Phoenix Tequila Fest makes debut this weekend

Phoenix Tequila Fest

Hundreds of tequilas — from major labels to boutique brands — will be available for sampling at the inaugural Phoenix Tequila Fest, which will take place Saturday and Sunday at US Airways Center.

Organized by Higley-based Elias Entertainment Group, the two-day event also will feature tequila liqueurs, crèmes and infusions, as well as live entertainment.

With approximately 1,000 brands of tequila available today, the variety of styles can be confusing. But all can be divided into two basic categories:

• 100 percent or pure (“puro”) tequilas are made entirely with blue agave and typically have bolder flavors.

• Mixed (“mixtos”) are blends with at least 51 percent blue agave, but the remainder can be other fermented sugars, such as cane sugar.

Phoenix Tequila FestBoth 100 percent and mixto tequilas come in five types:

• Silver (“plata”) or white (“blanco”), which are clear and typically un-aged.

• Gold (“oro”), which have color or flavors added before bottling. These are the ones most often found in bars and restaurants.

• Rested (“reposado”), which are aged between two months and a year in oak barrels.

• Aged (“anejo”), which are aged between one and three years.

• Extra aged (“extra anejo”), which are aged a minimum of three years.

Attendees will be able to sample all varieties at the Phoenix Tequila Fest, which is an expansion of an event held the past three years in Las Vegas.

Sunday’s festival at US Airways Center will be followed by the 18th annual Christmas Mariachi Festival, also organized by Elias Entertainment.

Special ticket packages are available for 50 percent off both events.

Phoenix Tequila Fest
When: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: US Airways Center, 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix
Admission: $35. 21-and-over only.
Info: (480) 558-1122 or phoenixtequilafest.com.

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