Print Beer-Thirty in Verde aims to quench thirst of hops lovers
Written by Greg Ruland   
Monday, 05 September 2011 00:00

Prepare to get your drink on, it’s almost Beer-Thirty in the Verde, the inaugural beer-tasting festival at Verde Valley Fairgrounds on Saturday, Sept. 10.

A fundraiser for Central Arizona Food Bank and Verde Valley Fair Association Scholarship Fund, the festival is the brainchild of Donnie Shanks and his, wife, Tara, who also organize the Verde Valley Fair.

Donnie Shanks, the organizer of It’s Beer Thirty in the Verde, the Verde Valley’s first beer festival, talks on Aug. 24, about the vendors and entertainment that will be on hand at the Saturday, Sept. 10, event held at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds.Shanks, a teacher at Cottonwood Middle School, said the scholarship fund is a worthy cause that allows students who might not be able to afford to participate in the annual fair a chance to compete or attend.

“You don’t want to miss this first annual beer- tasting festival with great music from Aces ’n’ Eights and awesome roller derby featuring the girls of Dirty Verde Roller Derby,” Shanks said while enjoying a frothy adult beverage at a local saloon Aug. 24.

The first 600 people who pass through the gates at the Verde Valley Fairgrounds on Sept. 10, starting at 1 p.m., will receive a souvenir mug “so you can remember all the fun the day after and for all the years to come,” Shanks said.

While the roster of brewing companies is not completely filled out, at least five have embraced the event so far. They include Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colo., Nimbus Brewery of Tucson, Gordon Biersch Brewery of California, Mogollon Brewing Company and Cosmic Distributing, both of Flagstaff.

Attendees are asked to bring two cans of food to donate at the door for Central Arizona Food Bank. Those who do will receive two additional tasting tickets.

The cost of the event is $25 at the door or $20 in advance for those who buy their tickets at various ticket outlets including, Grasshopper Grill, Verde Valley Rentals and Verde Valley Fair Office.

The price of admission comes with 10 tasting tickets. Additional tickets can be purchased for $1 each, Shanks said.

Despite the invitation to indulge, Shanks said Beer-Thirty wants a safe event where nobody risks driving drunk.

“We promote and encourage safe and responsible participation in this event,” Shanks said. “To help you and your friends, we are letting designated drivers attend for only $10 each. They won’t get to drink any alcohol, but we will keep them happy with free soda and water so they won’t nag you to leave early. You should tell them thank you, too.”

Even better, people who attend the beer festival will be allowed to spend the night camping at the fairgrounds.

“Camping is only $15 with power or $7 to dry camp,” he said.

The beer stops flowing at 5 p.m., but the fun can last all evening, he said.

“Enjoy the beautiful views and grill up a tasty dinner on your barbecue.”

For more information, call 634-3290.