With the popularity of ciders the last few years, local cideries decided to showcase this refreshing beverage. The inaugural Southwest Cider Festival takes place on Saturday Nov. 10th at Cider Corps in Mesa. At the 5-hour festival Cider Corps will pour Arizona’s Stoic Cider & Crush Craft Cider and ciders from Colorado, Texas, Washington, California and New York.
Guests will also be able to sample bites from local food trucks and enjoy live music.
“People are so interested to learn about and experiment with cider and that’s what this event is all about – a chance for everyone to continue to learn, sample and collaborate,” said festival organizer Josh Duren.
Brothers Josh and Jason opened Cider Corps last year and have produced over 70 ciders and have a loyal legion of fans. They push the envelope when it comes to making cider and helped put Arizona on the cider map.Tickets for the festival are $50 per with a portion going to Operation Homefront. A non-profit Operation Homefront helps local veterans and their families. Tickets include up to 20 cider samples and $5 food truck credit. The festival goes from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
The games have begun for the month-long Cactus League season and Phoenix area restaurants are tempting baseball fans and locals to stop in with food and drink specials. Here are a few local restaurants to cheer your favorite team at before or after the game.
Cactus League food specials
Fired Pie’s locations in the Phoenix area are offering game day ticket holders 10% off when they dine in after the game. To find a location near you check their website.
Thai Chili 2 Go is giving away a free dumpling appetizer at all 5 valley locations with purchase and a game day ticket stub. To find a location and hours check here.
Mesa’s Cider Corps is extending their hours thru March 31st and offering a $1 off all pints when you bring in a same day ticket stub from Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium and Sloane Park. Hours are 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Mon. – Sat. with food trucks on site Fri. & Sat. http://cidercorpsaz.com/
One of Tempe’s newest restaurants Quartiere welcomes baseball fans to come check out their community driven Italian restaurant. Until April 1st fans can bring any 2018 Spring Training ticket stub for 1/2 off an appetizer or entrée when you purchase an entrée. Pizzas, pastas, salads and more are available at Quartiere
McFate Brewing is bringing fans attending games at Scottsdale Stadium a pop-up beer garden beyond the center field fence at The Clayton House. On game day the beer garden opens 90 minutes before game time with live music, food and of course beer. No ticket necessary. The Clayton House is at 3719 N. 75th St. Scottsdale.
I love a good cider as nothing beats it on a hot summer day and with the autumns seasonal foods and holidays. Just in time for the holiday season Arizona’s first cidery, Cider Corps will open its doors for its first public event on Saturday November 11th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. for its Veteran’s Day Open House.
Cider Corps open house
The veteran owned cidery is just off Main St. in downtown Mesa and the open house is two blocks from the finish line of Mesa’s Veteran’s Day Parade. From 10-11 a.m. guests a can come by and get a mulled cider or coffee to go so they can watch the parade.
Brothers Josh and Jason Duren will be showing off their small batch hard ciders, non-alcoholic mulled ciders and cold brew coffee during the open house. A food truck will be on hand to serve food to guests and tours of the cidery will be given.
Small batch “Pie Ciders” will be available for purchase in Cider Corps limited edition 32 ounce “crowlers” or you can bring your own growler. Cost of the ciders to go will range from $12- $20.
“Pie Ciders” will remind guests of their favorite holiday pies like mixed berry and pumpkin. Cold Brew cider will also be available.
Cider Corps ciders are currently available at over 30 bars and restaurants around Phoenix, Tucson and Prescott.
Veterans community spot
Jason is a retired Sargent in the United States Marine Corps and will be speaking about his time in the service and how he and Josh plan to help veterans through Cider Corps. The cidery is dedicated to be used by veterans and veteran organizations as a community gathering place.
“To open the taproom this way is the embodiment of Cider Corps’ mission: Drink great ciders, honor great sacrifice,” said Josh. “We want it to be a place for veterans to be honored through times of awareness.”
The parade and Veteran’s Day Open House are important part of the brothers devotion to cider and veterans as they started making cider a s a hobby when Jason returned home from Afghanistan with 2 traumatic brain injuries from IED blasts.
Rarely do you know the names of the company’s that bring your favorite beers and wines to local restaurants. Mostly unknown beverage distributors deliver cases and kegs along with the marketing the brands locally. Flanny’s in Tempe is hosting one of their distributors, Quail Distributing to come out of the shadows and take over their taps with beers from their stable of brewers they represent.
