Tag Archives: Tucson beer

It’s the Selection That Counts

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I’m always on the lookout for local microbrews. And Tucson’s Plaza Liquors delivers

“It looks like a dump,” my companion observes as we pull up to Plaza Liquors & Fine Wines in central Tucson.

Mind you, her admitted preference in beer is “rat’s piss,” so I’m not taking her opinion too seriously. I’m relying more on the advice of the barista and a customer at nearby cutting-edge-cool Presta Coffee Roasters. I figure coffee aficionados know where to pick up good local micro brews.

Bingo! As soon as we push open the Plaza’s strip-mall doors and enter the dimly lit interior, I know we’re in the right place. In behind a guy swirling and sniffing a glass of California Pinot are rows of global craft beers stuffed into every nook and cranny. And I like the way they’re organized, by country and by style, such as IPAs, porters and lagers.

Most importantly, from my perspective, is a whole shelf of Arizona beers, which is harder to find than you’d think. There’s Arizona Trail Ale and Road Rash IPA from That Brewery (okay, not an inspired name) in Pine, Arizona. And there’s Lost Highway Double Black IPA from Flagstaff’s estimable Mother Road Brewing Co. And the piece de resistance: a fine selection from Tucson’s fabulous Iron John’s Brewing Company, worthy of the $8-plus for a big bottle of small-batch goodness.

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You can’t beat Iron John’s when it comes to Tucson beers

The lesson, as always: don’t judge a place by its location or exterior. It’s the inside that counts.

Plaza Liquors & Fine Wine
2642 North Campbell Avenue, Tucson, Arizona
Daily 10 am-9 pm except Sunday noon-6 pm

Pints & Poses: Yoga Meets Beer in Tucson, Arizona

Pueblo Vida, Tucson Arizona

We slip into Pueblo Vida, in Tucson, for some sampling right after the weekly yoga session.

It seems yoga has infiltrated nearly every aspect of western life. So why not beer?

At Pueblo Vida Brewing Co., in downtown Tucson, it’s called Pints & Poses. On Sundays at 10:30 am, the pub tables are rolled to the walls and the mats laid out for a guided one-hour session of yoga. All that stretching is rewardedwith some elbow bending: a pint of Pueblo microbrew, all for the bargain price of $5.

Of course, we arrive just after the sweaty posing’s completed (I’ve never seen so many glowing bodies in a pub) and head straight to the tasting table. We order a flight of four samples—ranging from the Northwest IPA to a breakfast stout—all delicious, noontime refreshments.

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I’ve never seen so many healthy, fit folks in a pub as at the Pints & Poses session at Pueblo Vida

The 2.5-year-old Pueblo Vida is a rather exclusive brewery. You can choose from some 10 beers on tap at the pub, fill a growler or purchase a very limited selection of cans. You can also find the brewery’s products at a scattering of pubs and restaurants in the Tucson area. Good luck, though, locating it at your local beer merchant.

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Now, this is my idea of taking flight

But don’t get bent out of shape. Just show up for the next Pints & Poses session. It’s only an hour of contortions before the suds start flowing.

Pueblo Vida Brewing Co.
115 East Broadway Boulevard, Tucson, Arizona
Monday to Thursday 4 pm-10 pm, Friday 2 pm-11 pm, Saturday noon-11 pm, Sunday noon-8 pm

Iron John’s: Best Beer in Arizona?

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Iron John’s tasting room, with the brewery in back, in Tucson, Arizona

I’ve had my share of beer flights. It’s a good way to quickly sample a craft brewer’s, or pub’s, range of offerings. But in my experience, the wee glasses are usually thrown back like shots, so you can move on to the main event: a particular pint.

This is definitely not the case at Iron John’s Brewing Company, located in an out-of-the-way industrial bay in central Tucson, Arizona. Here, a flight is a selection of four beers, carefully decanted into four-ounce snifters.

But damned if it doesn’t take two of us the better part of 30 minutes to work our way through these four samples in Iron John’s little tasting room, interrupted only by cracking open peanuts in the shell. That’s because each sip is treated like a fine single-malt scotch as we considered the complexities, the subtle notes, the lingering flavours of chocolate, pear, hibiscus, etc.

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A flight of outstanding beer samples, chased with some peanuts. What more do you need?

I won’t bore you with the details of these four beers—a rye IPA, a seasonal porter, a strong ale and a red ale—other than to note that they’re produced in small batches and hand bottled.

Which means that to taste how outstanding these brews are (maybe the best in all of Arizona), you’ll likely have to make a trip to Tucson and visit the tasting room/brewery or ferret out the pubs, markets and fine beer stores that carry the stuff.

But if you do find it, you won’t mind spending an hour savouring this nectar or dropping an average of $7 for a 500-millilitre bottle to take home.

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Happy camper

But you’d best hurry. Just as I decide the Julio Rye IPA is the finest of our four samples, my pourer informs me the bottles of same have just sold out.

Guess that means another trip from Canada to Tucson.

Iron John’s Brewing Company
245 South Plumer Avenue, #27, Tucson, Arizona
Monday to Saturday 11 am-7 pm. Closed Sunday
520-775-1727