MXSW Weekend Guide

MXSW Weekend Guide for May 19-21, 2017

BY Jess Harter Friday, May 19, 2017

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Arizona Restaurant Week: The twice-a-year promotion kicks off its 10-day spring edition with participating restaurants throughout the Valley offering prix-fixe dinner menus for either $33 or $44.

Tacos Tequila Whiskey Grand Opening: The Denver-based Mexican concept celebrates the recent opening of its Arcadia location with happy hour prices, including $2 beers and $5 cocktails, all day.

BottleShop 48 Wine & Cider Tasting: Sample four French and three English ciders, plus three wines from California’s superhero-themed Iconic Wines, for free from 5-7 p.m. at the Tempe store.

Peoria Artisan Third Sabbath Tapping: The Peoria brewery celebrates the tapping of the second batch of its Belgian tripel – a gold medal winner at the Arizona Strong Beer Festival – from 5-10 p.m.


Peach Sour Pop-Up Store: Try Iconic Cocktail’s new Pichuberry Peach Sour made with peaches from The Farm at Agritopia in Gilbert. Peach sodas are $5 (free with purchase of mixer) from 10 a.m.-noon.

Queen Creek’s Lemonade Days: The town’s annual family-friendly celebration of summer features food, beer, cocktails, and, or course, lemonade. There also will be live music and lots of kids activities.

Joint Forces Malted Cider Tapping: Downtown Mesa’s Oro Brewing and soon-to-open Cider Corps tap their latest collaboration – a malted cider – from 2-8 p.m. at the brewery.

Helton Brewing One-Year Anniversary: The Phoenix brewery closes out its first year with a party from 6-10 p.m. featuring games, a 6 p.m. tapping of its Double IPA, and music from The Sugar Thieves.


Beer Beets Dinner at Gertrude’s: Grand Canyon and Ballast Point breweries are teaming up for a beet-themed beer dinner at the Desert Botanical Garden restaurant. All four food courses will feature beets.

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MXSW Weekend Guide for May 12-14

BY Jess Harter Friday, May 12, 2017

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SunUp glass giveaway: Get a free SunUp pint glass when you buy a can of White Russian or Bearded Blonde from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Jimmy Hula’s in Tempe.

Schilling cider tasting: Sample various ciders from Washington state’s Schilling Hard Cider at 4 p.m. at BottleShop 48 in Tempe.

Hess beer promo: Meet Mike and Lynda Hess, owners of San Diego’s Hess Brewing, at 6 p.m. at The Whining Pig in Gilbert.

Buddyz Brew tapping: Buddyz Chicago Pizzeria in Gilbert unveils Buddyz Brew, a collaboration with Scottsdale’s Two Brothers Brewing, at 4 p.m. Brewery reps will be giving out samples and swag.


Yoga & Beer: Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers in Gilbert is the latest East Valley restaurant to offer a weekend yoga class. The one-hour class starts at 10 a.m.

AmeriCAN Canned Craft Beer Fest: Sample from more than 250 craft beers at the seventh annual festival, which runs 1-6 p.m. at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix.

Arizona Sangria Art Festival: Enjoy sangria tastings, arts and crafts, live music, and food from 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Rawhide in Chandler.


Mother’s Day specials: Check out the specials and deals for Mom being offered by MXSW sponsors.

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Beer ’n’ Bones FUNdraiser

The Arizona Museum of Natural History in downtown Mesa holds its fifth annual fundraiser – a fun evening of local craft beer, food bites, games, and, of course, dinosaurs – from 7-11 p.m. today. Admission to the 21-and-over event is $20, which includes your first beer. Food and brew tickets are $4 each or four for $12. Custom pint glasses, shot glasses and dino novelties are available in the museum store.

Taste of Arizona spirits

Sample distilled spirits from around the state when Adventurous Stills in Tempe kicks off a new event from 5-8 p.m. today. Try bourbon from Prescott’s Thumb Butte or whiskey from Tucson’s Hamilton Distillery, among other spirits, for $4 per taste.

