Post image for It’s Craft Beer Thursday! Here are today’s beer events

OHSO in Phoenix hosts “High Five to Fretzky,” a fundraiser for the family of the late Greg Fretzky, at 5 p.m. today. They’ll be tapping a variety of local and nationally brewed beers with 100% of the proceeds going to help Phoenix Ale Brewery co-founder’s wife and children.

At 6 p.m., Harvey American Public House in Gilbert will host a Northwest Brewing tasting. Stop by and meet the owners of the Pacific, Wash., brewery.

At 6 p.m., Mellow Mushroom in Tempe will be the latest to host the IPA Challenge, a blind tasting of six beers: Ska Modus Hoperandi, Hangar 24 Columbus, Black Market Rye IPA, Huss That’ll Do IPA, Nebraska IPA, and Upslope IPA.

At 6:30 p.m., the monthly tap takeover at Flanny’s in Tempe will feature 17 beers from San Diego’s Hess Brewing. See the tap list here.

At 8 p.m., Spokes on Southern in Tempe will host a Full Sail event. Meet the Hod River, Ore., brewers and taste their latest beers.

All day, World of Beer Tempe and Gilbert will have Samuel Adams Latitude 48 IPA on tap along with three “deconstructed” versions, each brewed with just one of the hops: Latitude 48 Simcoe, Latitude 48 Mosaic, and Latitude 48 East Kent Golding.

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Post image for Fusion Burrito in Gilbert announces closure after 4 challenging months

Fusion Burrito, we hardly knew ye. The on-again, off-again concept, which opened just four months ago in Gilbert, has closed for good.

Taking over the former Rivas Mexican Food – a small, rundown building on Gilbert Road just south of Guadalupe – Fusion offered a variety of burritos with globally inspired fillings.

Creations included the Boise (pictured) with roast chicken or pork, mashed potatoes, and gravy; the Seoul with roast pork, rice, shredded cabbage, and sunflower seeds; and the Parma with roast chicken or pork, risotto, and marinara.

Plumbing problems forced the restaurant to close in early June. It reopened a few days later, but soon closed again for more repairs.

Fusion announced its permanent closure today on its Facebook page.

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Post image for Huss Brewing to debut its 1st fresh-hopped beer, Fresh Magic, Saturday in Tempe

If you love fresh-hopped beer, you better clear your calendar this Saturday. Huss Brewing will debut Fresh Magic, a fresh-hopped version of its Magic in the Ivy pale ale.

The hops literally were still on the vine at a northern California hop farm last week when 50 pounds were picked and overnighted to the southern Tempe brewery.

We used our Magic in the Ivy as a base,” says brewer Jeff Huss. “We put the fresh hops in as soon as they came in. (We) drop hopped with Cascade, Columbus, and Centennial hops 26 hours off of the vine.”

Huss hasn’t filtered the beer yet, but expects to end up with about 28 barrels, which will be on tap when the taproom doors open at noon Saturday.

Fresh-hopped beers typically come out in September, “but this hop farm has an earlier harvest than most,” Huss says.

While he brewed a fresh-hopped beer a few years ago when he worked at BJ’s, but this is a first for his own year-old brewery. All the special arrangements are worth it, Huss says.

“I really like fresh-hopped beers a lot,” he says.

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Post image for Mellow Mushroom celebrates 40th anniversary with $2.50 pizzas & 75-cent beers today

Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers celebrates its 40th anniversary today with a “Way Back Wednesday” celebration – offering select menu items at 1974 prices.

Every location will be selling small cheese pizzas for $2.50, Coke products for 30 cents, and Michelob, Budweiser, and PBR for 75 cents.

Mellow Mushroom was founded by three college students near Georgia Tech in Atlanta. It has grown to more than 170 locations in 18 states, including locations in Tempe and Ahwatukee.

