The Classy Fiesta at Dillinger Brewing Co. – Tucson, AZ

Friday, July 13th, 2018
5pm – 9pm
3895 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85705, located in a warehouse behind the pawnshop

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This Friday the 13th I’ll be teaming up with my friends at Dillinger Brewing Co. in Tucson to host an event called The Classy Fiesta. It’ll be a “brewery takeover,” during which I’ll be rocking a Latin music playlist the whole night. We’ll have Mexican food from Doxie Hot Dogs, a local food truck, on site. There will be raffles every hour so you can win Dillinger swag and beer. And we’ll have a piñata that was designed to look like me dropping at 7:05pm.

This event is partially intended to promote my blog and to beg for votes now that I’m officially a finalist in the annual Best of Tucson awards for the Best Blog category (vote for me here). But it’s is also intended to start a conversation that I feel is necessary regarding the lack of diversity in our Arizona craft beer scene.

Let’s start with Tucson, since that’s the current focal point. This town of a million people has over twenty breweries. Ask yourselves if you can name how many of those places are owned (or co-owned) by non-white people. Then see if you can come up with some that have non-white brewers. I’m pretty sure I’ve personally been to every single brewery in Tucson by now and can only come up with five or six places off the top of my head.

Let’s take this thought exercise a little further and include white females. How many of them are owners or brewers currently? Did the number of businesses you came up with expand significantly? Because in my head I’m seeing a bit of overlap between the same five or six places.

Now, I’m not here to demean any of my beer fam or blame them for the lack of diversity in the industry. I have only great things to say about our Arizona (and specifically Tucson) beer scene. But let’s be honest with each other, all of these spaces are dominated by a bunch of samey-looking white guys with beards. If one of these bearded white guy brewers ever disappeared and I had to describe him to the cops, they’d find his ass, like, ten times.

I know our local craft beer scene produces a variety of amazing beers that could impress anyone, no matter their preferences. Arizonans are spoiled when it comes to the accessibility and quality of good beer. And I know that people in the scene, whether it’s brewery employees or just craft beer enthusiasts, are very inviting and inclusive. I know we’re all welcoming of drinkers of any race, background or nationality.

So why is the scene still so damn white?

It seems like there’s multiple layers to this issue. For one, people of color are intimidated by spaces dominated by mostly white people. I know this for a fact. And there’s also an attitude on the other end of the spectrum that I can speak to as a Mexican-American. Unfortunately, Mexicans usually don’t like to try new shit. They have brand loyalty that’s passed down through generations. And the big beer corporations know this better than anyone. They advertise to Hispanic communities because they have a market that they take for granted.

Mexican dads drank Coors or Bud Light and that’s what their kids grow up to drink because that’s all they saw in the home. Or at least that’s what I’m told. My dad’s favorite beer brand was cocaine so I’m not the best example of this. But anyway, this is also part of why beer is thought of as a “guy thing.” That’s a whole other story I’m not getting into right now. I just know there are a lot of conversations happening about sexism in macro beer’s advertisements featuring dude bros slammin’ beers while snowboarding down a mountain of titties or whatever the hell they’re doing now.

So how do Arizona craft breweries expand their customer base to include people of color?

Well first let me say that I’ve read a bunch of takes online from white people who just dismiss these entire concerns. They say shit like, “Who cares if craft beer is made up of mostly white people? Just come drink. It’s inclusive. Everybody is welcome. Get over it and join us!”

That’s some simple-minded shit and I’m sick of hearing people diminishing a pretty complicated issue with their narrow view of how, like, the fucking world works. And if you think opinions like the one above are to simplistic and not indicative of how people think then you clearly have not heard of the website Twitter dot com.

But back to the potential solutions. I already said our Tucson beer scene is very inclusive. But there’s a gap there that hasn’t been bridged in a town that is over 40% Hispanic. (That’s almost fucking HALF!) And the first steps are outreach and education.