Chandler Craft Spirits Fest

Sip premium spirits and craft cocktails, along with beer and wine, from 5-9 p.m. Saturday at the fourth annual festival at Downtown Ocotillo in south Chandler. Online tickets are $40 for general admission and $60 for VIP, which includes early entrance at 4.

Goldwater Brewing anniversary

The Scottsdale brewery celebrates its second anniversary with a block party from 4-10 p.m. Saturday. Admission to the all-ages event is free. Their Anniversary Barley Wine will be tapped at 4. Left Coast Burrito Co. and Brat Haus will provide food.

Epicuriad 2017

The annual fundraiser for the Beers for Brain Foundation features 12 local chefs, craft beers and fine wines from 7:30-10 p.m. Saturday at Allstate Appliances in north Scottsdale. Tickets are $49, or $75 for VIP, which includes early entrance at 6:30.

Elvira’s Belizean Cafe

Elvira’s Belizean Cafe throws a grand opening party all day Saturday at the Latin American restaurant near Alma School and Warner in Chandler. The fun includes DJs, a magician, face painting, raffles, and giveaways.

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Southwest Cajun Fest

From noon-9 p.m Saturday, Angry Crab Shack, Creole Cajun Bistro, and Eddy Dee’s will be among the restaurants providing Cajun food in downtown Chandler. The fest also will feature live music and themed zones such as Bourbon Street, the French Quarter, and the Garden District and more. Patrons of all ages are encouraged to dress in festive parade-style attire. Eating competitions will include watermelon, Cajun wings, and crawfish.Admission is $8 online or $10 at the gate.

Frozen Creamery grand opening

Although it’s been open for five months, Frozen Creamery in Gilbert finally will throw a grand-opening party this weekend. Today, there will be cold brew shake samples (all day), Miranda the Lipstick Reader (6-7:30 p.m.), and live music (7:30-9:30); Sunday, cold brew float samples (all day) and Ursa the Frozen Creamery Princess (1-3).

Hob Knobs 9th anniversary

Chandler sports grill Hob Knobs will celebrate its ninth anniversary with live music tonight, the Blackhawks NHL playoff game Saturday, and a 3 p.m. pig roast Sunday. Specials (available 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and all day Sunday) will include $1 Jell-O shots, $2 Old Style cans, and $3 domestic drafts.

Jolie’s Place 5th anniversary

From 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Jolie’s Place in Chandler will host ‘‘A Taste of Old-Time Chandler,’’ featuring barbecue dishes and live music. Games will include Corn Hole and horseshoes, and there will be raffles and drawings to support Fans Across America.

Danky’s Free Bar-B-Q Day

From noon-2 p.m. Saturday, Danky’s BBQ in Phoenix will hold its second annual benefit for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The barbecue is free, and 100% of donations and T-shirt sales will be donated. The rest of the day, all tips and 20% of sales will be donated.

AZ International food trucks

From 6-10 p.m. Saturday, AZ International Marketplace in west Mesa will host its first food truck festival. Participating trucks will include The Lemongrass Shack, Flippin’ Rice, and Thai Saap. There also will be a live DJ, free face painting, free raffles, and bouncy houses for kids.

Bar Viñedo’s Spring Fling

From 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Queen Creek wine bar Bar Viñedo will throw its second annual Spring Fling with complentary wine, beers, and spirits tastings and great discounts on purchases to take home. There also will be live music and 15-plus local vendors.

French Toast Eating Contest

From 10 a.m.-noon Sunday, recently opened Even Stevens in Tempe will hold an all-ages contest during brunch with a $25 gift card for first place. All-you-can-eat French toast is $3.75. Space is limited, so email to sign up.

