The Arizona Strong Beer Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary Saturday by moving to a new venue: Margaret T. Hance Deck Park in downtown Phoenix.
“We wanted to be more centrally located,” says Jerry Gantt, executive director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. “It’s also along the light rail, and we felt it was important to offer transportation alternatives.”
Last year’s festival was held at Mesa Amphitheater, where 3,000 attendees sampled strong beers — those with an alcohol content higher than 7.5 percent — from more than 50 breweries.
In previous years, the 21-and-over festival was held at Scottsdale Stadium and in downtown Tempe.
“I don’t know if we want to grow much more than that,” he says. “For the foreseeable future, we want to maintain a quality experience.”
A record number of breweries are participating this year, Gantt says. Newcomers include Sleepy Dog and Dave’s Electric, which recently opened in Tempe, and Thunder Canyon from Tucson.
Other East Valley breweries scheduled to attend include Four Peaks, SanTan, Papago and Sonoran.
First-time participants from out of state include Abita, a microbrewery from Louisiana.
Tickets for the one-day event are $45, which includes a four-ounce tasting glass and tickets for 15 samples.
A variety of food, such as burgers, hot dogs and tacos, will be available for purchase.
Festival favorites 2 Tone Lizard Kings, a Valley ska band, will return to provide musical entertainment.
Arizona Strong Beer Festival
When: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday (VIP ticket-holders get in at noon)
Where: Margaret T. Hance Deck Park, Phoenix; festival entrance at Moreland and Second streets
How much: $45; $10 for designated drivers