We are living in a beer revolution. The way we associate Champagne with regions in France, vodka with Russia and tequila with Mexico, many associate a unique change in beer with America. The flavor-forward expressions of hop-heavy IPAs of California, barrel-aged stouts of the Midwest and sours of the Southwest are making an indent on the history of beer culture, as we know it.
In the past 20 years, the flavor palate of America has shifted from a standard, light ale to a wide variety of artistically crafted flavors. Today, 99% of more than 3,400 breweries in the U.S. are small and independent craft breweries. While many assume this occurrence is a “Bubble Trend” or one that is sure to crash, recent studies show there will not be a decline in the near future. For good reasons, we hope brewersassociation.com is right about this one. The craft brew industry does more than give Americans a new preferred pastime; it supports farm-to-table behavior and builds the economy.
As the demand for craft brews increases, the number of breweries go with it. Breweries currently employ over 115,469 people in the U.S. and have donated millions of dollars to local causes, giving us a whole new reason to “enjoy a cold one.” We took the liberty of finding the best places in Arizona for you to follow the fad on your next visit to our beautiful city of Tucson.
Dragoon Brewing Company
Since their first batch of beer made in the mid-90’s, out of founder Bruce Greene’s kitchen, the brewery has established its place as one of the top Arizona breweries. Greene paired with his son, Eric, and fellow home brewer, Tristan White, to get from kitchen to brewery.
Dragoon Brewing Company as accumulated 60+ creations on their beer list. Out of those, only two of which you can get year-round: Dragoon IPA and Stronghold Session. The other brews offered are seasonal or are specialty brews. Nine of which appear on tap at the Tucson taproom, always giving you new flavors to explore. If you are looking for a Dragoon classic, sample the Dragoon IPA. This West Coast IPA exonerates ever-trending bitterness, high alcohol content, and a citrus hop aroma. Dragoon is also one of our showcase vendors at Tanque Verde Ranch’s first Boots N’ Brews weekend in November. Make sure you stop by and try some of their many flavors on display for your tasting.
Sentinel Peak Brewing Company
The story of Sentinel Peak Brewing Company, on of the Arizona breweries, according to Sentinel themselves, begins with a soldier in Germany. Co-owner Jeremy Hilderbrand was stationed as a Russian linguist when he fell in love with the German culture of beer as it has always been a major part of their history. When we drink a hefeweizen it’s easy to imagine dancing around in a lederhosen with your favorite stein. When Hilderbrand tried his first German beer, the bitterness, and aromas that contrasted the U.S. light beer tradition inspired him but it was until years later when Sentinel Peak Brewing came to be. In 2012, passion and skills brought Hilderbrand, Matt Gordon and Taylor Carter together, forming the team that owns Sentinel Peak Brewing today.
Now Sentinel Peak is brewing four flagship beers and an ever-changing list of rotating kegs. While at their brewery you can find combinations of German and western flavors, combining tradition with current fads. The star of the show on the tap list (in our opinion) is the Salida del Sol Amber, a Mexican-style Vienna. Sentinel explains this beer as being inspired by the “stillness of a desert morning … and traditional European flavors,” making it a “smooth yet spicy beer.” Sentinel is a featured vendor at the TVR Boots N Brews weekend as well.
Thunder Canyon Brewery
A hobby turned profession, Thunder Canyon’s claim to fame is having the “finest local beer since 1997.” The independently own Tucson microbrew has a passion for attention to detail and pride in the process. With two locations, this brewery is doing it’s best to share the love of Arizona Breweries good beer near and far. Thunder Canyon has won more awards than any other local brewery and has crafted over 60 recipes.
Also, passionate about their menu, Thunder Canyon is an ideal place to experience craft beer and tasty cuisine with family or friends. Thunder Canyon was also one of the first 3 breweries in Tucson and is a great stop on your local brewery tour.
Uncle Bear’s Brewery
One of the noteworthy Arizona breweries is not out of Tucson, but its Phoenix roots are definitely worth mentioning. Uncle Bear was a fun-loving, friendly puppy known by anyone who crossed his path. The Brewery owners wanted to create that kind of energy in their brewery atmosphere. To honor Uncle Bear their slogan is “Come, Sit, and Stay,” inviting friends and family to bond and have a “doggone good time.”
Good news, they didn’t cater to Uncle Bear’s taste buds when developing their 18 rotating craft beers. These brew masters have conquered the concept of variety; including each preferred classic flavor and a healthy variety of explorative tones, there is a beer for anyone. If you’ve been searching for a dark beer you prefer, give the Ruff Night Imperial a try. This rye malt base is paired with citrus and sweet tones to give you a dark color with a hoppy tasting finish. They have such a distinction in flavors, TVR has invited them to join our Chef Macy in creating special five plate pairing beer dinner on the Friday night of Boots N Brews. For an additional cost to the weekend package, you can have this very intimate experience of fantastic flavors.
As the brewing industry grows, there are more and more brew masters reaching out to one another to offer a hand. The once small hobby is budding into a supportive community. From light to lager, Arizona breweries are filling in everything in-between with new fresh recipes.
This is a part of history that Tanque Verde Ranch wants to foster. In November, our Boots n’ Brews: Beer and Culinary Weekend itinerary aims to bring together the talents of the finest brew masters and culinary chefs in Arizona. Some of the breweries mentioned above will be accompanied by live music and great food while teaching the ropes of craft beer. Check out this all-inclusive weekend at the ranch and come spend the weekend with us!
Other Tucson Breweries
Ten Fifty-Five Brewing, Nimbus Brewery, Barrio Brewing Co., Pueblo Vida Brewing, Borderlands Brewing, Public Brewery, Iron John’s Brewing and 1912 Brewing are a few other to mention. Although not featured at the Boots N Brews weekend, many of these can be found locally and even some are featured at our very own Dog House Saloon in a bottle and on tap.