Posts Tagged ‘arizona’

Craft Beer Microbreweries

February 13th, 2015 by samhughesinn

beer

Craft Beer

The first ever, Tucson Craft Beer Crawl, will be held Saturday, February 21, 12 Noon to 4:00 PM and will include 7 Craft Beer Microbreweries representing a number of local craft beers.

There has been an explosion of sorts in microbreweries in Tucson in the past few years and this event will cap Arizona Beer Week (Feb. 12-21).

Tickets can be purchased online for $38 or at the door for $45 and attendees will receive a wristband, a map of participating breweries, and a 5 ounce sampling glass. The goal is to connect beer lovers with local pubs and craft beers unique to Arizona and Tucson.

Per Wikipedia the term “craft beer” is typically applied to breweries that are much smaller than large-scale corporate breweries and are independently owned. Such breweries are generally characterized by their emphasis on quality, flavor and brewing technique Tucson’s participating breweries include Ten 55 Brewing, Borderlands Brewing, Pueblo Vida Brewing, SanTan Brewing, Dragon Brewing Co, Thunder Canyon Brewery, Grand Canyon Brewing Co., Barrio Brewing, Sonoran Brewing Co., Old Bisbee Brewing Co., Huss Brewing, Iron John’s Brew Co, and O.H.S.O. Each company will bring its best brews to sample at Hotel Congress, Thunder Canyon Brewery, R Bar, Pueblo Vida, Playground, Borderlands Brewery and Tap & Bottle.

The hope is that people will develop a sense of community in the new downtown neighborhood while enjoying a moving party. Some of the proceeds will be donated to Watershed Management Group, an organization offering “adaptive & collaborative approach to developing sustainable solutions for the water and environmental issues in Tucson” (Zócalo Magazine, February, 2015).

The afternoon timing will insure that the beer crawl becomes a real community event with people coming together to discover downtown and hopefully bring their friends to enjoy some of the local pubs as well. Coincidentally a bill will be introduced in the upcoming Arizona legislative session to allow microbreweries to keep restaurants and pubs as they grow.

The current law says breweries producing less than 40,000 barrels a year are “microbreweries.” Once they top that number, they become “producers.” As a microbrewery they are allowed some self-distribution rights and the operation of restaurants and pubs and some of these smaller places would like to expand. The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild says the law is not clear regarding off-site restaurants and pubs when a brewer tops 40,000 barrels. Tucson brewers currently have on site restaurant/pub arrangements but could be affected by this law in the future. Arizona Beer Week happens every February from Flagstaff to Tucson and is a celebration of craft beer throughout the state.The Great Tucson Beer Festival is tentatively scheduled October 31, 2015.

Arizona Wine Vineyards

January 20th, 2015 by samhughesinn

Arizona Wine Vineyards

Most  Arizona wine vineyards are located south of Tucson in the Elgin/Sonoita area and a few have tasting rooms located within the city. Although the first wine vineyards were planted by Jesuits in the 16th century, it wasn’t until the end of Prohibition in 1933 that serious grape planting began. It would prove to be a slow start in Arizona since many vineyards have come into being only in the past ten years. But these wineries have every reason to be proud of their products.

Wine Prohibition

Prohibition Begins
1920

People generally associate good wine with California and the west coast but Arizona’s soil, climate and elevation are uniquely suited to certain types of grape growing and more than 50 Arizona wine vineyards are well known producers of fine vintages. The following vineyards represent just a few of the grape growers you might like to visit in Arizona. (Check individual websites for the best time to visit).

Charron Vineyards (pictured above) has been owned and operated by Milton & Susan Craig since 2009. One of southern Arizona’s oldest vineyards, it planted its first Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines in 1994 and has produced several award winning vintages. In 2000, its White Merlot won the Governor’s Award and has sold out every year since then. They offer 14 unique wines in their tasting room, open Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM.. Charron is located less than 30 minutes from downtown Tucson between Vail and Sonoita. From Interstate 10 take Exit 281 to Hwy 83  (approx 25 miles East of Tucson).  Signposted Sonoita & Patagonia, the Charron Vineyards Attraction sign is at mile marker 53.

