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

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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.

Yes, I’m old enough to have been drinking longer than the Barrio Blonde name’s existence. You kids today ordering your Snapchat-flavored avocado coffees have no idea the kind of craft beer drought I was in back then. I had to be driven five miles uphill – BOTH WAYS – just to find a place that had Stone IPA on tap. If I wanted to answer a phone call I had to make my butler flip my phone open. FLIP! The only “E-Mail” I had was my cousin Ernesto because that was his nickname because he was the guy who delivered all the drugs.  He’s fucking dead now.

But now we’re in 2018 and I’ve been thinking a lot about how far I’ve come. So when Barrio Brewing announced last year that they were opening a satellite location at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport I had to immediately stop and ask myself, “Wait…there’s such a thing as a Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport???”

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Well apparently there is and it’s located right next to the ASU East Polytechnic Campus. And in keeping with this whole nostalgic vibe of mine I should mention that I lived and studied on that very same ASU East campus 14 years ago. It was the fall of 2004. I was skinny and sober because I wasn’t old enough to go into bars and didn’t have any friends from whom I could score some booze. I left my hometown of Houston, TX without a real plan for my future other than being away from where I grew up. I didn’t realize how much groceries cost but it was okay because I was going to only buy cheap garbage food and was sure I was gonna stay skinny forever.

All this came flooding back as I drove through the old campus. It had expanded like crazy, yes, but a lot of the buildings I remembered were still standing. Including the dorm I lived in. The campus used to be an old Air Force base that was purchased by ASU. I took my basic-level math, science and English courses with a bunch of kids who were studying aviation. And while I completely accept that I’m a dumb guy I can confidently say that a lot of those soon-to-be pilots in my class were soooo much dumber than I was. And they’re the people you’re now entrusting your life to when you enter a floating cylinder of death that’s gliding thousands of feet in the air.

Never get on planes, dude.

Anyhoozle, I made plans to meet up with Sarah Doka who is Barrio Brewing Co’s sales rep and one of my favorite humans in the beer scene. She showed me around the taproom, which didn’t actually brew on site but had the same food menu as the Tucson location and offered 12 Barrio beers. One of those taps was reserved for a seasonal brew and when I was there they were offering up the Beach Ale. It was a light, crisp blonde ale with a nice grapefruit flavor added. It was a perfect poolside-sipper designed for the impending Arizona summer.

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Like their Tucson counterpart this Barrio location also had a full bar in case you’re taking a break in between chemistry classes or piloting a commercial jet airliner and need a nice mixed drink. And that reminds me; even if I were old enough to drink back when I lived on the ASU East campus there wasn’t a single goddamn place to get a beer within a reasonable distance then. I mean, now there’s a ton of homes, stores and restaurants on the outskirts of the school. But back in my day it was just miles of barren desert on every side and it took me months to even figure out where the hell Cousin E-Mail was buried.

The Barrio taproom was built right next to the airport’s runway so we could see planes flying in and out of the airfield while we drank. I was feeling a bit emotional while I was sitting there. I remembered that skinny, lonely, dirt-poor kid who lived just a few feet away from where I was sitting. That kid never expected to grow into the fat, hard-drinking asshole I am now. The kind of guy who somehow made a name for himself in an Arizona craft beer scene that he couldn’t have imagined existing back in 2004.

I drank the last sip of my beer and said goodbye to that kid. He left me a long time ago anyway.

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Salud!

Classy’s Jukebox – Infidelity Edition

Song: “Decorate” by Yuna

I haven’t written anything for my blog in months now. I’ve been quietly working on a long-form project that’s sucked up pretty much every drop of my creative juices. And it’s been bothering me that I haven’t kept up with what I intended to do when I started this Classy Alcoholic project. I’m grateful for the relationships I’ve fostered in the craft beer scene and for all the events I’ve been lucky enough to go to over the last three years. But that’s not why I’m me. My blog was always supposed to be an outlet for a frustrated guy staring down the barrel of his thirties who was unhappy with how much time he spent away from writing creatively. And it’s been bothering me that I’ve spent so long being quiet.

I recently I plugged an old external hard drive into my computer and pulled out hundreds of songs that I collected from the last decade or so. I’ve been using them as inspiration for the current writing project that I’m not ready to reveal yet. But I’m feeling the need to share what’s going through my head as I revisit these tracks and revisit the state of mind I was in back in my early-to-mid-twenties. I’m digging out these old experiences and repurposing them for my new stories. And I’m a bit insecure about whether my followers would even give a flying shit about any of this…but fuck it. I’m going for it.

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Drink Craft & Be Merry

For the first time ever The Classy Alcoholic is opening up the doors of the blog in order to host a guest. My friend Michele Buttrum is a fellow beer lover who also makes some retail store-worthy home decor from scratch using only the tools in her garage and a glass of craft beer by her side. I’ve seen her projects in person so I thought I’d give her a chance to share her process with everyone. Take it away, Michele!

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I knew I wanted a sign on the empty wall above my coffee pot but I needed to find the perfect quote for it.

  1. Black, like my soul
  2. I pretend coffee helps but I’m still a bitch
  3. Rise and grind

Although those two first options are completely true, I thought “rise and grind” was a bit more motivating (and in-law approved)!

For this sign, I decided to create my first farmhouse style sign. You know, the Chip & Joanna Gaines-inspired cult thing that’s all the rage now. I ventured out to the garage to see what I could put together. I found (4) 1 x 4’s that were all cut the same length from a previous project. Score! I also had one piece of 1 x 2 that was long enough to become my frame.

Supplies list:
Scrap wood or wood cut to the size you want
Miter saw
Orbital sander or sand paper
Drill bit
Varying grit sand paper
Paint color of choice – I used Rust-Oleum Zinsser white primer
Wood stain of choice – I used Minwax Dark Walnut
Paint brush and/or roller
Staining cloth – I use old cotton shirts
Kreg Jig & wood screws
Wood glue
Stapler gun – optional
Vinyl – optional
Metal corner braces – highly recommended
Sawtooth hanging bracket
2000’s country radio – optional
Craft beer – not optional

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I Get Drunk With A Little Help From My Friends

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So 2017 fucking sucked, right? Yeah, it did for me too but despite all the shit I had to suffer through for the last twelve months I have to admit that it was also the best year that the Classy Alcoholic had since I started this blog back in 2014. I somehow managed to make a shit-ton of new friends in the Arizona craft beer and booze community despite the fact that I hate being around people and kinda just want to die alone really soon.

My success this past year didn’t just come from my brilliant writing and unparalleled charm. It also grew thanks to the people who were so willing to associate themselves with a disreputable character like me even if it could possibly have done irreparable damage to their brand or business.

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Beer n’ Loathing Podcast

BnL Podcast Episode 063: Happy Holidaze!

I’m a little late on this but I was a guest on the holiday episode of the Beer N’ Loathing podcast put together by a few guys in Colorado and Michigan. In this episode I share the story of when I was in college 10 years ago and got stupid hammered then peed on the door of a frat house out in Tucson, AZ. Those were some good times.

My segment starts at about 20 minutes in but you should listen to the whole thing anyway. Check it out at the link below:

http://www.beernloathing.com/bnl-podcast-episode-063-happy-holidaze/