Post image for Tickets available for tonight’s Four Peaks dinner at Chao

If you’re looking for a last-minute idea for something to do tonight, seats are still available for the Four Peaks beer dinner at Chao Urban Asian Eatery in Chandler.

The menu has been changed from the one originally announced – it’s now five courses instead of four – but the cost still is $40 per person. RSVP: 480-855-0522.

Four Peaks beer dinner menu:

  • Our Favorite App Platter with Peach Ale
  • Thai Sausage Salad with Hefeweizen
  • Dover Sole and shredded fruit with Short Hop
  • Spicy Pineapple Curry with Hop Knot
  • Green Tea Ice Cream with Lefty Lager

Don’t miss food & drink news: Click here to sign up for a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Post image for Photos: Real, Wild & Woody beer festival in Tempe

Real, Wild & Woody made its debut Saturday at the Tempe Center for the Arts, and by almost any measure the beer festival was a huge hit. A sold-out crowd of 1,000 people enjoyed one-of-a-kind cask, sour, and barrel-aged ales from 30 breweries, including 27 from Arizona.

Sure, there were a few first-year hiccups. An ID-check bottleneck kept attendees waiting for 30-45 minutes in 105-degree heat, and some layout changes mandated by the arts center created some unintended congestion inside. But both problems are easily fixable for next year.

From the first beer I tried (Huss Brewing‘s Southern Hussy, a peach ale aged in bourbon barrels) to the last (SanTan Brewing‘s Cab Franc Saison, a beer-wine hybrid made in collaboration with Dos Cabezas Wineworks), there wasn’t a single disappointment.

RRWGlasses

Real, Wild & Woody is the brainchild of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild, which represents 49 Arizona breweries. The guild already sponsors the state’s premier beer festival, the Arizona Strong Beer Festival.

RWWCasks

Although breweries had their own tables, all the cask beers were racked together. Shown being poured is Fate Brewing‘s Puffs Imperial Coffee Milk Porter made with Cocoa Puffs cereal.

RRWJonBrett

Brett Dettler and Jon Buford were pouring three beers for Arizona Wilderness Brewing from Gilbert. Their Woolsey the Wild, a sour wit beer aged in Russian River Sonambic barrels, was one of the first beers gone.

RWWSign

Besides its above-mentioned Cocoa Puffs beer, Fate Brewing from Scottsdale had a popular lineup at its table, including Breakfast for Dinner, a barrel-aged porter made with Cartel Coffee Lab coffee from Tempe and glazed doughnuts.

RWW.Jerry

North Mountain Brewing‘s Jerry Gantt admires his Russian imperial stout brewed with maple syrup. The Phoenix brewpub opened last year.

RWWIsaiah

Isaiah Garfias, founder of the popular Arizona Craft Beer Lovers group on Facebook, checks his smartphone. I guess a moderator’s job never ends.

RWWCrowd2

Here’s the view from the second floor of the Tempe Center for the Arts. The floor-to-ceiling glass wall to the left offered a picturesque view of Tempe Town Lake.

RWWAndrew

Andrew Ortega from The Perch Pub & Brewery pours the Chandler venue’s Rosemary IPA from a cask.

RRWDocAnthony

Two guys that know something about beer: Derek “Doc” Osbourne from BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse and Anthony Canecchia from SanTan Brewing.

RWWJohn

Wait a minute – didn’t John Ziegler move to California? The former bartender at Whole Food Chander’s The Watering Hole was back in the Valley for a week. He now works for DBI, the largest distributor in Northern California.

RRWRon

As Saturday’s festival winds down, Ron Kloth from Papago Brewing in Scottsdale tries hard to hide his excitement.

