Seven Boozy Beers To Track Down at Strong Beer Fest

You know what’s awesome about the Arizona Strong Beer Festival?

There is so much delicious beer to choose from.

Depending on what you normally drink, the majority of your choices could carry a higher ABV than you are used to. In some ways that is the entire point of the festival — it is called “Strong Beer” for a reason — but that should in no way intimidate you.

Personally, high-ABV beers excite me most because, quite simply, I like the taste. The burn of a barrel-aged stout is wonderful, with the process adding layers of flavor many beers can only dream of. There are also boozy IPAs which, when done right, are magical.

It goes without saying there are a good many such beers in this year’s lineup, and while it can be tough to decide, I wanted to do my part and present some of the best and booziest beers you will find at Indian Steel Park Saturday afternoon. While there are many samples I am planning on tracking down Saturday to try for the first time (like Wren House’s Predation and AZ Wilderness’ Barrel-Aged Presidential Stout, for example), I’m limiting this list only to beers I’ve had:

Wren House – Christmas Cactus – 14.8 percent

A member’s only release, this blend of an 18-month NOJO, some Who Hit John, a little NOJO and a touch of Predation is one you will not want to miss. Wren House has been on quite a roll lately, with their stouts earning a place atop the list of my favorites.

Hanger 24 – Pugachev’s Cobra – 15 percent

One of my very favorites, it is a sweeter stout that packs a real punch. A slight burn from the barrel aging, year-after-year this one never disappoints. There was a vanilla variant last year that gave it a slightly-different, yet delicious taste.

Prescott Brewing Company – Achoco-Loco – 10 percent

I enjoyed this one so much last year, I went and got it twice. Achocolypse is a bowl of Coco-Puffs in a glass, and the “crazy” version amps up the booze (from 5.5 percent) to create a monster that you never see coming.

Dogfish Head – 120 Minute IPA – 18 percent

Don’t let the name fool you — this is no IPA. A popular beer with a more barleywine flavor, it boasts the highest ABV of the festival and will no doubt have an impact on your day. While not as hard to get as in past years, this one never disappoints.

Ironfire Brewing Company – Last Rites Triple Chocolate Stout – 16 percent

Seeing a stout with a high ABV is pretty common, though this beer is anything but. If you like chocolate, you’ll like this. If you enjoy boozy beers, you’ll enjoy this. It also goes down very easy, by the way, which makes it all the more dangerous.

Oskar Blues – Barrel-Aged Ten FIDY – 12.9 percent

Ten-FIDY is a fairly common beer, and one of the better stouts on the market. The barrel-aged version is significantly better. It’s fairly heavy, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Scottsdale Beer Company – Texas Tea (Templeton Rye Barrel Aged) – 10.8 percent

Though not the booziest beer on the list, it is one of the tastiest. It is a very pleasant drink, with a sweetness that belies its ABV. When you give it a shot understand that while it doesn’t burn like a BA stout, it is very much one.

Adam Green

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