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Arizona, the Grand Canyon state and home to more cacti than Ikea. This was the real start to our USA craft beer road trip as the friends who had joined us in California had departed and we focussed on getting our research hats on in Prescott, Phoenix & then Tucson.
Our first stop, Prescott, a mere 4 hour road trip from Las Vegas, brought us to a world of saloon doors, cowboy hats and a friendly travelling local girl playing the washboard (no shit).
So why were we here? Well in this sleepy Arizona town, there is one of the best meaderies in the World…
Mead is due for a solid comeback and it’s the chaps at Superstition who are driving the charge. Not a step, more like a giant leap from the crap “medieval” (and often room temperature) mead you may have tried at home, the honey based goodness these guys are creating will blow your mind.
We had a tasting flight of 10 meads and there was not one we didn’t enjoy – from a mead blended with Tahitian vanilla beans to one resembling a dark Belgian ale – the plethora of flavours and styles mixed from honey, water and yeast and whatever else the team fancy is exceptional.
That’s the thing, the team down at Superstition from Jeff and Jen the owners, to the brewers to the bar staff are so incredibly passionate about what they are creating and serving. They know they have an uphill struggle to convince the average person that mead is where it’s at, so are more than happy to help you become a convert.
They have taken a drink that originated over 7,000 years ago and are turning it into something exciting, delicious and leading the way in the craft alcohol world. We were lucky enough to see their brand new out of town facility including the hives holding around 40,000 bees, and sure that this recent expansion will only pave the way for a future of growth for these guys.
So watch out beer, mead’s coming for ya! From Prescott, where we had a few beers at probably one of the best liquor stores we’ve ever been to, Park Plaza Liquor & Deli (we’re talking about over 1,000 beers in stock here!), we drove to Phoenix. We got some tips of the best places to hit in town from the guys at Superstition and focussed on these for our first few pints.
7 farmhouse saisons & 4 Brett soured beers scaled the wall at our next stop Arizona Wilderness. It was time to fight for the designated driver role. Why oh why is America so big that you have cities within your cities and have to drive everywhere?! Dammit.
We rocked up for a drink in a “cool” temperature considered locally of 37C and sat outside in the shade, being gently caressed by the cool wetness from the misters, which were absolutely necessary in the heat.
Far more typical to see in the US than the UK, Arizona Wilderness brewery was a full service restaurant, packed full of lunch time diners perusing the menu. They do have a separate brew pub area, however we were being British and complaining about the heat too much to consider moving from the misters.
Safe to say, both the food & the drinks were awesome, however being an overly “fair” couple, we couldn’t stay too long, as it wasn’t fair on the designated driver. Damn.
We had another 9 brewery stops in Arizona, from Wren House Brewing over to Iron John’s over in Tuscon. Each brewery had it’s own style, brewing specialism and vibe including a cask specialist in SunUp brewing.
We did have an awesome time in Arizona, but even in April, the temperature was an absolute scorcher for us Brits. Having said that it was an unwelcome shock to the system when we jumped on a plane for our next beer adventure, to make it up to a wet & rainy Vancouver.