Tucson has a rapidly growing number of local distilleries and microbreweries that you can visit. I make a point to check out several new ones on my annual trip to the area. Make sure to try:
Thunder Canyon Brewery & Distillery: This local microbrewery and distillery has a tasting room that features their products at 220 E. Broadway. They feature ales, stouts and porters. They are no longer serving food.
Hamilton Distillers/Whiskey del Bac: This is a small local distillery, located at 2106 Forbes Blvd. #103, in an industrial area just west of I-10 off of Grant. They produce an excellent single malt aged whiskey called the Classic, a single malt mesquite smoked aged whiskey and a clear, mesquite smoked unaged whiskey similar to mezcal. My favorite was the aged single malt. You can sign up in advance online for a tour and tasting.
Nearby is the Dragoon Brewing Company at 1859 W Grant Rd #111. Here you can visit their tasting room and try one of their year-round beers, specialty beers and seasonal beers. I enjoyed the Pony Express Pale Ale. I had to try it since I am from St. Joseph, MO, the start of the Pony Express. They feature food trucks on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
HighWire Lounge: This is a small laid-back downtown bar serving original cocktails. 14 S. Arizona Ave.
Iron John’s Brewing Company: At 222 E. Congress downtown, this is a taproom and bottle shop featuring ten beers, four wines, cider, kombucha and cold brew on tap. They make a number of ales, stouts, porters, IPAs, saisons and wheat beer. They also have locations at 555 E 18th Street and 5350 E Broadway Blvd #128 at the Monkey Burger location.
Barrio Brewing Co.: Southeast of downtown is Barrio Brewing Co., a rustic-chic brewpub with well-known happy-hour specials, shuffleboard and up to twelve house beers on tap. Their taproom features a number of soups, salads and burgers as well. Here you can taste one of their ales, stouts, IPAs and blondes. The brewpub is a fun place to spend an afternoon. 800 E, 16th St.
Borderlands Brewing Company: At 199 E. Toole Ave., their rustic Downtown Taproom is a great place to visit when in town. They are moving their brewery operations to another location and expanding the taproom. They currently make some very creative brews from ales, porters to IPAs, lagers and and sours. I enjoyed a tasting with a local friend. I really liked the Noche Dulce porter with notes of coffee and chocolate and the Winter Warmer lager with caramel malts, cinnamon, and nutmeg spices. The Prickly Pear Wheat was also excellent. It was a lighter beer, low in hops with local organic prickly pear cactus juice added for color and flavor. Make sure to stop outside in the back and view the colorful mural by local artist Joe Pagac.
In June 2023, I visited their other Taproom at 2500 E. 6th St. in the Sam Hughes neighborhood. It has a food menu in addition to their beers on tap. I again enjoyed the Prickly Pear Wheat Ale made with prickly pear cactus fruit. As with the Downtown Taproom, they have some excellent murals. It is in the same stip center as Tumerico, the popular restaurant.
Gentle Ben’s Brewing Co.: Located near the University at 865 E University, this is a local brewery and brewpub featuring their own beer and a casual menu of brunch, lunch and dinner items. They make a number of porters, stouts, ales and IPAs in a different location. Their Barrio Blonde beer was quite good as was my great pulled pork sandwich.
Pueblo Vida Brewing Co.: At 115 E Broadway, this is a local brewery and taproom located in downtown Tucson. They make a number of IPAs, sours, wheat beers, lagers, sours and DIPAs or Double India Pale Ales. I really enjoyed their new Claro Vida Lime Lager that was recommended by the staff.
Crooked Tooth Brewing Co.: Located at 228 E 6th St., this is a local brewery featuring their lagers, stouts, IPAs, ales, porters and sours. They have a casual, fun taproom.
I read about Bawker Bawker Cider House at 400 N. 4th Ave. and was glad to have visited their taproom which serves 20 of their craft ciders. The staff was very friendly and helpful and was glad to have tried their hibiscus, lemon slushie and white peach flavors!
MotoSonora Brewing Co. is a local brewery and tasting room at 1015 S. Park Ave. They have an indoor tasting room, a large outdoor beer garden and a colorful mural by local artist Joe Pagac. They produce I enjoyed the experience and trying their Belly Tank Blonde Ale. They also make a large number of ales, IPAs, lagers, stouts and pilsners. There is also a food truck for Sonoran hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, salads and desserts. 1015 S. Park Ave.
Based on the recommendation of local friends I had to stop in after dinner at the Owls Club at 236 S. Scott. It is a bar/cocktail lounge in a former funeral home. The original pews are used as seating throughout. Also located in a former funeral home is Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink. They have a downstairs bar known as the Tough Luck Club! 101 E. Pennington St.