The Grand Canyon
After our tour of the Flagstaff Brewery Trail, we started the hour journey north towards the Grand Canyon. Based on our research we took a slight detour towards Cameron Trading Post for Navajo Tacos. Definitely worth the detour, navajo tacos are made with fluffy fry bread topped with beans, beef, lettuce, tomato and lots of cheese! From Cameron’s we headed west towards the Desert Watch Tower and Grand Canyon entrance. In my plans, we would be there in daylight, however, our stop in Flagstaff lasted longer than anticipated so we drove in the dark and saw the Canyon for the first time as the sun rose. Now there’s not much that I can say about the Grand Canyon that you probably haven’t already heard. It’s beautiful, awe inspiring, breathtaking and you have to see it in person to appreciate its beauty.
We did a little hiking and made our way to Ooh Ahh Point, one of the best overlooks this side of the canyon, but the highlight of our trip was the helicopter tour. Flying in and out of the canyon is such a crazy experience that I can’t recommend it enough. Much to Andrew’s chagrin, they upgraded our trip from 25 to 45 minutes but we made it safe and sound back to land. He hates heights and helicopters, so it was entertaining watching him squirm.
After our Grand Canyon exploration day, we were a bit short on beer as there are NO breweries near the Grand Canyon (how?!). We had to quench our brewery thirst so we headed an almost an hour south to Grand Canyon Brewing + Distillery. This brewpub and distillery was all about the booze and pizza. We highly recommend their pizza and while we didn’t partake in the spirits, if you make it this far south we can recommend the Barrel Aged Pumpkin Porter and the Prickly Pear Wheat for beers.
To get to Sedona from the Grand Canyon, you have to head south of Flagstaff. We highly recommend that you take the county route 89A as it is a breath taking, scenic drive. While the drive itself isn’t as amazing as the magnificence of the Grand Canyon, Sedona and the drive to Sedona on 89A is totally worth any detour you may have to make. Trust us on this, we pulled over 4 times on the way to Sedona just to take selfies.
There are just two breweries in Sedona, and unfortunately only one was open during our pass through. Even though Sedona Beer Company wasn’t open, Oak Creek Brewery and Grill opened just in time for us to grab some lunch and a flight. Most of the beers on our flight of 7 were rated average on Untappd. With the exception of the Horseshoe Hefeweizen, which was our favorite and a near flawless execution of a hefe. We would have to go back and check through our notes, but Oak Creeks hefe was certainly one of the best hefes we had on this trip – also their lunch menu was awesome.
What Sedona lacked in breweries, it more than made up for in views. The two stops that we recommend for a quick trip are the Chapel of the Holy Cross and Airport Mesa. Trust us when we say, it is just a view that needs to be experienced in person.
After our quick sightseeing excursion through Sedona, we took a detour over to Prescott before heading down to Phoenix. On the way to Prescott we managed to hit two more breweries; Verde Brewing Company (Camp Verde, AZ) and Lonesome Valley Brewing (Prescott Valley, AZ). Verde Brewing Company is just a short detour off I-17 in the back of a small industrial park with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating (if you can brave the heat and the sun). Unfortunately there was only 1 house beer available, a blonde ale, which was pretty good. But we still got to stop and stretch the legs, talk to some locals and drink some other local beers on their taps.
Next up was Lonesome Valley Brewing of Prescott Valley. This locals joint of a brewpub had a few excellent sounding beers on tap, but we settled on four and were astounded at their deliciousness. The Fundamentalist, a black IPA, earned a solid 4 from Andrew and a 3.5 from myself, while the Maiden Voyage (blueberry oatmeal stout), Any Questions? (pumpkin ale) and Mystic’s Chord (cider) all earned 4’s. This stop wasn’t originally planned, but we were glad to hit it! Overall I think our favorite was the Maiden Voyage; because the blueberry flavor was full bodied and worked well in the stout.
It was lunch time, so normally we would have stayed to eat at Lonesome Valley but there is an In-N-Out Burger just minutes down the road in Prescott – and I’ve never had the chance to experience the wonders of this chain before. Needless to say, I now understand the hype surrounding In-N-Out <3
Prescott (downtown) is this quaint little town that has a south western feel. The buildings are old and grand, the people are friendly, and everyone is in bed by 10pm (we’re not kidding). We stayed right across the street from the Courthouse Plaza in Hotel St. Michael – cheap, historic, downtown and walking to our next brewery stops, and a nights stay comes with breakfast (can’t beat that).
So our next stop wasn’t a brewery, but Superstition Meadery is one of the most well know meaderies in Arizona (and probably the US). This funky basement dwelling meadery has dozens, if not 100 different meads, available to try and buy. We were completely overwhelmed at the number of meads (and their pricetags), but we managed to pick six interesting variants plus the critically acclaimed, Blueberry Spaceship Box Cider. Andrew doesn’t exactly have a sweet tooth, but he was able to appreciate how accurate the meads flavor descriptions came through in the actual profile. Our two favorite meads were the Desert Monsoon and the Peanut Butter Jelly Crime (liquid peanut butter and jelly). If you’re visiting Prescott (or can detour your way through), we highly recommend adding Superstition to your list.
Granite Mountain Brewing is just around the block from Superstition Meadery and was our next stop due to closing time schedules. This comfortably large taproom had nine beers on tap hitting all the styles, but we only had time for four since the town of Prescott is pretty much in bed by 9 sharp. All four brews were good, but average with nothing really distinct about them. Our favorite of the flight was the Dubbel Your Chances; one of the better Belgian dubbles we had on the tirp. If you have the day to kill in Prescott it’s certainly worth a stop but if you’re pressed for time we recommend hitting Superstition and our next stop.
LazyG Brewhouse has only been open for a month when we got to visit this beautiful facility that sits in an old trailer park, which is the brewery motif. If you thought trailer park was a weird motif, you’re not alone but it seems to work for them. The 24 tap brewpub wasn’t fully operational at the time of our visit but there were still 10 drafts available – we got to sample 6 with the owner Jim. Our two favorites were the HazyG (IPA) and the Sunset Point (porter). Fun Fact: The head brewer at LazyG was stolen from Russian River; so these beers are certainly worth checking out. Unfortunately, everything in Prescott closes early so we only got the chance to have 1 round with Jim we had to head to our last stop of the day; Prescott Brewing Company.
Prescott Brewing Company is a down and dirty brewpub that was wild up until closing. It was shocking to see the place packed considering how quiet the rest of the town was – this is literally the last call bar of Prescott. We grabbed some appetizers, a flight of 4 and struck up a conversation with two Marine veterans who enjoy passing through Presscott for a veteran charity event that they run. All four of our beers were certainly above average with Achocolypse (Porter) and Java-Nator Dopplebock being our favorites; frankly the porter and dopplebock were phenomenal beers.
The little Arizona town of Prescott is home to some good brews and meads – and is certainly worth spending the afternoon and evening in. We didn’t get the chance to partake in any of the touristy venturers, but we’re sure this little town will entertain you with enough booze.