Saturday night beer lovers from all across the Valley poured onto the polo fields of Westworld to taste more than 50 beers from local and international breweries, and I was tasked with trying them all. It’s a rough job but someone has to do it.
Let me start off by saying that I’m not a beer connoisseur. I like beer, a lot. But while I love to taste beers from microbreweries worldwide I also have no problem drinking a bud light with a splash of OJ (it’s tasty and oh so cheap, I highly suggest you try it). So if you are expecting to read further and have me to tell you what beers were “laced with a subtle scent of sweet lagered malts,” it’s not going happen. You’ve been warned.
EAT, DRINK, PLAY
This first time event was brought to the Valley of the Sun by a production group called, Eat:Drink:Play. They produce food and drink festivals all over the US, from Washington DC to Chicago and Los Angeles so they kind of know what their doing. If there is one thing I could say to them, it would be Thank you for hosting this event at night! A lot of beer, food and wine festivals tend to host their events during the day and the Arizona sun can be brutal. Once the sun went down were able to enjoy the warm Arizona night and not be sweating into our beers. While the eat and play part were lacking they definitely had enough in the drink category to make everyone a camper happy.
VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE
We got there for the VIP hour from 6p – 7p. For $10 more you could get in an hour before they the masses run loose. I have to say I am a big proponent of personal space so I will ALWAYS fork over an extra $10 to get away from the crowds and this was money well spent. The VIP hour had no more than a few hundred guests and spread out over 50+ tasting booths it made for quick access to just about any beer you wanted.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Upon arriving each attendee received a snazzy little 8 oz. mug and a sheet that allows you up to 40 tastings. If you actually used up all 40 of your tastings I am pretty sure you’re a liar or a professional drinker. I made it to about 10 tastings before I was feeling full and needed to take a breather The nice thing was that had a large grassy area throughout the middle of booths where you could sit and listen to some music while your beer digested and you contemplated what tasty libations to hit up next.
For a non-beer snob like myself, I thought they had a great selection. They had well-known local beers like Four Peaks, San Tan to the more obscure like, Cartel. That’s right, Cartel, the coffee house favorite has been diving into the beer pool. Who knew?! They also had breweries more nationally known like Leinenkugels and Rogue. While I prefer the classic fruity “chick” beers my drinking partner was a fan of darker more hoppy beers and we both were pretty content with the selection they laid out of us.
We stayed for about two and half hours until I was literally too full to drink another sip but the party was still in full swing. There was a great mix of people from all over and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Really, what more can you ask for? All in all I enjoyed this first time event and look forward to it next year.
A WORD TO THE WISE
I have but one simple suggestion and it goes out to ladies out there. Ladies, you are going to a grassy field where you are going to drink…a lot. DON’T WEAR HEELS. I saw more women struggling to get from booth to booth in sky-high heels and wedges than should be deemed expectable. I can only imagine the scene of stumbling ladies only got worse as the drinking got heavier. It’s a fact, no matter how good you looked leaving the house in those heels you are not going to look good face planting in the grass.
For more information on the Scottsdale Beer Festival, visit https://www.facebook.com/scottsdalebeerfest?fref=ts or http://scottsdalebeerfestival.com/.