Better late than never, right? With all the changes happening both to the site (redesign might be coming soon!) and to our lives (apparently you need money to do this stuff on a consistent basis without sponsors), things have been rather chaotic in the last few months. Our posts have become more sparse and so when we ARE able to attend an event like this beer fest, we have to be choosy because money doesn’t grow in my backyard after trying to plant cut-up dollar bills into a Topsy-Turvy I got from the Dollar Store for literally a dollar, which may or may not have happened (it did happen).
That being said, we did make it out to an event about a month ago that I’m just now writing the article for. A combination of waiting for the pics, not having internet for a while, and then switching jobs has wreaked havoc on my ability to write an article, but it’s not like I would have remembered the details if I had written it the next day anyway. This beer fest did a number on us, to say the least.
This particular craft beer fest took place on a cold and blustery March day. It was March 9th, and I’m fairly certain that I waxed poetic about the aptness of it being a rainy day on the anniversary of the death of Notorious B.I.G. drunkenly to many a folk that day. If I didn’t, you’re welcome…that could have gotten bad. Flanigan Entertainment was putting on this particular event, and are apparently also responsible for a “Beat The Heat Winter Fest” that I had no idea existed.
Here’s my first gripe with you, Flanigan: You held this thing in the Arizona Event Center. Don’t know what the Arizona Event Center is? That’s ok, because it didn’t even exist until like January. Sure, the building existed, but the venue wasn’t actually the venue before that. No, before that it was a defunct country bar and before that I’m pretty sure it was a place that sold boots to Mexicans or something. The shopping center it’s located in is a good place to sign up for an online university or grab some late night Taco Bell before getting shot, and I say this as someone that literally lived a mile away from there until just recently.
I literally had a white guy come into my front yard, ask me for a ride up to Stapley and Broadway to save his life from some Tongan Crips, and then when I declined the guy tells me “Just remember this face because you’re gonna see it on the news. They’re gonna murder me so I just want you to remember this face” before sauntering off drunkenly into the night when I lived in that area. So it’s not like I’m some prissy bitch who can’t handle a little bit of ghetto, but this place is just a decrepit dive of a shopping center. It’s not a welcoming place to go to drink craft beer, and frankly I’m surprised that as many people showed up as did.
Oddly enough, it’s not too bad once you get inside. Nice and clean, spacious but fragmented. Not the ideal place for a beer fest (see: Brewers Invitational for how to do it right) but it at least worked…for a while. Still, the way the place was laid out made for a weird flow. When you walk in, there’s one big room, then there’s a large hallway that leads towards the back, where there’s a stage and more bathrooms. This meant that half the brewers were up front where everyone could find them, and the other half were in the back on the Island of Misfit Toys or whatever.
The price to enter depended on whether or not you got a Groupon/CouponWallabee deal or not. If memory served me right, $20 got you entrance for 2 that included 20 pours, so it was a good deal to be sure. But there’s always a catch. See, at the Brewers Invitational, they gave you a little plastic mug. It wasn’t as big as a normal mug, but it wasn’t tiny either. Just a little smaller than normal.
Here they gave you a plastic cup no bigger than a Dixie cup or Chad Kroger’s diaphragm. BUT…you could pay an additional $5 and get a slightly bigger, but totally cool glass cup…errrr…mug….errr..it didn’t have a handle so it was a glass…but it was small…I have no idea what to call it. A cup? Whatever. It was $5.
The $5 cup-glass-thing definitely made this experience a better one. It’s just nature, really. When you hand a small cup to a volunteer beer-pourer, they’re going to give you less. When you give them a bigger cup to work with, they’re going to give you more because they don’t want to seem like they hardly gave you any and then have you glare at them like they’re cheap. Worth the $5. I should also add that those $5 were not mine, as I was (and still am) as broke as an NFL player 3 years after they’ve retired. It was only due to the kindness and generosity of very good and wonderful people that I was able to attend, and they shall be paid back in kind when I give them…WHYDIDIEATTHIS.COM Stock! INVEST NOW! Just kidding. But seriously, thanks to Braimee. Or Aimrad. Whatever sounds cooler.
