The new year is soon upon us, boils and ghouls, making this the last Masters of Brewtality column of 2019. It’s been a wild, drunken year down here in the crypt, and the freaks and geeks that make up the MOB staff have spent as much time as inhumanly as possible trying the best beers Flagstaff has to offer. So, without further ado and in no particular order, we’re spotlighting our favorite brews complete with pairing suggestions from each of our city’s noble breweries.
Mother Road: At this point, saying your favorite beer at Mother Road is Tower Station is akin to saying your favorite food is the edible kind. Tower Station is one of the state’s most popular brews and with good cause. It’s light, well-balanced and hoppy without flooding the drinker’s mouth with the sting of an entire pine forest. Making a standout IPA in one of the most saturated styles on the planet right now is no small feat, and Mother Road absolutely killed it. We’ve been on an Asian pairing kick with it lately, which might sound weird at first, but a good pint of Tower with some sweet teriyaki is the bee’s knees.
Wanderlust: Again, we’re sticking with the beloved standard at everyone’s favorite hidden brewery: the classic 928. This 8 percent Belgian-inspired Farmhouse Ale is brewed with the first patented yeast strain from Flagstaff and is a great take on one of the oldest styles of beer out there. We love the 928 with a good charcuterie board. The funk of a ripe cheese and the smokiness of cured meat pairs perfectly with its floral and fruity aromas and dry finish.
Historic: This time of year, we’re all about the holiday edition of the Piehole Porter. With additional vanilla and chocolate added to its already cherry tickled deliciousness, this is the ideal desert beer. There are a couple schools of thought on pairing flavors. The first, which is all fine and dandy, is to go with opposing profiles to draw attention to the differences in the taste of both the food and beverage. The other is to just stack complementary flavors on top of each other and go full hog on everything. The wingnuts in the Masters of Brewtality crypt are firmly on that train, recommending a chocolate molten cake with the beer. You only live once. It might as well be full of booze and sugar.
Beaver Street/Lumberyard: We’re going with Flagstaff’s first fruit-infused beer here at Flagstaff’s first craft brewery. The Red Rock Raspberry has been a favorite of the MOB staff since we first crept into Flagstaff under the cover of night way back in 2002. Light, slightly sour and with a refreshing blast of raspberry flavor, we’re all about a few of these with Lumberyard’s Irish Egg Rolls. This combo is all about those conflicting flavors. Sweet beverage, succulent, rich food.
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Flag Brew: While the Bubbaganouj IPA is always a favorite, we’re going with the Agassiz Amber simply because Flagstaff Brewing Company has one of our favorite burgers in the downtown area. A fine burger drenched in BBQ sauce and covered in crispy bacon just begs for a straight-ahead, beer-flavored beer, and these two go together like witches and black cats. Start the meal off right with a shot from the city’s widest selection of whiskey on the patio and warm the taste buds for a meal/beer combo to die for.
Grand Canyon Brewing: The new kids on the block, at least here in Flagstaff. But Grand Canyon Brewing has already endeared itself in the black hearts of the MOB staff with their rustic skull décor and close proximity to a cemetery. We’re going to suggest their Black Iron IPA as its rich hoppy and fruity flavors plus a fantastic 6.3 percent ABV punch makes it perfect for all-night fun fest in front of their massive stone fireplace.
Dark Sky: Given that it’s practically a new brewery every week and it regularly turns out more than 100 beers every year, this is a little hard to nail down, but, we’re going to do it anyway. The MOB staff has been obsessed with the Nutty Buddies lately. At 9 percent ABV, it tastes exactly like a Little Debbie Nutty Bar. (It’s also brewed with 60 pounds of Nutty Bars.) This is a truly dangerous craft beer, and we love to live dangerously. Running with the hedonism theme, we’re going to suggest getting a chocolate gelato from Pizzicletta because, hey, it’s winter, why not have ice cream?
Happy holidays from your fiends at Masters of Brewtality.