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World of Beer Experiencing Renaissance Along With Downtown Tucson

Story by David A. Bowers

"You never get a second chance to make a first impression."

The Will Rogers quote is nearly 100 years old yet still rings true today. The old west actor, author, political pundit and quote-smith was wise beyond his years and his words still resonate in this old west town looking to move into the next generation.

Downtown Tucson is in the midst of a renaissance. The modern streetcar is rumbling along Congress St. while I sit in a coffee joint sipping on Blue Bottle coffee, the only place where it is available in Arizona. The world-renowned Pizzeria Bianco just opened up across the street and the World of Beer has been offering up its 500 beers, including 50 on tap since Halloween of 2013.

WOBTucson3Like any business, there is going to be hiccups, staff turnover and complaints. Unfortunately, for World of Beer in Tucson, it was tragic when they took to social media to "call out" a bad review on Yelp. It was a meltdown on par with Amy & Samy Bouzaglo of Amy's Baking Company in Scottsdale of how not to use social media for business. Without rehashing the entire tirade, it is safe to say that World of Beer has learned its lesson, restaffed the place from the top down and has gone back to focusing on what it does best—beer, and lots of it.

The burgeoning craft beer scene is evident in southern Arizona with so many new restaurants, bars, bottle shops and breweries offering the best of the local and hard to find beers. The Tucson bar is the second of three locations in Arizona and the 52nd nationwide, but is one of the first to venture into offering food and spirits.

I have been to the Tempe location on several occasions and had no problem calling and ordering any of the nearby restaurants to deliver food. The problem with a company so specialized in beer is that the kitchen and tavern fare was and still remains to be sub-standard, save for the pretzels.

The World of Beer is making strides to regain its legitimacy within the community to include giving away 10 stainless steel Arizona Craft Brewers Guild growlers (filled with Arizona beer) to celebrate the new growler law. They have partnered with the Tucson Police Officer's Association to present the inaugural Hog Roast & Beer Toast 2014 in August with all proceeds going to Kids and Cops Christmas.

There are great events happening weekly at World of Beer, the old staff is gone, the new management is top notch with former managers, Johnny Ward and Will Phillips from Old Chicago taking charge and whipping the place back into shape just in time for the return of college students.

"We are striving to make service a priority," General manager Ward told me. "We are looking to rise above the hubris and welcome everybody back to World of Beer to see how much we've changed and how un-corporate we really are."

The new WOB welcomes not only college students but also those looking for some of the best and more obscure beers in the state. They also offer an amazing weekday happy hour with $1 off all draught beers from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Weekly specials include 25 percent off select draught beer on Monday night for service industry employees and 25 percent off all bottles on Tuesdays for loyalty card holders. Wednesday is WOB U night offering $2 off select draught beers for students with an ID card from any school and Thursday night is ladies' night with $2 off select draught and wine.

Long gone are the days of catering to the "bro" audience, they have adapted and are reaching out to every demographic. Recently, they hosted the G3 Gay Happy Hour with Gio Taco to rave reviews. Sarah Ritchie, Co-Founder of Tucson Girls' Pint Out has organized a Beer Geek Trivia Night on Wednesday with some special beers from the cellar as well as beer-themed trivia.

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I like the new World of Beer, I brought an out-of-town friend there because we heard that they had his "White Whale" beer, the Dogfish Head 120 minute IPA. We were greeted quickly, served immediately and even purchased some beer to-go. Great beer selection, quick and friendly service from knowledgeable servers and a fun atmosphere.

But don't just take this humble writers' opinion, Tucson Elite Yelper, Chloe O. who has been around Tucson for a while had this to say about World of Beer last month:

“I don't know why all my friends have been telling me this place is "sooooo horrible. I liked pretty much everything about this place: the atmosphere, selection of beer and food, the music that was playing, the friendly bartender, and the location. I also liked that the crowed was so eclectic. There were college kids, young married couples (my husband and me), older folks, and everyone in between! There was a good crowd, but still plenty of places to sit (my husband says that on weekends it can get so crowded, you can't find a seat). Overall, this is a fun, casual, and lively place to grab a beer or ten.”

