Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company

There are new brewing companies popping up all across the Valley, and Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company is one of the latest and greatest. Sheryl came down here a few weeks ago for a growler of the Superstition Coffee Stout, but didn’t stay long. Since we were going to be in Mesa today, we decided to bring our laptops and write a review of this place. The Superstition Coffee Stout is a GREAT beer, so I am excited to try all their beers and maybe order something to eat.

On our way here, I asked Sheryl how many beers they had on tap. I have been following along on Facebook, but everyone has only been talking about 1 or 2 of their beers. I was hoping they would have several so we could order a flight and try them all. Sure enough they have 6 beers on tap, including:

  1. Estrella Pale Ale
  2. Superstition Coffee Stout
  3. Big Gye Rye
  4. Wabayuma Witbier
  5. Refuge IPA
  6. Bear Wallow Berliner Weisse

They list a lot of great information on their beer menu about these beers. From the ABV to the IBU, it is all here to make sure you pick the beer that is right for your palate. Here is what they had to say about these beers.

Estrella Pale Ale
ABV: 4.8%
IBU: 50

An easy drinking American pale ale based on balance between the hops and malt profiles. A touch of rolled oats adds a bigger mouthfeel.

They also mention food pairings for each beer, but I am more focused on the beer than I am the food. I actually didn’t know they served food. Can’t wait to try something off the menu!

Superstition Coffee Stout
ABV: 5.7%

Coffee and beer. A locally owned coffee roaster, Superstition Coffee Company, provided the beans which were cold steeped in the finished beer for 48 hours along with Mexicans vanilla for a smooth latte like finish. You’ll find this beer roasty and robust along with notes of dark bitter chocolate.

Big Gye Rye
ABV: 7.1%
IBU: 90

This is the big brother of the Lil Gye Rye! As you can gather from the name, its bigger in every category. Nelson, Simcoe, Chinook and Columbus add a dry hop aroma similar to walking through hop fields during harvest. A nice rye spiciness, a caramel note from the specialty malt along with a strong hop bitterness make this BIG GYE!

Wabayuma Witbier
ABV: 4.9%

Wit, referring to the white head from high wheat content, is a highly refreshing beer with a rich history between French/Belgium border. The protein casts a light haze and the yeast lends to orange/pear notes. Lightly hopped, this ale is bittered with coriander along with a local tea blend from Espresso Italia in Tempe containing: chamomile, hibiscus and orange peel. A hot summer day’s best friend.

Refuge IPA
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 75

Hop Heads unite! This West Coast Style IPA feeds the hops fiends that clamor for the greenery. Just remember, tons of bitterness from hops is different from tons of flavor from hops. We add pounds of late boil hops to impart flavor rather than harsh, tongue buckling, bitterness. Mango, melon and fresh cut pine fill the air, and you are taken to your refuge! Chinook, Simcoe, 7 C’s and Columbus are all to blame for your love of our take on the IPA.

Bear Wallow Berliner Weisse
ABV: 3.2%

This ain’t your granddaddy’s wheat ale! We embrace the crazy things that some other breweries will not speak of. “All of the bugs and critters,” as we say, go bonkers in the mash tun creating a sour mash. Similar to making yogurt and sauerkraut, a controlled temperature produces a uniquely elegant and acidic flavor from lactic acid from the good bacteria. Need not worry! We boil to politely “remove” the little guys. Refreshing, delightful, tangy and just plain wonderful!

While I was drinking, I was tracking my beers on Untappd. If you like to drink craft beer, I highly recommend using this app. It not only allows you to track your beers, but you can also rate the beer, connect the app to Foursquare and share your location and leave tasting notes for future reference. There are also badges that you can unlock that make using the app more fun.

Here is my take on the beers.

Estrella Pale Ale

I am not a big fan of pale ales, but this one is easy to drink and offers a nice hoppy finish. Since I love hops, I rarely order a pale ale. I would never order a pint of this… But I am glad this was on the flight. Speaking of the flight, the samples were big enough for Sheryl and I to share.

If you want to try a good example of a pale ale that will serve as a gateway to your first India pale ale, this is a good place to start. But I can’t wait for that IPA.

Superstition Coffee Stout (We also wrote an “off the wall” beer review of this one.)

I am speaking on memory here, but this was REALLY good. Most coffee beers don’t taste like coffee! But Arizona Wilderness used a local coffee roaster and has released a great example of what this style is all about. Even cold this beer tastes like coffee. I like iced coffee, so I should know! As this beer heats to room temperature, the coffee notes really open up and the true character of this beer comes out. If you can drink a beer at room temperature, and still enjoy it, that is the sign of a well made beer. Yummy!

Big Gye Rye

The IPA is better than the Big Gye. Now… Before you get upset, let me explain. I love hops, and while this has a lot of nice hoppy notes to it, the hops are balanced by the malts they used in this. Because of the way this beer was produced, this beer has a much better and more finished mouthfeel. The finish on this is great, and I can see hwy people

Wabayuma Witbier

This isn’t my favorite style, but they did a good job with this basic and typically boring white beer. There is a nice mouthfeel producing just the right amount of bubbles, with a nice finish that produces an unexpected spiciness. Sheryl just said, “So far I like that one the best.” I beg to differ. I am only through 2, 3 if you count the Superstition Coffee Stout that I has last week) and I already like the Berliner Weisse best. That will be hard to top as I LOVE sour beers.

Refuge IPA

Holy. Crap. That is SO hoppy!!! Man, I love hops and this is just a glass of liquid hops all around. They called it a West Coast IPA, and they hit the nail on the head with this one. I am talking an onslaught of hoppy goodness here. I can already tell you Sheryl won’t like this one. This is just a ridiculous amount of hops they used in this. Unless the Big Gye Rye blows my mind, this is the best beer they will ever make.

Bear Wallow Berliner Weisse

The first sip of this low ABV beer had my sucking my lips it was so sour. I have had some pretty sour beers, but for a brand new brewing company, I didn’t expect this much attention to the quality of a release. I really like this beer, if nothing else for how tart it is. I also like the lingering finish this beer produces. Like I said, this beer has a low ABV. But that’s OK. Not all good beers need to have high alcohol. I also think you will start seeing a trend in lower ABV beers in the coming months/years as breweries try to deal with an ever-changing craft beer scene.

While we were drinking our way through the beers, Sheryl ordered some Belgian fries. They came with a couple of dipping sauces and the fries were great by themselves. Of course, the BBQ and the chili sauce were delightful. Not sure if the menu mentions this, but the chili flavor compliments with the IPA.

Nearly all of the beers at Arizona Wilderness deserve the hype. Considering they just opened, I am blown away with the quality of the beer and look for more great things to come from these guys. I wish they were a little closer to my house, but for beer this good it’s worth it.

What is your favorite beer from Arizona Wilderness Brewing?

*On the Big Gye Rye and the Refuge IBU the menu didn’t list the IBU exactly. They are a new brewing company, so I won’t hold it against them!

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