Tucson Tapped: Quality brews, events making Tucson a beer town

2013-10-10T00:00:00Z Tucson Tapped: Quality brews, events making Tucson a beer townBy Paul Pedersen Special to the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Tucson is really becoming a beer town — not just in the number of great locally produced beers, but also in beer events.

Tucson now has a nice year-round beer event schedule that includes: Arizona Craft Brewers at Rillito Park in April; Zoo Brew in June; Born and Brewed at Hotel Congress in September and the Great Tucson Beer Festival at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium in late September.

And there’s one more . Art on Tap will be held at the Tucson Museum of Art on Dec. 7 and include art demonstrations, dozens of local artists, two bands, and 15 craft breweries (details at tucsonmuseumofart.org/event/art-on-tap/).

I’d love to see this evolve into a winter beer festival.

• • •

Congratulations to Dragoon Brewing Co. for taking the best Tucson beer crown for its IPA at Hotel Congress’s Born and Brewed on Sept. 20 . Dave Torkko, Hotel Congress’ beverage manager, said Dragoon, 1859 W. Grant Road, won by “a significant majority.”

In addition to receiving the official Beer Cup, Dragoon will keep its handle in the Tap Room at Hotel Congress for an additional year.

Borderlands Brewing Co., 119 E. Toole Ave., took first for specialty beer for its Citrana Wild Ale, winning by one point. The win means that Citrana Wild Ale will be the featured holiday beer on tap at Hotel Congress and Maynards.

Torkko said the event, the second annual, was an “unqualified success.” It sold out with 450 in attendance, he said, noting that the selection of beer and quality is improving each year in Tucson. Next year’s event will be held in the same location, as “we don’t want to be too large.”

And congratulations to Tap and Bottle (403 N. Sixth Ave.) for taking third place in the Mountain West region in CraftBeer.com’s Great American Beer Bar competition. More than 37,000 total votes were cast. Not bad for a place only open three months.

Owner Rebecca Safford said the spot has been “super busy since we’ve opened.” She said she thinks this helps “put Tucson on the beer map” adding, “there are lots of happy beer drinkers in Tucson.”

Safford said she and her husband are beer lovers and they looked at similar businesses in other cities. She said Tap and Bottle is different from many growler stores in that it stocks a large number of bottled beers in addition to kegged beers.

• • •

Speaking of Dragoon’s IPA, if you’re a hophead like me, this will make you happy. IPA’s are the country’s leading beer style. Brewbound.com reports IPA sales through the middle of July hit $128 million, up 36 percent over a year ago. IPAs made by California brewers such as Stone and Lagunitas have led the growth in popularity. Sierra Nevada produces the country’s best selling IPA, Torpedo.

Chris Lohring of Boston’s Notch Brewing said, “Every country has some kind of a style that represents that country. For the USA, it is IPA.”

• • •

Hair of the Dog brewery in Portland, Ore. recently sold a dozen 12-ounce bottles of Dave beer for $2,000 a bottle. Definitely a sipping beer, the 19-year-old English barley wine comes in at 29 percent alcohol by volume.

Contact Paul Pedersen at tucsontapped@gmail.com

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