usually found in pale ales. Brewed by the Grand Canyon Brewing Company.

Idiot IPA. This hoppy ale, brought to the festival by Coronado Brewing, is brewed with over three pounds of hops per barrel, giving it a hefty punch. Wondering why it’s dubbed “Idiot IPA”? Perhaps the 8.5% ABV would be to blame. Careful – this one’s got kick!

Desert Amber. When in Arizona, one must try a number of Arizona’s own brews. This amber ale, brewed by Sonoran Brewing Company, offers earthen undertones with a crisp finish – great for enjoying in Arizona’s dry climate.

Pyramid Brewery Apricot Ale. Not everyone is partial to bitter brews. For those with more of a sweet tooth, this award winning ale combines a mild brew with sweet apricot.

Reaper Ale’s Mortality Stout. This Southern California stout is right up my alley. The pure black brew features a creamy mouthfeel and the smell and taste of freshly roasted coffee.

Moosehead Light Lager. If you’re a fan of the standard pilsner, you’ll definitely dig this brew. One of Canada’s oldest breweries, Moosehead creates this lager in typical fashion – a lawnmower beer with high carbonation.

The Great Arizona Beer Fest runs from Saturday, March 7th through Sunday March 8th, 2pm – 6pm. If you get to attend, please let us know how it was and which brews you enjoyed.




  • Deron March 2, 2009 @ 1:01pm

    Some beers at this not to be missed:

    > Alaskan Amber

    > Boulder Sweaty Betty Blonde

    > Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball

    > Stone Levitation

    > and anything by Port Brewing/Lost Abbey, and New Belgium

  • Hannah March 2, 2009 @ 1:03pm

    Mmmm… thanks for the heads up, Deron!

  • AZ Beer Lover March 3, 2009 @ 11:37am

    I have been very disappointed with this festival ever since it moved to Tempe Town Lake. The organizers now require brewers to furnish their own insurance, as well as pay for booth rental and of course provide the beer. I don’t know of any local AZ brewers that will be attending.

    Also, the crowd is much more up for frat-style binge drinking than beer appreciation. This is fine, except they don’t know how to attend a fest. The lines for everything are out of control! I would avoid this, attend the Strong Beer Festival and hope Draft does their Big Pour again.

  • Hannah March 3, 2009 @ 11:44am

    AZ Beer Lover – thanks for your suggestion! It’s a bummer that the AZ Beer Fest has taken that turn.

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