In Flagstaff Arizona, you will find a microbrewery on every corner (and that’s not a bad thing.) But for those who are searching for a truly unique craft beer tasting room, a visit to Dark Sky Brewing is a must.
To date, this brewery has had over 300 different recipes in their arsenal. They generally have about 15-18 selections on tap on any given evening. Laws of probability would make ordering the same flight of beers on 2 separate visits virtually impossible.
Dark Sky Brewing Company caters to craft beer enthusiast that are looking to push the limits of flavor combinations. Not all the recipes are hits- some of the interesting on-tap options will leave you more perplexed than satisfied, but finding a gem that suits your flavor and style preference is half the fun.
On my last visit, Dark Sky was pouring the “Don’t Pok’e me mon!”, a copper colored IPA brewed with lemon drop hops and beets, the “Knife Fight”, a dark and bitter black IPA brewed with citra and Amarillo hops, and the “Hi-Line Jalapeno”, a spicy pale ale that starts smooth and has a fiery finish.
In addition to crazy brew combos, a food truck attached to the patio is serving burgers, tacos, nachos, salads and other items that pair well with beer.
– AZ Survival Guide
The Perch Brewery is the best zoo and brew experience downtown Chandler has to offer. In addition to handcrafting an innovative selection of beers, this micro-brewery is housing over 50 tropical birds of all color shape and size.
The chirps and squawks of this brewery’s feathered friends can be heard long before you enter the open air dining area. The Perch’s mission is to provide forever homes for abandoned, abused, or neglected pet birds. Getting up close and personal with these tropical birds is encouraged (at your own risk.) You can head up to the rooftop bar to enjoy a feather-free drinking and dining experience.
The beer selection is ever-changing. On my last visit, 10 original beers were being served. The “On Tap” menu featured several IPA’s, a Hazy, a Brown Ale, a Lager and a Saison. Certainly more hits than misses, but I recommend sampling your suds before you commit to a pint.
The Hazy IPA was by far the highlight of my flight. This mid-body IPA weighs in at 7% ABV. It has a cloudy amber hue and a caramel aroma. The flavor is a bit sweeter than I prefer but the beer features a well-balanced citrus taste.
If you’re feeling peckish, some good eats are flocking from the kitchen. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available. The menu features elevated pub classics. Dishes like crispy Jalapeno marmalade and ranch tater tots and Brick Oven Four Cheese Mac are among the crowd favorites. But I must say, I felt slightly uncomfortable ordering the Beer Braised Chicken Wings.
– AZ Survival Guide
On the corner of Country Club and Main resides one of Mesa’s newest breweries. Oro Brewing Company has been open for about a year and a half. They currently have 10 of their own beers on tap, and one guest pour courtesy of The Beer Research Institute. All available brews are displayed on a colorful chalkboard. The tasting room seats about 30 and there is a small fenced off outdoor seating area directly in front of the main entrance. The modern and industrial design elements give this nano-brewery a local coffee shop like vibe.
The beer selection is vast and unique. The available selection on this evening featured everything from a Blonde Ale to a Porter. All beers are in the $5-$6 price range.
It is nearly impossible to make a bad decision when it comes to picking one of their in-house brewed craft beers, but if you are looking for a recommendation, I would suggest a beer from the Singularity series. Each Singularity in the series is a Pale Ale brewed with one variety of hops. They currently have the Amarillo and the Belma on tap. The Amarillo features copper colored hue. This beer has an earthy, grapefruit and tangerine aroma and a well-balanced bitter citrus flavor. The moderate 5.4 % ABV makes this brew very drinkable.
Oro’s beer is currently just available in the Mesa tap room location. They have aspirations to start distributing in the near future. Also be on the lookout for a limited can release rumored to take place this summer.
-AZ Survival Guide
A recent Groupon adventure led me to the heart of Cottonwood, AZ. The town is best known for its abundance of wineries and wine tasting rooms. But you would be remised if your day trip to Cottonwood did not include a visit to THAT brewery.
THAT brewery is located in the back of a small industrial park. The warehouse-style building, parked tractor-trailers, and pallets of empty kegs leave no doubt that authentic craft beer is being brewed and canned onsite.
