Arizona Beer Tasting
I’ve got a long, fun weekend ahead of me, so tonight’s post isn’t going to be quite as in-depth as usual. I will make a few comments that stuck out to me over the course of my beer-tasting extravaganza, and leave it at that. Tonight was a night to remember. I visited my local Whole Foods for a beer tap opening night, where they had 29 beers on tap, 4 local beers, 25 beers from around the world (though I did wish there had been more of a local representation), and I tried 12 of them in just under 2 hours. I realize this will skew the overall taste of each beer after the first, but I feel that I did a pretty darn good job of washing my mouth out of all flavor after each taste. There were appetizers of salami, pepperoni, cubed cheeses, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, and slices of pizza to nosh on between beers. It was a fabulous event and one I hope to revisit the next time they sponsor a similar happening. They even had some representatives from a local brewery, Four Peaks, there to talk about their product, which was very informative. Also, I won a T-shirt from a Colorado brewery – Odell. I do believe it is one of the first times I’ve ever won anything, and a few people offered to trade me their prizes for mine, but I held fast.
Overall, it was a great night, and I am so happy to call Whole Foods a part of my everyday life, as well as my local community. I will only be reviewing the first 4 beers I tried, as they are all local to Arizona. Maybe later on down the line I will go back and revisit the remaining 8 I am not reviewing tonight, as I made lots of notes, but I feel that in order to stay with the spirit of local Arizona beers, this will just keep it more on track and be pertinent to my endeavors.
Four Peaks Devil’s Pitchfork Pale Ale
Brewed in Tempe, Arizona
This was my absolute favorite of the entire 12 that I tried (not counting the very last one, an apple cider beer I won’t be reviewing). It was a fruity sweet and grassy, light and smooth, not too dry, and held a hint of pine needles at the very end. The carbonation was very light, but the beer itself was extremely easy to drink. I especially loved that they had representatives, as well as one of the brewers (a woman, nonetheless!) at the event to elaborate on the brand and answer questions.
Apparently there’s been a lot of controversy created by this particular brewery and ASU (this brewery likes to support ASU and is influenced by the alumni) about naming a local beer “sun devil” or anything related, particularly with SanTan Brewery’s Sun Devil Pale Ale, as it is considered a trademark breach.
I’m not one to judge, except in the drinking of beer, so I give this one two-thumbs up completely disregarding all the controversy and trouble surrounding the brand.
Oak Creek Brewing Co Amber
Brewed in Sedona, Arizona
My initial taste-test came up quite boring, though the consistency was thicker than I expected. It’s bland, with a very light fragrance of a sweet chocolaty-caramel (tootsie roll?), so light I could barely detect it. The taste was slightly bitter and I had to sip on water in between each drink.
I have very little to say about this brew, being as it was so light in both scent and flavor, other than that I probably won’t be drinking it ever again. Nothing against Oak Creek Brewing Co, of course, as I tried their Hefeweizen and enjoyed it a lot. I just think this beer could use a little more body, a little less bitterness, and a lot more flavor.
There are much better choices for amber ales out there, so if you’re looking for something a little more amber and a little less…boring…don’t pick this. Not to mention, Whole Foods actually lists this as a “mellow” beer.
Sleepy Dog Dog Pound Pale Ale
Brewed in Tempe, Arizona
A light American Ale with a slight toffee/coffee flavor and scent. It was very smooth, a little dry, with a strong lacing as I emptied the glass. Jonathan thought it smelled of candied mocha, though I have no personal expertise on the different coffee scents. It was very balanced between hops and malts, nothing was too overpowering in this beer. Overall, it was not a bad beer, and is one I may try again on its own.
This brewery is extremely new, only opening in 2007 and having very little about it elsewhere on the internet, so I’m glad to see it offered at Whole Foods, otherwise I might not know about it.
Sleepy Dog Wet Snout Milk Stout
Brewed in Tempe, Arizona
A very dark (obviously) beer, which reeked of cough syrup, was surprisingly thin, and had an odd mouth-feel like soda that had gone flat. It was more on the sour side, reminding me of jagermeister with a thicker aftertaste that would not let my tongue go.
Again, there are no other reviews on this beer and virtually nothing comes up when I search for the brand; it is simply just too new of a brewery to have much of a fan base, let alone critiques. Personally, I think Sleepy Dog is exactly what anyone can expect from an up and coming brewery, but they need to work on filling out their beers more. I’m sure I would have no problem enjoying their paler brews, but this dark, rummy stuff just isn’t for me. I don’t want to be reminded of my college days (*shudder*) while trying to stoically sip on a craft brew.