RWWBRI

Greg Sorrels from the Beer Research Institute, which is expected to open in Mesa at the end of August, chats with an attendee. Although BRI didn’t have any beer to pour at its table Saturday, there’s always next year’s festival…

Don’t miss food & drink news: Click here to sign up for a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Post image for It’s Burger Monday! Here are today’s East Valley deals

It’s Monday, which means burger specials around the East Valley:

Don’t miss food & drink news: Click here to sign up for a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Arizona Beer Class: SanTan Devil’s Ale

Jess Harter | Thursday, July 17, 2014

(Every Thursday, MXSW reveals the story behind one of Arizona’s craft beers.)

This week’s subject: SanTan Devil’s Ale

Devil’s Ale is a West Coast pale ale (5.5% ABV) introduced by SanTan Brewing Company in Chandler in early 2009. Originally known as Sun Devil Ale, it’s SanTan’s No. 1 seller, outselling second-place SunSpot Gold by a 4-to-1 margin in the field.

How did Devil’s Ale get its start?

SanTanDevilsAlePint“Because of the hops shortage at the time (SanTan launched in 2007), I was making an IPA but everything else had no hops in it,” SanTan founder and brewmaster Anthony Canecchia says. “I just couldn’t get hops, so I struggled to make one IPA (HopShock) and keep that on. Then it turned into Big Red, which used even less hops.

“People kept saying, ‘You should make a pale ale.’ But I didn’t have the hops to make it, so people were actually taking the HopShock or the Big Red and mixing them with SunSpot (blonde ale). James (Swann, a SanTan manager and bartender at the time) was calling it the King James. I called it the Lord Swann.”

How did you solve the hops problem?

“(Eventually) I got three boxes of hops from Steve Parkes from the American Brewers Guild,” Canecchia says. “He showed some mercy on my poor soul. He got us some (English) Kent Goldings hops at cost, which I’m not a big fan of but hops were hops back in 2008.

“It was just a scary time. I used whatever I could get my hands on — Palisade, Glacier, Kent Goldings. But it also turned me on to a couple of hops I never would have used. I found Simcoe, and that became the base for Sun Devil.

Why name it for the ASU sports mascot?

“I went to the U of A, but I didn’t really like any of the people who went to the U of A,” Canecchia says, laughing. “When I was brewing down there, I had a pale ale that I named Sun Devil Ale.

“Some of my friends just wouldn’t drink it. They were like, ‘Wildcats, Wildcats!’ I was, like, ‘Great!’ I put a big Sun Devil sticker right on the bottles so they wouldn’t touch my beer.”

How has the beer changed since 2009?

“Well, it wasn’t the way it tastes now,” Canecchia says. “As I said, we were using (hops) I didn’t want to put in it, but it made a nice, mid-range hoppy beer. It was drinkable. There was hop character to it but not aggressive. It was very low on aroma because I couldn’t waste hops on aroma.

“The 2009 (version) lacked the beautiful, delicious smell of muscat-y Simcoe hops and a more balanced profile. (The current version) also is drier. We always want our beers in that Southwestern style of as dry, dry, dry as we can get them.”

ASU sued you over the name in 2010…

“I wasn’t going to fight Mr. Crow and the ASU empire,” Canecchia says. “They sent us a cease-and-desist letter, but it turned out very amicable. It’s hard to not see their point. We rebuffed because so many local businesses are named Sun Devil this or Sun Devil that.

“They just made the case, ‘We don’t care. We let them use (the name). We don’t want you to use it. We don’t want it associated with alcohol.’ Even though back in the ‘80s, after they won the Rose Bowl, there was a Sun Devil Beer.”

So everything worked out in the end?

SanTanDevilsAleLogo“At the end of the day, we got some nice publicity out of it that really helped the pub,” Canecchia says. “They were really cool about it. They would have ground us into the turf if we tried to fight them, sure, but when we did the naming contest (to rename the beer) they showed a sense of humor.

“Terri Shaffer, their public relations director, was quoted in the Arizona Republic as saying, ‘They’re having a naming contest? That’s great. They can call it Sun Ale, they can call it Devil’s Ale – as long as they don’t call it Sun Devil Ale.’