Sausage Fest at Brat Haus

From noon-8 p.m. Sunday, Brat Haus will be serving several kinds of brats, pretzels and a variety of craft beers. They’ll attempt to best their state-recond 120-foot brat, plus there will be stein-holding and Giant Jenga competitions. Admission is a $5 donation to Honor Flight.

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Taxation is Theft release

Tax Day is fast approaching, and the Beer Research Institute in Mesa is marking the occasion by tapping a new beer: Taxation is Theft. The dry Belgian saison is brewed with Darjeeling tea in a nod to the tax-protest Boston Tea Party. All weekend, BRI will be selling Taxation is Theft tax-free; that is, the brewpub will pay the tax for you!

Four Peaks turns 20

Four Peaks celebrates its 20th anniversary Saturday with a concert lineup headlined Blues Traveler at its Wilson Street taproom in Tempe. Door open at 3 p.m. for the event, which also includes food trucks, a photo booth, a time capsule, and lots of Four Peaks beers. If you didn’t buy your tickets in advance you’re out of luck – the event is sold out.

Press Coffee tasting

Did you know Press Coffee in Chandler holds Coffee 101 tastings on the first and third Saturdays of every month, including this Saturday at 10 a.m.? Learn the histories, geographies, and flavors of four different coffees in the one-hour interactive class. Cost is $10, but you get a $10 gift card so basically the tastings are free! RSVP:

Tombstone tap takeover

Recently opened Tombstone Brewing is fast becoming a favorite of Arizona beer drinkers. Find out what all the fuss is about when The Whining Pig in Gilbert hosts a Tombstone tap takeover from 4-7 p.m. Saturday. A tap list hasn’t been announced, but the brewery has been getting raves for its Northeast-style hazy IPA and Norwegian Farmhouse IPA.

Easter Sunday brunches

Before heading out to your regular Sunday brunch this weekend, remember it’s Easter Sunday and restaurants will be busy. There also are some specials. For example, Bourbon Jacks in downtown Chandler has a special menu, The Perch will have $5 mimosa and Bloody Marys, and Pier 54 in Tempe will have food and drink specials plus lakeside live music from noon-2 p.m.

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Flancer’s pizza-eating contest

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Flancers in Mesa will hold its annual charity pizza-eating contest, the culmination of a month-long fundraiser for Warfighter Sports, Sunshine Acres Children’s home, and Jewish Family & Children’s Services. The contest is $25 to enter but free to watch. The person who eats two large cheese pizzas the fastest wins $250 and will be crowned by Miss Arizona (pictured: 2014 champion Gus Beisel). The restaurant also is holding raffles and a silent auction for several gift baskets (see details) as it nears its goal of $30,000.

Peeps & beer pairing flight

Today through Sunday, Phoenix Ale Brewery Central Kitchen is offering a special flight of Peeps-and-beer pairings to raise money for a local animal rescue. For $10, you get a flight of four beers paired with four different flavored peeps. The Arizona Small Dog Rescue, which gets $3 from every flight sold, will have several dogs available for adoption from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.

Pittie Me Rescue fundraiser

From 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, celebrate Pittie Me Rescue’s fourth anniversary at OHSO Distillery in Scottsdale. Mention Pittie Me and 20% of your bill will be donated to the dog rescue. There will be a raffle for gift baskets, and a few adoptable PMR dogs to meet.

Ice Cream Sammies anniversary

From 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Ice Cream Sammies in downtown Chandler will celebrate the ice cream and cookie shop’s one-year anniversary. There will be prizes raffled off all day; you can earn raffle tickets with purchases and social media check-ins. In the evening, there will be a DJ and dance area.

Scottsdale Culinary Festival

From noon-9 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday, the Scottsdale Culinary Fest at the Civic Center Plaza will feature local food and drink, chef demos, seminars, live music (headlined by LeAnn Rimes), and kids activities. Admission is $15 per day; food and drink are sold separately. The beer garden is $45, which includes 20 4-ounce tastings.