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Post image for Friday: 4th Friday Car Show & Magic Hat promo at Nicantoni’s Pizza in Gilbert

Due to last month’s inclement weather, Nicantoni’s still will be collecting school supplies – notebooks, binders, pens, pencils, crayons, etc. – for needy children. Magic Hat Brewing will be sampling beers as well as handing out shirts and glasses. The Vintage Vixens will appear for photo opportunities.

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Post image for Saturday: Beach party, BBQ & poolside drink specials at The Monastery in Mesa

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Post image for Sept. 13: Rockin’ Taco Street Fest at El Palacio in Chandler

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Post image for Pomo Pizzeria to join growing list of acclaimed restaurants in downtown Gilbert

The rich are getting richer: Pomo Cucina & Pizzeria
Napoletana
is the latest acclaimed restaurant setting its sights on downtown Gilbert.

Pomo will join Zinburger, Barrio Queen, and Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles in Gilbert’s new Heritage Marketplace, scheduled to open this fall.

Arizona Republic dining critic Howard Seftel has named Pomo, which currently has locations in north Scottsdale and downtown Phoenix, one of the Valley’s top 10 pizza restaurants, noting:

What does it mean to be VPN-approved? It means Pomo follows the artisanal standards set by Italy’s Verace Pizza Napoletana (True Neapolitan Pizza) association. From crust to temperature, the process is strictly controlled. The result: authentic, outstanding Neapolitan pizza.

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Post image for It’s official: Arizona Wilderness Brewing to start expansion in October

One of the worst-kept secrets in the Valley craft beer scene is now officially out: Arizona Wilderness Brewing is expanding.

Gilbert’s first brewery, which celebrates its one-year anniversary next week, is taking over the entire building it currently shares with Bruegger’s Bagels near Arizona Avenue and Guadalupe Road.

According to the latest newsletter from popular website RateBeer.com, which named Wilderness the top new brewery in the world earlier this year:

“Arizona Wilderness will be expanding this fall, taking over adjacent retail space and installing a 15-bbl system they already have waiting for them in storage. Jonathan Buford … expects it to have maybe 35 seats and more of a production feel, also handling growler sales and merch. It will help with their current cozy 7-barrel arrangement, and allow them to participate in more national and international festivals and beer dinners.”

Buford tells MXSW, “We are (expletive) excited. Honestly, we are staying true to our values: Small batch, local ingredients, and a great beer experience. It isn’t a ‘production’ expansion as much as a catch-up-to-demand expansion.”

Buford says renovation work will begin in mid-October. If all goes smoothly, work could be completed in January.

“We have most of the equipment and (are) working closely with the city,” he says. “This also allows the kitchen to expand and the patio.”

No word on whether they’ll keep the bagel shop’s drive-through window…

(Update: A number of readers apparently didn’t realize I was just kidding about the drive-through window. A liquor store can have one, but not a brewery.)

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Post image for This week’s ‘Taste of Romeo’s’ menu: Chicken Spanaki & Tortellini Gianni

Chicken Spanaki and Tortellini Gianni (pictured) will be the two featured entrees at this week’s “Taste of Romeo’s Euro Cafe” dinner at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The five-course dinners, hosted by chef Romeo Taus and his wife, Janice, highlight a rotating selection from the Gilbert restaurant’s regular menu.

Aug. 21 “Taste of Romeo’s” menu

  • Foccacia De La Provincia: Open-faced foccacia bread with fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, garlic olive oil, and thinly sliced portabello mushrooms.
  • Chef Salad: Turkey, ham, Swiss and provolone cheese, crisp bacon, artichokes heart, and olives on salad greens. Choice of dressing.
  • Chicken Spanaki: Breast of chicken, spinach, ricotta, feta, and mozzarella baked in savory marinara. With tomato and Romano.
  • Tortellini Gianni: Italian sausage, cheese-filled tortellini, scallions, fresh garlic, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes in marsala cream sauce.
  • Peanut Butter Brownies

Cost is $25 per person, and you can add five wine tastings for another $10. RSVP: 480-962-4224.

Related: Romeo Taus ‘engineers’ culinary success with Euro Cafe

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