Feb 14, 2013

A list of Arizona’s Most Passionate Beer People...

Anyone that has spent more then 10 minutes anywhere near the local Arizona beer scene, has either met James Swann, or at least heard his name. James is the "Beer Guy" over at Whole Foods in Chandler, where you will find one of the best places in the valley to have a beer, "The Water Hole". Well, James writes a regular beer column for AZ Weekly Magazine. This passed week, James complied a list of "Arizona’s Most Passionate Beer People". A pretty solid list, and one worthy of checking out. So, if you want to learn a little more about who is who in the Arizona beer world, check this out!

Check out the list here....

All I have to say it, next year, I hope to be on this list!!!

Until Next Time
Bottoms up my friends!
The Beer Czar

Feb 12, 2013

2nd Annual Bells Eccen­tric Day at the Hungry Monk

OK, so anyone that has spent any time reading this blog knows, I have an affinity for things from Michigan. I have close family there (cousins, aunt, uncle, in laws etc...). Our very own Rover Beer Czar Reporter, Uncle Gary lives (and currently recovering in) Mich (get well soon Uncle Gary), I even married a woman from Michigan. Also, beer from Michigan is among the best in the country! Some of my favorites Founders, New Holland, Shorts, Jolly Pumpkin, and, of course Bells, from Kalamazoo.

Every year, in Dec, Bells holds a unique party. At their Eccentric Cafe, they hold an annual Eccentric Day. It's sort of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" of the beer world. In order to get into the party, you need to create and wear an "eccentric" costume! I've never had the pleasure of attending, but I've seen pic's, and it looks like a blast!
Well, Eccentric Day is coming to Arizona! To help kick off Arizona Beer Week, the Hungry Monk in Chandler, is holding its own Eccentric Day Party! The fun starts at 3pm! There will be some special tapping's of some hard to find Bells as well!

Some tapping notes.....

Black Note (6:30 p.m.) - One of the most sought-after stouts in Bell’s history, Black Note Stout blends the complex aromatics of Expedition Stout with the velvety smooth texture of Double Cream Stout and ages the combination in freshly retired oak bourbon barrels for months. The resulting harmony of flavors captures the finest features of all three components: malty notes of dark chocolate, espresso & dried fruits, all buoyed by the warmth and fragrance of the bourbon barrel. Aimed squarely at the stout and bourbon aficionados, Black Note makes a grand statement about the art of the dark. 11.5% abv. 100% of the proceeds from Black Note will benefit the American Heart Association.

Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout (7:30 p.m.) - Aged in freshly retired bourbon barrels for 6-8 months, this beer takes Bell’s Cherry Stout to a new level. Introducing the oaky, vanilla notes of bourbon to an already heady mix of tart cherries and dark, roasted malts, this stout seduces the palate. Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout has been made for draft on a handful of occasions over the years and bottled once. 11.0% abv

So, you have a few days, create your best costume, show up at 3, and your first Bells beer is only $1!!!!

Hungry Monks website
Check out the press release here...

Until Next time
Bottoms Up my friends
The Beer Czar

Arizona Beer Week 2013!

Its that time a year again folks! Arizona Beer Week is almost upon us! This is just getting bigger and bigger! I think the growing number of brewery's in our state helps a bit! There are just WAY too many events, to list them all here, so I'll post a link to Arizona Beer Weeks website here....

A few highlights for this years festivities......

The Strong Beer Festival, Indian Steel Park, Feb 16th
Skirt Chaser 5k, Tempe Town Lake Park, Feb 16th
Boulders on Broadway 3rd Annual Beer Festival, Feb 17th, Boulders on Broadway, Tempe
Country Club Classic, Feb 17th, Pera Golf, Tempe
Brew Debut! NYPD Pizza, Feb 16th through 23rd, W McDowell location
Colorado Firkin Festival, Feb 21, Flanny's Bar and Grill, Tempe
Local Extravaganza! Feb 21, Whole Foods Chandler
Blues and Brews, Feb 22 and 23rd, Desert Eagle Brewing, Mesa
2nd Annual Bells Eccentric Cafe Festival, Feb 22, The Hungry Monk, Chandler
2nd Annual Fox Cigar, Four Peaks Beer and BBQ Festival, Feb 22, Fox Cigar Bar, Gilbert
LoziLu Women's Mud Run and San Tan Craft Beer Party, Feb 23, Canyon Motocross, Peoria
Bikes, Brews, Bloody's and Brats Festival, Feb 23, Handle Bar and Grill, Tempe
Beers Blues and BBQ Grand Opening, Feb 23, Four Peaks Tasting Room on Wilson, Tempe

Again, look at the website, its broken down by day. There are events all over the state, not just the valley. From Pine, to Flagstaff, Tuscon. If you are in Arizona, there is going to be something close to you next week!

So get out there, support our growing local beer scene, enjoy our great weather, and just have a great time!
Hope to see you at some of these events!

Enjoy your week!
Until next time
Bottoms Up my friends!
The Beer Czar

Feb 6, 2013

Win a Rafting Trip on in the Grand Canyon!

