The Beer Travel Guide To Tucson cover

The Beer Travel Guide To Tucson

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In the Southwest, it's Arizona rising as far as craft beer goes. With a statewide brewing scene that's just starting to make waves, folks are turning to cities like Tucson for a look into this recent beer ingenuity.





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The Beer Travel Guide To Tucson

Beer Travel Guide

In the Southwest, it's Arizona rising as far as craft beer goes.

With a statewide brewing scene that's just starting to make waves, folks are turning to cities like Tucson for a look into this recent beer ingenuity. Here, the desert provides a unique range of ingredients to aid its breweries large and small. And you'd be remiss to write off a brewing scene as trending as that in "Old Pueblo."

Best Breweries

Best Breweries

Image by Jack Muldowney

Barrio Brewing Co.

Founded in 1995, Barrio Brewing Co. is Tucson's venerable stalwart of the recent craft beer wave.

This is the type of brewery that made a name brewing approachable IPAs, and they still make a pretty damn good one; you'll find it on tap all over town. But with mainstay styles still consisting of a blonde, amber, hefeweizen, and a couple pales – the selection won't exactly knock your socks off. However, with recent explorations including a Scottish ale, white IPA and a java stout, it might be worth it to keep your eyes peeled for more Barrio.

Barrio Brewing Co.

Image by Sarah Pelfini

Barrio Brewing Co.

Borderlands sits inside a historic train depot just at the edge of downtown.

Borderlands Brewing Co.

Situated within an old train depot at the edge of downtown, you'll find Borderlands Brewing Co., which opened for business in 2011.

Possibly the most unique brewing space in town, this spot is chock-full of character, which includes the impressively-in-scale brightly colored exterior mural that can be seen for blocks. Once inside, you'll enter a bright, airy, loft-like interior complete with a wide spectrum of offerings on the beer menu.Founded by a Chicago expat, BBC mixes it up by producing several dark ales, sours, traditional styles and even some fruit beers–plenty to fill your flight.

Borderlands Brewing Co.

Image by Jack Muldowney

Borderlands Brewing Co.

Cans at the ready, in Dragoon's new-ish 18,000 square-foot facility.

Dragoon Brewing Co.

More in line with what we are accustomed to in the big city, Dragoon Brewing Co. is definitely the fast-growing big brother in town.

Known for their namesake west coast style IPA, the beautifully minimalist taproom offers one of the larger local ranges of brews, from the Stronghold Session to ones from the old world like the Munich-style dunkel, Munichorn. Thanks to new state legislation–and plenty of square footage to can those IPAs–Dragoon has positioned itself nicely to be the next big thing to come out of the desert. – 1859 W. Grant Rd #111, Tucson

Dragoon Brewing Co.

Image by Jack Muldowney

Dragoon Brewing Co.

Iron John's coffee saison is an atypical brew, utilizing the world's most expensive, Geisha, beans.

Iron John's Brewing Company

At this industrial park "secret," it's incredible what the father and son team behind this nanobrewery, and their frankensteined soup kettle brew setup, are capable of creating.

Iron John's Brewing Co. is hand bottling every batch of their swing-top bottled beers–and that is saying something considering their tasting room cooler contains roughly 20 unique brews.

Iron John's Brewing Company

Image by Jack Muldowney

Iron John's Brewing Company

Public's rustic taproom, home to Tucson's most colorful flight.

'Artisanal Beer'

With 20+ years of experience as a homebrewer, John Adkisson takes the term "artisanal beer" to a whole other level, developing a depth of flavors that would make any Michelin Star chef jealous.

Consider ingredients like Geisha coffee, Anaheim green chiles and mole poblano alongside traditional styles, for a beer lineup that will keep you on your toes. The small taproom offers small tastings as well as bottles to go of their always evolving menu. – 245 S. Plumer Ave #27, Tucson

Public Brewhouse

Since opening in the summer of 2015, Public Brewhouse has prided themselves on brewing the beers they like to drink.

Founded by a pair of homebrewers with different tastes, you'll find plenty of dark beers [thanks to brewer Don Rubino], and more hop-forward brews [thanks to partner Cody Van Haren]. For a taste of the local fruit of choice, check out the prickly pear-spiked Pink Funk-n-ade Sour. With their back-alley location, a block off of busy 4th Ave, Public is a welcome respite to grab a couple pints.

Their nearly open air taproom is also situated behind the impressive Ermano's craft beer bar. If that's not enough, they encourage their BYOF(ood) policy, and the bartenders and patrons are friendly and quick to suggest great local fare. – 209 N. Hoff Ave, Tucson

Public Brewhouse

Image by Jack Muldowney

Public Brewhouse

As you might expect from the strip mall location, Sentinel Peak meets your standard brewpub needs.

Pueblo Vida Brewing

With one of the more centralized downtown locations, Pueblo Vida Brewing comes highly recommended–not just by us, but likely anyone you talk to on the Tucson brewing scene.

Their quaint, but trendy taproom and in-the-know clientele let off just enough of that too-cool vibe, without really meeting the definition. Their long bar greets you as soon as you walk in the door, as do their friendly bartenders–and with a recent expansion, you're sure to be finding more people vying for a seat at the bar. Once there, you'll be quick to order one of their solid IPAs. They're a'plenty at Pueblo Vida. – 115 E. Broadway Blvd, Tucson

Pueblo Vida Brewing

Image by Jack Muldowney

Pueblo Vida Brewing

The balanced pale ale is king at Pueblo Vida.

Sentinel Peak Brewing Co.

Sentinel Peak Brewing Co. sits a bit further from the action in Tucson, but with plenty of space to grab a seat at their Midtown location.

Situated in a strip mall, this brewery founded by a trio of (still-active) firemen has thoughtful intentions. Aside from also turning their homebrew obsession into a quite large brewpub, these brewers also keep local charities in mind, as is evident with their ghost chili ale, Overhaul, which sends its proceeds to benefit Firefighters vs. Autism. Sample a 6oz pour of this beyond spicy ale if you dare–or if you just want to surprise your friends.

Or, you can sample another local brew on the other end of the spectrum, with the only take on Mexican beer we saw, the refreshingly light Salida del Sol. – 4746 E. Grant Rd, Tucson

Sentinel Peak Brewing Co.

Image by Jack Muldowney

Sentinel Peak Brewing Co.

As you might expect from the strip mall location, Sentinel Peak meets your standard brewpub needs.

Ten Fifty-Five Brewing

Ten Fifty-Five Brewing's no frills taproom is tucked into an industrial park, but that shouldn't fool you.

Since 2013, the nanobrewery has been drawing a loyal stream of locals who don't mind going out of their way for a good beer. The tap list made up of approachable beer, ready to please anyone's palette. The pinnacle of their brewing ingenuity is showcased in their breakfast inspired Coffee & Doughnut Stout, that matched the description to a T.

Keep on drinking, by sampling the all-Arizona-ingredient, My Valentine, the award-winning Two Suns Citra DIPA, and their flagship, Leap pale ale. After a few years of consistent brewing, it makes you wonder how much longer until they outgrow their small office park brew space. – 3810 E. 44th St, Tucson

Ten Fifty-Five Brewing

Image by Jack Muldowney

Ten Fifty-Five Brewing

If you make it to their tucked away location, 1055 will reward you with approachable ales.

The Hop Review