Why Dark Sky is the Best!

The Brew: Dark Sky Brewing
The Bottle: Snake River Black IPA
The Location: Downtown Flagstaff Taproom 117 North Beaver Street Flagstaff, AZ 86001

By Stefan Canchola – AZ Beer Jedi

Simply put, I’m in love. I’m in love with Flagstaff, AZ. I’m in love with the incredible, creative, daring, flavorful and honest beer coming out of Flagstaff. Namely I’m in love with Dark Sky Brewing.

So why Dark Sky?
In an industry with so much love, passion and support there can also be some extreme feelings and negativity about how establishments conduct business and the vision behind certain decisions. We beer geeks have a very powerful voice, sometimes for good and sometimes not as much.
I am an observer of people and trends and it is my conclusion that the good folks at Dark Sky Brewing are truly genuine people who care about what they’re doing. They are also concerned that we as a consumer audience likes what they’re doing. They listen which means they’re humble. Humble people learn and knowledge makes us better when we apply it and believe me THEY DO!

In its first two years Dark Sky has produced 100 unique beers each year. Creating 200 unique beers in two years is an incredible feat. Tapping something new every Wednesday it can be hard for the “average” beer drinker to know what to do with that because when you go in you will probably not get what you had last time. Welcome to Craft Beer!

In the beginning Dark Sky struggled to cut it’s proper place in exploding Arizona beer scene because unlike the Phoenix metro area Flagstaff is a much smaller market and as well as being a very seasonal-based town. Exposure and support was slow. Fast forward through a year of blood, sweat and tears powered by determination and growing support. By now everyone who had visited was telling anyone who would listen “You have to go to Dark Sky!”.

In September of 2016 I made my first “official” visit to the brewery (I had tasted many of the beers at Craft 64). I was utterly blown away by what I experienced. In a hop-obsessed world it was refreshing (literally) to come to a brewery and have an 8-sample beer flight of all stouts and still not have all that the menu offered. That was my first gold star.

Chance had it that a bottle of the Snake River Black IPA was still available so I secured that bad boy immediately. When I opened it….OMG!

Let’s get this clear: I’m not famous. My goal in supporting craft beer is not to grow my ego and then push it around. I’m an everyday guy who is just very passionate about great quality. You apply that to beer? Done. My point is that I don’t expect much but I will tell you this: when a business owner/brewer reaches out to you because you’re exchanging beer ideas, for a geek like me that’s special. It also says A LOT about that owner. He’s just like me and doesn’t think he’s better or beyond entertaining a conversation. Ryan, for that I thank you my man!

So you have incredible innovative with beers such as:
Key Lime Gose
Peaches and Cream Sour
Cumulus “Cloudy” IPA
VooDoo Lady Black IPA
Blood of My Enemies Sour IPA
Red Eyed Zombie Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout (thats a lot of words)
Roasted and Toasted Stout

Great ownership, friendly and personable. An incredible staff. I enjoyed many great conversations with these wonderful people.
So am I a bit smitten right now? You better believe it!
Get yourself to Dark Sky! It’s worth the drive. If you can’t get to the brewery at least check your local beer haunts to see if you can grab something from Dark Sky. You have to experience the hottest thing in Arizona Craft Beer right now. ENJOY!!!

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Erik Merkow
Founder and CEO at Az Food & Wine
Erik: a father, writer, son, photographer, corporate guy, friend, brother, and foodie wine guy

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