While visiting our friend Kathy in Flagstaff, Sharon and I got a chance to visit a few of the five breweries in Flagstaff. Flagstaff has Beaver Street Brewery, Lumberyard Brewing Company (owned by Beaver St), Flagstaff Brewing Company, Sterling Springs Brewing Company / Cosmic distribution (which is now brewing in the space formerly known as Mogollon), and Mother Road Brewing Company (which will be opening its doors soon). This is a lot for a city of less than 60,000 residents. You can easily walk to every brewery in town. When we were at Mother Road, we overheard a local entrepreneur talking about bringing a bike trolley to Flagstaff that would offer drinkers a fun way to tour all of the breweries.
We were lucky that we got to do a tasting at the newest brewery, Mother Road, since they were open for tastings during the First Friday Art Walk. During First Friday Art Walk, we also got to taste Sterling Springs’ Red Ale and Dirty Blonde Ale. Sterling Springs was offering a tasting at Animas Beads, so we didn’t get any photos. The Red was very light in flavor and body and somewhat unremarkable. The Dirty Blonde Ale on the other hand was delightful. It had a nice cloudy color and was crisp and smooth. It was stronger than the typical blonde ale in every way.
Onto the Mother Road tasting …
Mother Road had three beers available for tasting, Twin Arrows Brown Ale, Roadside American Ale, and Gold Road Kolsch Ale. The Roadside American Ale was my favorite. It had a nice hop character with plenty of citrus and pine crispness, although it also had some strong hop bitterness, so it’s recommended for hop heads. The Twin Arrows Brown Ale was very smooth, but it was not a full flavorful rich brown. It was a very malt flavored beer with just a hint of sourness. The kolsch was a very typical kolsch, light character and smoothness, and a golden color. This is a great summer party beer as its light taste makes you think hmm I couldn’t really taste that… better have another one.
We did not get a chance to taste Flagstaff Brewing Company’s beer on this go around, but when we lived near it I drank a lot of their stouts and porters which were good. Sharon’s note, they also have the best tag line, “Beer like your mom used to make”.
Beaver and Lumberyard use the same recipe and probably even the same bath it seems for their Red Ale. This is their staple beer and the one that people keep coming back for. It’s one of those beers people drink so often that it’s taken for granted. I also liked the IPA as it was a solid classic IPA. The Lumberyard seemed to be struggling with a problem brewers, shop keepers and distribution companies alike face in Flagstaff, not enough beer. Seriously, the stuff just disappears! Out of the six or so beers on their list they were out of three. Luckily the Smoke and Bottle had the Lumberyard Belgian Tripel on hand in bottles so we picked some up there. The Smoke and Bottle is a great new beer seller in town so I have to give it a plug. The Belgian Tripel is a good one with quite a bit of citrus character and its a strong one even by any standard at 10.1% alcohol. It’s not boozy like a cheap champagne, the citrus character and sweetness come through.