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BrewHaHa

The fourth annual BrewHaHa will take over the High Country Conference Center Saturday. Pictured: A scene from 2013's event. (Photo courtesy of Matt Ziegler of Greenhouse Productions)

It’s a good time to like beer in Flagstaff. Well, it’s a good time to like beer in the U.S., too. Beer aficionados (known as cerevisaphiles) have more kinds of beer to choose from than ever before in modern history. 

Consider this: in 1980 there were only 44 breweries in the United States. According to the Brewers Association, today that number is upward of 2,500. Flagstaff alone is home to a half-dozen breweries. 

At least 40 breweries from across the nation will be serving up samples of at least 75 different beers at the upcoming fourth annual Flagstaff BrewHaHa beer tasting event. Even if you’re not a cerevisaphile, you’re likely to find something you like among the dozens of brews that will be available for sampling.

The BrewHaHa is the brainchild of Matthew Ziegler, president of Greenhouse Productions. Ziegler said he wanted to create annual local events (he’s also the man behind the Flagstaff Hullabaloo festival in June) to anchor Flagstaff’s yearly event calendar. Why beer?

“I like beer,” Ziegler said. “It’s something I know and enjoy.”

At the BrewHaHa, Ziegler brings together brewers from across the country for an afternoon of beer sampling. This year’s event will be held Saturday from 2-6 p.m. at the High Country Conference Center. In addition to beer, the event will feature wine samples, hors d’oeuvres and live music.

Local brewer Michael Marquess of Mother Road Brewing Co. will be there. 

Marquess and his wife, Alissa, opened Mother Road Brewing Co. on Mike’s Pike in Flagstaff in 2011. Marquess has attended all three previous BrewHaHa events — once as a patron and twice as a brewer. As his business grows, Marquess said he’s getting choosier about the beer tasting events he attends. But the BrewHaHa remains at the top of his list.

“It’s a fun little fest. It’s local and it’s small.” 

Small enough that the brewers can spend some time with the people they’re serving. They can answer questions, talk beer. And there’s a lot to talk about.

“It’s such an excellent time for craft beer,” Marquess said. “Everything is changing.” Brewers are finding new ingredients, testing new methods and finding new flavors — all of which will be on display at the BrewHaHa.

Along with Mother Road, Flagstaff breweries Wanderlust, Flagstaff Brewing Co., Historic Brewing Co. and Lumberyard Brewing Co. will showcase their best beers at the BrewHaHa. 

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Other Arizona breweries to participate will include Grand Canyon Brewing Co., Sonoran Brewing Co., Granite Mountain Brewing and more. Ziegler is looking forward to hosting Bell’s Brewery from Michigan among the dozens of other breweries that will be represented.

Patrons can vote for their favorite beer to win the People’s Choice Award. Members of the local homebrew club will also be judging the beers and will award one with the Snowman’s Choice award. Last year’s winner was Lumberyard Brewing Co.’s Imperial IPA, Monsoon Madness. 

The BrewHaHa is not just about beer, though. As in the past three years, Ziegler will donate 25 percent of the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity of Northern Arizona. Flagstaff Habitat Executive Director Eric Wolverton said events like the BrewHaHa are important for his organization both financially and otherwise.

“It’s huge for us in terms of getting financial support,” Wolverton said. “But the awareness too is just so, so important.”

All of the money will go directly toward building a new affordable home in Flagstaff. Wolverton said Habitat hopes to break ground on its next house — the 16th the organization will build in Flagstaff over the past 20 years — in April or May. After that, they’ve set an ambitious new goal to build at least one new home in Flagstaff each year. To do that, donations from events like the BrewHaHa will be invaluable.

“It really does take the commitment of the community,” he said.

Tickets to the BrewHaha are $37 in advance and $40 at the door.

Online:

hfhnaz.org (Habitat for Humanity)

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