Sentinel Peak Brewing Company – Tucson, AZ

Located at 4746 East Grant Road, Tucson, AZ 85712
Open Tues-Thurs 11a-9p; Fri-Sat 11a-10:30p; Sun 11a-8p

Tucson is a cool place. It’s a town that, in terms of size, is in between the huge metropolis that is Phoenix and the tiny towns like the ones in Southeastern Arizona. It’s seemingly the perfect place for people who can’t handle a giant city like LA or Phoenix but also need a little more activity than can be found in a Sonoita or a Douglas. Getting around Tucson can be pretty sweet if the traffic is light as you can pretty much be anywhere in town in twenty to thirty minutes. You can’t say that about Phoenix.

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A Celebration of Eggnog

Since we’re knee deep in the holiday season I thought it would be cool to take a break from breweries and talk about varieties in eggnog recipes. And when I say “recipes” I don’t mean how many eggs you break and how many ounces of cream you whisk in a bowl. I’m talking about what kind of liquor you mix into that shit. I absolutely love eggnog and have fond memories of sharing glass after glass of it with my family during Christmas dinner while my Aunt Savannah told the same old story of how she once got her ass pinched by Erik Estrada in a dance club in the 80s and my mom berated my sister for not yet carrying a single pregnancy to term.

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Cartel Coffee Lab – Tempe, AZ

Located at 225 W University Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281
Open 7 days per week from 10a-10p

This was a very exciting visit. Apparently Arizona is home to a coffee brewing company called Cartel Coffee Labs. All of their locations are in the greater Phoenix area, save for one shop in Tucson, and in the Spring of 2013 the Tempe location was granted a license to brew beer onsite.


I don’t know very much about Cartel because I’m not much of a coffee drinker at all. In fact, I’ve sworn off consuming any kind of stimulant ever since that time my dad caught me trying a little bit of the blow he always used to stash in the garage and, to teach me a lesson, he made me snort the whole bag. In his defense, though, he said that apart from teaching me a lesson there were also cops banging on the door right that second and that I would totally be doing him a solid if I got rid of the evidence. But my brief conversations with people who’ve been to Cartel reveal that they make great quality coffee and that it’s the favorite haunt of students or programmers who need some serious kick in their drink that’ll keep them up all night if need be.

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Black Hole Beer Company – Prescott, AZ

Note that as of April 2016 the Black Hole Beer Company taproom has closed. The place is now a bar and grill operated by different owners. This review of their taproom is now considered a historical document.

I mentioned last week that I didn’t want this blog to appear Phoenix-centric because I know the place can overshadow other, cool parts of Arizona. As a way to show my commitment to highlighting the off-beaten paths of my state I’m writing about a startup brewery in the town of Prescott named Black Hole. This place only opened in April of 2014 and already shows great signs of longevity. More about that in a bit. First, I should mention that Prescott is a beautiful town which, curiously enough, is pretty much equidistant from Flagstaff and Phoenix. Those of you who’ve never been are advised to pay it a visit.


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North Mountain Brewing – Phoenix, AZ

Located at 522 E Dunlap Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85020
Open Mon-Wed 3p-10p; Thurs 11a-10p; Fri & Sat 11a-11p and Sunday 11a-9p

I find Arizona interesting. It’s a vast desert with pockets of intense beauty scattered intermittently across a barren, sad, brown wasteland. The mountainous landscapes add a nice flavor to its cities and those who enjoy camping and hiking have plenty of terrain to choose from if they want to escape the company of people and the luxuries of air conditioning and HBO. If you look at any map of Arizona you’ll instantly see that Phoenix is the most prominent cityscape. It’s a mainstay in the list of the Top Ten biggest cities in the United States and often even flirts with the Top Five, the dirty slut. If you do a Free Association exercise using the word “Arizona” you’ll only ever hear people respond with “Phoenix” and “Grand Canyon” and “Blowjobs in an alley for meth money.”

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I know you’re a drunk. Don’t worry, I’m not judging; I’m a drunk too. But if you’re like me you’re fast approaching the age of thirty and you can’t drink like you did in your early twenties without people thinking you’re an alcoholic. I know you used to spend every weekend at the bar getting hammered on cheap beer and plastic-bottle-vodka that could be overcome by your young, skinny body with little more than a couple hours of sleep and a fast food burrito. But that same behavior now will make people around you think you’re in need of an intervention. That’s why I’m here.

I’m here to show you that that the best way to overcome the stigma from such a disease is to disguise it…or to directly address the problem and attempt to overcome it but I’m not a fucking psychiatrist so let’s just forget about that. No, I’m not Coldplay and I’m not here to Fix You. I’m here to help you adjust your drinking lifestyle in a way that allows you to become a Classy Alcoholic like me and James Bond. The older you get the more you have to project confidence and self-control – two things that are not compatible with a hard drinking habit. But now you’ve graduated college and are trying to maintain a well-paying, grown-up job with the possibility of advancement.

Not to mention the fact that the hot party girls you used to have sex with in your early twenties also grew up into adult women who cry all the time because they desperately want someone to put a baby inside them. And of course you’re not going to put a baby inside them. You’re an irresponsible drunk! But you still want to have sex, right? And the closer you get to thirty the less likely you are to have girls your age try to bone you in a Denny’s bathroom at 3AM like they did in the good old days. It’s time to accept the fact that those days are far behind you…unless you still manage to introduce a couple of pushups into your life from time to time, which, let’s be honest, you clearly fucking don’t.

You don’t have to give up your heavy drinking, though. You just have to change what and where you drink. Don’t fool yourself – It will take a lot more disposable income. But it’ll be worth it when you realize you can still hold down a job and a relationship while still being able to drink yourself to sleep every night so you don’t have to bother thinking about how disappointed your parents are because you didn’t go to law school, you lazy drunk fuck.

The first, and most important, step is to do most of your drinking at your state’s local microbreweries and vineyards. Think about it this way: if you have a wine rack with one hundred bottles of locally-made wine you’ll seem like a classy guy. If you have a shelf with one hundred bottles of Miller Lite everyone is gonna think you have a serious problem. Not to mention that drinking locally-made shit allows you to tell people you’re a big supporter of your community’s independent businesses.

As I currently reside in Arizona this blog will document my visits to every single microbrewery and vineyard in the entire state. What differentiates this blog from, say, Yelp or some such shit is that I will be focusing my reviews on making you a classier, more discreet drunk. I hope to impart a knowledge of booze that is substantial enough to make your drinking seem more like a hobby than a crippling dependency while still being basic enough that you can instantly recall it when trying to impress the kinda-cute chick at work who likes to drink but doesn’t know of many interesting places to go and is nervous about ordering anything other than a Miller High Life at a bar because she doesn’t want to mispronounce something or look dumb and also you have the sneaking suspicion that she doesn’t have much in the way of a gag reflex.

This isn’t just a blog. It’s an adventure. The first entry goes up on Monday, December 1st.  Join me.