Beer-wise, we certainly are spoiled in the northeast. While the rest of the country jealously pooh-poohs New England style beer as being too hazy and too modified, we just shrug and go on enjoying fantastic juice bomb after juice bomb. A recent trip to Arizona and Utah took me back in time to a craft beer landscape filled with west coast style IPA complete with crushing bitterness.
What’s the difference between a west coast and a New England style IPA? Read Here for the Differences.
First Stop: Phoenix
Beer #: 1,140
Arizona Wilderness July 11th IPA
A few weeks before our trip, a friend in Phoenix asked me about the best beer in Arizona. Arizona Wilderness was the name that came up most often in my pre-trip scouting report and on arrival in Phoenix, my friend gave me enough of their beer to carry me through my ten day adventure.
July 11th IPA is quite interesting. It’s a collaborative brew with Cycle Brewing (Florida) and this particular IPA is brewed with lactose and dragonfruit. It pours a pinkish color and is certainly cotton candy sweet over some succinct juniper hops Not quite the milkshake beer they claim it to be, but enjoyable nonetheless. In conclusion, the trip is off to a good start, 88 points.
Next Stop: Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, Route 66 and Winslow.
Beer #: 1,141
Arizona Wilderness Refuge IPA
Sometimes the events shape the experience. Here we were in Winslow, Arizona staying at La Posada (a must stay if you’re driving on Rt. 66 or visiting the Petrified Forest & Painted Desert). After a long day, my family was starving and we spied a little Mexican restaurant kitty corner to the hotel. As soon as we enter, Avengers: Infinity War is just starting on the restaurant television. My sons are pried to the screen the whole meal. Me, I’m partaking in some enchiladas and this west coast style IPA. Very straightforward but like La Posada, from a bygone era. 86 points.
Next Stop: Four Corners, Monument Valley and Grand Canyon
Beer # 1,142
Arizona Wilderness Headin’ West
Rainy evening at the Grand Canyon calls for a hotel room beer. Headin’ West yields yeasty clove, spice, wheat. Tons of pine and some cracker-like grains. I’d say this Belgian-style beer is a mediocre 84 points.
Next Stop: Page, Lake Powell and Zion
Beer #: 1,143
Squatters Hop Rising
After a couple days in Page, Arizona, it’s on to Zion National Park. My son’s 14th birthday so he picks the dinner spot. He picks pasta (what else) and it’s back-to-back nights at Zion Noodle & Pizza (I highly recommend).
This is a hefty 9% ABV and is certainly old-school west coast style. Filled with caramel, overdone toast, citrus rind and a boozy burn to boot. Really not bad but I’m starting to miss the juice bombs of the northeast. 86 points.
Beer # 1,144
Red Rock Elephino
From night number one at Zion Pizza & Noodle. This one is just bad. Checking the date, it’s about three months old which is borderline drain pour in my book. Oxidized hops, doughy and boozy. I call them as I have them…70 points. Luckily, my pasta dish carried the meal.