It’s Beer O’Clock!

Continued (page 5 of 6)

The menu at the 250-seat brewpub doesn’t read like your typical pub menu, either. Most of the items are made from scratch and some are made using PBC’s own beers like the Blue Mussels Steamed in Cream Ale. And the ambience of the pub is as unique as its 1903 maple floors. When you sit at the bar, you’re next to glass windows that look down into the brewhouse. A spiral staircase allows the brewers easy access from the brewhouse to the bar. The lower dining room has windows that look into the boutique shopping mall that houses the brewpub while from the upstairs dining room diners have great views of Prescott Courthouse Square.

Prescott Brewing Company, 130 W. Gurley St. in downtown Prescott (928-771-2795);

Home brewer’s Pick: Kiss of the Hops IPA

The Grand Canyon Brewing Company

When most people hear about the three 20-something brothers who own and operate Grand Canyon Brewing Company in Williams, one word pops into their mind: inheritance. In reality, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. John Peasley, 28, and his brothers, Josh, 26, and Jeremy, 25, grew up in Phoenix and in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona. John spent four years in the Navy, and while he was stationed in Hawaii he convinced his brothers to help him open a handful of gift shops in Williams in 2002. Jeremy dropped out of high school and Josh quit his job as a cage fighter in Las Vegas to help John; four years later, John was out of the Navy, and the trio purchased Cruisers Route 66 Café. That’s when the brothers cooked up the idea of opening a brewery directly behind Cruisers.

“We got the money from the first person we pitched the idea to,” says John. “We started coming up with names, and we considered Triple J Brewing and Williams Brewing, but then we realized no one owned the name Grand Canyon Brewing. If it weren’t for that name, we wouldn’t be here today. We opened our doors in August 2007.”

The Peasley brothers built the entire brewery by hand, from the stools and bar top made from pine trees felled by bark beetle infestations to the liquor racks. An artist from California stepped forward and offered to design the company’s colorful labels that feature photos from the Grand Canyon. The 15-barrel brewhouse produced 300 barrels its first year, and this year it’s on track to brew 2,000 barrels. The Peasleys, along with brewers Eric Atherton and Andrew Carricato and a handful of employees, brew six days a week. Walk through the busy brewhouse, and you’ll find employees packaging and labeling bottles and cases by hand. The smell of mash – similar to the aroma of baking bread, though slightly more sour – fills the air. Next to a storage building stocked to the ceiling with bottles and cans just waiting to be filled, the brewery stores its used grain, which a farmer from Kingman picks up and uses to feed his animals.

Grand Canyon Brewing has seven mainstay beers: Sunset Amber Ale, American Pilsner (both brews took home bronze medals at the 2010 United States Open Beer Championship), Horseshoe Bend Pale Ale, Raspberry Wheat, White Water Wheat, Starry Night Stout and Black Iron IPA. The brewery also creates one seasonal beer, which is always a lager. John says each beer recipe was developed with Williams and the Grand Canyon’s demographic in mind: visitors and families. Grand Canyon’s brewers experiment with new recipes through home brewing.

The Peasley brothers are not short on ambition – Grand Canyon beers are now distributed all over the state both on tap and in six-packs. The beer is sold in gift shops in Williams and the Grand Canyon. The brewery tasting room is open May through September, and tours are available if you call in advance. If you find yourself in Williams at another time of the year, Cruisers offers tastings year round.

John, who says he orders a microbrew whenever he goes out to eat, wants to grow the brewhouse from 7,500-square-feet to a 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot facility over the next few years. Grand Canyon brews will be sold in California and Nevada by the end of 2011. And John admits that he and his brothers have their disagreements, but overall the three work well together.

“We’re a tight-knit group,” he says. “I convinced my brother to forget his education, trust me and help run this place – we all have a vested interest. We’re always here – seven days a week. This is our life.”

The Grand Canyon Brewing Company, 233 W. Route 66 in Williams (928-635-2168);

Home brewer’s Pick: Starry Night Stout

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