By Mia Jacobi
On Saturday, June 28, there was no better place to be than indoors at Scottsdale Beer Palooza. Organized by Affordable Food Festivals (AZ Taco Fest, AZ BBQ Fest) and Michael’s Catering, Scottsdale Beer Palooza attracted just over 2,000 thirsty beer drinkers to the giant North Hall facility at Scottsdale’s WestWorld.
Attendees were given a nifty mini-mug upon check-in, as well as tickets good for 20 samples from more than 100 beers. After a few summer ales and fruity seasonal beers, folks took turns playing badminton, bean-bag toss, beer pong, and other games. A DJ played background music during most of the event, before the Guns N’ Roses cover band took to the stage (hilarious but sounded good).
Beer reps reported they were happy with the turnout, noting that the crowd didn’t seem to be filled with the usual “beer nerd” suspects. Scottsdale residents came out in casual Saturday attire, ready for a fun day of day drinking. The beer reps seemed to enjoy introducing their craft beers to this entirely new audience.
Attendees likely would have appreciated more food options, though. Lines queued up for the pair of food trucks and grill station by Michael’s.
But kudos for this final feature: organizers set up a Beer Store so guests could actually purchase their favorite beers to go. Growlers of O.H.S.O.’s Coffee Cream Ale were among the most popular. Other top sellers included beer from local Four Peaks and SanTan breweries, as well as brews from national brands like Sapporo and Goose Island.
Thankfully, Discount Cab had a strong presence at the event, and handed out coupons for rides that day. The next day, some 200 cars remained in the WestWorld parking lot … the sign of a fun event.
Organizers say they’d like to make Scottsdale Beer Palooza an annual event, possibly even a bi-annual. Stay tuned for announcements on the event Facebook page or at www.ScottsdaleBeerPalooza.com.