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Southwestern Thirst
By Ron Kloth

Arizona and New Mexico breweries took home their share of medals in the 2006 World Beer Cup. The Southwest did especially well in the Barley Wine category, which you would think would be better suited for colder climes. Instead, our warmer region swept the category! The brewers at Four Peaks of Tempe had metaphorical visions of a 12-foot-tall hop-covered beast lurking in the cellar for a year, and their visions paid off as they took home the gold medal in the Barley Wine–Style Ale category with Hopsquatch. Ted Rice from Chama River (formerly Blue Corn) in Albuquerque won the silver medal, and Brew Brothers in Reno took the bronze. Both the Four Peaks and Chama River barley wines were aged for over a year. So much for born-on dates.

Following up on the past two years of medals at the Great American Beer Festival in the Wit Beer category, Derek Osborne of BJ's took the silver with Nit Wit. “Doc” promises to have a new batch of Nit Wit on by mid-August, after he returns from his Fuller's apprenticeship in England in July.

The Desert Ridge Rock Bottom in Phoenix took a bronze medal with Old Curmudgeon Scottish Ale. Fred Kraus of Oak Creek took a bronze medal with Olde Knicker Kicker in the Other Strong Ale category.

And finally, with its second medal in the competition, Four Peaks won the bronze in the American-Style Strong Pale Ale category with Hop Knot, my favorite Four Peaks beer. Hop Knot IPA gets its peculiar name from the weaving of four different hops added at four separate times during the brewing process. Congratulations to all the winners.

Now that summer is upon us, it is time to make your plans to attend the 14th annual Made in the Shade festival in Flagstaff on July 22 at the Coconino County Fairgrounds. The festival provides valuable funding to the Sun Sounds of Arizona group, which provides access to print for individuals who are visually impaired or physically unable to read.

Half of the fun in attending the Made in the Shade festival is visiting the area's local breweries. With a population of only about 50,000 people, Flagstaff has three great brewpubs to visit. Beaver Street Brewery & Whistle Stop Café was the area's first brewpub. It remains the largest and has garnered many awards as the town’s best bar and best restaurant over the years. Always on tap at Beaver Street are Railhead Red Ale, India Pale Ale, R&R Oatmeal Stout, Bramble Berry Brew and a host of seasonals.

On a smaller scale, Flagstaff Brewing continues to shine as one of the town’s best music venues. It has a constantly varied selection of handcrafted brews available.

The third brewery in Flagstaff, Mogollon Brewing, is a brewery only half of the year; the other half, it is a distillery. Some crazy state law prevents anyone from distilling and brewing in the same month, so Mogollon alternates months. Nonetheless, Mogollon Brewing continues to produce Apache Trout Stout, Hefevenom, Horny Toad IPA, Superstition Pale Ale and Wapiti Amber Ale.

And if by chance you don’t get your fill at the three brewpubs in Flagstaff, Uptown Billiards continues to shine as the best tap house in the area, with over 30 taps and a nice selection of imported beers.

Down in the Phoenix area, July will be sports month at Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, with the Dogfish Head/Papago Bocce Ball tournament scheduled for July 7–8 and with the fifth annual Papago Open Night Golf Tournament scheduled for July 15. Papago has brought back the El Grande Nutz and will be introducing a Belgian-style dubbel called Little Brother, made with authentic liquid Belgian candi syrup, now available for the first time in the United States. Corrales, N.M., resident Stan Hieronymus, author of the new book Brew Like a Monk, states that caramelized sugar syrup is what most Belgian brewers of dark Trappist/abbey ales use. All but one of the Trappist breweries use the syrup instead of the rock candy sugar that has been used by American brewers up until now. Phoenix area homebrewers can purchase the liquid candi syrup themselves at the Homebrew Depot in Mesa.

Four Peaks brewers certainly have been busy recently. In addition to having to find space on the walls for all their new medals, they brewed a dry-hopped version of their Impale Ale for their ninth anniversary. This summer, Jim Roper at Four Peaks will have his excellent kolsch beer available. When the Gilbert Brewery is built, Four Peaks plans to can the kolsch there and would like to open up the naming of the beer to Celebrator readers. You may submit a name to brew@fourpeaks.com. The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to Four Peaks. The brewery is thinking of having a retro-can look (like a 1970s can of Schlitz, Blatz or Genesee), so bear that in mind with regard to a name.

The fifth annual New Mexico IPA challenge among New Mexico breweries is tentatively scheduled for three nights in July, starting out at Wellhead Restaurant and Brewery in Artesia on July 19, moving on to Turtle Mountain on the 20th (in their new second location in Rio Rancho), and finishing at Second Street Brewery in Santa Fe on the 21st. Il Vicino is looking for a third straight victory, but I have heard that the competition will be stiff this year.

Tractor Brewing will be having a five B's party at the Tractor Farm — Bikes, Bands, BBQ, Brew and Babes — on June 9. The name pretty much sums up what could be a bodacious party. Tractor Brewing is also going Hollywood. Watch for Tractor Brewing brews in a new Warner Brothers movie titled “Beerfest” and also in “Wild Hogs,” a Disney flick that will probably be a big hit starring John Travolta, Tim Allen, William Macy and Martin Lawrence.

Sadly, Pinon Brewing in Los Alamos has closed its doors. However, there are some rumors that a couple of new places hope to be open by the end of the year.

Ron Kloth is president of Papago Brewing Company in Scottsdale, Ariz., and is on the board of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. He can be reached at ron@papagobrewing.com.


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