Situated about an hour’s drive north from the Mexican border and nicknamed the Old Pueblo, Tucson, AZ is a city that is rich in history and cultural diversity, with a food scene that rivals cities twice its size. Nestled among its many renowned restaurants are local breweries that are crafting world-class beers, making Tucson one of the best-kept secrets in craft beer. Here are 8 of the best breweries in Tucson, AZ.
- 1912 Brewing Company
- Barrio Brewing Company
- Blackrock Brewers
- Borderlands Brewing Company
- Firetruck Brewing Company
- Harbottle Brewing Company
- MotoSonora Brewing Company
- Pueblo Vida Brewing Company
1912 Brewing Company
Named after the year in which Arizona earned its statehood, 1912 Brewing Company takes a no-nonsense approach to crafting fine beer but still knows how to have some fun. The taproom is an open room where barrels serve as makeshift tables but at this establishment, it’s all about the wide selection of craft beers and the pizzas that come straight out of their Italian pizza oven.
While the sour offerings are what 1912 Brewing Company is known for, their Weapons Check Irish red ale (ABV 4.7%) is probably your best bet to pair with one of their famous 9” pizzas. With a nice head of foam and a deep copper hue, this hop-forward ale is clean and crisp with sweet caramel notes and a hint of spice.
Barrio Brewing Company
Not only is Barrio Brewing Company one of Tucson’s most popular breweries but it is also the oldest craft brewery in the entire state of Arizona. With over 30 years of service, this Tucson institution is still packing them in with mouth-watering food, including some of the best tacos on this side of the border, and of course, a wide selection of premium craft beers.
The beer menu at Barrio Brewing Company is all about quality and variety, with selections ranging from blonde ales to dark porters and just about everything in between. A great place to start, however, is the award-winning Barrio Rojo (ABV 5.3%, IBU 24.3), a Scottish Ale with a mesmerizing reddish amber color and deep, caramelized malty flavors.
If you find yourself in Tucson and simply want to enjoy a premium craft beer without any fuss, then head over to Blackrock Brewers and you’ll feel right at home in their tasting room. Depending on the time of year, they will typically have 8 standard taps and a handful of rotating selections including one or more experimental beers.
One of their most popular offerings is the Batch 42 (ABV 4.6%, IBU 13) light amber lager that pours beautifully and goes down smoothly with distinct notes of toffee and caramel.
Borderlands Brewing Company
More than just a great place to gather for great beer and delicious food, Borderlands Brewing Company is a brewery with a strong sense of community where inclusion and empowerment aren’t just words but part of its drive. This passion is reflected in their diverse beer offerings, some of them brewed using traditional methods and others more daring and experimental.
Speaking of which, if Borderlands Brewing Company is on your list of things to do the next time you’re in Tucson, be sure to try their Infused Toole Avenue Hazy IPA (ABV 6.8%). This local favorite takes their popular hazy IPA and infuses it with tropical fruit flavors (your choice of coconut pineapple, tangerine, or peach mango) for a truly refreshing craft beer experience.
Firetruck Brewing Company
One of the most popular gathering spots in Tucson is the Firetruck Brewing Company in the midtown area of town (there is also an Eastside Tucson location as well as the third brewery in nearby Oro Valley). Founded by – you guessed it – three firefighters who shared an inextinguishable passion for craft beer, Firetruck Brewing Company has grown to become Tucson’s go-to for specialty beer and great food.
Inspired by an admiration for German beer, it should come as no surprise that Firetruck Brewing Company’s pride and joy is the Heatwave Hefeweizen (ABV 5.1%, IBU 14), a tribute to Bavarian style “yeast wheat” beer with its yeasty, fruity flavor profile featuring distinct banana notes that are commonly found in traditional Hefes.
Harbottle Brewing Company
The vibe at Harbottle Brewing Company is about as authentic and down-to-earth as a brewery can get short of being someone’s garage. There are no egos at this operation, just a shared passion to brew great beer and provide a communal space for enjoying good company. Of all the breweries in Tucson, this is the one where it’s just all about the beer.
If Harbottle Brewing Company had a signature offering, it would be the Old Pueblo Pilsner (ABV 5.2%, IBU 25), lovingly brewed to produce a hoppy, full-headed beer with just the right amount of spice and bitterness that one would expect from a traditional Czech-style pilsner.
MotoSonora Brewing Company
Founded by Tucson natives Jeff and Jeremy DeConcini, MotoSonora Brewing Company is an inviting space where the brothers’ love for overlanding (rugged off-road trips) and craft beers are on full display. MotoSonora Brewing Company is located on the outskirts of Tucson and features a beer garden (with a Sonoran Desert twist) with an open area where dogs are as welcome to hang out as beer lovers.
A superb choice for beating the heat and unwinding with friends is the Fog Lights Hazy IPA (ABV 6.5%), an American India Pale Ale with hoppiness on full display and pronounced grapefruit notes to liven things up.
Pueblo Vida Brewing Company
Fittingly housed in a beautifully restored structure that was originally built in 1918, Pueblo Vida Brewing Company relies on time-honored brewing techniques, impeccably sourced ingredients, and an innovative approach to produce a selection of craft beers with few peers.
One of the most popular selections at Pueblo Vida Brewing Company is its Northwest IPA (ABV 6.4%), an American IPA that isn’t shy about showcasing its Chinook, Citra, and Simcoe hops while allowing bright citrus notes to share the spotlight. Quite a few locals feel that this is the best IPA in Tucson and you may be inclined to agree after giving it a try.