Disclaimer: there are definitely more than six excellent breweries in this city BUT if I had to pick MY favorites, here are my top six and here’s why…
1912 Brewing Co. :
I fondly think of this brewery as “my first favorite” brewery in Tucson in that it was the one on this list that I was first introduced to and have always felt at home at. 1912 Brewing Co. has something on their menu for everyone and the place makes me -paradoxically- both feel like I’m away from the busyness of the city while also (conveniently) feeling like I’m not too far from home. The place is located just off of I-10, making it a great pit stop after a trip out of Tucson or on the way into the city. The green chile pork tamales on the menu are a fairly well-kept secret I enjoy often with a pint. My favorite beer on the menu: the Forbes IPA, aptly named for the street name this steadfast brewery is located on.
Pueblo Vida is located in the middle of downtown Tucson which is great for when you want a good beer after frequenting one of the many restaurant options in that area. Their centralized location isn’t all this place has going for them though. Their beer menu is transporting. The friendly atmosphere and pile of board games available have made this place a favorite go-to for Sam and myself after “a night on the town” when we want to unwind with a good beer. Pueblo Vida also embraces the local bicyclist community and constantly has bikes in their rack outside and bicyclists inside their business. If I lived closer to Pueblo Vida Brewing Co., I would want to bike there too…
Harbottle Brewing Co.
When I suggest breweries to fellow Tucsonites, Harbottle is often the lesser-known of the options I’ve listed here… which might have something to do with the fact that this amazing brewery is hidden in a largely commercial part of Tucson. That said, it is worth seeking this place out. Harbottle Brewing Co. boasts rich beer, a laidback atmosphere, and an arcade machine you can play -for free!- until your forearm is sore. Sam and I have shared some relaxing afternoons at this diamond-in-the-rough of a brewery.
You know that feeling when you’re out to dinner where you’re undecided between the menu item you already know you love and the prospect of trying something new? That’s my conundrum at most places when they’ve got Barrio’s Citrazona on the menu. I know I love it. I’ve loved it for years. And I constantly come back to that beer. It’s harder still not to fall for something from Barrio Brewing Company… and here’s why: you can find them EVERYWHERE. If you live anywhere in Arizona, you might already have this option available to you in the local beer section of your grocery store, as an option at a nearby restaurant, etc.. Barrio Brewing Co. is located right up against the train tracks (which weirdly, seems to totally match their rustic décor). They’ve got a lot of indoor and outdoor space and they frequently host events. My favorite of which was probably the “Tails and Ales” Fundraising event… which my dog seemed to enjoy just as much as the beer-drinkers.
All my favorite sours can be found at the Crooked Tooth! Crooked Tooth’s tamarindo sour “Cloud People” comes readily to mind. That said, this place is another well-placed brewery only a couple blocks away from Historic 4th Avenue. Crooked Tooth rotates various Food Trucks on a calendar they usually post in advance. This brewery hosts a broad range of interactive events including a yoga class (which I have yet to work up the courage to join in on), an “Office” trivia night (which I was disappointed I didn’t win, but hey I had a great consolatory beer), and a Disney sing-a-thon event which culminated in a night where the entire bar erupted in the songs from my childhood. To date, the latter was one of my favorite nights out in Tucson!
The road racing theme will not be lost on you upon entering Moto Sonora Brewing Co. This brewery boasts a large outdoor area that is incredibly dog friendly. Not only are leashed dogs welcome in the outdoor space but there is a small gated area that serves as a “dog park” for dogs to socialize together while you sip your beer and supervise. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever visited Moto Sonora and not seen at least two dogs. Also, major props to this brewing company for being one of a few breweries to stay open past 9 PM on a week day. Some of us want a beer on date night, you know? Which reminds me…. my favorite beers on the menu: the Victory or Death IPA and Date Night.
To be honest Lucy is the more serious beer/brewery enthusiast out of the two of us… but she has introduced me to a couple of these spots.
We’ve enjoyed a girl’s night out at Barrio Brewing with a couple other teacher friends. Bonus: they offer a teacher discount. We ate dinner (they have a solid menu) and enjoyed the good beer and good company.
I’ve also been to Harbottle a couple times. I can vouch that they are extremely laid back. (You can even bring your kids if needed… Hey, no judgement, babysitters aren’t always easy to come by.) Although they don’t have a food menu they are kind enough to offer complimentary snacks if you ask. Try their sour beer “Too Funk to Drunk” with cheese puffs, they make for a strangely perfect combination. I also appreciated the humorous additions to their decor. (Just check out the sign about the masks posted by the entrance, you’ll see what I mean.) Oh, and one last thing… succulents planted in beer cans… that is all.