Did I miss a meeting?

Have you ever heard of yuzu fruit? I hadn’t. But, it seems it’s a Japanese citrus fruit, similar in flavor to a grapefruit. Why should you or I care? Well, last Saturday I went to my favorite bar/comic book store combination – The Geek Easy to play board games and drink beer (because what better way is there to spend a Saturday?) When I got to the The Geek Easy I did what I always do. I searched through their coolers to find anything I hadn’t had before. The first think I stumbled on was Fugli by Oskar Blues.

Oskar Blues Fugli

I know what ugli fruit is, but yuzu was certainly new.  The beer was refreshing, the games were fun, and the company couldn’t have been better.  Great day.

On the way home I picked up the new Sierra Nevada Beer Camp 12 pack.  On Sunday I had some friends over for a Corgi party.

Corgi Party

We tapped into the Beer Camp 12 pack and guess what we found?

Sierra Nevada and Kiuchi Brewery White IPA with Yuzu

Yup.  A beer brewed with Yuzu.  I laughed, enjoyed the beer and watched the corgis play for a while.  It was a good day.

Then, on Friday, I hit the company bar (yes, my company has a bar, and I have the best employers in the world).  Someone had freshly stocked it with a mixed 12 pack of Sam Adams.  Guess what I see right up in the front of the refrigerator?

Samuel Adams Tropic of Yuzu

I’ve seen trends start quickly in the alcohol industry (hard root beer, sour beers, etc.). But, this is ridiculous.  To come across three beers in one week that have yuzu… somebody had a meeting somewhere to which I was, obviously, not invited.  Why the sudden fascination with yuzu? Was there a brewers party somewhere that it was served?  I really want to know.

This brewery is like a TARDIS

I often come to expect what a brewery will look like based on what I know about it.  My friends in Phoenix wanted to meet up at Goldwater Brewing Co. in downtown Scottsdale and then go somewhere for dinner.  There are some key phrases there that create expectations in my mind.  First, it’s a downtown brewery (downtown real estate tends to be pricey).  Second, it does not have food.  These lead me to believe that Goldwater was going to be a pretty small brewery.  As I pulled up in front of the brewery, these expectation were met with a small storefront space and a small (although really cool) tap room.

Goldwater Brewing Co. exterior
Goldwater Brewing Co. tap room equipment

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying in any way shape or form that a small taproom is a bad thing.  I actually really like the quiet and intimate environment that a small taproom provides.  I was perfectly happy to meet my friends in this great taproom that had a large and interesting variety of beers.  I got myself a pint of the Desert Rose cactus ale and some spicy jalapeño popcorn and then talked to the bartenders about Goldwater Brewing while I waited for my friends to show up.  The Desert Rose cactus ale description on the menu said that the beer was “20 years in the making” and I had to find out just what that meant.  Turns out it was the very first beer that one of the founding brewers made as a home brewer 20 years ago and he had been brewing it ever since.

Eventually, some of my friends arrived and the first thing they asked was “did you see the rest of the place yet”?   I shot the bartender a hurt look that intended to say “why didn’t you tell me there was a rest-of-the-place?” and said to my friends “what rest of the place?” Turns out Goldwater Brewing has three levels and two taprooms!  Let’s take a walk through to see just how big this place is.

I had been hanging out in the main tap room.  Now, we picked up and moved to the second tap room called the Goldmine Basement Tap Room where you can get specialty and barrel aged beers.

Goldwater Brewing Co. Goldmine Basement Tap Room

The basement taproom is really interesting as it was once a shooting range. There are concrete tubes down there where people would practice shooting. Goldwater was even nice enough to leave a target hanging in one of the tubes.

Goldmine Basement Tap Room shooting tube

Now, Goldwater uses these tubes to hold taproom equipment that just happens to fit really well.

Goldmine Basement Tap Room equipment

The cool factor of Goldwater Brewing definitely shot up about 1000% at this point.  And it was pretty high to begin with.

Quick side note.  I learned something on this trip. Know what you’ll find in every pretty much every building in Arizona?  A water cooler.

Arizona mandatory water cooler

I’ve been told that it is illegal to refuse anyone water in the state of Arizona, although I was not able to verify that.  But, you will definitely see water coolers everywhere.

But I digress.  I had a great evening hanging out with a group of my Arizona buddies and walked away with a crowler of Goldwater Brewing 2 Year Anniversary Barley Wine.  This visit was definitely a win.

Arizona beer cadre

Oops!

Sometime you just get lucky.  I don’t want to say where I purchased this beer as a single because I don’t want to get anyone in trouble.  I was going through a local store picking out singles that I don’t have yet for the collection.  Let’s not forget that the whole point of what I’m doing here is about the bottle and can collection after all.  I came across a UFO Sample Batch Fall Seasonal and stuck it in the cart with the rest of the singles, not really giving it much thought.

UFO Sample Batch Fall Seasonal

Once I got it home and started logging in all my new beers, I looked more closely at the label and saw that this particular little little doohickey was not supposed to be sold.

Not for resale!

I tried looking it up on line and I don’t see any information on it yet.  I suppose it’s possible that this just happens to come in the latest UFO sampler pack.   But I don’t think so.  Does anyone have any information on this beer?

Is that a cockatoo in your pocket?

I have done all the legwork to prep for my trip to Phoenix and the big day has finally arrived.  I land at 12:30 pm (Arizona time) and can’t check into the hotel until 4 pm.  What, oh what, am I going to do with my time while I wait?  Fortunately, I’m a man with a plan.  I get my rental car and head straight to the brewery that looked best for getting pictures.  Those that know me know that I am an animal lover.  However, those that really, really know me know that I’m not really a bird person.  I’ve had dogs and cats who’s owners claim to hate everyone just saunter right on up to me and have a grand old time.  Birds, on the other hand, just don’t seem to like me.  Except for cockatoos.  No idea why that particular exception exists.  Parrots and parakeets bite at me.  Cockatoos put their head down and get close to the bars of the cage so I can scratch their neck.  But I digress.  Regardless of my personal attitude towards birds, The Perch Brewery in Chandler, AZ is a definite must see and a place that I had to bring the 360 camera.

Cockatoo at The Perch Brewery
Slew of other birds at The Perch Brewery
Fancy outhouses at The Perch Brewery

Turns out I made a fantastic choice for the first brewery to hit up on my trip.  Not only did they have a great beer selection, they also had some really interesting food choices.  I got the “Pig Wings”  which are beer marinated pork shanks, dry rubbed, fried, and then grilled.  They look like chicken wings and taste incredible.

Pig Wings at The Perch Brewery

But the real treat was still to come.  Even though I came to The Perch to see the wildlife, I found out that they are super serious about being a cutting edge brewery.  I got a chance to speak with one of the brewers who showed me their stone fermenter.  The Perch has the only stone fermenter in Arizona, and there are less than 10 stone fermenters anywhere in the country.  This is going to give The Perch a great opportunity to play around with some really unique flavors.  My only regret is that their first batch wasn’t going to be ready until just after I had to leave Arizona. What a shame.

Stone fermenter at The Perch Brewery

After all that excitement, I scored what I’m always there for.  I got a growler of their Belgian Peach ale to add to the collection.

Perch Brewery growler of Belgian Peach