Why would we pack up and head to a festival in Silverton, Colorado when I don’t distribute beer anywhere near there (and probably won’t be anytime soon)?
Because I was looking for an excuse to go skiing, that’s why. And I found one.
We made it up to Silverton, and got some great spring skiing in and also got to hang out at one of the smallest beer festivals you’ve probably ever seen. The skiing is nothing short of amazing there, and it’s one of the few places that I will make every effort to get to at least once a winter, no matter what else is going on. We brought along a couple kegs of beer, a banner, and the ski gear.
I did get to use the weekend to debut the new Wanderlust work shirts, and luckily I had some ski pants to match it.
All I was missing was an inmate number.
It’s not your typical beer festival, with only about 30-40 people there, but you sit around in a dirt lot with some kegs in the snow and everyone gets a pint glass and enjoys some beverages. A good time was had by all, and we put a dent in the beer I brought so it was a success in my book.
Last weekend we packed up the truck and headed down to Springfest in Tucson. Again, not somewhere I distribute right now, but it was a good opportunity to hang out in the Old Pueblo and meet some folks that haven’t had the beer yet. I use the reasoning that its starting to get warm down there, so many of you folks who call Tucson home may be coming up to visit us in Flagstaff soon enough.
We rolled into town and ended up dropping by to see the folks at Golden Eagle Distributing. I’m not necessarily in the market for a distributor anytime soon, but they’ve been in the taproom several times to say hi and knock back a pint, and so I wanted to return the favor and drop by to say hello. As you can probably deduce, they’re one of the big AB-Inbev distributors in the state, but they also distribute Sierra Nevada, ODells, and Barrio Brewing (among others). We were greeted with a tour and a couple bottles of Ovila from Sierra Nevada. Their facility is amazing, you could stack every brewery in Flagstaff inside one section of their chilled warehouse, and there are pallets of beer stacked several stories high inside there. It really makes you realize how many pallets of beer get consumed in this state every day. We got a couple bottles of Tree Shaker from ODells as a parting gift, which is an absolutely delicious double IPA with peaches. I highly recommend it if you haven’t tried it yet.
Thanks for the hospitality guys, it was a fun time and we’ll see you next time around.
After the visit there, we hit up Dragoon Brewing and Barrio Brewing that evening to meet up with some of the other folks who were in town for the festival. It’s been years since I’ve been to Barrio, and I hadn’t made it down to Dragoon since they opened. If you haven’t seen either of those places before (or it’s been a while), I highly recommend checking them out. Barrio has an awesome feel to it, and they have gone through some major expansion lately to keep up with demand. It’s allowed them to take over the rest of the building that they’re in and expand the taproom as well.
Dragoon is very much like a bigger version of the Wanderlust model with a little taproom open a few days a week and a much bigger production facility in the back. It’s funny that my taproom is actually several times the size of theirs, but my production pales in comparison. They’re making some great beers, and I feel as though they’re some very like-minded folks. I dig it.
After filling ourselves with their delicious treats, the evening got a little fuzzy so we caught a cab back to the hotel and rested up for the Springfest the next day.
It turned out to be a beautiful day down in Tucson, and we got the orange tent erected between College Street and Firestone Walker in preparation for the day. We brought along the 928 and the Pan American stout to introduce to our friends down in Tucson, and the put a serious dent in the kegs that came along with us.
The festival had a great turnout for the first year, and we got a lot of people who were really excited about the beer. It was a little slower than the Strong Beer Fest in Phoenix, or Made in the Shade up here in Flag, but it allowed us some breathing room to talk to folks about the beer and generally chill out a bit.
We were a couple booths down from Oskar Blues as well, and at one point in the day, Tim was feeling sorry for the rep who was working the booth by herself that afternoon. So, if you came by the Oskar Blues booth for an hour or so during the middle of the festival, you may have been a bit surprised to see somebody in an orange shirt serving you beers from a can. Never let it be said that we don’t support other breweries here at Wanderlust.
As ti goes with these events, it was another exhausting weekend, but we made it back in one piece, and kept the beer flowing yet another week.
We’re going to be sticking around town with the orange tent for the next festival (Made in the Shade is up next), but we’ve got some fun stuff planned between now and then.
First up is First Friday Art walk here in town this upcoming friday (May 3rd). We’re going to try out hosting some art at the taproom and staying open a little later than usual for the event. We’ve got two artists inside (CSJ2 and Kumar) as well as a project from some students at NAU called “Graphic Intervention” which will be projected on the outside of the building. It should be a lot of fun, and the perfect thing to do after art walking downtown for the evening.
Hopefully we’ll see you all on friday for the art walk event, and keep your eyes peeled for some other upcoming events that we’ve got in the works.