“So we said, ‘Terry’s the winner of the contest!’ We called her up and she laughed. We showed up at her office with a keg (of Devil’s Ale, the contest’s grand prize) but she politely declined to take possession of it.”

Did you expect Devil’s Ale to be your bestseller?

“I planned on it to be a flagship beer because there were no other Arizona breweries that were putting their high-hop beers forward at the time with any intention of distributing statewide or putting dollars behind the brand,” Canecchia says.

“Devil’s Ale to me is a food beer. All our beers are food beers, but that one just goes so well with so many types of food, whether it’s savory or it’s sweet or it’s smoky. Chocolate even has been paired with it. To me it’s kinda the perfect beer.”

Where to find Devil’s Ale

You’ll find Devil’s Ale throughout Arizona, southern California, and Texas on draft and in 12-ounce cans.

Don’t miss food & drink news: Click here to sign up for a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Northwest Brewing rolls out Arizona debut parties

Jess Harter | Thursday, July 17, 2014

Post image for Northwest Brewing rolls out Arizona debut parties

Northwest Brewing from Pacific, Wash., will hold a series of Arizona debut parties this weekend to celebrate its arrival in the market:

Beers on tap will include Hoppy Bitch IPA, Crazy Bitch double IPA, Black Pearl barrel-aged stout, Three Skulls blood orange wit, and its popular Mango Weizen.

One of Northwest’s beers you’re not likely to see in Arizona: Hawk One Lager, its tribute to the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.

Northwest Brewing began five years ago as Trade Route Brewing. Two years later Greg Steed and Dan Anthony took over the brewery and renamed it.

July 23: Santa Fe Brewing dinner at El Palacio

Jess Harter | Wednesday, July 16, 2014

ElPalacioDinner0714

Don’t miss food & drink news: Click here to sign up for a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

BorderlandsDinner0714

Don’t miss food & drink news: Click here to sign up for a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Post image for Sold-out Real, Wild & Woody may be model for future fests

The first-ever Real, Wild & Woody beer festival debuts Saturday at the Tempe Center for the Arts. With a limit of 1,000 tickets, it sold out early, just as the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild hoped.

The indoor event, which will run 2-6 p.m., will showcase specialty cask (real), sour (wild), and barrel-aged (woody) beers from 31 breweries, all but three from Arizona. The $50 tickets sold out last week.

That means organizers won’t have to spend this week trying to sell remaining tickets, like they had to with last February’s Arizona Strong Beer Festival, the state’s premier beer festival, also sponsored by the guild.

Rob Fullmer, the guild’s new executive director, notes the guild didn’t have to pay for an advertising or marketing campaign, instead relying on free social media.

RealWildWoodyLogoThat’s significant, he says, as the guild plans to launch another new beer festival, Baja Oktoberfest, in Tucson this fall. “In general, we’re going to get better at identifying who we’re marketing to,” he says.

It also may force a change in the behavior of some Valley beer festival fans, those who wait for a last-minute Groupon sale or rely on getting leftover tickets from a brewery. For Real, Wild & Woody, participating breweries received only a few tickets for their on-site staff.

Fullmer says next year’s Real, Wild & Woody likely will have a bigger footprint at the arts center to accommodate more people, but will remain a more intimate event than Strong Beer, which drew more than 6,000 people this year.

Real, Wild & Woody beer list:

Arizona Wilderness

  • Dos Double IPA Mango
  • Woolsey the Wild: Sour wit beer aged in Russian River Sonambic barrels
  • Old Brood: Belgian quad Braggot aged in red wine barrels. Collaboration with Superstition Meadery.

