If there is one thing the beer world would like to forget about 2020 it’d likely be 2020.
Yet the Arizona beer community has never been one to rest on its kegs, and it's no more obvious than the effort being made to make the 2021 Arizona Beer Week one of the most innovative ever.
This year, 22 Arizona breweries will create their own version of an India Pale Ale based on Dragoon Brewing Company head brewer Eric Green’s base recipe.
The beers are called Rebuild the Guild and will be available at each brewery’s taproom and for some, in cans. To top it all off, a portion of the proceeds will go to support the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild (ACBG).
Along with Dragoon Brewing’s participation, Tucson breweries Crooked Tooth Brewing Company and 1912 Brewing Company will launch their specific versions as well — the first time such a collaborative effort has been undertaken to support the ACBG.
The owner of Crooked Tooth Brewing, Ben Vernon, said they are working on a Mango Vanilla IPA. Once finished, the beer will be available on tap and in cans.
"Since the pandemic, they have not been able to hold any events which basically meant that they have lost all funding," said Vernon. "So this is an opportunity for us to be part of saving the guild and to be part of ensuring the future of the guild."
Vernon added that the ACBG immediately served the local breweries by acting as both a liaison for local breweries and as a conduit of information from state and local government. It also provides educational and promotional support as well.
Dragoon has already launched its Tropical West Coast IPA and is available on draft at the brewery. For 1912 Brewing's version, they'll be launching a collaboration with Uncle Bear’s Brewing Company in Phoenix.
Some breweries, including Fate Brewing Company in Tempe and Historic Brewing Company in Flagstaff, launched their beers during the first week of February. Others will show up over the course of the year.
The pandemic has also had a devastating effect on the entire ecosystem of the Arizona brewery world. ACBG Executive Director Rob Fullmer said that the collaborative effort works to help not just breweries, but the entire craft beer industry as a whole.
"It's our job to speak on their behalf and represent their interests," said Fullmer. "This is what we do. I think that there is a recognition by our breweries that the Guild is struggling to adapt to the same business crushing conditions that they've faced."
This year’s Arizona Beer Week will extend for the entire month due to COVID-19 restrictions, with events held in the state’s three main regions. Cities throughout Maricopa County will hold events from Monday, February 8 - Sunday, February 21, and Southern Arizona is slated for events from Monday, February 22 - Sunday, February 28.
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The guild, which manages a not-for-profit foundation, earns the vast majority of its revenue through three main events. The Arizona Strong Beer Festival, which usually ends Arizona Beer Week, has been canceled again. The two other events, Tucson’s Baja Beer Festival, and Real Wild and Woody were canceled as well.
To learn more and purchase Rebuild the Guild merchandise, such as hats and t-shirts, visit rebuildtheguild.com.