Phoenix – Day 2: Frustration

The broski and the pops on the new light rail.

The broski and the pops on the new light rail. Notice his shirt.

The bro is a thoughtful guy. Phoenix is the definition of sprawl so even finding a gas station is difficult sometimes. Before the trip he printed out a map of things we might try to look for: trailheads, places to eat, breweries.

Most of the time looking for Mexican food we just wing it (that’s the one thing you can find there). Before our game in Scottsdale we found a place there called Los Olivos. Wonderfully tasty in an old slightly strange building. I mean that in the best way – this is a place you really can’t find anywhere else.

2009-03-26-olivosAnyway, after lunch we saw the Royals at the Giants. After that we made use of the broski’s map, deciding to go to Papago Brewing, also in Scottsdale. Papago is a first class beer bar, and they also contract produce a half dozen beers, a few of which have won Great American Beer Festival awards. I get the sense that they do alot of to-go sales: they have probably ten cooler doors of microbrews. Most of the selection is from the west coast, especially southern California. I spent the whole evening worrying about wanting to take it all home. Half way through dinner I switched seats so I wouldn’t have to look at it.

Stupid airline checked luggage costs. Well I could take them if they were in 3 ounce tasters and all fit in a quart size ziplock bag.

At least while I was there I tried some interesting things that, for one reason or another, you cannot get ahold of in Iowa.

I started out with Papago’s abbey tripel contract brewed by Br. Van Steenberg, makers of Gulden Draak. Called Oude Zuipers, it is a crystal clear old gold, with some creamy bone-white head. The nose is a little fruity with strong notes of caramel. The taste is initially slightly sweet but fades to a strong peppery spice flavor that quickly disappears. A bit of peppery sweetness lingers. Light, but a bit cloying.

I followed this with Karma from Avery Brewing, another Belgian-style ale, this one brewed in Boulder, Colorado. It’s a bit hazy, a golden amber with some off-white head. The aroma is very clean, with just a bit of maltiness showing through. The taste is caramel and herbs, with a light sweetness that is clean and drinkable. Karma is lively, light but significant.

New Belgium’s Biere de Mars (another Belgian style, bier de garde – beer for keeping, that is, cellaring) is an opal deep straw color with a bit of head. The aroma is thin: hints of malt and hints of fruit, perhaps mango? In contrast, the flavor is strong, sharp, and spicy, though it quickly dulls to a lightly malty, peppery sweetness.

When I ordered my last beer I had a hard time explaining it. Yes, it is brewed by a place called “Pizza Port“. Yes, it’s actually really good beer. Yes, they were just some pizza joint that decided to start making beer, and now they’re among the best. After all those Belgians I needed something hoppy, so I ordered The Ripper, their English IPA. This is a brilliantly clear copper ale with ample near-white head. The nose is delicately floral, but I also got a significant off character that must have been from the age or storage of the beer. The flavor is great, with a full, round bitterness and a good amount of floral hop flavor. It is dry and fizzy, bitter and drinkable.

I did pick up one beer to-go, for the purposes of consuming while still in Arizona. More later…

+/-Papago Brewing Oude Zuipers

3.1 (3-6-7-2-13)

+/-Avery Brewing Karma

3.4 (3-6-7-4-14)

+/-New Belgium Biere de Mars

3.5 (3-6-8-4-14)

+/-Pizza Port The Ripper

3.1 (3-5-7-4-12)

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2 Responses to “Phoenix – Day 2: Frustration”

  1. jeff zdunek says:

    i met the head brewers at Avery one day when we showed up to do a tasting (the brewery is behind a car wash in Boulder, CO) and they were closed. but the dudes let us in and we got wrecked on their personal small batch stash. karma is a decent beer; most of thier beers are straight shooters…they got a few that are sold only in bombers that are abv monsters…the reverend, the kaiser, and a barleywine named hog heaven…

  2. […] rating! When I was at Papago Brewing, a beer bar and sometime brewpub in Phoenix, I purchased a bottle of Rogue […]

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