Sonoita AVA area

Sonoita Elgin Area Map

Family owned Callaghan Vineyards was established in 1990 in Sonoita, AZ. Le Monde, the Parisian newspaper, listed Callahan as one of the six most interesting wineries in the US. Dubbed an Arizona Treasure by former Governor Brewer, Kent Callahan has won numerous awards for his wines which were also served at President Clinton’s last state dinner in 2000, and at Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement dinner in 2006.

The Sonoita AVA (American Viticultural Area) is one of the first wine-growing regions in the United States to be granted AVA status, and the area is currently the only federally recognized wine growing region in the state of Arizona. USA Today listed the Elgin/Sonoita area as one of the top ten wine trails in the US.

Sonoita Vineyards is the oldest commercial vineyard and winery in AZ. It opened in 1983 and incorporates 30 acres of vines. Festivals here include the Blessing of Sonoita Vineyards, April 25 & 26, 2015 – with tastings, pairings, & tours of the vineyard.The Harvest Fest, July 25 & 26, 2015, features wine stomping competitions and horse drawn vineyard tours.

The Village of Elgin Winery claims to be the largest producer of wine in the Sonoita AVA. Also family owned, this winery produces in the traditional manner, aged in European wood. Visit the vineyard and beautiful grounds, tour the bottling process, and see the on-site chapel, La Capilla de Santa Maria. The Harvesting of the Vine Festival is scheduled September 19 and 20, 2015. Tickets include admission, wine glass, food, music and arts & crafts.

Dos Cabezas Wineworks has been producing wines in Arizona since 1995. Famed Arizona winemaker, Kent Callahan, (see Callahan’s Vineyard above) was the original winemaker for Dos Cabazas. The winery was moved to Sonoita close to the current family owners’ Pronghorn Vineyard in Elgin in 2003.They are exceptionally proud of the wine produced here and invite you to visit their tasting room year round. The fee includes a souvenir wine glass.Locally the wine is available at AJ’s Fine Foods and Whole Foods in Tucson.

Wine Tasting Rooms:

Wine tasting

Wine Tasting

And for those less inclined to drive longer distances, you can sample Arizona Wine Vineyard products in these three Tucson wine tasting rooms. For twenty years Bear Track Winery has provided wines they make themselves from freshly harvested grapes to produce full bodied wines unique to the Sonoran Desert. You’ll find them in the Catalina Foothills at 4743 E. Sunrise Drive. Open Tuesday through Friday 5-9 PM. Phone 520-975-0050 for information.

Flying Leap Vineyards, with two vineyards in Elgin, operates one of its four tasting rooms in Tucson at St. Philip’s Plaza, 4330 N. Campbell, Suite 48. Hours vary according to the day but they serve Saturdays from 9 AM to 8PM. Call for details 520-299-VINE. Their award winning wines are sold in specialty stores and at major wine retailers.

Sierra Bonita Vineyards is named for its location near the historic Sierra Bonita Ranch established in 1872. A more recent addition to fine southern Arizona wine making, Sierra Bonita released its first wines in 2011, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Syrah.They describe themselves as an eco-friendly vineyard. Their tasting room is at 6720 E. Camino Principal, Suite 101. Hours are Thursday – Saturday, 4-8 PM. Saturday & Sunday, 12PM to 6PM. Phone 520-296-0674

Wine barrels

Aged in Oak

And if you’re visiting Sam Hughes Inn, most of these vineyards are located only an hour or so by car from Tucson.Put wineries on your to-do list while searching for interesting attractions. Soak up the atmosphere at one or more of these vineyards while touring southern Arizona, Raise a glass and toast the great weather, the beautiful scenery and sample an award winning variety of locally crafted wines.

Nandi – Reid Park Zoo Baby Elephant

December 23rd, 2014 by samhughesinn

Nandi at 2 months

Nandi at 2 months

Reid Park Zoo & Baby Elephant Nandi

Reid Park zoo and its star attraction, the baby elephant, Nandi, are set to break attendance records in 2014. This was the first elephant birth for the zoo and has captured the attention of countless fans.

