Life in the Valley October 2, 2023

Craft Beer in the Desert

Arizona has more than 100 breweries and greater Phoenix is home to a number of growing breweries and craft beers. Many of them use local ingredients like desert wheat and cactus fruit.

The desert can be hot and dry, leaving locals and visitors plenty thirsty. Many of the breweries have great food so they can be fun to visit in person, but you can also find local beers at restaurants and stores throughout the valley. I just love the creative names and artwork that tie to the valley. There are too many to mention, but here are a handful to get you started.

Phoenix Area Breweries

Tempe-based Huss Brewing Co. is owned by Jeff and Leah Huss. They recently came out with two new ones – Papago Blueberry Wheat made with blueberry puree and Rio Salado Mexican Lager. They’re known for smooth fruit beers, including Papago Orange Blossom and Papago Cherry Blossom. My personal favorite is their Kolsch beer, Scottsdale Blonde.

Four Peaks Brewing Company, named after the iconic mountaintops, is known for its classic Kilt Lifter Scottish Ale. Their main brewery is in Tempe and their annual Four Peaks Oktoberfest is held at Tempe Beach Park. They were acquired by Anheuser-Busch several years ago so their beers are now available across the country.

Phoenix Beer Co. has multiple locations but their brewery and tap room is downtown Phoenix. Monsoon IPA, Sunset Sour and Arizona Gold are just a few of their specialties. Wren House Brewing in Phoenix brews the lager, Valley Beer, and they also have seasonal varieties like their Fall pie series.

Gilbert is home to several breweries. Arizona Wilderness is known for being environmentally friendly, innovative barrel-aging, and blended styles. For example, sweet potato Saison aged in tequila barrels and beer-wine hybrids. 12 West Brewing Co. is best known for their Zona pilsner beer.

Goldwater Brewing Co. started in Old Town Scottsdale where they have an underground repurposed bunker where they age batches of beer. They are likely best known for Machine Gun Teddy, a brown ale, and Desert Rose, a cactus kolsch.

State 48 Brewery started in Surprise but has multiple locations across the valley.  Each location brews the popular Sound of Freedom IPA, Javelina Hefeweizen, Lost Dutchman Golden Ale and more.

Hops, Skip and a Jump from Phoenix

You’ll find plenty of views and brews in Sedona. Verde Brewing Co. prides themselves on using local ingredients grown in the Verde Valley in all of their beers. Their Gold Buckle Blond, for example, uses local honey. Sedona Beer Company is another sustainable business sourcing local ingredients and recycling their spent grains as feed for farms. Their Apple Sauce’d has such an apple flavor, it almost doesn’t taste like beer.

Flagstaff is home to a number of breweries as well. Flagstaff Brewing Company, often referred to as “Flagbrew,” is known for small-batch, hand-crafted beers like Blackbird Porter. Lumberyard Brewing is located in one of the last buildings from the area’s lumber era. They have a great beer garden where you can enjoy Flagstaff IPA, Knotty Extra Pale Ale and more.

A little further north in Williams, AZ you’ll find Grand Canyon Brewing Company. They recently added Prickly Pear IPA. They also make Prickly Pear Wheat Ale and Prickly Pear Vodka.

Other Adult Beverages

If you enjoy craft beer in the desert, perhaps you also enjoy a frozen cocktail in the summer as a way to beat the heat! Click here to learn about a few of my favorite slushy cocktails.