Though a steady rain fell on the 2014 Great Arizona Beer Festival, the sun still shined on Sleepy Dog Brewery, which took home the event's People's Choice Award, beating out beer crafters from throughout the state. The popular support for their beers should come as no surprise to anyone who has visited their tasting room, where guests kick back and sip from a venerable selection of handcrafted brews, from the malty Red Rover Irish Ale to the hoppy Tail Chaser IPA. A casual vibe permeates the high-ceilinged pub, where guests are encouraged to play board games or build a palatial house of cards as a monument to their favorite draft.
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.
The Great Urban Race is a one-day event pitting teams of two against one another in a race combining physical challenges, scavenger hunts, and puzzles. Up to 700 twosomes will traverse 4 to 8 miles of Toronto terrain on foot and by public transportation as they solve 12 challenging clues in a fun quest to reach the finish line first. Sample clues and challenges from past Great Urban Races include charades, bubble-gum chewing, pig Latin deciphering, bicycle races, and word scrambles, making this race ideal for competitive eaters and cryptographers alike. Teams are encouraged to dress up in matching outfits, and prizes will be awarded for best costume. Prizes are also given for race results, with $300 going to first place, $200 to second place, and $100 to third place. The top 25 teams will qualify for the National Championship in New Orleans in November, with the top three teams receiving free entry. Each participant gets a T-shirt and postrace refreshments of fruit, granola bars, and a run through a Perrier sprinkler. Read over the rules and FAQs for more information.
Located in Tempe, Studio Vino combines an urban feel with wine tasting and making to create a personalized and unique experience for connoisseurs and casual wine drinkers alike. Featuring only wines from Arizona, the winery strives to offer its guests a modern experience while sampling between 8 and 11 of the winery's red and white varietals, each paired with hand-selected cheeses, crackers, and chocolates. In addition to tastings, Studio Vino offers personalized wine labels to help transform a memorable sip into a keepsake.
Wooden beams and tables, American-flag accents, a DJ booth, and real Cadillacs on the roof accentuate Cadillac Ranch’s southwestern vibe, which is permeated with rock and roll tunes. On game days, patrons gaze at a 150-inch HD projection screen or one of 30 plasma televisions while sampling bar bites such as tacos and burgers from one of the menus, which include a late-night selection that is served until midnight.
With more than 6,000 square feet of grilling goodness, BBQ Island is a 'cuers paradise stocked with award-winning rubs and savory spices. Lovers of slow-cooked treats can spend a meaty summer debating the merits of Kansas City versus East Texas after packing their pantries with regional blends from across the nation. Many of BBQ Island's specialty seasonings can't be found at local grocery stores, giving browsers an opportunity to stock up on premium flavor-boosters such as Bad Byron's Butt Rub ($14.99, 24 oz.) and John Henry's Texas Brisket Rub ($9.99). BBQ Island also carries an ample supply of MSG-free, gluten-free blends for the health-conscious seasoner, including the award-winning Dizzy Pig's Dizzy Dust ($9.95), as well as offerings from locally owned Fast Eddie’s ($7.99) and Anthony's Spices.