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November 26, 2015
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The Hand of God
Flagstaff’s Brew Ha-Ha Gets the Last Laugh
By Mick Zano
Flagstaff Brew-Ha-Ha
Mick Zano

After the Made in the Shade incident, I swore I would never cover another brew festival again. I made this proclamation to my wife the next day, or maybe she told me. Well, the beauty of being me is no longer being burdened with any long or short term memory whatsoever. And, in retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have gone to that second party afterward.

Yep, I just keep making the same mistakes over and over again. My life is like Groundhog Day, only I don’t remember I relived the same day until the end of said day. My only goal prior to the festivities was to get a good brunch base in me and avoid any and all alcohol. Of course, I got that reversed. As I am finally ordering a breakfast sandwich, I get a call from Stephanie, "Dude, it’s two, where are you?"

Cancel that order...

Mick Zano with Abba

Yes, I did in fact attend the Brew Ha-Ha with the members of ABBA. Actually, in an effort to prepare for every contingency, I took along several pharmacists. It pays to plan ahead. Did you score the perks, Fernando?

They also had a psychic-reading booth at the festivities. Psychic readings? at a Brewfest?

Now there’s a tough job. Let me take a crack at it:

Today you will partake in a great variety of hops, malts, and barley...oh, and wait, I see a porcelain God in your future!

"But what about our long term future?"

I see liver cancer for you, Mr. Drunk 24/7 T-shirt guy, and pancreatitis for your lovely wife.

There, that wasn’t so hard.

A Brew-Ha-Ha psychic?

For some history, the first Brew Ha-Ha was held in this town in 1887, when Jebediah Flagstaff was the first man to successfully keg surf down the San Francisco Peaks. Okay...Winslow doesn’t pay me enough to do actual research, so Google it. But don’t Google the Jebediah Flagstaff part, or you will only find this post again, which seems a virtual wormhole kind of way. Anyway, this year a larger brew event was occurring at the same time down in the Valley of the Sun, so it was rookie night here in Flagstaff. I would pony up to the booth and say something like, hey, so where’s this brewery located? And I would get, "Umm, Oregon or Washington, I think."

That’s nice. And what beers will we be sampling today?

"Umm, there’s a red one and one that isn’t quite as red."

That’s nice. What about the yellow one in the corner?

"Umm...they just don’t give us any bathroom breaks."

That’s nice. Geesh.

The breweries also didn’t bring up what they said they were going to: Old World Brewery said they would be bringing a scotch ale and a porter, they had a blonde and a honey wheat; close, real close, fellas. Sierra Nevada said they would bring over a barely wine, they lied. Mother Road said they’d bring over their Black IPA but, apparently, they drank the entire keg during the arduous three block journey from W. Phoenix to the Highland Conference Center...and the list goes on. Leffe didn’t even show at all, the bastards! Oh, and the "Elvis has Leffe the building" joke was omitted by the management (consider yourselves lucky).

Before I discuss the winners, keep in mind, I only sampled the beers that I was relatively unfamiliar with. So there were other great beers in attendance that were old hat for me. Speaking of which, Old Hat Porter was very good, albeit fictional. My medal round winners are as follows:

1st Mogollon’s Mesquite Porter – This local brewery really wowed em.’ Great stuff!

2nd Stone’s Black Double IPA – very nice. Stone rarely disappoints.

3rd Oskar Blues’ Old Chub (a scotch ale) – I’m a sucker for a good scotch ale.


By the end of the festivities everyone started looking like my friend Brad here, blurry and silly. Later that night we ganged up and destroyed those nasty green glasses of his. The next day we called it a fashion intervention. He’s a good sport and even stopped crying when we promised him ice cream.

To give you a brief Mick Zano itinerary of the day’s events:

2:00-6:00 PM -- Brew Ha-Ha

6:00-7:00 PM -- Cuvee Wine Bistro (for dinner)

7:00-10:00 PM -- Some party or another, where I apparently filled my bead cans from the fest with appetizers (for later). Oh, and I won myself a dozen fresh eggs during a game. But I then lost said eggs before I could even hurl them. Talk about a missed opportunity for mischief.

10:10 PM -- Urinating in public

10:12 PM -- Listed on Arizona’s sex offender list (land of the bloody free!).

10:59 PM -- Threw up in the appetizer filled cans

11:00PM -- Forgot and ate said appetizers anyway.

11:00-3:00 AM -- After hours party with the pharmacists, which went smoothly until Melinda decided we needed to do shots of something minty. Nothing like drinking for 12-hours straight and then having someone have such a brilliant boozular brainstorm (BBB). During an orange fight that soon ensued, you know........I think I’m going to end it here. Suffice to say it was a little sillier than the New Years Eve party at the same venue, which ended with a concussion and a broken chair.

3:00 AM -- My wife picks me up for the traditional drive home of shame (DHS) with much fear and loathing on Cedar Ave. No, she’s a great sport. She’s just meticulously keeping a journal for the lawyer.

Yeah, for dignity sake I need to stop. Kidding! I don’t have any of that...well, I might have once, but did I mention my memory issues? I’m sure I did...reasonably sure. I will definitely attend the Brew Ha-Ha next year, and would like to cordially invite the whole Havoc gang next year...That should calm things down.  I’m doing this even though I have officially sworn off brew fests in general. Ah, there’s plenty of time for me to forget about those little promises.

Oh, and you can find my coverage of Flagstaff’s Made in the Shade here. That one didn’t end as well. Or at least that’s what it is says on the police report. By the way, I did eventually figure out why things went so horribly wrong during that last event. I remember thinking: you only get twenty 4-oz beer samplers, so what’s the worst that can happen? Never say this. Apparently, I ran out of my allotted samples so I started cutting pieces out of my Daily Discord business cards into little pieces and folded each piece over to vaguely resemble the tickets. Sadly, this worked for the last hour of the event. Never again!! ...well, maybe.

So who’s with me?

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