Liquid Gold in the Town Too Tough To Die

In the food and beverage world, Southeastern Arizona is primarily known for one thing: wine. Modern wine production, in Arizona, began over forty years ago, in Sonoita and Elgin, and today there are over one hundred producers, around the state, with the majority of grapes coming from the Willcox area.

This recognition stretches well beyond our state borders. Arizona wines are winning medals at prestigious competitions such as the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Wines from our state have been served in the White House. In fact, both Sonoita and Willcox have been designated American Viticultural Areas. This is all excellent exposure for Arizona and yet another example of the great things happening here. The craft beer community, however, knows there’s more than just delicious wine coming out of this corner of the state.

Last year, Tombstone Brewing Company, opened their doors immediately making their mark on the local beer landscape and it’s not difficult to see why with their catalog of quality IPAs, pale ales, sours, stouts, and a terrific series of barrel aged offerings.

Their first year of operation has seen impressive growth with the introduction of their Barrel Society, collaborations with craft beer staples like Ground Control, Wren House, and Pueblo Vida, to their new canning line. They’ve been moving at breakneck speeds to get their craft out to the world and have managed to do so without any sacrifice in quality.

I find a uniqueness to their brews. Their IPA hits everything you expect while managing to be distinctly their own take on the style and this individuality has been consistent through their other offerings. I think it’s the depth of body which puts the Tombstone Brewery stamp on their brews. I don’t know what magic their head brewer, Weedy, is working in his process but he manages bring out the subtleties in the grains and a brightness to the hops I haven’t tasted elsewhere.

My first time trying their IPA still stands out in my mind. It had a beautiful, hoppy, aroma and a refreshing first splash into the pallet. But the moment which stays so fresh in my sense memory was the full body in the mid pallet and finish. A big rush from the grains which gave the beer depth without overpowering that hoppy introduction and the confluence of both components made for a standout IPA experience.

On October 21st, Tombstone celebrated their one year anniversary and, as part of the celebration, released three canned offerings. Little Baby Wyatt Session IPA, a double dry hopped IPA, and Another Exercise in Mediocrity made their way around the state.

If their first year is any indication, I think it’s safe to say we can all expect great things to come. For my money, Tombstone is one of the best breweries in the state and with the combination of a consistent quality product and a strong vision for growth, it won’t take too long for Southeast Arizona to be known for great beer as well.

Happy Anniversary, Tombstone Brewing! We can’t wait to see what deliciousness the future brings.


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Chris Dodson

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