Another Tucson Elite Yelper, Natasha C. also had high praise for the new World of Beer...posted last month:

“We had somewhat of an eclectic crowd and everyone in our party of 8 was happy! We had an amazing waitress, she was attentive, sweet, and had the funniest stories!  Thursday is karaoke night and that is always fun with friends. They serve food late and their beer selection is amazing! Thank you WOB, we came to have a good time with friends and celebrate and we did exactly that with no complaints!”

After a bumpy start, the new World of Beer has come into its' own and the great Will Rogers said it best, "Rumor travels faster, but it don't stay put as long as the truth."

 

Inaugural Tucson Michelada Challenge Kicks Off This Sunday

By David A. Bowers

Michelada Challenge

The sweltering desert heat can sometimes be a little too much for the typical Arizonan, luckily we live close to the Mexican border and have adopted one of their classic cocktails to cool down—the Michelada.

For those not in the know, a Michelada is, in the most basic sense, a Bloody Mary that uses beer instead of vodka…and from there, the similarities end. Much like its bloody cousin, the ingredients in a Michelada vary greatly and thus, the competition was born. Rob Betancourt, the brain behind the Arizona Bacon Fest has a knack for these type of events and the Inaugural Tucson Michelada Challenge promises to bring the heat…and the flavor to thirsty Tucsonans on Sunday.

La Fuente Restaurant at 1749 N. Oracle Road will be host of the challenge on Sunday the 13th of July from 12 to 4:00 p.m. The program will be hosted by Hot 98.3′s D-Wayne Chavez and KVOA Channel Four’s Monica Garcia and will be judged by three local chefs—not bartenders.

The dirty dozen of Tucson's finest concoctologists will go head to head representing every type of watering hole from the darkest dives to the brightest country bars throwing their tin into the ring. Sports bars, neighborhood joints, military outposts and authentic Mexican cantinas will vie for the title of  Best Michelada in Tucson.

What beer will they use, what tomato juice will they use, will they use Clamato? Spices, garnishes, and flavored rims—Oh My!

For those wondering about the all-important World Cup soccer final that will be begin at noon on Sunday, fret not, sports fans. La Fuente will be broadcasting the match between Germany and Argentina in all of its glory.

The winner of the contest will not only earn the title and bragging rights but will also be featured in the VIP tent in this fall's Great Tucson Beer Festival sponsored by Sun Sounds at Kino Memorial Stadium.

For a two dollar cover charge; yes, only two dollars, you will receive a ballot to vote for your favorite bartender and all the chips and salsa that your heart desires. If the samples of Michelada whet your appetite for something a little more substantial, La Fuente will will their full menu available along with various drink specials including:

  • $2 bottles and      drafts
  • $3 margaritas
  • Tequila Shots
    • $3 Cuervo 1800       Silver
    • $4 Patron
    • $5 Don Julio

To recap—World Cup Soccer, world class Micheladas, chips & salsa, unheard of drink specials and Latin music from DJ Kasky all for only TWO DOLLARS.

Run, don't walk to La Fuente this Sunday. I'll be there with lovely wife so stop by and say hola!

Current list of competitors:

  • Kristina Sanders      - Wooden Nickel Tavern
  • Kris Carr -      Native New Yorker
  • Efrain Hernandez      - Junxion Bar
  • Raychell Summers      - Rusty's
  • Ivan Ochoa - BK      Carne Asada
  • Melanie DeCarlo      - The Maverick
  • Monica Ortiz -      Diablo's
  • Aurora Sadina -      The Buffet
  • Stephanie Engs -      Cocktail Test Kitchen
  • more to come
 

Five of the Top Resorts to Escape to in Tucson

Next time you're planning your escape from the Valley, you might want to consider heading down South to Tucson to one of the many beautiful resorts and spas.  The lush Southwest dessert has a large selection of resorts and spas to choose from, all offering unique activities and luxuries.  Featured below are AZ Foothills picks for the top five resorts in Tucson to escape to this summer.  

