The last beer fest I went to was in Charleston, SC, held at a minor league baseball stadium. It was a huge event, with parking for miles, beer spanning the entire outfield, and drunks (my boyfriend included) rolling on the crisp, baseball park grass. When I heard about the PHX BrewParty, I pictured something similar, but man, was I wrong—and pleased beyond belief.
Literally located in someone’s front yard, this is a community event, held in downtown Phoenix, that celebrates the art and creativity of home-brewed beer. It’s in the front yard on purpose, a symbol of an inclusive event where all are welcome. When we arrived at 7 PM this past Saturday, we thought we’d made a mistake. We thought we were crashing some college house party. Nay, we had arrived at the PHX BrewParty, complete with Christmas lights, a kickass DJ, and classic beer movies on a big projection screen in the tiny back yard.
In a word … Heaven.
And it was FREE to get into Heaven! All we had to do was flash our IDs, wear a nifty orange bracelet, and drink. Drink drink drink, home-brewed beer! This wasn’t Budweiser. Not freakin’ Miller Lite. These were IPAs, stouts, and wheat beers. Monk Raw Brewing’s Whiskey-Barrel Porter was made in a whiskey barrel! Imagine the flavors! Akin to Cabernet Sauvignon, it drank like fine wine, complete with a sweet, hefty nose and a lasting finish. And it was probably made in some dude’s basement! Also (one of the first to run dry) was Mercury Rush Brewing Company’s Chocolate Orange Stout. Like Guinness, only richer, sweeter, and packed with chocolate and citrus—practically a dessert … with alcohol.
As the night continued, the PHX BrewParty became the place to be. The front yard filled to overflow, while some of the more popular home brews (sadly) ran out. It felt like a college party. Remember those days? Drinking beer from a plastic cup in someone’s front yard? Except at the PHX BrewParty, the crowd was not raucous. There were no drunken frat boys, throwing punches over beer samples. The crowd at the PHX BrewParty was one of peace and love. No, not hippie love. BEER love. Together, we stood in line, waiting for our next samples. We talked about … shoot, whatever. We all got along, and I think the crowd was the most surprising part. You would expect at a free beer venue, people would get impatient. But no; everyone just wandered around, chatting, laughing, having a merry old time.
To me, the people, the party, and the environment felt like home. In this gigantic land mass known as the Valley of the Sun, it’s easy to feel lost in the sprawl—to feel disconnected and alone. It’s even easier to say, “There’s nothing to do in this stupid city,” when there is actually TONS to do in this amazing city. The PHX BrewParty is living proof.
When I left the event Saturday night, I was glowing. No, it wasn’t because of my buzz (although that may have been part of it). It was because the PHX BrewParty gave me hope in this community. Hope that there is community. Hope that there are some engaging things happening in Phoenix. Hope that maybe I belong here, despite my occasional doubts. The PHX BrewParty killed it this weekend. Bravo, people. Bravo.
Viva la Home Brew. For more info, go to their website: http://www.phxbrewparty.com/.