Fourteen Tucson breweries are going head to head for the 2018 Beer Cup.
Hosted by Hotel Congress, the seventh annual Born & Brewed Beer Battle celebrates Tucson’s bustling craft beer scene.
At the Sept. 15 event, attendees will get to taste local craft beers while enjoying beer-paired food provided by the Cup Cafe and listening to live music.
Last year, Borderlands Brewing Co. took the Judge’s and People’s Choice honors. Crooked Tooth Brewing Co. received the Judge’s Choice best specialty beer title. The Judge’s Choice Best Flagship Beer award went to Copper Mine Brewing Co.
This year’s competing breweries are:
- 1912 Brewing Co.
- Barrio Brewing Co.
- BlackRock Brewers
- Borderlands Brewing Co.
- Catalina Brewing Co.
- Copper Mine Brewing Co.
- Crooked Tooth Brewing Co.
- Dillinger Brewing Co.
- Green Feet Brewing
- Harbottle Brewing Co.
- Public Brewhouse
- Sentinel Peak Brewing Co.
- Ten55 Brewing
- Thunder Canyon Brewstillery
Judging this year’s competition is the Tucson Homebrew Club.
The Born & Brewed Beer Battle is from 7 to 10 p.m. General admission is $35, which includes tasting of each competing craft beer, a commemorative tasting glass and a plate of beer-paired food from the Cup Cafe.
VIP tickets are $75 each, which in addition to tastings of each competing craft beer and a commemorative tasting glass, includes early-bird access, a spot in a VIP lounge, an exclusive VIP beer mug, and access to a VIP menu.
After you are done at Born & Brewed, hit all of these breweries in Tucson:
All of Tucson's breweries broken down by region
Downtown — Borderlands Brewing, 119 E. Toole Ave.
Borderlands Brewing was one of the first in the new class of craft beer breweries, launching in what was once an old train depot for produce, in 2011. The brewery has one of the best chocolate beers in the state (a seasonal German Chocolate Cake porter), regular live music acts and science lectures (for the university crowd). Grab a pint at the right time and feel the rumble of trains passing just behind the building.
Downtown — Pueblo Vida Brewing, 115 E. Broadway
Known for its tasty experimental beer infusions, Pueblo Vida can be found in a historic building on the east end of Broadway downtown, just west of the new AC Hotel by Marriott. The brewery has a casual atmosphere with an ongoing list of events, including regular yoga classes and beer releases.
Downtown — Ten55 Brewery and Sausage House, 110 E. Congress
Ten Fifty-Five Brewing Company recently made the leap from South Palo Verde Road to a a spot right in the heart of downtown, 110 E. Congress. The brewery now goes by Ten55 Brewery and Sausage House, in part because it now serves a sizable menu of tasty brats, sandwiches and beer-kissed goodies from Emily Peterson, owner of Beer Geek Bakery.
Downtown — Thunder Canyon Brewstillery, 220 E. Broadway
Another old guard brewery, Thunder Canyon recently closed its northwest location at the Foothills Mall and is now focusing all of its efforts on its “brewstillery” downtown, across the street from Pueblo Vida. Thunder Canyon has been serving beers and its own cuisine in Tucson since 1997. It opened its Broadway location in 2011 and has since expanded into the spirits business (hence the name).
Downtown - Corbett Brewery, 309 E. Seventh St.
Corbett Brewery offers a nice pit stop for craft beer enthusiasts taking the 15-minute walk from Ermanos on North Fourth Avenue to Tap & Bottle on North Sixth Avenue.
The brewery regularly hosts lives music, has a chill environment and lots of exposed brick (in true downtown brewery fashion).
Downtown — Crooked Tooth Brewing Company, 228 E. Sixth St.
Slightly off the beaten path, Crooked Tooth can be found in what once was an old mechanic's shop at East Sixth Street and North Sixth Avenue. The brewery’s location puts it in close proximity to Tap & Bottle, down the street on North Sixth Avenue, and North Fourth Avenue, which is a couple blocks east. It has a nice, open patio area, a regular rotating list of Crooked Tooth originals. Stop in for a pint before grabbing an artisanal pizza at Anello next door.