Outreach is what I’m already trying to do by using some familiar tropes that hopefully will get people of color in the door. And if this Classy Fiesta event doesn’t do that, I’m hoping it will at least start the conversation on how to reach an untapped market that is being completely owned by these macrobrew corporate assholes.

When it comes to education, it’s gonna require an entire attitude shift that starts at the top and includes the bartenders in Tucson breweries & craft beer bars.

Most of my friends are bartenders because most of my relationships are fostered while I’m getting drunk. So I hear a lot of anecdotes about their experiences and want to address some ongoing tropes here. Don’t worry, I won’t call out anyone specifically but know that this is all based on real shit I’ve personally experienced.

So, brewery and craft beer bartender friends, have y’all had somebody walk in while you were working and ask for a Michelob Ultra (or another shitty macro beer)? I’ve heard y’all talk about this exact scenario a bunch of times. But every single time you talk about it, the potential customer who walks in asking for shit beer is always the punchline in your story. Not once have I heard any of you share that story and tell me how you explained to that person what the beer selection actually is and helped them find something that matched their admittedly garbage tastes. In fact, a lot of these stories end with the clever way you got this person to fuck off out of the bar.

Of course, I’m not talking about the clearly literal alcoholic customers who come in reeking of the meth sweats and just want another Coors after they’ve been drinking for the past forty-seven hours. I know y’all get a bunch of those and that’s not where the outreach should focus.

But here’s another scenario I’ve personally seen happen several times. Some person will walk up to a microbrewery and ask for a Michelob Ultra (or whatever). The bartender will then just say, “We don’t have that.”

And that’s it. They’ll literally say nothing else and wait in silence for the customer to figure it out on their own. No recommendations for what beer is closest to that. No effort made to describe the beers on tap to someone who might not even know what the hell “craft beer” means. Don’t tell me this doesn’t happen. I’ve seen it happen. And that bothers me the most because we all love to show off how much we know about fancy craft beers to each other. We jump at the chance to flex about some super rare beer we had years ago and describe that experience down to the fucking cellular level. We can drink a beer at a bottle share and try to impress everybody with our knowledge of exactly which farm grows the goddamn Centennial hops in this IPA we flew back from the brewery operating in the basement of a taco shop eighty miles outside of Austin…

But we can’t take the time to explain to somebody what the fuck a Gose is? Especially when these clueless people might help make the business some fuckin’ money?

It’s summer in Tucson. We all need every dollar we can get.

And there’s a huge untapped market of non-white customers who can be drawn out of their boring, Coors-drinking habits. And we can’t think of these people as a lost cause. Shit, I don’t even see a lot of places in the beer scene thinking of these people as a potential cause!

I really hope y’all don’t take this blog post as an attack on your bartending skills or your ability to run a brewery/craft beer bar. It’s not. I love my Arizona craft beer peeps. All I’m trying to do is share what you’re doing with a new audience. Because I truly respect and admire what y’all do. And I think there’s currently a big gap that we can bridge together. I’m not delusional enough to think I have ANY answers. I just want to start the conversation and learn how to do this alongside each and every one of you.

Salud.

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1912 Brewing Co’s 3rd Anniversary – Tucson, AZ

Saturday, July 7th, 2018.
11AM – 10PM
2045 N. Forbes Blvd #105, Tucson, AZ 85745
http://www.1912brewing.com

1912 Brewing Company in Tucson is ready to celebrate their 3rdanniversary on Saturday, July 7th. They’re throwing a Havana Nights-themed party with several new beer releases and a few infusions that will continue to cement their status as one of Arizona’s best microbreweries. I was invited over to report on this upcoming event because I’m the most qualified of all the Arizona beer journalists given that I’ve been to Miami and also I watched the entirety of Scarface on TNT last Sunday while hungover as hell. You ever watch Scarface with the commercials added? It takes an entire goddamn day.

