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World of Beer Experiencing Renaissance Along With Downtown Tucson

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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.


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

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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

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."


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.



Places To Celebrate The New Year in Tucson

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We’ve compiled a list of places to ring in the New Year here in Tucson! So, if you aren’t into staying in on this exciting evening, here are some things to do tonight!


Join Casino Del Sol as they host their “The Face to Face Show” party, a tribute to Sir Elton John and Billy Joel, complete with rock n roll and crazy costumes. Be ready for a countdown to the New Year, a champagne toast and a balloon drop at midnight!

Where: Casino Del Sol Resort, Spa and Conference Center. 5655 W. Valencia Rd., Tucson, AZ 85757

When: 7:30 PM

Must be 21 + to attend this event



The Tucson Dinner Theater will present “Murder at the Vampires Wedding.” Enjoy a candle-lit, three-course dinner and non-stop New Year’s Eve fun! Black Tie attire preffered.

Where: Viscount Suite Hotel. 4855 E. Broadway, Tucson, Az. 85711

When: Starting: 7:30 PM

Admission: $75 (plus tax & service fee)



Ring in your New Year at the newly remodeled and beautiful, Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. The Westin will host a fabulous night, including dinner, three shows and a midnight champagne toast.  The Tucson Jazz Orchestra, "Riverwalk Jazz Stars" with The Jim Cullum Jazz Band, and George Howard's Motown and Rhythm & Blues Show are all a part of the wonderful lineup for the night. Don’t miss out on an awesome night and special room rates for this night only!

Where: Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. 3800 E Sunrise Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718

When: Starting: 6:30 PM; VIP Reception 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM



Come celebrate New Years Eve at The JW Marriott as they host Rick Braun’s New Year’s Eve music-dinner-dancing party! This will be a night to remember featuring Rick Braun and a band of awesome musicians including saxophonist Mindi Abair and Grammy Award-nominated guitarist Norman Brown as well as the Tucson Jazz Institute's Ellington Big Band. There will be dancing all night long, a champagne toast, dinner and a silent auction (proceeds will be donated to help families affected by Autism and to support youth music education scholarships). On top of all of this, there will be special room rates starting at $137.

When: JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort. 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85745

When: 7:15 pm. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Admission: Superior, blue tables: $269 + $4 processing fee per seat Deluxe, green tables: $239 + $4 processing fee per seat Standard, yellow tables: $199 + $4 processing fee per seat



Tucson symphony Orchestra will have an elegant night filled with champagne, yummy treats and great music to bring in the New Year.

Where: Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa. 11000 N. La Canada, Oro Valley, AZ 85737

When: Starting: 6:30 PM



Enjoy a salsa party this New Year’s Eve with The Whistle Stop Depot. There will be live music by the Tucson Latin All-Stars, salsa dance performances, buffet-style food and crazy drink specials.

 Where: Whistle Stop Depot. 127 W 5th Street, Tucson, AZ 85705

Time: From: 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM

Admission: $40 per person includes 1 drink ticket, dance instruction, buffet



Celebrate the New Year at Club Congress!

Where: Hotel Congress. 311 E. Congress St., Tucson, AZ 85701



Celebrate New Year's Eve at the Rialto with Live Mambo & Lucha Libre!

Where: Rialto Theatre. 318 E. Congress Street, Tucson, AZ 85701

When: 8:00 PM

Admission: $25 - $50 general admission advance $30 reserve seated balcony



More Holiday Happenings: Tucson

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The Ritz Carlton, Dove Mountain Winter Packages!

The resort has just introduced two new overnight specials for the winter. Both Winter Break and Warm Up for Winter packages are available through March 15, 2014. The 850-acre property offers 300 day of blue-skied, sunny days out of the year. Each package revolves around the resorts events such as the annual WGC Accenture Match Play Championship, The Gem Show and the Tucson Rodeo.

To make reservations for the two winter packages visit The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain online, HERE! or call 800-241-3333

Tucson Originals Holiday Offerings

The Tucson Originals are currently offering a special deal! Now through the end of December, by purchasing a Tucson Originals Gift Card with a value of $100, you can get a bonus of $20. A $50 gift card will get you a $10 bonus! With over 30 restaurants to choose from, a Tucson Originals gift card is the perfect gift.

Visit TucsonOriginals.com to learn more and purchase your Gift Card today!

Agustin Kitchen Opens In Time For Holiday Celebrations

Agustin Kitchen is now open to the public. Just in time to celebrate the holidays, Chef Ryan Clark will include holiday specials in addition to the regular menu. Christmas Eve’s menu will come complete with everything from slow roasted prime rib to Yorkshire pudding!

Christmas Eve Dinner: 5 to 10 p.m.

New Years Eve Dinner: 5p.m. to 2a.m.  

Reservations for both dinners are a must! $75 per person

To make reservations you may contact (520) 398-5382

100 S. Avenida del Convento in the Mercado San Agustin.

The Annual Holiday Soiree At Sullivan’s Steakhouse

What: Under The Mistletoe Party  

When: Monday, December 23 at 6:00 p.m.

Where: Sullivan’s Steakhouse. 1785 E River Rd. Tucson, AZ 85718

Join Sullivan’s for a fun filled night including festive holiday music, door prizes and $6 signature cocktails. You won’t want to miss this one!

New Year’s Eve Bash at Loews Ventana Canyon

 What: Spanish inspired NYE Party

When: New Year’s Eve

Where: 7000 N Resort Dr, Tucson, AZ 85750

$25 cover at the door and $15 for hotel guests

Celebrate the New Year with Loews Ventana as they host their annual New Year’s Eve party with a Spanish twist. The “under the Spanish sky” themed party will be complete with live Spanish inspired bands, a tapas-style menu and Spanish wines!

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