Beer Buzz With Craft Beer Betty

Arizona Beer Week’s Women in Craft Beer event packed a substantial crowd into Tap & Bottle last Wednesday night when owner Rebecca Safford invited seven prominent women in Arizona’s craft beer industry to a question and answer panel.

Each woman had her own collectible trading card and beer to introduce. Call me biased, but my personal favorite was Girls Pint Stout, a Russian imperial stout collaboration brew by my own Tucson Girls Pint Out and Barrio Brewing. The collaboration also benefitted Wings for Women of Tucson. This rich, chocolaty stout comes out of the gate swinging with 11% ABV and flaunting it’s floral hops with 80 IBUs. You can find it on tap at Tap & Bottle, 1702, and Whole Foods’ River Road location (at the bar) while it lasts.

Women In Beer Panel

Women In Craft Beer Panel

Borderlands Brewing’s grapefruit and hibiscus Citrana might not have won the Iron Brewer Competition, but it certainly won my heart. Borderlands selected their traditional salt and coriander Gose, Citrana, to enter Arizona Beer Week’s Iron Brewer Competition at Good Oak Bar where competing breweries crafted a beer with grapefruit.

Compare the Citrana to the ever-popular Anderson Valley Brewing Blood Orange Gose, but with even more citrus. Ten Fifty-Five Brewing took home the Iron Brewer Trophy that night with a deliciously well-balanced grapefruit IPA. Move quickly to grab a pint of these beers at Good Oak Bar or visit the respective breweries for a taste of their original brews sans grapefruit.

Ten Fifty Five Brewing wins the Iron Brewer Competition (Photo credit: Ten Fifty Five)

Ten Fifty Five Brewing wins the Iron Brewer Competition (Photo credit: Ten Fifty Five)

If you haven’t tried this one yet, I clearly haven’t been raving loud enough: Dragoon Brewing wowed Arizona Beer Week and everyone at Strong Beer Fest when they tapped their Lazarus barley wine. This might very well be the best beer ever brewed in Arizona. A result of what the Dragoon brewers feared a failed or dead brew when it came out of the fermenters with a final gravity that was entirely too high, they persevered and crossed their fingers, pumping it into Downslope Distilling barrels that had housed cognac and bourbon with a dose of Brettanomyces and held their breath for 13 months. The results are a melodious, oaky blend of caramel, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, sweet orange, and brown sugar that tastes like it smells. This big barley wine has some alcohol heat, but doesn’t taste or feel like 13.25% ABV. This is a beer that will pair with just about any food you think is worthy of sharing table space alongside it, but you’d better bring it with you because you can only enjoy Lazarus in Dragoon’s beautiful newly expanded tasting room on West Grant.

Craft Beer Betty, aka Sarah Ritchie, is a craft beer evangelist as co-founder of Tucson Girls Pint Out and board member of Craft Tucson. Find her on Twitter and Instagram as @craftbeerbetty.

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