Saturday, September 15th from 12p-10p
Located at 6800 N Camino Martin, Suite 160, Tucson, AZ 85741
Hours: Mon-Thurs 3p-8p; Fri 2p-10p; Sat 12p-10p; Sun 11a-6p
So first things first, I’ll disclose that I absolutely love Button Brewhouse. With all of my heart. And I’m very happy that they’re about to celebrate their first anniversary.
Looking back on the past twelve months it seems like they’re a success story that should’ve never happened. That statement has nothing to do with the quality of their beers or their customer service. They’ve proven themselves to be top notch in both those areas. But they’ve fought against so many obstacles that could’ve absolutely ruined their shit.
The first and most obvious one is their location. The taproom sits just northwest of the Tucson city limits in the town of Marana. I can tell you from experience that trying to explain to people where Marana is in relation to Tucson can be a pain in the ass. And it’s even harder to give people directions there considering that the I-10 exit to Ina Rd (their major cross street) has been closed off and under construction since before they even opened.
In a time when there are over 20 breweries in Tucson alone the Buttons somehow built a loyal customer base at a place that couldn’t even count on the convenience of a highway exit a mile away. And we all know how much people hate commuting through construction zones. Hell, I stopped going to my neighborhood grocery store entirely just after seeing a couple of orange cones in their driveway. That was weeks ago. I’ve been subsisting on a single giant bag of beef jerky that I found in the back of the cupboard since then and it’s not gonna last much longer, send help.
Obviously the prospect of great beer has been enough to get people through the door. But even that wasn’t exactly a guarantee given the current trends in the industry.
See, this brewery is run by Todd & Erika Button and it was born out of Todd’s passion for homebrewing. He worked for several years as a corporate stooge and decided he wanted to leave that life behind. He was terrified (as any good husband should be) of telling his wife that he wanted to bail on his lucrative career. To his pleasant surprise Erika was supportive of his dream to be a professional brewer and business owner. She was the one who bought Todd his first homebrewing kit after all. And they knew that if they were going to do this they weren’t going to do it half-assed. Todd spent years educating himself on every aspect of beer production and working behind a bar to learn how to deal with fat, drunk customers like yours truly.
That education helped forge the entire identity of Button Brewhouse. Todd’s goal was to make craft beer using traditional methods that didn’t fall in line with whatever the trendy beer of the moment was. Their tap list consists of solid, expertly crafted brews without the frills. They have West Coast IPAs, a Gose, an American Amber and, among many others, an occasional New England style IPA that isn’t hazy. That’s right, when it seems like most customers only want to drink hazy IPAs Button Brewhouse is staying away from the trend. They have nothing against other breweries that put out a new hazy beer every other day, of course. It’s just not in line with who they are.
They’re also staying away from any gimmicky beer styles. So you won’t see any beers made with glitter, pancakes, paninis, buffalo wings or whatever the hell else I used to have in my fridge before I ended up rationing these last two pieces of jerky left in the bag.
And this philosophy was best exemplified by their very first can release. While other breweries are canning hazies and pastry stouts, Button Brewhouse released a can of their Volstead Pilsner. It’s a classic, pre-prohibition Pilsner which means it’s brewed using the same recipe that German immigrants were using well over a hundred years ago. It’s an all malt beer with German hops that sits at a nice 5.4% ABV. It’s a light, easy drinking lager with a lot of flavor that challenges the perception of what a modern American Pilsner can be. When we think of that style we all probably imagine the watery bullshit you see in commercials. But this is not that beer.
The Volstead is an excellent opening salvo for Button Brewhouse and it gives a clear picture of who they are and the quality of the beer they’re putting out every day. This little brewery defied all the odds against them because they know that fads can die, that the market is fickle, that new trends come and go but that traditional brewing methods that have lasted for hundreds of years will continue to last.
I respect that. Because if there’s one thing I know it’s that sometimes you gotta be different by staying the same.