Dark Sky Brewing Company
Tired of the same old, same old? That’s impossible at Dark Sky Brewing Company, northern Arizona’s newest craft brewery (May 2015). Nick Irvine, who co-owns the brewery with four other people including co-brewer Ryan Sandlin, worked as a high school science teacher for nine years before embarking on this latest adventure. He bought his father a homebrew kit for Father’s Day one year, and the Northern Arizona University grad was instantly hooked after brewing the first batch. When he met Ryan, the two started brewing beer every weekend. “The science snagged me,” he says. “It was up my alley right off the bat.”
The three-barrel brewhouse and industrial-chic taproom offers up to 13 beers on tap (check out the countertop of the bar which features fiber-optic constellations). And these aren’t your typical ambers and IPAs. Dark Sky’s goal is to brew 100 different beers in its first year. During our visit, they were brewing No. 69. This winter, offerings included Carrot Cake Belgian Golden Ale flavored with vanilla, raisins, carrots and nutmeg, as well as Wassail Pale Ale and Bloody Hell, a Bloody Mary-inspired brew. Nick says they release one or two new beers each week. “Our passion is creativity and quality,” he says. “If we were brewing the same beer over and over, it would end badly. We thrive on creativity, and craft beer has the ability to be creative moreso than wine or even whiskey. Ryan and I will sit down, drink a few beers and come up with our ideas.”
You’ll also find Dark Sky beers at restaurants and bars in Flagstaff and Phoenix. The local outdoor community loves the brewery’s “crowlers:” 32-ounce cans of beer perfect for hiking and camping. The brewery uses as many local ingredients as possible, displays local artists inside the taproom and hosts community events such as dog adoptions and nature talks. Nick says it’s a far cry from his days teaching science.
“I do get to educate adults on the science of beer, but when I was a teacher, my day was regulated by the bell,” he says. “I knew where I had to be. There was a curriculum to follow. Now I make my own schedule, but it’s a much crazier schedule. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but teaching was more relaxed than this adventure.”
WHERE: 117 N. Beaver St.; 928-440-5151. Open Wednesday through Friday, 2-10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.
DRINK: The brewery’s best-seller (though it’s not always available) is a pale ale that’s named after a trail in Sedona: the Hiline Jalapeno.
Historic Brewing Company
In recent years, women have been making headlines in the craft-beer industry, and you need look no further than Historic Brewing Company for proof. Meet Carole Kennelly, “brand warrior” and one-third owner of the company. Carole owns the brewery, which opened in October 2013, with her mom, Sherrill Kennelly, and brother, John Kennelly. The team recently hired a third brewer, Kristen Ewer, who spent three years at the famous Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware. Both Carole and Kristen are active in Flagstaff Girls Pint Out, a social group that regularly meets at area bars to share a beer. Beer isn’t just for boys anymore. “We really embrace being female in a male-dominated industry,” says Carole, who has a master’s degree in clinical psychology.
Historic Brewing is not just leading the way with women – it’s on the fast track for growth. Less than two years after opening its 15-barrel brewhouse and taproom in east Flagstaff, it opened Historic Barrel + Bottle House Flagstaff, a lively taproom, in downtown Flagstaff. As of press time, Historic Barrel + Bottle House Sedona was scheduled to open any day at The Collective (formerly Tequa Marketplace) in the Village of Oak Creek. A Williams location is set to open this month, too. (The Kennelly family have been in the food and beverage business in northern Arizona for more than 25 years, with numerous restaurants in Williams and more than 150 employees.) Historic distributes its beer to more than 300 accounts statewide and will brew 4,000 barrels in 2016.
At the east Flagstaff taproom, you’ll find 15 beers on tap. The Sedona location will offer 12. Carole says Historic’s beers all have their own unique personality (and quirky T-shirt to match). Spend any amount of time at the production facility, and it’s obvious this team has fun. “There is endless creativity in the beer industry,” Carole says. “Anything goes. This business caters to a large market, so we get to do what we want and brew what we want. If it doesn’t excite us, we don’t do it.”
WHERE: 4366 E. Huntington Drive; 855-484-4677. Open Wednesday through Friday, 3- 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 7 p.m. Check website for Barrel + Bottle House locations and hours.
DRINK: The Piehole Porter, brewed with fresh cherries and Madagascar vanilla, is the brewery’s best-seller. “It has a cult following,” says Carole.