Barrio Brewing

  • Vanilla Bean Cask Porter
  • Barrio Blanco-Chai Tea: Simcoe dry-hopped white IPA cask
  • NCAAle: Whiskey barrel-aged strong ale
  • Dark sour beer blended with raspberries

BJ’s Brewery & Restaurant

  • Woody Scottsman: Scotch ale aged in whiskey barrels
  • Jeremiah Red cask
  • Cask Hopstorm IPA cask

Borderlands Brewing 

  • Citrana Sour: Lemon-forward Gose with sea salt and coriander
  • Flemish Red

Cartel Brewing

  • Birch: Birch-aged pale ale firkin
  • Cupid’s Delight: Amber rye ale aged on cherry wood with cherries added
  • O.C.P. (Oak Coffee Porter): Porter aged on oak with whole-bean coffee added

College Street Brewhouse & Pub

  • Fraternity of Hops 1: West Coast-style IPA pulled before end of fermentation and allowed to finish and age in a firkin
  • Fraternity of Hops 2: Same IPA aged on American oak spirals soaked in tequila

Desert Eagle Brewing

  • Black Sugar: Barrel-aged Russian imperial stout
  • Red Mountain Ale: Casked amber dry-hopped with Amarillo

Dragoon Brewing

  • Saison Blue: Farmhouse-style ale aged 11 months in tequila barrels
  • Scout Porter: Smoked porter aged 12 months in rye whiskey barrels
  • Stronghold Session Ale with Exo Roasters cold-pressed coffee cask

Epic Brewing

  • Hopulent IPA firkin
  • Elder Brett: Brettanomyces-infused saison aged in wine barrels

Fate Brewing

  • Puffs Imperial Coffee Milk Porter: Cask conditioned with Cocoa Puffs cereal
  • Pebbles Session IPA: Cask conditioned with Fruity Pebbles cereal
  • Into the Wild Sour Stout: 1055/Fate Collaboration
  • Fate Berlemoner
  • Fate Cedar Aged Pale Ale
  • Fate Breakfast for Dinner: Barrel-aged porter with glazed donuts and Cartel coffee

Firestone Walker Brewing 

  • Stickee Monkee: Central Coast quad aged in bourbon barrels
  • Lil Opal: Saison farmhouse ale barrel-aged and spiked with Brett and Lacto yeast

Four Peaks Brewing 

  • Sirius Black: Barrel-aged Russian imperial stout
  • Tequila Raj: English-style IPA aged in tequila barrels
  • Sour Peach cask

Grand Canyon Brewing 

  • Shaggy Bock: Traditional bock conditioned in fermenter with toasted oak

Granite Mountain Brewing

  • Double English brown ale aged on U.S. oak. Collaboration with Lonesome Valley.

Huss Brewing

  • Southern Hussy: Peach ale aged in bourbon barrels
  • Barrel-Aged Snowbird: Imperial oatmeal stout aged in bourbon barrels
  • Barrel-Aged That’ll Do IPA

Lumberyard Brewing

  • Fireside Red: Imperial red aged in bourbon barrels
  • Black IPA firkin

Mother Road Brewing

  • Wooden Spoke 3: Bourbon barrel-aged Lost Highway black IPA
  • Gold Road: Kolsch-style brew aged in Heaven’s Hills barrels with Brettanomyces yeast and pear puree
  • Roadside: Dry-hopped pale ale cask

Mudshark Brewing 

  • 2014: Scotch ale aged in Jack Daniels barrels
  • La Travail: Saison aged on oak with orange, lemon peel and grains of paradise
  • Frausboise Requin: Raspberry lambic
  • Shark Funk: Barrel-aged Oud Bruin

New Belgium Brewery

  • Paardebloem: Wood-aged ale brewed with peach juice, grains of paradise and dandelion greens. Collaboration with Red Rock Brewery.
  • Wild Wild Dubbel: Dubbel-style beer brewed with Schisandra berries
  • Love Oscar: Oscar is the base beer for La Folie
  • Biere de Peach: Biere de Mars aged in Leopold Brothers Peach Whiskey barrel with Brett and lemon peel

