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.