Nestled in the middle of bustling mid-town Tucson, the zoo has always been a tiny marvel. Once inside visitors forget that they are in the middle of a heavily populated city surrounded by highways and traffic. Its clever design makes a jungle-like oasis only about five minutes from the University of Arizona and a few minutes more to downtown Tucson. This year people waited anxiously knowing that a pregnant elephant was about to give birth. Nandi was born on August 20th but kept in a quiet area with her mother, Semba. Even a royal birth might not have been so closely watched as zoo staff kept a vigil 24 hours a day, until she was born. At night interns stayed up observing with night vision goggles for any signs of labor.

Weighing in at 245 lbs she seemed like a toy animal next to her mother who tipped the scales at more than 7,000 lbs. They were kept in seclusion for a month until the baby was healthy enough to be allowed in the viewing area. In December she weighed more than 500 lbs but still looks tiny next to the three adults and one 3 year old in the herd. All the elephants were rescued from Swaziland and came to Tucson via the San Diego Zoo after new construction greatly increased the size of the elephant enclosure. Her dad is Mabu and he weighs more than 8 tons. We’re not sure how they weigh elephants but we’ll take their word for it. The zoo opens at 9 am during the cool months and Nandi is usually on display until about 11:30 am. You won’t want to miss Nandi when you visit Tucson; it’s going to take her quite a few years to be as big as her parents, the three year old, and the other giant males.

Nandi's Extended Family

Nandi’s Family

Mom - Semba

Mom – Semba

The zoo’s small size makes it an ideal place to spend a few hours being amazed at the diversity of the animal world.

There are many other reasons to visit this gem of a zoo, which has a wide range of animals and birds big and small, including Herbie, the giant turtle (500 lbs. who could be as old as 100 years but he’s not talking.)

Herbie (photographer Jeff Whitlock

Herbie –  [photography, Jeff Whitlock, www.theonlinezoo.com]

Ample parking surrounds the zoo, just 2.5 miles from Sam Hughes Inn and next to the Randolph Park Golf Course, Tennis courts and directly opposite Edith Ball Adaptive pools (swimming & therapy pools heated and open year round) with UV protected circus tent style roof. You can bring a picnic lunch and eat in the park near a large man made lake with fountain and the usual visiting duck population.

 

Jacob Alsadek – Arizona Football Team Giant

December 15th, 2014 by samhughesinn

Big University of Arizona Football Player

Jacob helps celebrate birthday

Jacob with small admirers

Jacob Alsadek, a very big Freshman University of Arizona football player, is working hard to make a name for himself. The University of Arizona Bear Down Football Stadium is only a few hundred yards away from Sam Hughes Inn. It is barely a five minute walk but a giant leap for Jacob Alsadek. Now known as #78 Jacob was very excited to become a part of the team that practices and wins there. Jacob was recruited from Torrey Pines High School near San Diego. His uncle, Marcus Nebling, a University of Arizona visiting professor (working with Optical Sciences), has stayed at Sam Hughes Inn Bed & Breakfast several times. On one of his visits Marcus introduced Jacob to the other inn guests.

A gentle giant, as well as an excellent student, Jacob is, so-far, the biggest fellow on the team at 6’7” tall and a few pounds over 340 lbs. But size isn’t everything; and he’s learning that experience plus the help of his teammates means a lot to him.

In interviews Jacob admitted he had never played football before his freshman year at Torrey Pines High School in 2009.  Already the biggest fellow in his class he quickly fell in love with the game and while in high school he was named one of the top 300 high-school athletes in the country. He helped his team win the Surf Cup; and he was named a Union Tribune Scholar-Athlete (maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better).

According to the Del Mar Times, Jacob thought he was strong in high school but when he arrived at Arizona, he realized that everyone was just as strong & big. In high school he didn’t have to work as hard but since arriving in Tucson he’s had to pay much closer attention to his game.

Jacob missed a few games because of a foot injury early in the season but played in the game that clinched the PAC 12 South Championship for the University of Arizona. He was also on the roster for a short time for the team’s final humiliation, when they lost the overall Pac 12 championship game. However he remains upbeat and hopeful that the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, AZ, December 31, 2014 will give his team the ego boost it needs.

With Jacob on board University of Arizona Sports will continue to draw faithful fans for more years to come. (In the picture on top, Jacob Alsadek is helping out at a birthday party for a smaller relative).

Jacob in U of A Stadium

Jacob in U of A Stadium

Jacob Alsadek

Jacob Alsadek, #78

 

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