Call it a power play for the palate.
I wasn’t much of a hockey fan until my friend and local hockey maven Danny Plattner hosted me for my first Tucson Roadrunners game in 2018. The team was in first place, maximizing the thrill of the moment with what appeared to be a near-capacity crowd at the Tucson Arena, but it was the mere speed and spirit of the game that kept me on my feet.
Another expression of the game’s spirit is the Roadrunners’ commitment to community causes which will be evident in suds – er, spades – three hours before faceoff at the November 13 home game.
It’s called Hockey and Hops, a beer garden with 11 regional brewers that will pop-up outside the Tucson Convention Center prior to the game. Event proceeds will go to Roadrunners Give Back, a foundation that supports local non-profit organizations that promote healthcare, education, and cultural arts programs for children, servicemen, and servicewomen in Southern Arizona.
Local beer executive Tristan White has participated in this event every year since its inception and is eager to return following the event’s pandemic-forced hiatus last year.
“I think we’re really good at making beer, but the thing we’re even better at is getting in front of our customers and telling our story, and we’ve missed doing that over the past year and a half,” said White, general manager of Dragoon Brewing Company, 1859 W. Grant Road. “Our greatest strength is giving people an interaction with both our product and our brand, and the Hockey and Hops event checks a lot of boxes for us in that it’s Tucson, it’s community focused, it’s the perfect time of year, and it’s just plain fun.”
White and his team will be pouring the flagship Dragoon IPA, the newly released and easy-drinking Dragoon Pils, and possibly the Palomino IPA, a limited-edition beer made with galaxy hops.
As he approaches his brewery’s fifth anniversary, Ben Vernon also looks forward to engaging his customers at an event that he says brings our community together.
“To be part of what the Tucson Roadrunners are doing to build our community up is the reason that we’re involved here,” said Vernon, co-owner of Crooked Tooth Brewing Company, 228 E. Sixth St. “Bringing sports to town is only going to make this community better, and we’ll always be a part of any event that’s about bringing Tucson together and giving us all something to celebrate, in a shared space, in this cool town.”
Crooked Tooth will be pouring three beers at the event – a Mexican lager, a sour made with tamarind, and a sour made with grapefruit, in the Paloma cocktail tradition, served in a glass with a salted rim and lime wedge.
Other brewers participating in the event include Barrio Brewing Company, BlackRock Brewers, Borderlands Brewing Company, Buqui Bichi Brewing, Catalina Brewing Company, Dillinger Brewing Company, Grand Canyon Brewing Company, MotoSonora Brewing Company, and Ten55 Brewing Company.
Hockey and Hops is on November 13 from 4:00 – 6:30 pm. Individual tickets are $50 each, or $30 as an add-on for Tucson Roadrunners season ticket holders. Your ticket includes access to the pre-game beer garden, 10 beer garden drink tickets, a Tucson Roadrunners commemorative shot glass, and a ticket to the game against the visiting Ontario Reign that starts at 7:00 pm.
Tickets can be purchased at tucsonroadrunners.com/tickets/2021-hockey-and-hops/.
I’m certainly not a hockey expert but I do know beer, and this event promises to be one heck of a beer barnburner.
Contact Matt Russell, whose day job is CEO of Russell Public Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Russell is also the publisher of OnTheMenuLive.com as well as the host of the Friday Weekend Watch segment on the “Buckmaster Show” on KVOI 1030 AM.