People we know who live in Phoenix always tell us to stay away from Arizona in the summertime and it’s brutal heat. Fortunately, out of pure luck and coincidence, the few times we’ve been in Arizona has been in the fall. How lovely it’s been!
Arizona is indeed lovely…at least the places we’ve visited. I titled this post Phoenix, but truth is, some of the places I’m recommending here are north of Phoenix, where summers probably aren’t that bad. Having pollen allergies and being sensitive to heat, I find the fall time climate to be amazing. Who can argue with sunny dry 70s in the day and cool 60s at night? No sweat and no freezing! Optimal!
We visited several craft breweries on this trip, but let’s start with our drive north to the town of Jerome and it’s wine tasting room run by famous rocker Maynard James Keenan.
This mining town used to be deserted before new ideas and cash injections turned it into a quaint little tourist town up a mountain in the middle of nowhere. I mainly wanted to drink wine, and being a fan of both Mr Keenan’s bands (Tool and A Perfect Circle), what better place could there be? I believe I tried eight different wines from Keenan’s Caduceus vineyard. Pretty much all great wines, but being a rocker fan, I’m probably biased. Can’t just drink wine so we had a couple of food platters as well (olives, salami, cheese, and such). After our indulgence, we decided to walk it off by cruising the town by foot, buying souvenirs and funny stuff in all the cute shops along the main street. You can really feel the history here. They’ve preserved old mining carts and buildings. A true experience of old Americana.
On our way back to Phoenix, we find out there’s a hidden gem….well, it turns out hidden in a warehouse where no one would look. The gem is a brewery called THAT Brewery. Being out-of-towners, it was actually a little intimidating entering in through a small door in this nondescript warehouse. But once inside after your first sip, you forget it all and just enjoy the beer. The beer is actually pretty good, so for the readers up for a little drive and exploration, I suggest a visit.
Our 2nd brewery we tried was totally a waste of time, and I will omit their name from this post. All I can say is that it was located in a Scottsdale strip mall, and the beer wasn’t even worth finishing.
Our 3rd one to try was Two Brothers. Unfortunately, I have no photos from this restaurant, but I sure enjoyed my time there. The beer was fabulous and the food was very well matched. Best salad in a long time!
Ok, our last brewery was right before we got to the airport. Why not have some good beer before getting on the flight back home!? Fortunately, Phoenix Ale is located very close to the airport. And better yet, they had in my humble opinion the best beer in Arizona. They truly were! For the first time, I felt like splurging on some merch as well – loved their t-shirt humor. To drink, you really can’t go wrong with any of them, but I highly recommend the Camelback IPA and the Ironwood Imperial Porter.
To soak in some true Phoenix history, visiting Old Town Scottsdale and the Adobe Mission is the way to go. This church ain’t big, but man does it leave a big impression. Before we even entered, we couldn’t stop enjoying the view of the white (it wasn’t always white) architecture contrasting the gorgeous blue sky. As you enter, you feel it’s definitely a sanctuary and place of worship. So why did I say it wasn’t always white? Well, the brown square in the photo above is the original wall. It’s still there, just covered with white stucco. Originally, the church was build by hand with native soil, straw, and horse poop.
That’s all we have from Phoenix for now. There’s so much more to enjoy so you can count on us re-visiting Arizona for further exploration. Take care!