North Mountain Brewing

  • N.I.B.: Russian imperial stout brewed with maple syrup

OHSO Brewery

  • Praying Monk Belgian-style quadrupel
  • OHSO Hoppy: Dry-hopped IPA
  • Oaked Barleywine: Malty, hoppy and smash-aged in a whiskey barrel
  • Oaked Saison

Old World Brewery

  • Whiskey Sour: Scotch ale aged in bourbon barrel
  • Yard Dog 1: House porter soured and dry-hopped
  • Yard Dog 2: House porter soured and aged in red wine barrel
  • 4 Leaf Irish Red aged in red wine barrel

Papago Brewing

  • Papago Park: Barrel-aged pale ale
  • Otis: Barrel-aged milk stout

Peoria Artisan Brewery

  • Artisan Arsonist: Smoked and oaked red ale

SanTan Brewing

  • Saison di Aleatico aged on oak
  • Barrel-aged saison vs. Cabernet Franc
  • Beer Gone Wild

Sonoran Brewing 

  • Saison
  • White Chocolate

Sun Up Brewing

  • TBD

The Beer Research Institute

  • TBD

The Perch

  • Rosemary IPA cask
  • Very Cherry cask

Thunder Canyon Brewing

  • Continuously hopped cask IPA
  • Belgian Brick: Barrel-aged Belgian-style pale ale
  • Buckmaster: Barrel-aged brown ale
  • Good Vibe: Barrel-aged sour IPA

Wanderlust Brewing

  • 928 Local: Belgian-style farmhouse ale brewed with locally harvested wild yeast
  • Ostro: Sour saison brewed with Lactobacillus
  • Farmhouse Rouge: Wine barrel aged dark saison
  • Pan American Stout Cask: Coffee stout aged in the cask with whole vanilla beans

Don’t miss food & drink news: Click here to sign up for a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Post image for Chompie’s celebrates 35th anniversary today with half-price Jewish Sliders

Chompie’s is celebrating its 35th anniversary today with half-price Jewish Sliders. Until 8 p.m., customers can get up to four sliders (normally $3.99) for just $1.99.

Jewish Sliders consist of homemade challah rolls filled with moist lean brisket, mini potato pancakes, and Jack cheese, and served with a side of brown gravy.

In 2010, the sliders made an appearance on cable TV’s “Man v. Food.” In a rare defeat, host Adam Richman (pictued above) failed to finish 12 sliders in 30 minutes, a feat that’s been accomplished by numerous customers since.

Last July, Chompie’s set a record by selling 11,620 Jewish Sliders on their anniversary day. Chompie’s has southeast Valley locations in Tempe and Chandler.

Don’t miss food & drink news: Click here to sign up for a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts

Post image for Billionaire Burger with filet & lobster tail highlights Liberty Market’s annual Burger Daze

Liberty Market is readying for its fifth annual Burger Daze. Every day in August, the downtown Gilbert restaurant will offer a different speciality burger.

On of the highlights will be the Billionaire Burger with an 8-ounce patty topped with 4-ounce filet, lobster tail, and caviar on brioche toast. It will sell for $25 on Aug. 30.

Globally inspired burgers include a Thai Burger (Aug. 12), Croque-monsieur Burger (Aug. 15), Italian Burger (Aug. 24), and Mu-Shoo Burger (Aug. 26).

There even are some vegetarian burgers, such as Portobello Quinoa (Aug. 4) and a Fafafel Burger (Aug. 25).

(Pictured: Last year’s Tater Tot Burger)

As in past years, any customer who eats 10 different burgers in the series will receive a $25 gift card. Anyone who eats all 31 will get a $100 gift card. (Must bring in receipts by Sept. 7 to pick up gift card.)

All burgers feature 8-ounce Niman Ranch ground beef patty unless noted and come with potato chips.