I was lucky enough to get a private tasting of the four newest beers that will be on tap during the party. This is some legitimately exclusive reporting, y’all. The only people who have tried these things so far are 1912’s employees and your favorite fat Mexican blogger in a suit. 1912’s owner, Allan Conger, guided me through each of the beers. This brewery’s like a great big chicken just waiting to get plucked.

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Guana La Cubana sour – 5.1% ABV, 14 IBU
If this first beer is any indication, 1912 is taking their Havana Nights theme quite seriously. This sour is made with Guanábana fruit from the Caribbean as well as tangerines, Mexican vanilla and cinnamon. The vanilla bangs hard on the nose and it has a ton of citrus taste with only a mild tartness at the end. It has a thick mouthfeel that’s just a couple of rungs below a frozen margarita. It’s incredibly sweet without being overbearing. I haven’t experienced so much intense flavor since that time I devoured a guy’s whole fruit stand at a Little Havana farmer’s market after drinking five Cuban espressos in a row. My heart legit stopped right after that. I got declared legally dead for SO long.

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Fruita Bomba sour – 5.1% ABV, 25 IBU
This beer was fermented on papaya (which Cubans refer to as “fruita bomba”) and it was blended with pineapple, passion fruit, guava and raspberry. As if that wasn’t enough it was dry hopped with coconut and Palo Santo. That last thing is wood from certain South American trees that translates to “Holy Stick.” The holiness comes from the fact that Palo Santo has a ton of medicinal properties. It’s traditionally used to relieve common colds, flu, anxiety, depression and emotional pain, among other things. I wish I would’ve known that a few months ago. I would’ve used the Palo Santo to relieve my emotional pain instead of all those drugs I stole back when I stowed away on Pitbull’s yacht for a week.

This beer has a smoother mouthfeel than the last one and the fruit flavors were well balanced with a nice earthy, woody finish from the Palo Santo. It was made with 155 pounds of fruit but only three or so little holy sticks the size of your index finger were used in the entire batch of the beer. A little healing goes a long way, you know.

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Random Voices From A Psychedelic Sloth IPA – 6% ABV, 20 IBU
The “Random Voices” series has produced two fantastic IPAs so far and this one is no different. It’s a hazy beer loaded with Amarillo, Galaxy, Cashmere, Citra and El Dorado hops. The piney taste is to be expected but it has a lot of juicy, fruity undertones that make it feel like a close cousin to the rest of these beers despite the fact that the Pyschedelic Sloth has no actual fruit added. It’s a nice change of pace for your palate if you want to switch it up after the fruit explosions from the last two beers. But if you wanna keep the party going one of the infusions at the anniversary celebration is gonna be a “Mangoyada.” It’ll be this hazy IPA infused with mango, chamoy and Tajin.

I don’t have a joke here; I just wanna say I love the name of this beer because it reminds me of how much fun I had doing shrooms with the sloth from the Miami zoo. We were both laid out on the floor of the cage for 48 hours while little kids threw rocks at us to see if we would react. We got declared legally dead for SO long.

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Got My Mojito Working sour – 3.8% ABV, 20 IBU
First things first: holy shit, this beer is phenomenal! It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a mojito sour made with the juice and zest from 250 limes and dry hopped with 8 pounds of mint. It was made with champagne yeast and you somehow get an intense punch of lime without it being too bitter or too tart. It’s the perfect amount of sweet, salty goodness with a refreshing mint flavor. There’s even that unmistakable leafy finish that you get from sipping on a real mojito while you watch the sun rise on Miami Beach after getting bounced from a bunch of shady strip clubs for trying to pay for lap dances with food stamps. This beer was easily my favorite of the four I tried today.

Allan was clearly proud of these fantastic beers he was about to release and you could tell he was putting everything he had into preparing for the anniversary party. The quality of the beers spoke for itself but I couldn’t help but ask him how hard it was to get these complex recipes dialed in just right in time for the 7th.

