Hot! Beer Cities Reviewed: Phoenix

The New Kid on the Block

I’ve been to a few of the great beer cities of the world, toured breweries big and small, sampled the wares, and attended the beer fests. It’s no secret. I’m a gal who likes beer. Over the next few days, I’ll profile four U.S. beer cities: from East Coast to West, start up to centuries old. Each is as much about bringing its own regional culture to beer and its social aspects as it is about creating drafts that uniquely identify its city’s place in the world.

I’ll start with my hometown. So if you’re in Arizona, grab a pint of Prescott Brew, Grand Canyon or Four Peaks and enjoy.

Phoenix and Arizona are without a doubt the New Kids on the Craft Beer block. It’s been exciting to see the Arizona suds scene grow from a backdrop for a Bud Light commercial, to a more refined craft beer world.

In just a few years, bars priding themselves on their craft beer selection have been popping up (like this one just blocks away from home). At other dive bars you can now choose from a PBR tallboy or a selection of crafts on tap. There are now 25 breweries in the state, 3 more in the works, and even our society of homebrewers carries a “cool factor” of clout like never before.

While Arizona is still defining itself as a craft beer locale and no ONE style of beer has emerged for the Southwest, beer is social. And to be an Arizonan is to be outgoing. Whether it’s the college party scene, the Scottsdale see and be seen, the outdoorsy Flagstaff circle, or the “G’day Ma’am,” of our western cowboys, our sunny skies seem to invite a drink and conversation.

On top of any number of events going on in Arizona each weekend, there are now many ways to get to know your fellow beer lovers. Girls Pint Out gets the ladies together once a month for tastings and tours, the Arizona Homebrewers Society hosts monthly gatherings – and you don’t have to brew to join up (just be over 21).

The BeerPhxation blog is leading the charge to put Phoenix on the Beer City map. And the whole state is getting there. This week, the first Arizona Beer Week starts with the Strong Beer Festival. People love the variety of craft beers, even if they haven’t gotten beyond Fat Tire. This first beer week and the start of Arizona spring have people in a near frenzy. As beer weeks go, Arizona’s hardly has the scope as other in established beer cities. But this year is mostly about education. Restaurants, bars and brewers are setting the stage for people to learn why it is they love the craft. Even if it’s just about sampling what Arizona has to offer. It’s sure to become an annual event that will grow as Arizona and Phoenix do in the Beer City world.

Here are some thoughts from Jerry Gantt of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. He’s at a “brewout” where Arizona homebrewers are making batches of double red. If you’re in Tempe on Tuesday, February 22 you can taste the results yourself.

Arizona Beer Week

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