Lost Dutchman wine tasting

From 5-7:30 p.m. Saturday, the Friends of Lost Dutchman State Park will hold its fifth annual wine tasting to raise money for the Apache Junction park. Chef Dennis Bagnasco from the Mining Camp Restaurant will grill up sumptuous bites to pair with wines from Action Wine and Spirits. Tickets are $42 per person or $78 per couple.

Homebrewer of Year dinner

At 6 p.m. Sunday, the Arizona Society of Homebrewers, the country’s largest homebrewing club, holds its Homebrewer of the Year Beer Dinner at The Hungry Monk in Chandler. Open to the public, the five-course dinner features special beers from Odell and The Perch. Cost is $40. Reservations required.

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MXSW Weekend Guide for March 31-April 2

BY Jess Harter Friday, March 31, 2017


Tempe Spring Festival of the Arts

From 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. today through Sunday, the 40th annual Tempe Spring Festival of the Arts will draw thousands of people to downtown Tempe. Besides the work of 300-plus artists, attractions will include food vendors, a $10-$15 Arizona wine tasting and three wine and beer gardens, including one that will be extended until 8 p.m. Saturday with live music at Hayden Square. Festival admission is free.

Vintage & Vino Market in Queen Creek

From 10 a.m.-7 p.m. today and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Queen Creek’s twice-a-year indoor vintage/handmade market and wine tasting returns to Horseshoe Park’s arena. Food and other drinks, including craft beer, also will be available. General admission is $5. General admission and eight wine tasting tickets is $25.

Autism fundraiser kickoff at The Brass Tap

From 1-6 p.m. Saturday, The Brass Tap at Mesa Riverview will host the launch party for a month-long fundraiser for children’s autism research. It will donate $1 to three different charities for every pint sold of Sleepy Dog Blue Heeler blueberry wheat, Uncle Bear’s Short Leash blueberry saison, and Dragoon Saison De Blue.

April Fool Your Palate at SunUp Brewing

From 6-10 p.m. Saturday, SunUp Brewing in Phoenix will be experimenting with miracle berries, an African fruit that makes sour things taste sweet and vice-versa. Attendees will get a variety of SunUp beers and small bites to try for $12. Berry quantities are limited, so reservations are required.

Backyard BBQ at The Hungry Monk

From 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, The Hungry Monk in Chandler will throw a Backyard BBQ featuring a special menu of house-smoked ribs, pork, chicken, and tri-tip. There also will be beer specials from Mike Hess, The Perch, and Figueroa Mountain.

Barrel-aged stout battle at The Casual Pint

From noon-1 p.m Sunday, five barrel-aged stouts – Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Lagunitas High Westified, Epic Double Barrel Big Bad Baptist, Firestone Walker Parabajava, and Almanac Cold Brew Coffee Barrel Noir – will face off at The Casual Pint in south Chandler. Get 5-ounce pours of all five for $25 and cast your vote.

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MXSW Weekend Guide for March 24-26

BY Jess Harter Friday, March 24, 2017


Great American BBQ & Beer Festival

The eighth annual Great American Barbeque & Beer Festival returns to downtown Chandler from noon-10 p.m. Saturday. Highlights include three stages of country music, 60 BBQ pit masters, craft beer, March Madness lounge, grilling demonstrations, a kids zone, eating competitions and more than 100 exhibitors. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate.

Goat roast party at The Brass Tap

The Brass Tap at Mesa Riverview celebrates the Chicago Cubs’ 2016 World Series win with a goat roast in the craft beer bars parking lot at 4 p.m. today. Get a pint of Huss Magic in the Ivy and a bowl of teriyaki goat over pineapple and rice for $20. There also will be special tappings and prize raffles.

Lobsterpalooza at Gilbert Feastival

A rare co-appearance by the Cousins Maine Lobster and The Maine Lobster Lady will highlight the 18-truck lineup at this week’s Gilbert Feastival food truck roundup from 5:30-9 p.m. today on the southwest corner of Val Vista and Warner. Admission is free.

