November 11, 2008

Northern Arizona's Microbreweries

(This article was written by me and first appeared in Flagstaff Live!)

Here’s proof that size doesn’t matter … when it comes to beer at least.
Northern Arizona has three great breweries in Flagstaff and another in Sedona. All may brew on a small scale, but their beers are award-winners and worthy of coming back for over and over again. Here’s a look at the offerings of Beaver Street Brewery, Flagstaff Brewing Co., Mogollon Brewing Co. and Oak Creek Brewing Co. (Note when reading: I am partial to great hefeweizens!)

Beaver Street Brewery
11 S. Beaver, Flagstaff

Beaver Street makes several types of award-winning beers. My fav beer here: the Hefe Weizen. It’s unfiltered, somewhat effervescent, and tangy on the taste buds. The smell alone could make you order another before you even take a sip. This brewski’s claim to fame: it took home the gold prize for best “South German Style” out of 60 competitors at the Great American Beer Fest in 2007.
But Beaver Street’s Hefe isn’t always in season.
If that’s the case, I opt instead for the Bramble Berry Brew. If you’re more of a dark beer fan, try the R&R Oatmeal Stout. It’s a rich, dark ale made with chocolate and gelatinized oatmeal.

Flagstaff Brewing Co.
16 E. Rte. 66, Flagstaff

Flagstaff Brewing Co. usually has four or so beers on tap. They make more ales than anything from their Agassiz Amber to the Great Golden Ale, Three Pin Pale Ale and Bubbaganouj IPA, a.k.a. the “Pride of Flagstaff.”
Weisspread Wheat is the hefe made by the Flagstaff Brewing Co. It tastes more bitter than other area Hefes making it less smooth, but it’s still tangy and refreshing. Other notables there: Bitterroot ESB, Blackbird Porter and Sasquatch Stout.

Mogollon Brewing Co.
15 N. Agassiz, Flagstaff

The Mogollon Brewing Co. cooks up handcrafted microbrews but no longer has a pub to call home. You can, however, find them on tap or bottled in the area. Among their varieties, the Mogollon Hefevenom brewed in traditional Bavarian fashion, the slightly sweet and coffee-esque Apache Trout Stout, the malty Mogollon Toad India Pale Ale that is brewed with 65 pounds of hops in each 600 gallon batch and has a 7.1 percent alcohol content.

Oak Creek Brewing Co.
2050 Yavapai Dr., Sedona

Driving down the canyon to Sedona’s Oak Creek Brewing Co. is definitely worthwhile. There are two locations to get your fix of handcrafted beers made by Oak Creek.
Not a surprise, my beer of choice there is the Hefeweizen. Oak Creek’s Hefe is more effervescent than most, making it particularly refreshing. It won the Bavarian Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2003. This might be my favorite beer in all of northern Arizona.
All of the Oak Creek Brewing Co. beers are award winners. They include the Gold Lager, Amber Ale, Nut Brown Ale (which is a customer favorite) and their Pale Ale.
You can find coupons for a buck off Oak Creek’s pints, pitchers and growlers on their Web site.

The Winner is …
Two Arizona beers came home big winners from the 2008 Great American Beer Festival that was held this month in Denver. The festival is known as the granddaddy of all U.S. beer festivals, offering what they call the largest collection of U.S. beer ever assembled.
There were 2,902 beers in the competition. Only 225 of them were awarded a prize. Two of those brews call our great state home.
If a robust porter is your thing, plan a road trip to Tucson. Barrio Brewing Co. took home the gold prize for their Nolan’s Porter, beating out 46 other entries.
Barley Brothers Brewery and Grill in Lake Havasu City took home a bronze medal for their Double Espresso Stout in the Coffee Flavored Beer category. There were 28 entries in that category. Barley Brothers is owned by the same folks that own Shugrue’s and Javelina Cantina in Sedona.


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