On one Saturday every February thousands of people converge on Indian Steel Park in Central Phoenix to enjoy the Arizona Strong Beer Festival. It’s a great time for the casual beer drinker and connoisseur alike. But with hundreds of breweries to sample and even more beers than that to choose from, figuring out how to spend one’s tickets can be a considerable challenge. No one wants to miss out on anything great, and since trying everything, unfortunately, is not really an option, here’s a list of 10 beers – all from Arizona — you should definitely track down.
8-Bit Aleworks: The Mayan Chocolossus
If you haven’t made it out West to visit 8-Bit Aleworks, it’s your loss. Fortunately one of their very best offerings will be available without having to make the trek all the way across the I-10. A Russian Imperial Stout, this one is of the chocolatey variety and is one of the better beers from one of Arizona’s most fun breweries.
Dark Sky Brewing Company: Quoth the Raven and/or Beneath the Surface
Maybe you are familiar with Dark Sky, one of the best breweries in Arizona that resides up in Flagstaff. Or, perhaps you don’t know them at all. Regardless, make sure you stop by their tent to grab both Quoth the Raven and Beneath the Surface. QTR is a boozy stout brewed with cherry, coconut, cocoa nibs and lactose made with help from Superstition Meadery. BTS is an Imperial Stout that has been aged in Elijah Craig and Russell’s Reserve barrels and on Tahitian vanilla beans.
Beer Research Institute: Barrel-Aged Dark Side Till I Die
Thanks to this East Valley brewery, fighting against the Rebellion never felt so right. This lovely imperial oatmeal stout has a normal version, which is also delicious. But the barrel-aged version is more difficult to track down than a Storm Trooper with good aim, which is why you should stay on target and snag a pour of this one.
Historic Brewing Company: Brandy Barrel-Aged Piehole Porter
Another brewery from the northern pines, Historic is well known for their Piehole Porter. A cherry and vanilla beer, there are multiple variances – including a pumpkin version – that are simply delightful. They have made barrel-aged versions before, but this is a new one and it promises to be excellent because, well, Piehole Porter is inherently delicious.
The Shop Beer Co.: Desert Dolphins
Dolphins in the desert may not seem like a good idea, but when it comes to this beer, the only bad idea is missing out on it. A collaboration between Burgeon Beer and one of Tempe’s best breweries, the Double New England-Style IPA would offer a great change of pace from some of the boozier stouts and barleywines you will likely be drinking.
Dragoon: Barrel Aged the Seis
There is plenty of good beer coming out of the Old Pueblo, with Dragoon producing some of the best. This Russian Imperial Stout gets the barrel-aged treatment, meaning it figures to be smoky, boozy and delicious.
To purchase tickets to the 2019 Strong Beer Festival click here
Article Written by Adam Green