Category: Drink Issue: September 2017
Some of us old-timers remember the craft beer desert the Valley of the Sun once was. It was the late 1990s. We had a smattering of brewpub chains like Alcatraz and Rock Bottom, a local legend in Four Peaks and… that was about it. Enjoy your Heineken.
How times have changed. Riding the local-first maker culture trending nationwide, Phoenix started seeing the kind of craft beer activity befitting the nation’s fourth-largest city. We now boast 47 breweries, with more on the way. So let’s get tappin’.
Valley Breweries: 47
Arizona Breweries: 87
Oldest Brewery: Prescott Brewing (1994)
Most Remote Brewery: Barn Star in Skull Valley
The Beer According to Rob
Arizona Craft Brewers Guild president Rob Fullmer singled out three interesting trends in Valley brew-smithery.
1. Arizona malting
Two in-development malt facilities (one in Casa Grande, one in the Verde Valley) means brewers can start sourcing grains from within the state.
2. Satellite taprooms
AZ brewers “are finally getting serious marketing to two different markets.” To wit: Tucson-based Barrio Brewing’s new Mesa taproom.
Not just collaborative brews, Fullmer says, but co-marketing efforts like the “Beermuda Triangle” beer crawl in central Phoenix. Creating such “micro-identities is really important.”
Button Brew House
A unique Chiltepín Red Ale, brewed with spicy Sonoran chiltepíns (hot peppers) and fresh lime peel, will be the flagship beer at Todd and Erika Button’s brewery and taproom, scheduled to open in mid-August just north of Tucson.
6800 N. Camino Martin, Marana, 520-268-8543, button.beer
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