Jay with Wanderlust brew master Nathan Friedman
Yes we have not visited and written about a brewery in a long while. It’s not that we have not been going to breweries… they just don’t seem blog worthy when they’re in your backyard. And truth be told we have a lot of local breweries: Beaver Street, Flag Brew, Cosmic, Mother Road, Lumberyard and Mogollon. They even put out some good beer.
Thankfully, Wanderlust has come to us to solve that problem of not having something new to blog about.
Last Saturday was a long anticipated event for Flagstaff beer lovers. The grand opening of Wanderlust. Wanderlust is a little different, their emphasis is on distribution. They do not have and have no interest in getting a kitchen. They are a one man show and the ring leader is Nathan Friedman. The brew master Nathan is a long time home brewer taking the plunge and going professional. His specialty is Belgian beers. I suspect this is not only because he is good at them but is also what he likes to drink.
I had one major fear for the kick off of Wanderlust – running out of beer. Sure it sounds crazy, but this is a crazy town and running out of one or more beers is standard fare for this town. Wanderlust is the smallest of the Flagstaff breweries, so the fear was even more real.
Sharon and I had the Belgian Pale ale and the Oatmeal Stout as well as the Local Farmhouse. The Belgian Pale Ale was a stand out for me. I have had a few different Belgian IPAs that all tend to be over flavored with different very strong flavors competing for dominance. This beer was flavorful, unique, well balanced and easy to drink, well at least for those of us who like hops. We got our growler filled with the Belgian Pale Ale for $12.
The Farmhouse is smooth, not too dark and has lots of subtle flavors that suggest it’s more mild than it really is. It hides a 7.5% ABV punch.
I look forward for good things to come from Wanderlust.
Charlie is adorable
So this week we have some exciting news. Jay has accepted an AmeriCorps position with American Conservation Experience. He starts this coming Sunday and will be serving as an Assistant Crew Supervisor. This is a great fit for his skills and interests and will hopefully transition into an ongoing position with a conservation crew. If that’s the case we will be putting down some roots here in Flagstaff. It’s too soon to tell if that’s what will happen, but it’s nice to know that might be a possibility. Congratulations Jay!
Rachel shows off her party trick
This past weekend we had a great time hanging out with Jay’s friend from Phoenix, Sarah and her sister Rachel and nephew Charlie. We also got to spend time with Jay’s parents who came up to escape the Phoenix heat. We all did the Flagstaff Ale Trail together on Saturday and had a great time. Sunday, Cindi and I went on an interpretive hike led by Steve and Lois Hirst.
Jay’s dad Morgan tries to create a new party trick
Volunteering: Sharon gave a tour of Riordan Mansion on Friday. Sharon also continued promotion of the 20th Annual Made in the Shade Beer Festival.
Beer of the Week: Well, since we did the Flagstaff Ale Trail again we got a great sampling of local brews. We love the Maibock at Beaver Street, enjoy the new blends at Mother Road, are happy with pretty much everything Cosmic puts out, and enjoy Flagstaff Brewery’s Blackbird Porter. Lumberyard disappoints only because they never have their full line up at the tap room to sample.
Something New: Jay got a job! To be more specific, he will be serving as an AmeriCorps member for the American Conservation Experience.
Highlight of Being in One Place: Sharon signed up for summer soccer and had her first game this weekend!
Left to right, Sharon, Eleanor of the Made in the Shade Beer Festival, Steele Wotkyns, Jay, and our friend Terri who was visiting
Just wanted to share a couple of photos we took this week while doing the Flagstaff Ale Trail. The Ale Trail is basically a walking tour of the breweries in Flagstaff. You get a passport and a souvenir silicon pint glass and then at each stop you get discounts. I have written about the Flagstaff Ale Trail before on the blog, and this week we had the unique opportunity to check it out with one of the founders, Steele Wotkyns. The Flagstaff Ale Trail has only be around since December and we enjoyed brainstorming ways to expand the Ale Trail and make it even cooler. Check it out this summer when you can do a brewery patio tour!
This weekend I had the chance to meet Geoff, one of the creators of the Flagstaff Ale Trail. As we have written about before, Flagstaff is a craft beer hot spot and there are several breweries and tap houses within an easy walk of each other. Get a hotel room downtown, acclimate to the high altitude, and you’ll be set for a weekend of tastings! Well, Jeff capitalized on this unique drinking scene by creating a signature pint glass and paper passport that are sold as a package and then get you discounts at each of the breweries.
I had the chance to hold one of the “silipints” that comes in the passport package. They are flexible, made of silicon, and unbreakable. Unbreakable is cool, but it’s even more novel that they bounce (without beer of course)!
The Flagstaff Ale Trail has been hugely successful already. It feels like it’s always been here. I think that must be the measure of a great business idea, that people quickly come to recognize the product or service as something that belongs. How long will it be before Flagstaff can’t imagine itself without an Ale Trail!
When Jay gets home we will have to hit the trail and get our passport stamped.