“It was a royal pain in the ass,” he admitted. “We were clogging up the kettles and fermenters and still trying to keep up with distribution.”

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Despite only sleeping a couple of hours a day these past few weeks he still says that it was a lot of fun playing with these recipes and that the hard work was absolutely worth it at the end. It’s easy to see how much passion and dedication goes into every beer on tap.

And as if these delicious new brews weren’t enough, 1912 will also be having their first bottle release on the 7th. Their bourbon barrel-aged Mescalero Stout will be available in bombers to take home.

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About 28 total beers will be on tap throughout the day. The four I outlined will be served right when the doors open at 11AM and the four infusions will be staggered (keep an eye out on their Facebook page for the schedule).

The Havana Nights theme party will have Cuban music blaring on the speakers, a Caribbean food truck out on the parking lot and Anthony’s Cigars on site selling stogies. Unfortunately flights and growler fills won’t be available. But you’re all encouraged to dress up in your best Cuban-inspired outfits and your favorite dance shoes because all these amazing beers will definitely put some honey in your hips by the end of the night.

See you on Saturday, July 7thfrom 11AM to 10PM.

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Salud!

Classy’s Drunken Film Reviews – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

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Summertime in the desert means I get to enjoy my favorite activity: getting irresponsibly drunk in public places where other people aren’t allowed to talk to me. I got ridiculously lit in a monastery last week and none of those dudes in hoodies could yell at me to quit drinking so much and to put my pants back on.

Which is also why I enjoy going to the movies, especially now that I have several theaters in close proximity that serve alcohol. These joints are starting to understand that most movies are garbage and that the only things that could make them better are copious amounts of booze or Clive Owen.

I bought my ticket to a 2:30pm showing of Jurassic Park 5: Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom. It was on Senior Monday which was fitting because I ended up sitting next to a guy so old he looked like he went to high school with a fuckin’ T-Rex.

I approached the movie theater bar, already drunk, trying to do my best to appear sober enough to not be denied a beer. They had Lagunitas IPA and Tucson’s Barrio Blonde on tap. “Lagunitas” seemed like it would get all slurred to hell. “Luhhhgunitushhhh,” probably.

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Party For McCarty DIPA on tap for a good cause

I don’t often write serious posts because the blog was always intended to be comedic. But this deserves some serious treatment. There’s a new beer on tap throughout Phoenix and Tucson called Party For McCarty that was brewed in honor of a Quail Distributing employee named Jeff McCarty who passed away last month. As if that wasn’t unfortunate enough his wife was left with some very hefty medical bills. Friends of mine have had a few scares and close calls with their own medical issues recently but they’ve been lucky enough to make it through and I’ve been lucky enough to still have them in my life. So I can’t imagine what it would be like to suffer the loss of someone I love and still have to worry about meeting the financial obligations afterward.

Because of this several people of the Arizona beer/booze scene came together to do what they do best and help take care of their own. Party For McCarty was brewed not just to honor a man’s life and his decades of work in the restaurant and distribution industry. It is also intended to alleviate some of the medical debt left behind. The revenue from the beer sale is being donated to Jeff’s family.

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My friends at Quail Distributing collaborated with the AZ Craft Brewers Guild and several local businesses to brew a hazy, 9% ABV double IPA with organic honey and orange zest. I’ve already tried the beer and can confirm that it is fantastic. That should have been expected considering the people who were involved in making it. It was brewed at Scottsdale Beer Company with assistance from North Mountain Brewing in Phoenix as well as 1912 Brewing Company in Tucson. Page Spring Cellars, an excellent winery from Cornville out in the Verde Valley, and Wild Tonic Jun Kombucha also contributed to its creation.

