Brew Review: The Scottsdale Winterfest Beer Festival

Brew Review: The Scottsdale Winterfest Beer Festival

There are few things better than drinking a cold refreshing beer on a scathingly hot summer day.  One of those few things is having a cold refreshing beer while relaxing in a well functioning central air conditioning.  This is clearly the kind of atmosphere that the organizers behind the Scottsdale Winterfest Beer Festival had intended to impart.  Unfortunately, due to the scorching hot 114 degree day coupled with the demise of the Scottsdale Venue’s air conditioning system the Beer Festival became more a demonstration of perseverance than an afternoon of refreshing beer sampling.  Due to its seasonal homage, I was under the impression that while attending the supposedly cryogenic event I would be somewhat comfortable or maybe with any luck, even a bit chilly. Truth be told, with all the fanfare surrounding the event, I pondered whether or not I may even age slightly slower.   Self-preservation aside, there were some shining examples of new brews and interesting concepts present at the show.  There were dozens of local breweries in attendance as well as a couple of larger distilleries amongst the sweaty booze-fueled masses.  Several companies like Four Peaks Brewing, San Tan Brewery, Coronado, Prescott and Red Hook made themselves popular stops as well as several small tequila and whiskey distillers.  One interesting note that became vividly apparent as we toured the Venue; the craft beer market has been directly affected by the global economic downturn that has taken place over the last few years in two interesting and divergent ways.  One, melancholy attitudes and the general social malaise have sent beer and alcohol sales through the roof and two, glass bottles have become far too expensive to produce and in turn, cans are coming back to the shelves in a big way.  Even some of the larger distributers like Four Peaks Brewing have changed their product format over the last few months swapping their traditionally bottled beers to cans.  All in all it was a good time and an interesting experience as far as being able to try many of the new incarnations developed by small, but unique and innovative brew masters.  This was my first time attending the Winterfest event and there were several new companies and concoctions brewing on the horizon to become excited about.   Hopefully by next year the organizers of the Winterfest work out the kinks and deliver an event worthy of its frostbitten description.

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