This weekend at Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix, it’s all about beer, live music, food trucks, beer and, yes, even more beer. The inaugural Phoenix Brewers Invitational, Get Crafty 2012, will feature more than 60 craft breweries, live entertainment by 80 Proof, beer-related vendors, beer memorabilia, home brewing demonstrations and a wide variety of local foods from some of Arizona’s best food trucks.

And, even better: Admission into the festival grounds is free. However, to consumer beer, 21-and-over attendees must purchase the 2012 souvenir mug for $10. Beer is sold separately using tokens, priced at $1 each for a 3-oz sample. Or, trade in four of your tokens for a full, 12-oz serving.

Want more? VIP admission will also be available, which will include an invitation to an open house preview party hosted at Phoenix Ale Brewery on Thursday, December 6 and exclusive entry into the VIP beer garden on either Friday or Saturday with catered food, private bathrooms and a meet-and-greet with brewers. The VIP ticket is only available through pre-sale purchase for $125 per person, per day.

Some of the invited breweries include (beers subject to change):

  • Phoenix Ale Brewery (Phoenix, Ariz.), Fretzy’s Unfiltered Pale Ale
  • Borderlands Brewing Company (Tucson, Ariz.), Noche Dulce Vanilla Porter
  • Dogfish Head Brewery (Milton, Del.), 60 Minute IPA
  • Maui Brewing Co. (Kahana, Hawaii), Bikini Blonde
  • Boulder Beer Co. (Boulder, Colo.), Hazed & Infused
  • Full Sail Brewing Company (Hood River, Ore.), Amber Ale
  • Coronado Brewing Company (Coronado, Calif.), Orange Wit
  • Mission Brewery (San Diego, Calif.), Amber Ale
  • Left Coast Brewing Company (San Clemente, Calif.), Hop Juice Double IPA
  • Rubicon Brewing Company (Sacramento, Calif.), Monkey Knife Fight Pale Ale
  • Marin Brewing Company (Larkspur, Calif.), IPA
  • Ass Kisser Ales (San Jose, Calif.), Vanilla Pale Ale

As for live music, 80 Proof, a California-based reggae rock band, is scheduled to perform on the Zia Records Stage at 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 8 (day two of Get Crafty 2012). A battle of the bands is also scheduled for Friday, December 7 (day one); as many as 12 local bands will battle it out for a chance to be one of the beer festival’s featured performers, with the chance to open for 80 Proof. The winner will be chosen by popular vote from festival goers. Some of the competing bands include Bird City, Versions of You, Cartoon Lion, We Are Searchers, Inept Hero, Cosmic Goat, Libertine Social and Johnny Lee.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better: A percentage of the proceeds from this event will benefit the Beer for Brains Foundation, a national, nonprofit organization of craft-beer lovers, distributors and brewers, who are committed to raising public awareness about brain cancer, engendering compassion for its victims and helping fund groundbreaking research leading to a cure. Based in Arizona, the Beer for Brains Foundation is one of only a handful of beer industry-related charities currently operating in the United States.

As a final note, drink responsibly. The Phoenix Brewers Invitational urges patrons to take advantage of the Valley Metro Light Rail, located just blocks away from the festival.

To purchase tickets, for a schedule of events and for more information about the Phoenix Brewers Invitational, visit

Phoenix Brewers Invitational: Get Crafty 2012

Where: Phoenix Heritage & Science Park, 115 N. 6th St., Phoenix, AZ 85004
When: December 7-8, 2012, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. each day
Cost: General admission ticket: $10, VIP tickets: $125 pre-sale
Contact: (480) 234-4232