Located at 721 N Arizona Ave #103, Gilbert, AZ 85233
Open Mon-Thurs 11a-11p; Fri-Sat 11a-1a; Sun 11a-10p
I’ll be honest, I hate the outdoors. I’ve mentioned before that Arizona is a great place for people who like hiking and camping and mountain biking. But I’m a total city slicker and my sole experience with the outdoors in this state is the time I was told to hike through the Sonoran desert carrying only a compass, one gallon of water and a handgun with a single bullet in the chamber courtesy of a bunch of guys who told me that if I made it back to the city alive they would forgive my astronomical gambling debt to them.
But even I get a little frustrated with urban living when we’re discussing the greater Phoenix area. I’ve given you my fair share of complaints about this place before but I haven’t mentioned how I especially hate having to distinguish the half-a-dozen or so suburban cities surrounding Phoenix when they could all just really be collectively known as “Phoenix” and then we can just call it a day and go drink. Hey, Scottsdale and Tempe and Glendale and Mesa and Gilbert and all these other towns, all of you are just fucking Phoenix.
All of this is came to a head while I was trying to map today’s brewery, Arizona Wilderness. According to their website, they’re located at 721 N Arizona Avenue in the town of Gilbert. If you look at a map you’ll see that Arizona Avenue is also known as AZ Highway 87. Not a big deal. A lot of numbered highways also have other names around these parts. But Arizona Avenue is, for some reason, the exact same street as South Country Club Drive. So if you pull up a Google Map of 721 N Arizona Ave and also a Google Map of 721 S Country Club Dr. you’ll come up with the exact same location. And if you look at a Google Map with town boundaries you’ll see that this Highway 87 is split right down the middle with Mesa on the West and Gilbert on the East. But apparently Arizona Wilderness is in this weird fucking dimension where it is both Mesa and Gilbert and both Arizona Ave and Country Club Drive.
All of this is almost enough to make me understand the hikers and campers who want to get away from these maddening cityscapes. Which brings us to Arizona Wilderness. The name of this brewery comes from the owners’ love of the outdoors and their commitment to using as many local ingredients as possible, even if they have to gather them from the wild.
AZ Wilderness Brewing Co. rotates their beers very frequently so I won’t even try to talk about the ones I drank while I was there because there’s no way they’ll have most of them on tap by the time you read this. I’ll just sell their operation by telling you about a few of the local ingredients they used to make their brews.
When going down the line of samples I had the pleasure of sipping beers made with unmalted wheat, dates, cinnamon, raspberries and roasted coffee all coming from local farms, companies and the straight up wilderness. And their beer flight is a sight to behold because it’s served on a log. Like, a literal fucking log. Of wood!
They also have an extensive selection of food in which I did not partake. I like the idea of this blog also reviewing food served at breweries but the amount of beer I consume just does not leave room for any other kind of sustenance. But I will say that if the chefs at this place are as committed to quality in their food as the brewers are to quality in their beer then every item on the menu must certainly be excellent.
My only experience with wilderness-sourced food was the time I mentioned I hiked through the Sonoran desert intending to make it alive to the nearest city and used the handgun with a single bullet to shoot a rattlesnake. But instead of eating the rattlesnake I used it to strangle a coyote to death. And instead of eating the coyote I grabbed it by its hind legs and used its carcass to beat a white-tailed deer to death which I then carried on my back through the rest of my hike while stopping occasionally to eat another chunk of it so as to keep my energy up for the 48-hour trek. That deer was the only reason I made it back to civilization alive and the experience affected me so deeply that even to this day I can’t enjoy a sexual experience the same way if I don’t have the movie Bambi playing in the background.
Anyway, go visit Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.