Located at 115 E Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85701
Open Mon-Thurs 4p-10p; Fri 2p-12a; Sat 12p-12a; Sun 12p-6p
Pueblo Vida is right in the heart of downtown Tucson but is tucked away just enough to make it feel like a hip hang out spot that only the cool kids know about. It doesn’t have a huge sign out in front and it’s a bit inconspicuous if you’ve never been to the place. I’ve always had a bit of fondness in my heart for Pueblo Vida and it’s not just because they make great beer.
On November 14th, 2015 Pueblo Vida celebrated their first anniversary, which was only a couple of weeks before this blog reached its own one-year mark on November 30th. I remember going to Pueblo Vida the first week they opened and being very impressed with what they had on tap. At the time I was still working on my very first microbrewery review and had big dreams of being an influential beer blogger. One year later Pueblo Vida is going stronger than ever and I’ve now become the second most popular, Arizona-based, Internet celebrity right after Grumpy Cat. I feel like my rise to fame was mirrored by Pueblo Vida’s own success. So I definitely was not going to miss their 1 Year Anniversary celebration even though the last time I attended a 1 Year Birthday party I drunkenly passed out in a bouncy castle with no pants on. My cousins still won’t speak to me after that. And not just because I was the only one at that party that didn’t get deported.
Anyway, Pueblo Vida serves four beers in a flight at a time and they had ten beers on tap during their Anniversary party. They even had a beer garden set up in a lot right across the street. Like, an official beer garden with permits and everything. Not like how I call any semi-empty lot I’m drinking in a “beer garden” even if it’s just the parking lot of the Tucson Police Station.
The Bavarian Hefeweizen is a beer so good, I still remembered it from a year earlier. It has strong notes of banana and clove. It’s definitely one of the best Hefs I’ve had and I’m not just talking about Arizona beers. As part of the Anniversary celebration they also had a Barrel-Aged version of the Hef that was aged in whiskey barrels from a local distillery. I could pick up some whiskey on the nose but it wasn’t overpowering in the taste. It actually made the beer lighter in the body and the banana tasted a bit stronger than in the regular Hef.
The American Stout was another standout beer from Pueblo Vida and they infused it with local coffee grounds that gave it a malty, smoky taste and had a bit of an ashy finish. I may have said this before but “ashy” is in fact a compliment when it comes to dark beers for me. That may not sound appealing but it is to me. I admit that my tastes may be colored by the fact that I used to smoke about a carton of cigarettes a day back when I was in middle school so that my parents could use the empty cartons to discreetly transport strips of poached bushmeat across state lines.
A couple more of Pueblo Vida’s beers getting the infusion treatment were the Northwest IPA and the Anniversary IPA. The former was infused with coffee, just like their stout, and the latter was infused with mango and pineapple. Pueblo Vida loves brewing a different infusion beer every week and they even take recommendations on what type of infusion they should try. I told them about that last 1 Year Old’s birthday party I went to where my Uncle Frankie accidentally brewed a guacamole-infused beer, by which I mean he spilled his cheap beer into a bowl of guacamole and then said, “Fuck it, it’s all going in the same place, right?” then proceeded to shovel half the bowl into his mouth and then proceeded to punch me in the face for no reason. So I told them that might be a good idea to try but they just told me to please leave after I finished the Milk Stout that was left in my flight.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that milk stouts aren’t my favorite styles of beer but Pueblo Vida does the best thing you can do with this kind of beer…which is to tone down the milky flavor. Their milk stout is roasty and has a bit of a smoky flavor to it with minimal lactose intrusion. Whether you’re a big milk stout fan or not, you’ll want to try this out.
After trying most of the beers on tap I was thoroughly impressed by how smoothly Pueblo Vida’s 1st birthday party turned out. Most of the birthday parties celebrated in my family usually end in a drunken fistfight with the guy in the rat costume at Chuck E. Cheese. But I left Pueblo Vida content in the fact that I wouldn’t be spending the night in jail as long as my South Tucson escort of the evening didn’t end up being a cop again like the last seven times I was out there.
Pueblo Vida is a great microbrewery and an awesome addition to the Tucson craft beer scene. I’m sure their first anniversary is just one of many more to come. Be sure to check them out.