Be at Flanny’s on June 15th
Thursday June 15th is when 11 brewers will be featured pouring 24 beers of various styles from around the country and the world.
A few of the brewers and beers include…..Prairie Artisan Ales (Birthday Bomb! and Apricot Funk), Destihl Brewery (Amra Mango IPA and Blueberry Gose), Clown Shoes (Crasher in the Rye and Bluegrass Billionaire), Knee Deep (Breaking Bud and Man Juice IPA), Almanac Beer Co. (Cherry Picker and Passion Project), Belching Beaver (North Park 4th and Anniversary Ale), Renegade, Black Market, High Water, North Mountain and Schilling Cider.
13 other beers will be announced.
Beers will range in price from $6-$14 depending on beer & glass size. Start time is 5 p.m.
This past weekend Scottsdale Civic Center Mall welcomed the 3rd Annual AmeriCAN Beer Festival in celebration of American Craft Beer Week. The festival is hosted by Chandler AZ’s San Tan Brewing Company whom packages all their beers in either cans or kegs. You may ask what makes this beer festival different from other beer festivals. This festival featured only beers packaged in cans, and why cans….well for several reasons according to Joe Burns of Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing. Cans protect the beer from UV light, no oxygen in cans, are easier on the environment and are better for using for recreational purposes i.e on boats, around pools and water, especially in Florida.
Now that you know why cans, here is some of the samples of beers I enjoyed from some of the 60 breweries in attendance from all over the United States.
DC Brau www.dcbrau.com from our nations capital opened for business on April 15th 2011 and is DC’s 1st production brewery in almost 60 years. DC Brau makes 10,000 barrels a year and distributes throughout D.C. and northern Virginia. Lead Shift Brewer Christopher Grahm was their 1st employee and tells me they currently can 6 beers including their 3 flagship beers The Citizen, The Public and The Corruption. I tasted the limited release “El Hefe Speaks” Hefeweizen which was crisp, cold and tasted like a German style hefeweizen.
Another D.C. area brewery that came out west for the festival was Lost Rhino Brewing Company www.lostrhino.com/ from Leesburg Virginia. Sampling their Pilsner I found it rich and creamy. A hint of spice made this beer quite the thirst quencher.
Beers are not known to be gluten-free with their use of wheat and barley, but Joseph James Brewing Company www.foxbrews.com in Henderson, Nevada makes the a the only gluten-free canned beer in the world. The Fox Tail Gluten Free Ale uses nectars instead of wheat. This lighter bodied ale also no sorghum (a grain used in making of alcohol) instead using organic rice, nectars and hops. This ale tasted very good and I wouldn’t have known it was gluten -free as tasted good as any ale using wheat.
For the cider enthusiast for which I am one, there were a few ciders in cans including Vermont Hard Cider www.woodchuck.com pouring their original Woodchuck Cider which is made from apples and is also gluten-free. Cold, crisp and clear this golden cider goes down very well and could be habit-forming. If you prefer your cider on the dry side then you can find Crispin’s “Brown Lane” Classic English Dry Cider which is one of their imported ciders. www.crispincider.com
As fruit beers are becoming more popular, a few are being canned and were being poured including Abita Brewing’s Purple Haze which uses raspberries in the brewing process, Redd’s Apple Ale from Tenth & Blake Beer Company, San Tan Brewing Co.’s “Mr. Pineapple” Wheat beer and Maui Brewing Co.’s CoCoNut Porter. All had a hint of fruit used with Redd’s Apple Ale having the strongest fruit flavor.
Grand Canyon Brewing Co. www.grandcanyonbrewery.com/ out of Williams AZ won Gold medal for their Sunset Amber in the “Amber & Brown” beer categories. Making 30,000 barrels a year this beer is distributed in Arizona & Nevada.
Nothing goes better with beer than food and several food trucks were there to provide use with something to wash down with a cold beer including Brat Haus, The Grilled Cheese Truck and Tom’s BBQ. There were several bands playing throughout the afternoon including Good Rust, Pride Through Strife, 80 proof and Boom Shed for you to get your groove on.
Nothing beats a cold beer on warm day in May and although you may have to wait til next years 4th Annual AmeriCAN Beer Festival www.cannedcraftbeerfest.com/ doesn’t mean you can’t wait to find your favorite canned beer. Many retailers including Whole Foods stock an impressive array of canned beers to get you through the summer months and beyond. Cheers!