The tasting room comfortably seats a couple dozen patrons. There are several wooden picnic tables spread throughout the bar area and production floor. The walls appear to be adorned with reclaimed hardwood. You also see a couple of chalkboards displaying what’s on tap and a string empty beer cans that have been converted into lights. The wood cabin décor is fitting for this small town mountainside brewery.
Word of caution; the Cottonwood THAT brewery location does not have a kitchen so I recommend carbing up before your arrival. Small prepackaged snacks are available from behind the bar, and complimentary popcorn is typically available (unfortunately the popcorn machine was out of order on my visit).
The brew will not disappoint. With 12 beers on tap, you are bound to find something to your liking. I opted for the RoadRash IPA. This American style IPA weighs in at 7% ABV. It has a vivid clear amber hue crowned with a thin foam head. Before your first sip, you will pick up on subtle floral and citrus aromas. Grapefruit, pine, and pleasantly dank hops are the most prominent flavors in this well-balanced IPA.
A day trip to the north is mandatory to escape the sweltering summer heat of the valley. Make sure your road trip itinerary includes a stop at a small town craft brewery. Don’t forget THAT!
-AZ Survival Guide
You wouldn’t find a shortage of places to grab a drink in Old Town Scottsdale and most offer some pretty cool ambiance. But if you are searching for the best brew with a view, I recommend a visit to Goldwater Brewing Co.
With so many quality original brews on tap, you really couldn’t go wrong with any choices. A flight of 4-6 samples may be your best option.
If you are seeking one of the most unique beers being brewed in the Valley, I suggest ordering up their Crimson Clouds. This limited release ruby red hazy IPA weighs in at 6.3% ABV. This beer features captivating citrus and ripe tropical fruit aromas. I’ve been told that their are strong prickly pear flavor notes in this IPA but to the best of my knowledge I don’t recall every eating a prickly pear. I would describe this complex beer with flavor elements of honeydew melon, papaya and hints of grapefruit. It might be hard to describe but it’s easy to drink.
All of their distinctive craft beers are best enjoyed on their upstairs patio (preferably at sunset). Next time you find yourself in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale and you are in search for some tasty brews and complimentary jalapeño popcorn, stop by Goldwater Brewing Co.
Monday – Thursday: 4 PM – 11 PM
Friday: 4 PM – 12 AM
Saturday: 1 PM – 12 AM
Sunday: 1 PM – 8 PM
-AZ Survival Guide
If you have the good fortune of finding yourself in the modern mecca of micro-brew known as Flagstaff, Arizona make sure you swing by Mother Road Brewing Co.
I strongly recommend setting aside a sunny Saturday afternoon to embark on a self-guided tour of all the amazing breweries that Flagstaff has to offer. Just make sure a stop at Mother Road is on your agenda.
This brewery features ample dog-friendly outdoor seating and access to gourmet pizza served up by Pizzicletta (attached to the brewery).
Mother Road is also pouring a delicious beer that is showing up on taps all around the greater Phoenix area, Tower Station. This IPA weighs in at a hefty 7.3% ABV. It’s extremely cloudy with an orange and copper hue. It has a fresh citrus and tangerine aroma with tropical papaya and apricot flavor notes.
Mother Road Brewing Co. is a must visit tasting room for all Arizona craft beer enthusiast.
-AZ Survival Guide
The core of downtown Mesa is being revitalized! Locally owned Cider Corps cidery and tasting room is serving up a dozen original, unique and delicious hard ciders. Current offerings range from “Tried & True” (a dry hopped cider with a clean, crisp and bright traditional apple cider flavor) to the “MH84 AKA Mango Grenade” (a sweet cider that starts with topical mango notes and finishes with a surprising hint of habanero heat.)
The large simple modern-industrial tasting room is the perfect venue to sample a flight of apple cider served up in a baking tray. With so many varieties of cider on tap you are bound to find at least a couple concoctions that please your palate. Friendly and knowledgeable owners are more than willing to offer up recommendations and break down the science behind the Cider.
Cider Corps is a refreshing addition to downtown Mesa and the Arizona microbrew community. We recommend that you swing by and see how you like them apples.
Cider Corps Facebook page
Currently open Saturdays 12 PM – 12 AM – look for new hours in 2018
-AZ Survival Guide