Downtown — Barrio Brewing, 800 E. 16th St.
Owned and operated by Dennis Arnold, an elder statesman of craft brewing in Tucson, Barrio Brewing has been serving beer and food made in-house in what used to be the Tucson Warehouse & Transfer Co. for the last decade. Arnold had previously brewed out of Gentle Ben’s, which he opened in 1991 and has now sold. Outdoor seating is available.
Downtown — Public Brewhouse, 209 N. Hoff Ave.
Located in the building that used to house Hamilton Distillers, Public Brewhouse shares the same back courtyard area with Ermanos Craft Beer and Wine Bar on North Fourth Avenue. The Brewhouse is one of the more underrated breweries in Tucson, but well worth a visit. Live music is a common occurrence and board games are available for play.
Downtown honorable mentions
While they don’t make their own beers, Tap & Bottle, at 403 N. Sixth Ave., and Ermanos Craft Beer and Wine Bar, 220 N. Fourth Ave., deserve honorable mentions for the sheer amount of craft beer they offer the Tucson community. Tap & Bottle has more than 20 beers on tap and coolers full of brewery stock from all over the country. Ermanos has 40 taps (according to its latest online beer list). And Iron John's Brewing Company opened a brand new taproom on at 222 East Congress in July.
West — Dragoon Brewing Company, 1859 W. Grant Road
Another early participant in the most recent craft beer boom, Dragoon is a heavy hitter throughout the state and recently doubled its brewing capacity to meet distribution demands. The brewery’s taproom has ample seating and up to 11 of its own beers on tap at any given time for those willing to make the trip west of Interstate 10. Food trucks are in regular rotation in the parking lot.
West — 1912 Brewing Company, 2045 N. Forbes Blvd.
Located down the street and around the corner from Dragoon Brewing Company, 1912 offers comfortable surroundings and some damn good beer. The brewery holds regular pairings, tap takeovers and other beer-themed activities.
West — Dillinger Brewing Company, 3895 N. Oracle Road
Dillinger Brewing Company has the distinction of being the only brewery on North Oracle Road, one of the main thoroughfares connecting the downtown/university area with the breweries on Tucson’s northwest side. Owner Eric Sipe runs the day-to-day in 2,400 square feet of industrial space that used to be an embroidery shop and dry cleaning business. Dillinger is always experimenting, but has its staples, including its Serrano Seduction, a desert wheat ale brewed with Mexican Serrano peppers and Hatch green chile peppers from New Mexico.
Northwest — Catalina Brewing Company, 6918 N. Camino Martin
The closure of the Ina Road exit on Interstate 10, (from which Camino Martin is a 2-minute drive) makes getting to Catalina Brewing a little more challenging. For craft beer enthusiasts, the trip is well worth it, especially with a second brewery, Button Brew House, located right around the corner. With avid cyclists as its owners, Catalina sports a bike theme and has a significant following for its Saturday yoga events. Catalina serves seasonal beers and regular staples.
Northwest — Button Brew House, 6800 N. Camino Martin
Named for owners Todd and Erika Button, Button Brew House is one of Tucson’s newest breweries, located within walking distance of Catalina Brewing. Todd Button is a perfectionist when it comes to making beer, so expect some high quality pints during your visit. Button Brew House has both indoor and outdoor seating and is open seven days a week. The brewery celebrates its one-year anniversary this Saturday!
Northwest honorable mentions
Tap & Bottle North, 7254 N. Oracle Road, is the northwest outpost of the original Tap & Bottle on North Sixth Avenue, which means you can expect the same level of quality in the beers on tap and being sold by the bottle.
Casa Marana Craft Beer + Wine, 8225 N. Courtney Page Way, is located off of Cortaro Road in Marana and was launched by Kyle Schwab, the fellow behind Casa Film Bar, the taproom within Casa Video on East Speedway.
Midtown — The Address Brewing, 1702 E. Speedway
The Address nanobrewery occupies the same space as 1702, a popular University-area pizza joint known for its gigantic slices and craft choices on tap. You can find Address beer primarily at 1702 and at Bear Canyon Pizza, 8987 E. Tanque Verde Road, which is co-owned by Address head brewer Austin Santos.
