Originally Published: August 15, 2014 6 a.m.
The Lavallee bunch knows just what to do, when somebody says, "Give me a freakin' beer."
The family of brew-makers points right to its own Freak 'N Brewing Company, which is a new Peoria, Arizona, establishment.
"It is a dream come true," Floyd Lavallee said. He had been brewing in his home for about 10 years, but now he is on to bigger brewing, along with his father Tom, brother Tommy and brother-in-law Doug Wendling.
They will be among the 36 breweries and a winery bringing tastes of their products to the third annual Mile High Brewfest that will spread out at Goodwin and Montezuma streets in Prescott from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday. The fest will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Central Arizona. Tickets are $25 at the entry point.
The Freak 'N team began the family operation with eight brews "easy stuff," Lavallee said, and now the company is brewing seven different styles of beer, ranging from cream ale, American wit and brown ale to a couple of IPAs (India pale ale), he said.
Visitors to the fest can get a taste of Freak 'N's brown brew for sure and a Belgian or an amber, Lavallee said.
So how did "Give me a freakin'" become "Freak 'N Brewing Company"?
When the family first started talking about opening a brewery, they tossed around ideas for a name, "Freak 'N Brewing Company" came up, and "it stuck," Lavallee said.
Granite Mountain Brewing, which just celebrated its second anniversary in Prescott, will be on hand with three of its specialties: Sunburst German Wheat, a traditional German eweizen that pours the color of sunlight breaking through a monsoon cloud; Thumb Butte American Brown Ale, which highlights roasted malt undertones of chocolate and dark caramel; and Midnight Oil - Anniversary Ale, which references the brewery's "humble beginnings in a garage ... a veritable symphony of flavor."
Prescott Brewing Company will offer four of its crafted beers: Pilsner 500, a light crisp European pilsner; Manzanita Red, medium-bodied and smooth, with a taste of hops; Achocolypse, a coffee and chocolate porter; and Black Sheep Ale, a medium-bodied dark, slightly roasted IPA.
Roxane Nielsen, who with her husband, John, owns Prescott Brewing Company, noted that the first two Mile High Brewfests benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Central Arizona were big successes and she thinks this year's fest will be even bigger.
"Hopefully this will give the Boys and Girls Club the kick in the pants to help them get back on their feet," she said, noting the club had to recently shut down for a period of time.
But, she added, now that the club is open again, its staff is "working hard to provide the services" that the Boys and Girls Club does locally. "The Boys and Girls Club fills a void," Nielsen said. "We are happy to be a part of this event and happy to help them."
Nielsen also said that all the breweries are donating their beer for the benefit.
Said Audra Yamamoto of Granite Mountain Brewing, "We are happy to support the fest again. It is a great community event."
Michael Marquess jokes that his life was at stake when he and his wife, Alissa, founded their Mother Road Brewing Company in Flagtsaff.
He was a home brewer but his day job was as an appraiser of real estate. "It was miserable," he said, and that affected his home life.
Either he was going to die because of his terrible job or "I'm going to kill you," his wife told him.
Marquess tells the story in jest, but his misery was "the impetus" for Mother Road, he said. The family's creed is "find joy in the adventure. "
"Creating a brand new brewery from scratch was part of this. We've never looked back," even in the stressful times, Marquess said.
Now in its third year, Mother Road Brewing Company is located on the original 1926 alignment of Route 66, historically called the "Mother Road."
Marquess and his crew will bring two brews to the Saturday fest: light and summery "Gold Road, a "Kolsch-style" ale; and Lost Highway, an original dark American black ale with a lot of hops and malt - "so smooth," Marquess said.
Hensley Beverage Company and Fred Nackard Wholesale Beverage Company also will participate in the fest, offering visitors their craft beers.
Plenty of food will be available to go with the beer, event co-chair Gillian Haley said. Vendors will be selling grilled cheese items, samosas with a variety of fillings, barbecue and Indian fry bread. Although children will not be able to embibe in the spirits, face painters will be on hand to entertain them.
Music will keep the event lively, with four bands lined up, co-chair Christian DeLeon said.
On tap are Pat Roberts and the Hey Makers, playing country western and rockabilly tunes, at 1 p.m.; Pick & Holler's blue grass and country at 2:35 p.m.; Alice Wallace's country rock at 4:10 p.m.; and the Jamie Waldrob Trio and its country and rockabilly music at 5:45 p.m. Alice Wallace also will play at Granite Mountain Brewing from 7 to 9 p.m.