Four Peaks Brewing Company – Tempe, AZ

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Before we get started I want to make it clear that this post will not be shitting on Four Peaks Brewing Company at all. If you were expecting me to tear this brewery a new asshole then you came to the wrong place. They will continue to have only a standard amount of asshole(s). Also, since this blog has always been mostly aimed at newbies who are trying to find their place in the Arizona craft beer community I’m gonna be recapping a couple of things regarding Four Peaks’ corporate acquisition. If you already know the story then feel free to skip the next two paragraphs.

In December of 2014 Four Peaks Brewing Company in Tempe was purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the giant corporation that brought you such beloved beers as Budweiser and other macrobrews that taste like the leftover urine harvested from the bladders of long-dead dumpster cats. I won’t be getting into the minutiae of microbrewery buyouts in this post because my job is to give you just enough basic knowledge to impress the pants off the date you took to your favorite local brewery and little else.

Suffice to say, AB InBev is a shit corporation that makes shit beer and their dedication to making shit beer has bit them in the ass in the form of slightly declining nationwide beer sales while craft beer industry sales have only grown substantially in the past few years. So in response AB InBev has made legitimately evil attempts at crushing the craft beer industry and has bought out a few larger microbreweries in an attempt to offer craft beer right next to their shitty mass-produced sewer water beers. As of this writing Four Peaks is the most recent microbrewery purchased by AB InBev and more purchases are expected to occur in 2016.

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Anyhoozle, this post will not be a standard “review” if I’ve ever even written such a thing. Instead I’d like to address the responses to the acquisition of Four Peaks by AB InBev. While drunkenly trolling through the internet in between Facebook-stalking my ex-girlfriends I’ve read a shitload of people taking time out of their clearly not-at-all-busy days to post angry comments about the buyout on Four Peaks’ social media. And I’ve honestly gotten so tired of this shit that I felt the need to address it for when another brewery buyout inevitably occurs in the near future.

This blog was always intended to highlight and support locally owned Arizona drinking establishments. I have made Arizona my home for the past decade and I love supporting my community by drinking, which is the only skill I really have. Since Four Peak is owned by a huge multinational corporation it is, by definition, no longer part of the Arizona craft beer community. I knew this was the case several weeks before I started composing this post but I chose to write about Four Peaks anyway because it holds a special place in my heart.

The first craft beer I ever drank was the Barrio Blonde from Barrio Brewing Company down in Tucson and Four Peaks’ Kiltlifter Scottish Ale was the second. I love this beer and I ordered it anytime I saw it on draft. If it weren’t for Barrio and Four Peaks I might not have started down the road to becoming the universally respected authority on Arizona craft beer and beloved internet celebrity that I am now. And yes it is disappointing to see a local brewery getting purchased by a billion-dollar corporation that would squash the entire craft brewing industry if it could but taking the time to write #sellout or whatever on Four Peaks’ Instagram pictures is pointless and doesn’t support the craft beer community. The goal of any for-profit business is to make a product that others will deem valuable enough to spend money on. AB InBev deemed Four Peaks’ product to be worth a lot of money. So Four Peaks won at business. And I’m sure that most of the people shouting “#sellout” online haven’t ever created a product worth anything. Hell, neither have I just yet. So shut the fuck up.

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And no, it’s not clever to keep asking Four Peaks on Twitter if they’re gonna start selling Bud Light Lime at their brewery. A lot of the bigger breweries I’ve reviewed on this site already offer macrobrews like Coors and Bud Light so they can make money off of people who haven’t gotten into craft beer yet. So Four Peaks selling Bud Light wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary even before the acquisition. Shut the fuck up.

I’m also tired of people who say it’s dumb to stop buying Four Peaks beer after the buyout because Four Peaks has stated that their beer won’t change. First of all, you can’t claim that certainty because there’s never a guarantee that beer recipes won’t change no matter who owns what and Four Peaks’ intentions may come up against unforeseen circumstances and may have to eat those words in the future. Second of all, people still have the ability to spend their money on whatever the hell they want and for whatever reasons they want. If I refuse to buy Four Peaks beer because, say, I don’t like the way their cans look I’m free to do that and you’re free to shut the fuck up.

On the other end of that are the people who can’t help but announce to the world that they’re NOT going to buy Four Peaks beer ever again. Maybe it’s because I’m new to social media but I just can’t seem to understand people’s obsession with sharing all the things they’re NOT gonna do. I mean…we can do that forever can’t we? Here, I’ll show you.

I’m NOT gonna go to law school. I’m NOT gonna have six pack abs. I’m NOT gonna go to the doctor to get that rash checked out, it’ll go away by itself probably. I’m NOT gonna have sex with you without crying afterwards, ladies. I’m NOT gonna ever gain my parents’ respect especially now that I’ve decided I’m NOT gonna bail them out of jail after they got a DUI in the family taco truck this past weekend.

And so on. Shut the fuck up.

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So what’s the right response to this news? Well you don’t have to congratulate Four Peaks if you don’t feel like it. But there’s nothing to be gained from shitting on them either. Instead of calling them #sellouts you should use that energy to be a craft beer adventurer and find other local breweries to visit. The greater Phoenix area has over 20 locally owned microbreweries and there are about 60 in the entire stare of Arizona. Instead of wasting your (and, more importantly, my) time ranting about how you’re NOT gonna support Four Peaks you should instead tell your friends and family about the local businesses you will support and make positive recommendations.

Oh and stop taking this buyout news as a personal offense. Some people are acting like Four Peaks decided to start selling a beer called Your Mother Is A Whore and put pictures of their actual mothers on the can. Your beer purchases aren’t the enviable display of integrity you think they are. The fact that Four Peaks is no longer locally owned means that they no longer have a place in this blog but it’s not because they don’t make good beer anymore. It’s because I have chosen a narrow focus for my reviews and am sticking to that for now. But that doesn’t mean I can’t tell you about the joy a Four Peaks beer brought to a young, skinny Classy Alcoholic with messy, Backstreet Boys-esque hair almost a decade ago.

And so I wave goodbye to Four Peaks Brewing Company and wish them luck on their future. If you’re still inclined to visit their brewery I won’t look down on you. They had 8 regular beers and 2 seasonals on the day I visited. The standouts were the Raj IPA, which was light on the hops but had lots of citrusy flavor, and the Peach Ale which had a sweet finish but wasn’t overly peachy to the point that it didn’t taste like an ale. They also have food and I had a great elk burger there for lunch.

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And just so we’re clear my own goal with this blog is for it to become so popular that I can sell the rights to a major Hollywood studio and have The Classy Alcoholic adapted into a movie. When that happens I don’t want to hear anybody calling me a sellout because seeing Jimmy Smits play me on the big screen was always my stated intention from the beginning. I just need the goddamn executives over at Disney to respond to my texts/dick pics.