d'vine's wine club boasts a globe-spanning array of rare and celebrated fermented fruit nectar, giving new and seasoned oenophiles a heady taste of the world of wine and fine dining. In addition to free weekly wine tastings each Wednesday, club members score their choice of two bottles of wine every month from a rotating selection of two reds and one white, ensuring easy removal of accidental grape stains. The two bottles must be consumed at D'Vine, though any club member ambitious enough to want a third or more receives an additional 10% off their decadently Dionysian purchase. The wine bar's unpretentious staff fills members' minds with tantalizing wine facts and fills goblets with vintages that may include 2009 Isabel Mondavi I'M chardonnay or 2008 Rock & Vine cabernet sauvignon. Drinkers transform into diners when they activate members' 10% discount on meals from d'vine's vino-friendly menu of tapas, salads, grilled pizzas, and rotating specials.
The staff at The Brass Tap take beer very seriously, and so do many of their customers. The evidence for this is the Brew Crew, where customers accumulate points for trying different choices of the pub's 300 craft beers, which they can then redeem for food or beverage purchases.
Thankfully, the bar makes it easy to sort through its 300 beers. The menu is divided up into different beer types, which go deeper than the basic delineation of ale vs. lager vs. water that's been dyed amber. Guests can peruse listings of bottled barleywines and porters, or have a resident beer aficionado fill their mug with an imported brew on draft. Beer even permeates the food: the chipotle mustard on the house-baked pretzels is made with pale ale, just as the cheese dip is made with Samuel Adams. All of the sandwiches and pretzel pizzas also have recommended drink pairings.
As for entertainment, each Brass Tap books a variety of local bands on Friday and Saturday. Trivia and happy hours find regular spots on the schedule, and some locations have outdoor patios.
The phrase Il Vinaio translates into English as "the wine merchant"?making it a more-than-apt title for a Mediterranean-inspired bistro and wine bar. This trans-Atlantic eatery blends the flavors of the American Southwest, Greece, and Italy under the guidance of executive chef Jordan Salyer. Local organic produce and house-made soups are just some of the building blocks of his eclectic menu. Spice-rubbed steaks and pork loins, pastas tossed with cream sauce and chicken, and seafood dishes such as pecan-crusted salmon are crafted with care alongside vegetarian pastas and grilled flat-breads. Though the food is the focus, a list of American craft beers and international boutique wines provides the ideal drink matches.
Il Vinaio's decor also contributes to its evocative atmosphere. The sprawling space is designed in the style of an ancient Tuscan church, with linen-draped tables set below soaring cathedral ceilings and 70 stained-glass windows. Playful touches also abound in the form of local artwork and a back-lit soffit scrawled with nearly a dozen hand-written quotes about wine and how good it tastes any time of day.
There isn't much in this world that's better than drinking beer while listening to music. Good Cheer Brewfest combines these complementary activities with a good cause, and the result is a festival that will be hard to top this holiday season.
The formula is simple: bring together a team of brewers and musical acts, then donate a portion of the proceeds to local charities. This year, those charities include The Humanitarian Activist Alliance and Phoenix Children's Hospital, as well as Toys for Tots, which will be collecting toy donations.
Good Cheer's music schedule features eclectic sounds that range from the foot-stompin' Americana of local boys Random Karma to the soul-driven blues of Ebinezer. Keep an eye on the brew page for updates on the festival's featured beers, which may include everything from crisp lagers to the latest beer-flavored energy drink, BuzzBeer.
Dan and Tim Flanigan created the event-planning company that bears their name in order to quench beer enthusiasts' thirst while supporting worthy causes. Their Beat the Heat WinterFest brings a much-needed frosty edge to summertime in Arizona, and the Spring Swing Beer Bash kicks off baseball season with cold glassfuls of hoppy, wheaty, and malty goodness. The duo's festivals showcase local and internationally renowned breweries, from Phoenix's own Old World Brewery and Phoenix Ale Brewery to Stella Artois and Hoegaarden Brewery.?
Their past events, which have benefitted children's charities, have been held at the 30,000-square-foot Arizona Event Center and The Venue Scottsdale, whose stone walls, chandeliers, and retractable roof resemble the medieval football stadiums of yore.
Even with a liquor store as its upstairs neighbor, Sun Devil Wine Cellar & Pub holds its own as far as the drink selection is concerned. In addition to eight rotating craft brews, it serves more than 1,500 wines and beers, which guests can sample during Thursday tastings.