1. Miraval Resort & Spa

The Miraval Resort & Spa is tucked away in the beautiful Catalina Mountains.  This world renowned resort and spa is known for luxury and beauty, with a standard of excellence prominent to all guests. Whether you're looking to relax by the pool or participate in an adventure course in the air, Miraval Resort & Spa has everything you could want in a summer escape.  Miraval Resort & Spa also has several noteworthy summer packages to look into as well!  

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For additional information on all the luxuries Miraval resorts has to offer, visit their website.

2. Canyon Ranch Resort & Spa

Canyon Ranch Resort & Spa is a relaxer and adventurer's dream.  Some of the awesome things you can do at Canyon Ranch include opporunities to bike and hike through the exotic dessert, gourmet and nutritious cuisine, over 50 complimentary activities to participate in and three pools and an aquatic center for the ultimate leisure experience.

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For more information on Canyon Ranch & Spa, visit their website

3. Tanque Verde Ranch

If you're looking for a real western experience, this is the place for you!  This getaway was voted the Number One Dude Ranch in Arizona by the Arizona Republic.  Not only does this place offer what you would expect in a dude ranch, such as horseback riding, the ranch offers gourmet food, a variety of luxurious lodging options and the chance for a spa vacation at their highly acclaimed La Sonora Spa. 

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For more information on all that Tanque Verde Resort has to offer, visit their website.

4. The Westin La Paloma

The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa offers everything from jeep advernture packages, to spa deals, to unlimited golfing to a pool oasis.  This resort offers the ultimate opportunities for relaxation and adventure.  If you're looking for the perfect place to be replenished, this is the Tucson resort for you. 

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For more information on the Westin Resort & Spa, visit their website.

5. Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain

The Ritz-Cartlon at Dove Moutain harnasses the beauty of the Sonoran Desert.  This luxurious Tucson hotel has everything an adult could want to channel relaxation and escape, while also offering a wide array of activities for children.  With six different delicious on-sight dining options, beautiful guest rooms and suites facing the mountain ranges and a leisure-filled spa, the Ritz-Carlton at Dove Mountain is a perfect escape this summer. 

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For more information on the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain, visit their website

 

 

NASA and Titan Missile Museum to Send Local Names to Space

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The mystery of outer space is a great adventure yet to be taken.  While space travelers continue to venture further into the great unknown, The Titan Missile Museum is helping local names make history be sending names into space during Moonlight MADness, its first of four 2014 cool Saturday summer evening programs.

On Saturday, Jun. 14, Titan volunteers will run the Educational Design Challenge (EDC).  The volunteers will team up with NASA to guide the children while they complete the challenge.  Those who complete the challenge will have their names sent into space with a virtual crew members of the first Orion EFT-1 scheduled for December of 2014.  

Additionally, attendees will be able to marvel at the sight of the six-story rocket with its eerie green lights on, launch seltzer rockets with MAD Scientists, sample space food, take astronaut tests, explore the Titan missle's launch and control room and much more.  

Yvonne Morris, past commander of the the Titan II site and the Executive Director of the Arizona Aerospace Foundation that operates the Titan Missle, said the mission was to inspire future astronauts.  "We are thrilled to partner with NASA and present this STEM challenge with the opportunity to sign up numerous locals as Orion's virtual crew," Morris said. "Plus we offer the rare opportunity to view the amazing Title II missle lit up on a cool summer night."

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This exclusive summer-eventing event features, additional kid activities presented by MAD scientists, is priced for just $7 for each adult with kids under 12 admitted for free.  

Don't miss out on the chance to see the missle lit up at night and see space history in the making! 

Moonlight MADness will take place the second Saturday of each month from June through September:  These dates will include: Jun. 14, Jul. 12, Aug. 9 and Sep. 13, 2014 from 5 until 9 p.m. Moonlight MADness tours of the underground facility begin at 5 p.m., with the final tour starting at 8 p.m.  Space is limited, so be sure to make a reservation by calling 520-625-7736 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  

For additional information, www.titanmissilemuseum.org.

 

 

Road Trips, Globe Trotting, Girls Pint Out, More

Summertime...and the living is easy, but not so much in the desert. Nevertheless Tucson continues to rock and roll with food and fun options, $20 lobster dinners and more.

 

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