My Nana’s Salsa Challenge in Phoenix

More than 20,000 people are expected to attend the 33rd annual My Nana’s Salsa Challenge from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at Steele Indian School Park in north Phoenix. More than 90 contestants will compete in hot, mild, and “anything goes!” categories.

50% off poke bowls at Ahipoki in Tempe

Get 50% off poke bowls as Ahipoki Bowl celebrates the grand opening of its new Tempe location (on Rural, between Apache and University) from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. The first 20 people in line will win 20 free bowl coupons for future visits.

Free burritos at Boca Taqueria in Gilbert

Get a free bean and cheese burrito from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday when Boca Taqueria holds a grand-opening party for its Gilbert location on the northwest corner of Higley and Baseline. In addition, there will be $2 house margaritas and $2 draft beers.

Food & Photo Night at Nishikawa Ramen

From 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Nishikawa Ramen on the southwest corner of Cooper and Ray in Chandler will be giving away free sodas and two-for-one import beers to all groups who allow the restaurant to use their photo on social media.

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MXSW Weekend Guide for March 10-12

BY Jess Harter Friday, March 10, 2017


Boulders on Broadway 10th anniversary

Boulders on Broadway in Tempe will replicate its beer list from opening day 2007 as part of its 10-year anniversary festivities Saturday. Starting at 11 a.m., the fun includes all-day live music and the tapping of Junior Varsity Electrician, a beer the staff brewed at Odell Brewing in Colorado.

Great Arizona Beer Festival

Sample beers from across Arizona and around the world when the Great Arizona Beer Festival takes place from 2-6 p.m. Saturday at Civic Space Park in downtown Phoenix. General admission to the 21-and-over event is $45 and includes 24 sampling tickets.

Celtic Music & Microbrew Festival

Several beers from Scotland’s Innis & Gunn and Belhaven breweries will be tapped at the all-new Arizona International Celtic Music & Microbrew Festival, which runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday near the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix.

Jazz & Jambalaya at Southern Rail

Enjoy a bowl of jambalaya, half-price Arizona wines, and live jazz on the patio Sunday as Southern Rail in Phoenix kicks off its twice-a-year Jazz & Jambalaya nights. The event runs 5-8 p.m. every Sunday (except Easter) through April 30.

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MXSW Weekend Guide for March 3-5

BY Jess Harter Friday, March 3, 2017


Devoured Culinary Classic

Arizona’s premier food festival, the two-day Devoured Culinary Classic, takes place 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Phoenix Art Museum’s sculpture garden. Both days are sold out, but if you got your ticket already you’ll enjoy unlimited food and drink samples from many of Arizona’s top restaurants, wineries, and breweries.

Downtown Mesa Brew Fest

The third annual Downtown Mesa Brew Fest – featuring 40-plus beers, food, games, and live music – runs 2-6 p.m. Saturday on Macdonald, just south of Main Street. Admission to the family- and dog-friendly event is free. Twelve-ounce beers are $5.

The Perch Yoga on the Roof

The spring edition of The Perch Brewery‘s popular Yoga on the Roof series begins this weekend. Held at 9 a.m. Saturdays through April 29, the $20 class includes one hour of yoga on the rooftop patio and beer, mimosa, or cocktail afterward.

Pokitrition grand opening

Recently opened poke bowl restaurant Pokitrition, on the southwest corner of the 101 and Ray in Chandler, celebrates its grand opening from noon-8 p.m. Saturday with a buy-one-get-one-free deal. You also can get a free bowl by following the eatery on Facebook or Instagram.

Caribbean Jerk Festival

The state’s largest Caribbean food event, the third annual Arizona Caribbean Jerk Festival, will be held from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday at Kiwanis Park in south Tempe. The fest also features an all-day lineup of reggae musicians and singers. Admission is $15.

Keep up to date on local food & drink news: Click here to receive a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts