The Beer Bloke: 13 must-have beers at Beer for Brains’ Rare Affair on Nov. 5

BY James Swann Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The holiday season is approaching, and events and parties are popping up everywhere. This week, let’s chat about Rare Affair, taking place on Nov. 5 at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. It’s a fundraiser put together by Beer for Brains, a non-profit whose main goal is funding brain cancer research.

I know what you are thinking. “James, you’re in over your head. You write about beer, not brains.” Well, here’s the good news: The event is called Rare Affair because it features rare beers, wines, spirits, cigars and gourmet foods not usually found here in Arizona.

Did I say rare beer? Indeed, I did – at least 75 craft beers not typically available here in the Grand Canyon State.

After calling in a few favors (and some humble begging), I was able to acquire a list of some of the rare draft and bottled beers. Some selections may be subject to change, but here is my short list of the must-have draft beers:

American craft beers:

  • Odell Brewing’s Friek, a barrel-aged blend of Belgian-style raspberry framboise and cherry kriek.
  • Odell Brewing’s Mango Habanero IPA, cask-conditioned in a firkin. Many refer to this as Real Ale.
  • Dogfish Head Brewing’s 120 Minute IPA, a huge India Pale Ale continuously hopped for, you guessed it, 120 minutes. Very sought after, very special.
  • Dogfish Head Brewing’s Sahtea, a ninth-century Finnish recipe brewed with cinnamon, ginger and pepper and cloves. Intense!
  • Deschutes Brewing’s The Stoic, a Belgian-style quad brewed with pomegranate and aged in rye whiskey and wine casks. Big mouthfeel, big body.
  • Deschutes Brewing’s Dissident, a Flanders-style sour brown ale partially aged in Pinot noir and cabernet barrels. Very complex.
  • Big Sky Brewing’s Olde Blue Hair barrel-aged barley wine. Hints of honey, vanilla and ripe fruit in this semi-sweet high-alcohol brew.

Local craft beers:

  • BJ’s Goliath Imperial Red, a full-bodied, aggressively hopped red ale.
  • Phoenix Ale Brewing’s Camelback IPA, an unfiltered, medium-bodied, British-style Indian Pale Ale.
  • Four Peaks Brewing’s Sirius Black, a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout. Enough said!
  • A SanTan Brewing limited-release brew still in the works, but I have been promised that it will be quite special and available only at Rare Affair.

True Belgian ales:

  • La Chouffe Brasserie d’Achouffe. La Chouffe Blonde Ale, golden unfiltered ale spiced with coriander and years of Belgian tradition.
  • Brasserie DE Silly’s Pink Killer, a malty wheat-based brew made with pink grapefruit juice, orange peel and Belgian candy sugar. Sweet and refreshing.

There you have it, my baker’s dozen and something quite rare for every beer lover. While you may have happened upon a few of these brews here and there, I’m betting you have never seen them on tap and most certainly never gathered together in one place at one time.

A lot of credit goes to World Class Beverage, Young’s Market and many more dedicated beer, wine and food geeks who make this event happen. No small feat. So many rare beers, wines, spirits and cigars and epicurean delights to savor – one could spend days and not get through them all.

As I said, this is a fundraiser and all this exclusivity has a price: $75 for a standard ticket and an extra $100 if you fancy yourself a VIP. Keep in mind, according to Beer for Brains director Lou Dolgoff, this event is “all you can eat and drink” and also includes entertainment.

Brain cancer is a serious matter. Let’s have some fun while helping to raise a little dosh for those who are not as fortunate or healthy as we are. I’m told Jesus turned water into wine; perhaps together we can turn beer into a cure.

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1 BeerJunkie October 26, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Nice! I’m looking forward to this event, and helping a great cause :)

2 Ron October 26, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Not a bad list James, however I would have included Cambridge Pumpkin, Short’s Nicie Spicie and Huma-Lupa-Licious, Van Steenberge Gulden Draak Quad, Napa Smith’s Imperial Porter and The Redstone Meadery-Papago Brewing collaboration.

3 Rusty November 4, 2011 at 10:39 AM

What does “dosh” mean?

4 Jess Harter November 4, 2011 at 5:14 PM

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