That could be you!
Grand Canyon Brewing is giving away a WEEK LONG rafting trip down the Grand Canyon! To enter, all you need to do is "like" their facebook page, and your in! Deadline is Feb 22nd. The winner of the rafting trip will have the opportunity to pick their trip (based on availability): either the 7-day or 8-day full canyon motorized tour during the 2013 season!! This is prize worth around $5,000! If you have ever had the opportunity to raft down the might Colorado, through one of this planets greatest wonders, you are among the luckiest people that inhabit it. I've never had the chance to raft it, but I have hiked down into it, and let me tell you, words can't do it justice. In fact, pictures can't really either. Its impossible to describe, or imagine the scale of the Canyon!

So, do yourself a favor, and enter this contest! Just go to their facebook page here... , and hit "like", BEFORE Feb 22nd. No purchase necessary, open to legal residents of the United States and DC who are 21 years of age and over.

Again, check out their facebook page here....
Also, check out their website here...
Read the entire press release here...

Seriously, thats not a painting folks!
Also, meet up with Grand Canyon Brewing at various Arizona Beer Week events such as the Arizona Strong Beer Festival and tastings at Boulders on Broadway, BevMo Tempe & Scottsdale and Total Wines at Scottsdale/Shea. (I will be posting more on Arizona Beer Week in the next few days)

So, good luck to you all! If you win, remember who told you about it, so why not take the Beer Czar along with you???

Until next time
Bottoms Up my friends!
The Beer Czar

Feb 5, 2013

San Tan Expansion!

San Tan Brew Pub, downtown Chandler AZ
I've been writing a lot lately about the growing beer scene here in Arizona, and most specifically the east valley. Well, it seems not a week goes by when we get more good news from the EV beer community, and this week is no exception.
Arizona's fastest growing brewery, San Tan Brewing is, well its not going to stop growing anytime soon! They just announced they are adding a 35,000 sq ft production and warehouse facility to its ever growing operation! San Tan has seen an amazing 100% growth in the Arizona market of the last 3 years, this move just allows San Tan to continue this growth for the foreseeable future.

In one of the more awesome aspects of this expansion, they will be using their downtown facility as a sort of "San Tan Laboratory" in order to more experimental and offer more special, one off brews! To me, its this sort of thing that makes any brewery or brew pub worth coming back to over and over. Its fine to have the flagship beers on tap, as one would expect. However, to me, its the special beers that make it exciting every time you walk  in the door. Plus, it allows the brew master to flex their muscle, show off a bit, and refine their skills. So everybody wins!

The new facility
The new facility, located at 495 E Warner Road in Chandler (for those in the east valley, that is about half way between Arizona, and Warner Rd, just a few miles from their downtown location) will create some 25 new jobs to the local economy (to add to the already 125 they have added over the last 3 years). So this is not just good news for beer folks, this is just great news for the east valley, and the City of Chandler in general. Its always great to see a local success story, the fact that it is a brewery just makes its all the more appealing to me!

Expect to see more of these!
I have an inquiry into San Tan as to weather or not they will be offering any sort of tastings, or tour or anything at the new facility, and will pass on that info as soon as I get it.

You can read the press release from HDE here...
Check out San Tan's website here...

So, congrats to San Tan. Its always great to see these local success story's. So plan on seeing San Tan even more at stores and bars near you!

Until next time
Bottoms Up my friends!
The Beer Czar

Feb 4, 2013

Beer powered Beer! (green beer!)

Normally, when you hear the term "green beer" the discussion is revolving around St Patrick's Day. However, recently, with the growing awareness of environmental issues, the term "green beer" has more to do with more responsible, environmentally friendly brewing practices. Be it solar panels on the roof, recycling cans and bottles, alternatively fueled delivery trucks, or what have you. The beer community is stepping into the environmentally friendly fray more and more.
One of the the more innovative, and impressive examples of this I have recently come across, is Alaskan Brewing Company. They are turning their waste product into power! .

One of the waste products that beer creates, is spent grain. Most brewery's sell their spent grain to farms as feed for livestock, as it is quite high in protein. At least that is what brewers down in the lower 48 (as Alaskans refer to us) do with it. Now, up there in the land of the midnight sun, they don't really have that option, as there is only a handful of farms in the brewers area (37 in all of south west Alaska, only 680 in the entire state, by means of comparison, according to USDA, there are 10,200 farms in my state of Arizona, 76,500 in Wisconsin!!!). Shipping spent grain down to the lower 48 eat up almost any additional profits that could be made from it. So, what to do with it? Well, the folks at Alaskan Brewing Company went out and got themselves a $1.8 million dollar furnace, and burn that spent grain, and use it to create steam, to power your brewery! They look to the furnace to off set the brewery's yearly energy cost by some 70%, which is currently about $450,000! So, the $1.8 million dollar investment (before you deduct the nearly $500,000 grant the project was rewarded) seems to be able to pay itself off in just a matter of years!

The furnace! (photo by Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)

Just one more example of brewery's looking outside their little box, to come up with smart, cost effective, environmentally friendly solutions to problems that a lot of brewery's deal with. The more and more we make advancements like, the more and more affordable this technology becomes, and more available it becomes for even the littlest brewers!

So, hat tip and a raised glass to Alaskan Brewing Company, well done, and keep up the great (and green) work!

If you care to read more about this project, check out stories from CBS, and Fox News
Or the brewery's own press release here...

Check out Alaskan Brewing Company's website

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends
The Beer Czar