With the current craft beer boom, we read stories all the time about small breweries that are trying to make it big. However, a recent story we saw in Esquire was really awesome and it proves that no matter where you live, or how much money you have, you can make the “world’s best” beer.
Have you heard of the Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.? It just opened last September and they brew in a strip mall in southeast Phoenix. You know, right next to the Sonic Drive-In and the self-storage center. They only distribute the beer in their pub and there are never more than eight offerings at a time. Seems legit, right?
Believe it or not, RateBeer.com named Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. the number one best new brewery in the world (that’s out of the 2,600 new breweries). Before the award, they had 17 employees. Six weeks after their honor was announced, they had 39 employees. On Fridays, there was a four-hour wait to get into their brewery. It’s crazy to imagine that the man behind this brewery, Jonathan Buford, was on the verge of bankruptcy eight months ago.
What makes this brewery so successful? Their passion for nature and the ways it can make a beer amazing. They go out and write recipes in the wilderness, sometimes simply drawing inspiration from their surroundings, and sometimes foraging and bringing stuff home to experiment with. For example, they were in the Juniper Mesa Wilderness, got some juniper berries and did a black IPA dry-hopped with juniper berries. They’ve made other beers using ingredients like locally grown tangelos, locally sourced cardamom, faro, un-malted wheat, cabernet grapes from a winery in Arizona, blood oranges, and caraway seeds. Their wild series is made with wild yeast they collected forty miles northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona up 8,000 or 9,000 feet under some oak trees.
Okay, we feel significantly less manly compared to these guys.
Want to check out the Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.? They’re located at 721 N. Arizona Ave. #103 in Gilbert, Arizona and in addition to their beer, they’ve got a good pub menu. Open every day of the week starting at 11AM, the guys also do a happy hour/$1 off pints Monday-Friday from 4-7PM and all day on Sundays.