After drinking all the beer on our second trip to Flagstaff in November 2018, we have put together our list of favorite Flagstaff breweries. I’ve included it in our Flagstaff write-up from Big Trip #2 for the time being. Until I update this page, go look there!
Read about our first visit to Flagstaff here!
BEAVER STREET BREWING CO
We know Beaver Street must have been cool at one point because our friend raved about it from her past visit to Flagstaff. Of course, that was 15 years ago. Success, it seems, has ruined this brewpub. The place resembles more of an Applebee’s than the cool breweries we typically seek out. And a crowded Applebee’s at that. The place is huge (like an Applebee’s) and it was packed when we were there on a Thursday night, with probably 25 people milling in the waiting area, seemingly all families with young children.
We managed to find two seats at the bar and were hoping to insulate ourselves from the masses and have a good beer experience. Unfortunately, the bartenders were a bit too busy and didn’t seem that interested in discussing the beer anyway. We did a tasting; the beer was ok, I guess. The pizza was good, our salad, eh. Perhaps we never got past the atmosphere.
My advice is to skip this one. It’s not worth braving the shitty atmosphere for so-so beer and good pizza. And their business will do just fine without you.
DARK SKY BREWING CO
Dark Sky Brewery is a near perfect setting, especially for us on a Thursday afternoon when we were in dire need of good internet. We started a walking tour of Flagstaff with the pup intent on finding an outdoor seating venue with good internet. We were lured in by Dark Star’s open door and a sign that said dogs were welcome inside. To top it off, they have really good internet available for guests.
The space is long and relatively narrow with painted exposed bricks, a couple of dartboards, an array of tall tables with bar stools, two sections of lower soft, upholstered chairs and a nice little bar at the back.
Now to the beer. They’re quite experimental, with brews like a Peanut Butter & Jelly Ale (you can really taste the PB&J), a Bacon Porter and a Mojito Pale Ale. This brewery just opened in May of 2015 and the brewer’s goal was to brew 100 different varieties in the first year. As much as we love the setting here, we weren’t wowed by any of the beers (we tried 8).
Everything is currently brewed on site and they have no regular beers. Unfortunately, we learned that this quaint little brewery is expanding to take over the space immediately next door. In addition to enlarging the tasting room and increasing the production capabilities – in order to expand distribution beyond just a few kegs here and there to local restaurants – they plan to add a small kitchen. We’re hoping this doesn’t detract from the cool scene here; adding a kitchen often means fewer dogs and more children and otherwise less cool humans.
FLAGSTAFF BREWING CO
Flagstaff Brewing Company is more of a bar than a brewery. They were serving four of their own beers (Pale, ESB, Porter and Amber) and also had on tap a number of other beers from other breweries hailing from Arizona and beyond. I didn’t do a tasting because I’m not that fond of of Ambers, Porters or ESBs. L had the Pale Ale and liked it. I had a double IPA they had on draft from another brewery.
It was a bit dead when we were there, but we did like the atmosphere quite a bit and loved our bartender.
GRAND CANYON BREWING CO
Grand Canyon Brewing Co is located just off of historic Route 66 in the little town of Williams, a suburb of Flagstaff that looks like it was frozen in the ’50s. The brewery’s production facility and tasting room is in an adobe building with thick wooden bar stools and tables and a floor littered with peanut shells. A long wooden bar separates the tasting area from the production. When we were there it was loud, mostly from the machinery, but also from loud music that didn’t quite fit with the otherwise western setting.
Grand Canyon is the third largest brewery in Arizona, with all of their production (as well as bottling and canning) done from this little facility. In addition to seven staples on the line-up, they had a number of seasonals, including a pistachio sour, which one of us liked, and two double-IPAs. All in all, we weren’t thrilled with the beer, but appreciated the visit to Williams and would be happy to go back someday.
HISTORIC BREWING CO
Just three years old, Historic Brewing Company already has 4 locations, the original brewery in an industrial park northeast of the Flagstaff city center just off Historic Route 66, a barrel and bottle house in central Flagstaff and third and fourth locations set to open soon in Sedona and in cute little Williams, AZ, a suburb of Flagstaff on Historic Route 66. Unfortunately, we didn’t plan well and weren’t able to visit the actual brewery while it was open (sad, as it looks great), but we did make it to their barrel and bottle house, which serves a number of their beers plus other beers on draft that they deem worthy.
The barrel and bottle house had a brewery feel, despite not being a production facility. We loved it (but screwed up and didn’t snap interior shots). We also liked the beers – they brew all of the staples, plus a session IPA, which has been rare on this trip, and seemingly experiment quite a bit with beers like a Cucumber Basil Lager and a Cherry Vanilla porter. At the barrelhouse that day they had the Beaches & Ho Ho Hos, a strong ale brewed with fresh ginger and cinnamon – it was actually pretty good.
For the atmosphere and the beer, this place stands out in all three of its cities – Flagstaff, Williams and Sedona.
MOTHER ROAD BREWING CO
Mother Road is one of the three pure breweries in Flagstaff, although they do have small menus on the table and food bought from a nearby pizza place (looked pretty good). The layout is pretty solid, with a small tasting room / bar in the production room, a small room with a handful of tables next door, another small tented room and a large patio.
Mother Road is 4 1/2 years old as of this writing, but they are already bottling a number of beers, plus canning their utterly fantastic Tower Station IPA. They have distribution throughout Arizona and in parts of New Mexico, although we didn’t see their beers outside of the brewery.
We did a tasting and the quality was strong across the board. As noted, the Tower Station IPA is exceptional. It’s a cloudy, unfiltered IPA that resembles, in taste and quality, my current king of beers, Wicked Weed’s Pernicious IPA. And, to further illustrate its coolness, it comes in a tall-boy can with a wide mouth pop-top (I would have retaken the picture without the banana peels if only I had more of it!). We went home with a four pack the day we visited then went out of our way the next day, our last in Flagstaff, to get a growler and two more four-packs. I’d be drinking one as I write this if I could, but alas they are long gone.
Their Kolsch also got strong props from Lauren. This one is a must visit!