Beer Buzz with Craft Beer Betty: March 4 – 8

The latest beer buzz in Tucson’s craft beer community this week was the opening of zpizza in Oro Valley. Zpizza takes the concept of frozen yogurt by-the-ounce and applies it to craft beer on tap. Walk in, place your order at the front counter, and an elastic bracelet with a sensor keeps tabs.

Barrio Brewing NCAAle in front of zpizza beer wall

Barrio Brewing NCAAle in front of zpizza beer wall

First timers are given a tour and a training session on where to choose a beer glass (do your tastebuds a favor and skip the frosted glasses, opting for one off the shelf), take it to your beer tap of choice, press your round bracelet emblem to a spot on the display, and then begin pouring. The prices of the craft selections vary ($0.38 up to $0.80) and are billed by the ounce. Each bracelet is limited to 32oz per hour during your visit. Zpizza is clearly supporting the local Arizona beer community with a large majority of their 13 taps devoted to local brews. 

But, here’s the real scoop: zpizza currently offers an incredible special where you can create your own combo from three categories: (1) daily special pizza slice or half sandwich, (2) side salad, and (3) beverage (fountain or 12oz beer), for only $8.25. I opted for a slice, a generously sized Caesar side salad, and 12oz Barrio Brewing NCAAle. I emphasize “currently offers” because I fear they will soon see what a ridiculously good deal this is for the craft beer consumer. One could easily pay $10 for the delicious Barrio NCAAle (10.5% ABV) anywhere else in town, but I only paid $8.25. It also came with a meal.

Personally, I’m delighted to have another craft beer tap room option in Oro Valley in addition to Noble Hops and their gourmet gastropub offerings. Zpizza offers great beer on a budget. And, learning how to pour beer like a pro is a hidden, added bonus. Feel free to say “hello” when you see me there a few days a week, dining on the cheap, and I’ll happily give you my beer recommendations. 

Required bracelet for activating self-serve taps at zpizza

Required bracelet for activating self-serve taps at zpizza

Upcoming Tucson Beer Events

  • Wed, March 4, 5-8pm at Borderlands: Kiwanis Centennial Birthday Celebration
  • Thurs, March 5, 4-9pm at Borderlands: Colibri Center for Human Rights fundraiser
  • Sat, March 7, 11am-3pm at Dragoon Brewing: American Homebrewers Association Rally in conjunction with the Tucson Homebrew Society
  • Sunday, March 8, 9am: International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day. Tucson Girls Pint Out – Pink Boots Society brews a “Unite Red Ale” with Borderlands Brewing Company on International Women’s Day.
    More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1542556979344872/
  • Every Sunday, 10:30am – 11:30am: Pints & Poses at Pueblo Vida Brewing Company. Enjoy a yoga class followed by a beer for only $5.
    More info: 
    http://www.pueblovidabrewing.com/new-events/3/1/2015/pints-poses
  • Dragoon Brewing released an Abbey style beer last weekend called Enkel, while Saison Blue returned to the taps. Look for their next release, a yet unnamed Belgian or Abbey style Dubbel in the next week or two.
  • Tickets available in advance for:
  • Viva La Local. April 18-19, 9am – 5pm. Local food, farm, and live music festival featuring many local breweries.
    More info: http://www.vivalalocalfoodfest.com
  • Top Hops Beer Fest. Saturday, April 25, 6pm – 10pm. Top Hops is a beer festival and firefighter home-brew competition held each year at the Foothills Mall with the support of Thunder Canyon Brewery and featuring many local breweries.
    More info: http://tophopsbeerfestival.com

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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