This blog has existed for over three years now and in that time I’ve come to realize how spoiled we are in the Arizona booze scene. I specifically write “booze” because the great people I’ve met during my time as a blogger aren’t just part of the craft beer business. Our local wineries, distillers and whatever you call Kombucha makers are also part of our family. And though I personally didn’t know Jeff McCarty I know what it feels like to lose a member of the family.

So please, drink a few pints of Party For McCarty if you see it on tap. It won’t be hard to find. It’s on tap at 44 locations throughout Arizona now. Scroll down to see the full list.

Salud, everybody. And thanks to everyone in Arizona who supports the local community. Not just booze. Anyone who opens a local restaurant, art shop, etc. has my respect and admiration. And I’ll continue to do everything I can to offer my support as well.

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Party For McCarty is available at these locations:
1702

1912 Brewing Co.

Arizona Beer House

Bottleshop 48

Boulders On Broadway

Brass Tap – Gilbert

Brass Tap – Mesa

Casual Pint – Chandler

Casual Pint – Phoenix

Craft 64

Divided Wine

GCM

Ground Control

Hops On Birch

Hungry Monk

Kings Beer & Wine

Mellow Mushroom – High St.

Mellow Mushroom – Mesa

MOTO

Noble Hops

North Mountain Brewing Co.

O.H.S.O. – Scottsdale

Park Plaza Liquors

Pig & Pickle

Reilly Craft

Scottsdale Beer Co.

Serial Grillers

Sip Coffee & Beer Garage

Sip Coffee & Beer House

Sip Coffee & Beer Kitchen

Skeptical Chymist

Tap & Bottle – North

Tap & Bottle – South

Tarbell’s

Tavern Americana

The Wandering Tortoise

The Whining Pig – Arcadia

The Whining Pig – Ahwatukee

The Whining Pig – DT Phoenix

The Whining Pig – Gilbert

The Attic

Tipsy Cactus

Tops Liquors

Tucson Hop Shop

Nominate me for Best Tucson Blog – 2018

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It’s time for The Tucson Weekly newspaper to start accepting nominations for their annual Best of Tucson Awards. Last year I came in third place, which is way more than you would have ever expected from me, DAD, you ASSHOLE.

The first round is happening now and lasts until June 17th. In this part you have to actually type in the names of at least 30 Tucson businesses and such in order for your ballot to count. Yes, I know it sounds like a pain in the ass but it’ll be worth it if I win and I throw the dopest, week-long drunken bender that you’re not invited to.

Click the link below. If I get enough nominations to break the top three I’ll move on to the second round where you can vote for me against whatever other bullshit blogs the less cool people vote for.

And no, I’m not just gonna sit back and expect you to nominate me without putting in any work. So for the next few weeks I’ll be putting out a series of Tucson-centric blog posts on this very site highlighting several local beer, wine, spirit and food spots.

So go vote. ‘Cause if I know my readers, this is the only thing you’re legally allowed to vote in anyway.

https://posting.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/Survey?survey=16173761

Barrio Brewing Co. – Mesa, AZ

Located at 5803 S Sossaman Rd, Mesa, AZ 85212
Open Mon-Thurs 10a-10p; Fri 10a-11p; Sat 7a-11p; Sun 7a-10pm
www.barriobrewingmesa.com

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Barrio Brewing Co. in Tucson is one Arizona’s oldest microbreweries now that they’ve been around for over a decade. The craft beer scene didn’t really explode here until about 2014 and back then there were only around fifty breweries in the entire state.

The Classy Alcoholic has been around since before Barrio even opened their doors. The Barrio beer that we’re all familiar with now used to be made at a place called Gentle Ben’s right next to the University of Arizona. That’s where a 21-year-old Classy had his first sip of craft beer. It was 2007 and I went with a group of friends to this joint that had a bunch of strange-ass beers on the menu. I ordered the lightest option because it was the safest and looked like the closest thing resembling a Tecate. That ended up being what we now refer to as Barrio Blonde…but at that time it was just called the Tucson Blonde.

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