Midtown — Iron John’s Brewing Company, 245 S. Plumer Ave.
Iron John’s is a smaller brewery, just south of Broadway, with a feel more like a winery tasting room than a brewery taproom. The spot belongs to “Iron John” Adkisson, a well-respected, Yoda-like figure in the local craft beer scene. Adkisson is known for his higher-end offerings, available in restaurants and taprooms around town.
Adkission opened a taproom in the former home of Tucson Olive Central, 222 E. Congress, downtown, in July.
Midtown honorable mentions
Located in the eclectic Metal Arts Village at 3230 N. Dodge Blvd., Tucson Hop Shop offers nearly 20 beers on tap at any given time, with plenty of bottle options and patio seating. If movies are your thing, head to Casa Film Bar, 2905 E. Speedway, and enjoy a good film with a pint of your favorite stout or IPA.
If you want a tasty slice of pizza named after a horror movie slasher with your pint of beer, visit Serial Grillers' original brick-and-mortar location at 5737 E. Speedway. The local joint also has locations at 1970 W. River Road and 7585 S. Houghton Road in the Rita Ranch area.
South — Green Feet Brewing Company, 3669 E. 44th St.
Another understated option for craft beer in Tucson is Green Feet Brewing, which can be found right down the street from Copper Mine Brewing. Located in a business park, it is easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there. The interior is modest, but the beer is where Green Feet truly shines (something that all breweries should strive for). Owner Scott Peterson will provide good conversation to match if you catch him on beertending duties. Green Feet is open Wednesdays-Saturdays.
South — Copper Mine Brewing Company, 3455 S. Palo Verde Road
Another brewery in the South Palo Verde/East Ajo Way area, Copper Mine is located just south of East 44th Street and is easy to see from the street. The brewery has up to ten beers on tap and food trucks out on the weekends. It is open Tuesdays through Sundays.
South — Harbottle Brewing Company, 3820 S. Palo Verde Road
A brewery years in the making, Harbottle launched in early February and is the last new brewery on the books slated to open in 2018 (not counting the Borderlands/Sentinel Peak collaborative effort known as Voltron Brewing).
The brewery can be found in a strip mall on the southwest corner of East Ajo Way and South Palo Verde, next to Chopstix Chinese restaurant. It is a short drive from the cluster of breweries that reside on and around East 44th Street, including Copper Mine Brewing and Green Feet Brewing.
East — BlackRock Brewers, 1664 S. Research Loop
Due to the lack of spaces with the appropriate zoning, breweries can be hard to come by on Tucson’s east side. BlackRock Brewers has the distinction of being farther east than any other brewery in town. It is located off of South Pantano Road, just south of East 22nd Street. It has plenty of seating, food trucks and a roster of rotating beers. It is open seven days a week and tries to bring in food trucks daily.
East — Sentinel Peak Brewing Company, 4746 E. Grant Road
Sentinel Peak Brewing Company is one of very few breweries in the area located in an actual shopping center, with a PetSmart, Chuze Fitness and a Chipotle, making it a convenient stop if you are out running errands. The brewery has five flagship beers and at least five more rotating options. Seating is plentiful, both indoor and out. It also makes its own cocktails and food.
Sentinel Peak will soon be producing its beer downtown as part of collaborative effort with Borderlands Brewing call Voltron Brewing.
East-side honorable mentions
Arizona Beer House, 150 S. Kolb Road, has the most expansive selection of beers on Tucson’s east side, with 34 beers on tap and hundreds of bottles to choose from. The taproom has regular food trucks and a decent amount of seating (though none outdoors). Far east-siders should try Saguaro Corners, 3750 S. Old Spanish Trail, which comes with true Southwest ambience, a full menu and more than 30 craft beer options to choose from. Bonus: It is located five minutes from Saguaro National Park East. If you are in the East Tanque Verde area, visit Bear Canyon Pizza, at 8987 E. Tanque Verde Road, for more than 30 beers on tap (and pizza!).