FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - With its 20th annual craft beer tasting event set to unfold on June 23, Sun Sounds of Arizona plans some enticing surprises for festival-goers this year. Alliance Beverage Distributing is teaming up with the Made in the Shade Beer Tasting Festival and will sponsor a special World of Beers indoor venue. The Mike Reeves Band makes a surprise return to the Festival bringing lively and danceable originals, rock-and-roll, Top 40 and country to the event. Also, the Alaskan Brewing Company plans to introduce a mystery beer in honor of the 20th anniversary version of one of America's best and longest-running beer festivals: the Made in the Shade.
"For our 20th, there is something special for everyone and we already have over 50 breweries signed up," said Eleanor Mooney, Sun Sounds station manager. She added that there will also be a special area with soft drinks and water set up for designated drivers.
This year, the huge indoor barn at the Coconino County Fairgrounds will feature separate areas and an outstanding, tempting variety of beers from around the globe with themes including -
A Taste of Germany featuring Spaten, Franziskaner, Weihenstephaner and more.
The Belgian way of brewing featuring Chimay, Blanche de Brussels, Ommegang and more.
Fruit beers of the world featuring Ace Cider, Fruli, Bluepaw and more.
An Arizona craft area featuring Four Peaks Brewery, Lumberyard Brewing Company, Oak Creek Brewery, Nimbus Brewing Company and The Phoenix Ale Brewery.
An American craft brewers' area featuring Stone Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Samuel Adams, and many others.
A Taste of Asia featuring Sapporo, Singha Beer, Chang Beer and others.
"Our idea is to create separate tents in the barn that will be regions of great beer destinations across the globe, said David Lamberti, State Beer Sales Manager-Heritage Division for Alliance Beverage Distributing. "The focus on separating and highlighting regions of the beer world will help the attendees find something new that they haven't tasted before and expand their knowledge of the different beers associated with these areas," Lamberti said. "It should create a destination theme to an already fun and interactive beer fest in Flagstaff."
The Mike Reeves band will play the Made in the Shade Beer Tasting Festival this year. With deep Arizona roots and a strong statewide following, Mike Reeves took over the band at about age 16 when his father retired from music.
"Since then I have been fortunate enough to play with artists such as James Burton, Albert Lee, Al Di Meola, Steve Lukather, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, and more," said Reeves. "This is my third year playing for this event and it's one of the best events in Southwest. I have great memories from past years."
"Come out and hear this really fun band," said Mooney.
The Mike Reeves band consists of Rick Parnell on drums, Gary Cox on bass, and Austin Brooks on piano, mandolin, and fiddle.
"With these players we generate a sound that is high energy to get people partying and having fun," said Reeves.
Another surprise for this year's Made in the Shade is that Alaskan Brewing Company will unveil a mystery beer at the Festival. But craft beer fans will simply have to attend this year's Made in the Shade to discover other fine surprises that will be on tap.
The Made in the Shade Beer Tasting Festival takes place on June 23 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Coconino County Fairgrounds just south of Flagstaff. The festival showcases an amazing variety of craft beers from well over 50 breweries from Arizona, around the Southwest and West Coast. Advance tickets are available at www.azbeer.com for $40. VIP tickets are $80. There are also group discounts and discounted designated driver tickets. Ticket price includes a souvenir tasting mug, 24 sampling tickets to exchange for beer samples and great live music.
All proceeds benefit Sun Sounds of Arizona in Flagstaff - http://sunsounds.org - providing audio access to information to people in northern Arizona who cannot read print because they have a disability.
Sponsors of the 20th annual Made in the Shade Beer Tasting Festival include Alliance Beverage Distributing, KNAU-Arizona Public Radio, Nackard-Pepsi, Findlay Flagstaff, Flagstaff Ale Trail, The Phoenix Ale Brewery, Radisson Woodlands Hotel, Taverna Greek Grill, Residence Inn Marriott, Holiday Inn Express, Scott's Chicago Pizza and others.