Burger Daze schedule:

  • Aug. 1: Baked Bean Burger with baked beans and candied bacon ($12)
  • Aug. 2: Truffle Mac Burger with American cheese and truffle mac ’n’ cheese ($13)
  • Aug. 3: Street Corn Burger with roasted corn, cotija, Mexican crema, pico spice, cilantro, and lime wedge ($12)
  • Aug. 4: Portobello Quinoa, a portobello stuffed with quinoa, tomato, arugula, and basil-cashew cheese ($12)
  • Aug. 5: BBQ Pork and Potato Salad Burger with pulled pork, BBQ sauce, potato salad, crispy onion straws, and pickles ($14)
  • Aug. 6: Black and Blue Burger with Cajun seasoning, blue cheese dressing and grilled red onion ($12)
  • Aug. 7: Jamaican Jerk Burger with Jamaican jerk sauce and mango salsa ($12)
  • Aug. 8: Liberty Mac with two 4-ounce patties, American cheese, lettuce, pickles, onions,and secret sauce ($14)
  • Aug. 9: Game Burger with elk patty, wild mushrooms, and grated parmesan ($14)
  • Aug. 10: Pasta House Burger with linguine, marinara, parmesan, and garlic bread bun ($12)
  • Aug. 11: Stuffed Chipotle Burger with chipotle cream cheese, roasted poblanos, lettuce, and tomato ($13)
  • Aug. 12: Thai Burger with rice noodles, bean sprouts, carrots, crushed peanuts, and red curry sauce ($13)
  • Aug. 13: 6 Alarm Burger with roasted jalapenos, roasted Thai chiles, habanero aioli, and pepper jack ($12)
  • Aug. 14: Fried Pork Tenderloin Burger with fried pork tenderloin, whiskey sauteéd onions, and lemon aioli ($14)
  • Aug. 15: Croque-monsieur Burger with cheesy bechamel, ham, and gruyere ($14)
  • Aug. 16: Poached Pear Burger with poached pear, fig, blue cheese, and balsamic ($13)
  • Aug. 17: Weekender with Liberty potatoes, cheddar cheese, bacon, sunny side up egg, lettuce, tomato, and ketchup ($15)
  • Aug. 18: Elvis Burger with peanut butter, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, and pickle ($13)
  • Aug. 19: Philly Cheesesteak Burger with peppers, onions, provolone, and shaved roast beef ($14)
  • Aug. 20: The Classic Burger with Canadian bacon, shredded cheddar, diced white onion, BBQ sauce, and butter bun ($13)
  • Aug. 21: Lamb Burger with ground lamb patty, jalapeno jelly, and brioche bun (TBD)
  • Aug. 22: Bean Dip Burger with bean dip, cheddar, pickled jalapenos, diced onions, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and fritos ($14)
  • Aug. 23: Garlic Mash/Red Wine Burger with garlic mashed potatoes, sauteéd onions, red wine demi, and onion bun ($14)
  • Aug. 24: Italian Burger with pepperoni, provolone, marinara, pepperoncini, and fresh minced garlic ($13)
  • Aug. 25: Falafel Burger with falafel patty, tabbouleh, tomato, red onion, and tahini sauce ($12)
  • Aug. 26: Mu-Shoo Burger with hoisin sauce, shredded pork, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, and bean sprouts ($12)
  • Aug. 27: Gorgonzola Slaw Burger with coleslaw and gorgonzola crumbles ($12)
  • Aug. 28: Oktoberfest Burger with sauerkraut, Swiss, pastrami, sauteéd onions, pretzel bun, and spicy beer mustard ($13)
  • Aug. 29: Poutine Burger with French fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy ($13)
  • Aug. 30: Billionaire Burger with patty, 4-ounce filet, lobster tail, melted butter, and caviar on brioche toast ($25)
  • Aug. 31: Eggs Benny Burger with English muffin bun, poached egg, Canadian bacon, Hollandaise, and tomato ($14)

Don’t miss food & drink news: Click here to sign up for a daily email roundup of new MXSW posts