Tucsonans taste beers of the world

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UA alumna Meg Costigan gets a Pilsner brew from Konrad Zietal at the Sun Sounds Great Tucson Beer Festival Saturday night. More than 45 brewers showed up at Hi Corbett Field with kegs and bottles full of their best concoctions.

Tucsonans filled Hi Corbett Field and their beer mugs with various ales from around the world at Sun Sounds Great Tucson Beer Festival Saturday evening.

Fifty breweries from around the world adorned the perimeter of the baseball field with stands offering free beer samples.

Among the most popular breweries were Weihenstephan Brewery, the world's oldest brewery, and Dogfish Head Brewery, the world's fastest-growing brewery.

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Weihenstephan Brewery was founded in 825 by St. Corbinian, a German monk, and has been continuously brewing beer since 1040, said Rich Williams, the Arizona distributor of Weihenstephan.

The German brewery now also serves as a brew master's college, where graduates have gone on to become brew masters for Heineken, St. Pauli Girl and Samuel Adams, Williams said.

""They were fat, happy monks,"" Williams said.

There were long queues at the Dogfish Head stand to sample one, or all, of seven of the strongest beers on the planet.

Louis Dolgoff, the Western sales manager for Dogfish Head Brewery, revealed some of the secrets of their recipes..

""I enjoyed the great-tasting women and good-looking beers.""

- Jordan Stein
business management junior


The 60-minute, 90-minute and 120-minute India Pale Ales got their names from the unique method of adding flavoring hops to the brew, said Dolgoff.

Dolgoff said hops were placed on an electronic vibrating football game table at an angle which would add hops to the brew for 60-, 90- or 120-minute intervals.

""Now we use a machine called Sir-Hops-A-Lot,"" said Dolgoff. ""It adds a little bit of hops every 30 seconds, then we will add the yeast and sugar to balance the flavor.""

Dogfish Head brewery doesn't do any advertising - they rely on word of mouth instead, Dolgoff said.

Austin Santos, a science education sophomore and owner of the student-run pizzeria Local Dough, 1702 E. Speedway Blvd, bought two cases of Dogfish Head beer, which cost him $250 but sold out in the same day.

Local Dough has 24 beers on draught and is always rotating the selection, Santos said.

""I'm here tonight to sample beers and meet with distributors,"" Santos said. ""There's no way to go through one distributor and offer so many good beers to our customers.""

A self-described excommunicated Mormon drinking team had a booth in center field, where they drew a lot of attention.

Bryce Baxter, co-owner of the team, was selling ""apostate apparel for the discerning beer drinker"" at the stand.

The T-shirts depicted the team's logo, St. Moroni, but replaced the horn he usually has at his lips with a beer bong, while another shirt asked, ""What Would Jesus Drink?""

""We're all ex-Mormons and we started the team as a way for our friends to keep in touch after college,"" said Baxter.

The money the team makes from selling merchandise allows the group of friends to reunite five times a year at beer festivals across the country, Baxter said.

""We're not trying to offend anyone,"" Baxter said. ""It's not like I would wear the shirt to a Mormon church.""

Baxter pointed out it is unlikely that any Mormons would be offended by their presence because they wouldn't be at a beer festival in the first place.

""The best thing about a beer festival is the free beer and that we are all contributing to charities,"" said Baxter.

Sun Sounds holds the beer festival every year to raise money for its charity, which provides special services to the blind and visually impaired, said Mitzi Tharin, the Tucson station manager.

""We're a statewide organization with 190 volunteers who read printed material such as local newspapers, children's stories and poetry over a single-frequency radio for the visibly impaired,"" said Tharin, who is completely blind.

The festival raised nearly $70,000 last year, and this year's proceeds should be in the same ball park, said Tharin.

""This is an important fundraiser for us because it accounts for one-third of our budget,"" Tharin said.

Adam Koven, a finance junior, said his favorite part about the festival was the relaxed atmosphere, great beer and great people.

His friend Jordan Stein, a business management junior, agreed.

""I enjoyed the great-tasting women and good-looking beers,"" said Stein.

Designated drivers attending the event wore pink bracelets and enjoyed a discounted ticket price of $20. General admission for beer tasters was $35 in advance and $40 on the day of the event.

""The pink bracelets in theory are great,"" said Sgt. Rick Johnston of the Tucson Police Department.

But when asked how they can enforce the use of the pink bracelets, Sgt. Johnston replied, ""You don't.""

Johnston, a UA alumnus, stood in the bleachers where he could oversee the event and said that there were no fights or reported driving under the influence citations.

""Look around, everyone is smiling,"" said Johnston.


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