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Five Western Breweries Worth your Time

Posted by personaltrainersscottsdale.com | Posted in Culture and Entertainment | Posted on 06-07-2010

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The American West is known for many things: breathtaking mountains, beautiful beaches, and stunning wildlife. You may not think of good beer when you think of the West but you should.  The region is winning recognition in international beer competitions as microbreweries are starting up faster than a Hollywood starlet can kill a career.  By now, I’m sure you’ve had a bottle or two of Blue Moon or New Belgium and you’re looking for something new. While Colorado beer is easily some of the best out there (one could write on that state’s great brews alone), there is much, much more to the West. Here are five breweries you should check out even if you’re not a lone gunslinger at home on the range or a California girl. So put down that Sam Adam’s (or Pabst, you hipster) and pick up a real American beer from:

1.) Four Peaks Brewery- Tempe, Arizona

Four Peaks Brewery, located near Arizona State University and just outside of central Phoenix, is a favorite among Sun Devils and Phoenicians alike.  The brewery is only 14 years old but already has a solid list of 8 mainstays ranging from their Hop Knot IPA to their Oatmeal Stout. The brews are hard to find outside of the Southwest but if you do, pick up a 6 pack of 8th Street Ale or Kiltlifter.  A few sips and you’ll soon understand just how Arizonans handle those thermometer-bursting temperatures.

2.) Big Sky Brewing Company- Missoula, Montana

Moose Drool might not be the most appetizing name for a beer - or any beverage for that matter - but what did Shakespeare say about a rose by any other name? It is easily one of the best brown ales out there with subtle complements of chocolate and caramel. If you are actually able to put down this bottle (trust that it can be addicting), Big Sky offers up some other mighty fine brews. The brewery’s other ales include an English style Pale Ale (Scapegoat), a hoppy wheat ale (Troutslayer), and a solid Indian Pale Ale (Big Sky I.P.A.), as well as some great seasonal ales. During the colder months, I personally always stock up on two winter ales: New Belgium’s Two Below and Big Sky’s Powderhound. That’s saying something.

3.) Alaskan Brewery- Juneau, Alaska

 The state of Alaska isn’t just blessed with unspoiled wilderness, ever-friendly locals, and front porch views of Russia (at least according to some eloquent politicians). The Last Frontier can also count Alaskan Brewery as a blessing.  Alaskan Brewery’s Smoked Porter Ale is known amongst beer aficionados as one of the top brews in America and it’s easy to see why; it has won several awards from the American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup.  The brewery also has crafted other delicious concoctions like their Amber Ale. This tasty ale is being served at more and more bars everyday – a litmus test of a beer’s quality. Alaskan Brewery’s Summer Kolsch Style Ale is as close you can get to the real deal without booking a ticket for Germany (Four Peaks also has a great Kolsch style- Sunbru).

4.) Rogue Ales- Newport, Oregon

Some beer snobs (otherwise known as “drunks” ) are hailing the American Northwest as the new brewing capital of the world. If that’s the case then Rogue Ales is Exhibit A. Two former University of Oregon frat brothers started the brewery and if frat brothers learn anything in college, they learn beer. The brewery has crafted a staggering 60+ varieties of beer over the course of only 22 years.  The brewery often goes “rogue” in the best way a brewery can, which is by experimenting with new flavors or styles.  A few examples include their Chipotle Ale, the Somer Orange Honey Ale, and the Double Mocha Porter. If you should come across their Dead Guy Ale (a Maibock ale) or any of their other offerings, count your lucky stars because you’re in for an unique and unforgettable treat.

5.) Stone Brewing- Escondido, California

Perhaps you’ve seen Stone Brewing’s imperious gargoyle logo before but just can’t remember where exactly. Well, if you watch Weeds you’ll recognize it as Andy’s beer of choice. If not, you’ve seen it in the beer aisle at the local market where it stands taunting you, offering up a challenge of the epicurean sort. Pick up Arrogant Bastard Ale to start and you’ll be hit with so many strong flavors, your tongue will know what true love is.  If you want to kick up the intensity, then try Stone’s Pale Ale or IPA.  Stone offers a few more brews not for the faint of heart. Their Ruination Ale (aptly named) is what I like to think of as the “bar mitzvah of beers”. If you can finish all 22 oz. of it, you’re a man.  No questions asked.

Comments (1)

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