Love Letter From Arizona Brews & Blends


bartenderBy Kathryn M. Miller ~ It is February and love is in the air – but it’s a crafty, malty, hoppy, fruity, herby, spicy kind of affair, as the Valley celebrates all things beer, craft beverage and cocktail.

Kicking off a month of festivities is the Brewers Bowl craft beer festival February 6. Hosted by Bad Water Brewing in Downtown Scottsdale, the event showcases the burgeoning craft beer scene in Arizona, featuring 15 local breweries competing for “Best of Show” (won by North Mountain Brewing Company last year), live music and food trucks. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank. Visit www.brewersbowl.com.

Continuing the love affair with craft beverages is the Crush Brew Craft Beverage Festival at the Scottsdale Waterfront February 19-20. Sample the latest trends in handcrafted beers, enjoy wines produced by small vineyards from the state and around the world and meet the distillers driving the craft spirits movement, all while enjoying music from local bands and a “Pizza Throw-Down.” Visit www.crushbrewfestival.com for details.

February also brings the 16th annual Arizona Beer Week (www.arizonabeerweek.com), presented by Arizona Craft Brewers Guild and celebrated February 11-20, with more than 150 events across the state. Its marquee event, Arizona Strong Beer Festival, will be held Saturday, February 13, at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix. For details, visit www.craftbeeraz.com.

veggiesBut it is not all about the “brew,” as bars, lounges, restaurants, watering holes and drinking destinations across the state gear up for their own spirited celebration this month. The fifth annual Arizona Cocktail Week is back for another round February 13-21 with an all-new lineup of cocktail events, highlighted by the new Cocktailgating Festival, a three-day outdoor cocktail party hosted February 13-15 at Hotel Valley Ho. Among other new events, Agave Alley, a tequila-fueled bowling party Saturday, February 13, at Scottsdale Bowlmor, that also doubles as the official after party of the Cocktail Carnival. Returning favorites include the premier bartending competition, Last Slinger Standing, the award-winning Top Bars of America event featuring pop-up versions of the nation’s finest craft cocktail lounges and the Artisanal Spirit & Cocktail Market, showcasing the finest in local cocktail products, small-batch bitters, farm-fresh ingredients, demos and tastings in a farmer’s market-style format. Plus, all week long, guests can once again enjoy Imbibe & Dine cocktail and food pairing dinners at restaurants across Arizona. To ensure that everyone gets home safely, the event will offer special discounts to all attendees with Uber. Visit www.arizonacocktailweek.com for details. |CST

Arizona Cocktail Week Photos: Lisa Olson Photography

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