A couple of weeks ago we were in Flagstaff for the Made in the Shade Beer Tasting Festival. We had been looking for an excuse to visit Flagstaff, and a beer festival seemed like a good enough reason. Tickets were $40, which is a bit pricey for a beer festival, but we stayed with some friends and didn’t have to pay for a hotel. The festival was on Saturday, but we went up Friday after work for some bar hopping.
We started at Hops on Birch. This place is small, but they were having a Four Peaks tap takeover, and Sirius Black was on tap. Sirius Black is one of the best beers they make, and it is pretty hard to find. They also had a barrel aged Raj IPA on tap. I heard the beer had been aged for 12 months and was literally kegged the day before. We had a couple of beers there, and headed to Flagstaff Brewing Company for drinks and dinner.
Flagstaff Brewing Company: Beers like your mom used to make.
We met some friends at Flagstaff Brewing, and decided to order something to eat. Everyone else had already eaten, but they have a nice range of beers so everyone else ordered a beer. I had a turkey sandwich and Sheryl got an order of Poutine. Until our trip to Seattle, we had no idea what Poutine was. It’s a pretty simple dish… French fries, gravy, and cheese curds. Not healthy, but delicious!
We would end up visiting several brewing companies while in Flagstaff, and at each brewing company I would order a flight so I could try all their beers. At Flagstaff Brewing I had several beers including a black IPA and a stout. They had a good deal on pints, too. We are ASH (Arizona Society of Homebrewers) members, and they gave us $2 pints.
While we were there, Sheryl grabbed an Flagstaff-Grand Canyon Ale Trail map and glass. The server was nice, and gave us two for the price of one. He even offered to buy us shots when he got off work. They have a ridiculous whiskey selection, too. From there we headed to Lumberyard Brewing Company.
Lumberyard Brewing Company: It’s all about the altitude!
Lumberyard is known for their red ale and their Flagstaff IPA. We showed up and it didn’t look much like a brewery, more like a dance club. There was a DJ and a TON of people inside and out dancing and drinking the night away. They did have $5 mason jars filled with a wide range of drinks, including their award-winning beers. I didn’t drink here, as I had to drive. I also knew we would be hitting a few more bars before we headed home.
After looking around the brewing company, we headed down the street to Brews & Cues.
Beaver Street Brewery: Brews & Cues
According to their website, Brews & Cues is their “billiard room.” I honestly don’t remember seeing any pool tables, but I wasn’t looking for them. We walked in and I ordered a cocktail and a shot of Fireball. If I had known this was part of the Beaver Street Brewery, I would have ordered a beer. Nevertheless, we would have lunch at Beaver Street Brewery on Sunday and I would get to try all of their beers.
After we were done chatting at Brews & Cues, we started walking. I am not sure where we went from there, but Dennis said the place was haunted. Everywhere we went Sheryl was getting her passport stamped, and we would eventually hit all of the places on the Flagstaff-Grand Canyon Ale Trail but one.
After a few more drinks we headed back to the house, continued to drink, and passed out around 2 AM.
Made in the Shade: Beer Tasting Festival
On Saturday I planned to run before we went to the beer festival. I hadn’t been up that late in a long time, so we slept in. We got up and grabbed a burrito for breakfast. Rather than eat at the Mexican place, we headed over to Mother Road Brewing Company so we could try their beers and eat on their patio.
Since we were going to a beer festival, we didn’t want to drink much. We shared a couple of pints and headed to the bus stop. The city of Flagstaff was offering free transportation to and from the beer festival, and the bus stop was right across the street from Mother Road. We had to wait longer than expected, but we eventually got to the festival.
We lost Dana and Dennis right after we got there, but walked around drinking a ton of craft beer from several breweries we don’t have access to here in the Valley. My favorite beer was from Dragoon Brewing Company out of Tucson, Arizona. To be honest, for $40 I wasn’t impressed with the selection of beers. There were a lot of breweries there, but they didn’t have a good selection of beers and a lot of breweries were running out of beer before the festival was over.
When we finally found our party, we were ready to head back to the house, ordered some pizza, and drank the night away.
Beaver Street Brewing Company: Flagstaff’s Historic Train Station
On Sunday we headed back to Beaver Street… this time we were going to visit the brewery and try their beers. We walked in, sat down, and ordered a flight. On the tasting sheet they provided some of the beers were listed as Lumberyard beers. Sheryl made a comment about them, and I asked the bartender why they weren’t all Beaver Street beers.
Basically, to expand distribution and increase production, Beaver Street needed to open a new brewing facility. That is where Lumberyard comes in to play. The actual Lumberyard Brewing Company building is an old lumberyard. Clever name, right? They had to restore the building and use that to produce both Beaver Street beers and Lumberyard beers. The bartender said the beers are basically the same as they come from the same brewery. Fun!
While we were there, we tried the hefeweizen, the Red Rock Raspberry, the R & R Oatmeal Stout, and a few seasonal beers. Their best offering was a seasonal trippel coming in at 10% ABV. Then I tried the shandy.
For their shandy they take the hefeweizen and mix it with carbonated lemonade and a splash of lemon-lime soda. It. Was. Incredible!!! I have never seen a shandy served that way, and now will be mad if they are served any other way! It was light, refreshing, and fitting for the hot summer day. Granted, hot in Flagstaff is 80°!
We left Beaver Street and headed home. We had one more stop before we got home.
Oak Creek Brewing Company: Finely Crafted Brews
On the way home we took a detour and headed toward Oak Creek Brewing Company. Sheryl needed one more stamp on her passport, and the ride was gorgeous. We eventually started to see the red rocks that make Sedona famous. When we finally arrived at Oak Creek, I was blown away with how small their operation was. This place was tiny!
As with all the other breweries we visited, I ordered a flight. We tried all their beers including their gold lager, their pale, nut brown, and their nut brown on steroids. We had tried most of their beers before, but it was a nice finish to a weekend filled with craft beer!
Flagstaff was fun. We will go back. Not when there is snow on the ground, but we will go back one day. I would like to do more than drink the next time we go. I want to see the lava tube and the meteor crater. There are also some really good hiking trails there I wouldn’t mind trying. We will go back to Flagstaff, but we won’t be going to Made in the Shade again. It’s just too expensive.
If you are ever in the area, make sure to check out Flagstaff. Some people are starting to call it the new Whiskey Row. There are a ton of great bars and restaurants, so you will never go thirsty or hungry. Oh, and they have some really cool buildings you can take pictures of and share on Instagram. Dennis is a power user when it comes to filters.
Anyone else go to Made in the Shade? Thoughts on Flagstaff and things we need to see the next time we visit? Remember… it’s all about the altitude!