While traveling, we really like to support local business by trying local foods, coffee, beer and wine. Although Arizona was more about the great outdoors and hiking for us, there’s nothing more rewarding than a great brew after a long hike! After a hike in the Superstition Mountains, we stumbled upon O.H.S.O. Brewery while looking for Trader Joes. They were having a luau party with live music which drew us in. This was a great spot with an outdoor area with lawn games, drinking fountain for dogs, and lots of shaded seating. They seemed to have a great beer selection and food menu, but we opted for a glass of the Handlebar Hefe for me and the Hoppy for him.
Four Peaks is a very popular brewery in Arizona, specifically Phoenix. We never made it there, but we thoroughly enjoyed the Kilt Lifter, a Scottish Ale, with our awesome Airbnb hosts, Adam and Jenni. Tiago’s favorite beer while we were here was San Tan’s Galactic IPA, Moon Juice. He was sure to get an awesome photo in front of the giant blow up at the beer festival we went to!
On Super Bowl Sunday, we started at the Pedal Haus Brewery in Tempe, just outside of Phoenix, and we really liked many of their beers including their IPA and Kolsh. This is a big location with plenty of fun outdoor activities and seating, as well as indoor with a kitchen. The pretzel with all the sauces was delish.
If you are every in Phoenix in early February, you have to go to the Strong Beer Festival during Arizona Beer Week. We came here after a long hike at South Mountain, and boy was it rewarding! It is named this because all the breweries bring their strongest beers. The hilarious thing is that they give you 40 drink tickets, but there is NO way you will ever finish all the tickets. I was feeling pretty good less than 10 tickets in! This event is just MASSIVE! We walked a whole section, only to find an entire other football field full of other breweries!
While visiting Grand Canyon, you might be staying in Flagstaff, which is a whole different world than Phoenix. Rather than desert and cacti, you have pine trees and ski mountains! In this super cool city, they have 7 great breweries. We made it to Historic, Mother Road and Wanderlust, but they also have Flagstaff Brewing Company, Dark Sky, Beaver Street, and Lumber Yard.
Wanderlust was our first stop and top priority, because we saw it at the Strong Beer Fest in Phoenix, but the line was too long! We obviously loved the name, and realized their popularity, so we made an effort to visit in Flagstaff. We shared a flight, which included some great beers like the Flag 7, which is a collaboration of all the Flagstaff breweries. The bartender at Wanderlust directed us to Historic and Mother Road after Wanderlust. Historic had a nice long list, so again, we did a shared flight, which is $2 per 4 oz sample. We enjoyed their mainstay, Deer Lord which is a German Altbier, their Opposable IPA (think t-rex), and also some of their other limited beers. I was good for water at Mother Road, and Tiago sampled their IPA as well.
Not a big beer drinker? That’s ok! After all that beer, I was ready to take a little break myself. Apparently Arizona has TONS of wineries too! Who knew some parts of Arizona has the ideal climate to grow grapes? On a cloudy, rainy day in Clarkdale, we opted for a wine tasting tour, starting at Alcantara http://alcantaravineyard.com/ in Cottonwood, Arizona. This place was very scenic and lovely. As you drive in, you can enjoy their large property lined with rows of grape vines. The tasting room is a beautiful home, fully equipped for a cozy tasting, bottle, and of course cheese and meats!
Next stop was Chateau Tumbleweed which was a much different feel than Alcantara. It had a more relaxed feel to it, as it was smaller, almost a brewery feel inside (which we loved). One of the owners, Jeff, told us about how they got started, where their name came from, and how the logo came to be. It was nice getting some first hand knowledge from the brains of the business!
Last stop was very close to our Airbnb in Cottonwood, called Arizona Stronghold. This is their tasting room, but the actual winery was closer to Phoenix. At both Chateau Tumbleweed and Stronghold, we got the white and red tastings, and shared them so we could try everything. We really liked the Will E. Cox at Tumbleweed, and decided to get a glass and stay a bit longer. Great wine in Arizona across the board from what we could tell! Jerome also had several tasting rooms that we did not get to visit.
We were very impressed with both the micro brew scene in Arizona and the extensive wineries! Our next stop was Utah…and let’s just say we were pretty disappointed in that department!