There was a tequila company giving out ice luge shots of its product, and plenty of folks got tossed up rather handily on that. I may have had a couple. I may have also had my wife go get a couple and then give me hers. I may have also gone back and gotten more. I may have a drinking problem. But everyone was having fun!
The list of breweries was more than adequate. In fact I’d say it was quite impressive. Phoenix Ale Brewery, Sonoran Brewing, San Tan, Old World Brewery, College Street, Grand Canyon Brewing and Prescott Brewing all represented locally, while Leffe, Odell, Mission, Sierra Nevada, Maui, Firestone Walker, Dogfish Head, Goose Island, Uinta, Stella, Red Hook, Hoegaarden, Widmer and…Budweiser….all rounded out the rest.
Budweiser, you were obviously drunk and in the absolute wrong place. We tried to call you a cab but you just kept screaming out “NO I’M OK LEMME Sshhh….LEMME SHTAY. LEMME STAY AND IT’SH OK.” You should try to hang out with the right crowd next time man. You weren’t wanted there and you kinda looked like a leper in that crowd.
Speaking of the crowd, it was interesting. Whereas at the Brewers Invitational we had a lot of slightly more well-to-do folk mingling with hipsters and a lot of beer enthusiasts, at this one we had a slightly less rich crowd, less hipsters (though they were definitely there) and a lot more casual beer drinkers that probably saw a coupon for cheap beer near their house and said “Fuck it, let’s get our Saturday on!”
I’m very glad I accidentally got way too drunk way too fast. This beer fest was supposed to last 5 hours but most of the breweries started running out of beer at about the 2 1/2 hour mark. I mean, like…they were done. Finito. Shut down. This, coupled with the massive hoards that just kept piling in, made it a sweaty pit-stained debacle after about 3 hours. A lot of the good breweries ran out so whoever still had beer ended up with a line the length of a Paul Thomas Anderson movie and you couldn’t really move anywhere without squeezing by people. It got to be very shitty and we didn’t even stay till the end.
The card they were supposed to be marking off when you got beers only got marked off sometimes, and so what was supposed to be 20 beers for me ended up being like 40 beers with still 10 left to go on my ticket and 6 shots of tequila. This was the case for pretty much everyone in our group, but what else can you expect when the event planners found their volunteers on Craigslist literally hours before the event started?
Yep, talking to the volunteers we found out that a lot of them got offered free beer on CL earlier that day because they realized they were severely understaffed. That it ended up being an overcrowded, under-served mess in the middle of a dank shopping center further solidifies the idea in my head that this Flanigan Entertainment is really just two dudes with no idea how to run a proper beer-fest and in fact may be responsible for writing the scripts to Date Movie and Leprechaun In The Hood 2.
Look, I love craft beer. I love local craft beer, and I love being able to dive into some really well-respected craft brews from around the country, so on paper this event sounded awesome. But I’ve seen better execution in Texas electric chairs and this event just reeked of promoters that either cut corners to save money or were too inexperienced to throw a proper fest and got overwhelmed.
It’s tough to complain when I got that much good beer in me and had such a drunken good time, but I was one of the first people in the door. For anyone showing up more than an hour after start time, you might as well have turned around and gone home. So did we have a good time? Yeah, I think so, from what I remember. Would you have? Depends on when you showed up.
Maybe next year will be better. Maybe next year they’ll pick a spot not rife for a knifing. Maybe there won’t be one next year. All I know is, if they do have one they need to consult someone that’s done it successfully before because this clusterfuck needs a clean-up. There was live music and food, but it was tough to give an opinion about it because all I could see was the sea of humanity and the lack of beer after a while.
Anyway…Enjoy some pictures of drunk people!
There’s like 15 pics in a row of Tyler trying to lick his wife’s face, 7 in a row of me taking pics of everyone’s crotch on purpose, and then at the end I just took pictures of me screaming for like 5 minutes straight.
This post was written by Xavvi