As many RVers and birds do, we followed suit and headed south for the winter. Tucson, Arizona, that is. And for the first time, we stayed longer than a few days, a month, actually. Which gave us plenty of time to explore the breweries and mountain biking trails in Tucson.
And there’s plenty to explore. With around 20 breweries, several noteworthy restaurants, and hundreds of miles of trails, Tucson is much more than just a vast desert with cacti and tumbleweeds blowing in the wind.
And speaking of cacti, they are quite majestic. From the squat barrel cactus to the mighty Saguaro, and all the creatures that make this stark desert come to life. And did I mention the sunsets? The glorious colors that race across the desert sky are almost as glorious as the breweries here.
Neighborhood Tucson Brewery Tours
And with so many breweries, how do you know which ones to visit? All of them, of course. But, if you can’t, we’ve got them broken down into neighborhoods, so you can visit as many as you can within the time you’ve got.
Did we visit all of them? Most, but not all. Our livers need a break every once in a while. So, while we did not visit all of them, we did do our best to list and link all of them. If you decide you want to visit all of them, well, hopefully we made that task a little bit easier for your brain to handle.
PRO TIP: Many small breweries are closed Sun-Weds. They also generally don’t open until late afternoon, so plan accordingly. Oh, and then COVID can come into play, so whatever hours may be listed on Apple or Google Maps may or may not be correct. Your best bet is to simply make a phone call and ask.
Our Tucson, Arizona, Brewery Tour
We’ll tell you what we recommend and our favorites based off of beer, ambiance, and more. What we won’t tell you is where not to go. Everyone has differing opinions on what creates a favorite place for them and there are so many subjective components that come into play when choosing favorite breweries.
If we visit a brewery and the flavor profiles of the beer there are not what our palates are looking for at that time, we’re not going to tell you it’s a bad brewery. But if a brewery has beer that has something off, such as spoilage or poorly made qualities based off of what beer is supposed to be, we’ll tell you that.
Otherwise, you’ll have to embark upon your own Tucson brewery tour. Figuring out your favorites is the fun part. We’re simply here to get you started.
The key to our faves:
🍺🍺🍺 Our favorites – Honestly, we loved all the breweries, but everyone has favorites, including us.
Which of Tucson’s best breweries are near me?
(Tucson breweries listed by neighborhood)
Catalina Brewing Company and Button Brew House are located in the Northern part of Tucson, south of Marana.
Dragoon Brewing Company, Dillinger Brewing Company, and 1912 Brewing Company are all located in the El Rio Acres area in Northern Tucson.
Firetruck Brewing Company (formerly Sentinel Peak Brewing Company) and The Address (1702) Brewing are located in Eastern Tucson near the University of Arizona.
Borderlands Brewing and Crooked Tooth Brewing, two of Tucson’s best breweries, are located in the Warehouse Arts District. Corbett Brewing was also located in Tucson’s Northern Downtown area, but appears to remain closed. We are working to verify its permanent status.
Tucson’s Congress Street District in Central Downtown is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to breweries. Pueblo Vida Brewing is the crown jewel in our opinion, but is joined by several other great breweries, such as Thunder Canyon Brewstillery, Ten55 Brewing, and Iron John’s Brewing.
The South Central Industrial District in Tucson is home to Arizona’s oldest brewery, Barrio Brewing, and one of the state’s newest, and one of our favorites, MotorSonora Brewing.
Southeastern Tucson is home to Copper Mine Brewing, Harbottle Brewing, and Blackrock Brewers
Northern Tucson (south of Marana)
Catalina Brewing Company 🍺🍺🍺 We had already been in Tucson for over three weeks, when we came across this little gem. Tucked away in a business park, this bike-themed brewery was a perfect fit for our bike-themed travels.
While we love visiting breweries with friends, when it’s just the two of us, there’s more chance of starting conversations with the beertenders….and brewers…and owners. It’s why we always say, “Say hi to a stranger…especially while sitting at a bar.”
A brewery that states they have handcrafted bike fuel is a brewery for us. That along with a shower in the bathroom – hey, could we end up here after a bike ride and take a quick shower? – We love small breweries, and this one with bikes, pinball games galore, and good beer. It’s got it all.
We only wish we would have found it sooner, so as to come back for more.
We didn’t make it to Button Brew House, so you’ll have to let us know how it is when you visit.
Northern Tucson (El Rio Acres)
Dragoon Brewing Company – Full disclosure, we didn’t make it to Dragoon this time around, but pre-COVID, we did. Walking in, we were quite impressed with their selection of a wide variety of different styles and more obscure styles of beer. Again, choosing a seat at the bar, conversations ran rampant, and the night was a success. Good beer will do that for you.
UPDATE: Dragoon’s taproom is once again open after being closed for a while due to COVID.
We didn’t make it to Dillinger Brewing Company nor 1912 Brewing Company, so you’ll have to let us know how they are when you visit. We’ve heard great things about them.
Eastern Tucson (University of Arizona)
Although we didn’t make it to this neck of the woods, and honestly didn’t hear much about these breweries, we’d love to visit when we make it back. On your Tucson brewery tour, head on over to these fine establishments. We’d love to hear what you think: Firetruck Brewing Company (formerly Sentinel Peak Brewing Company) and The Address (1702) Brewing.
Northern Downtown (Warehouse Arts District)
Crooked Tooth Brewing Company 🍺🍺🍺 This is one of our favorite breweries in Tucson. From the second you walk in the door, there’s this community vibe. With barn doors that open up to the street, you get the feeling of being in a large space with all the cozy comforts of a small brewery.
Their brews are just as beautiful and unique as their space. You’ll have to taste their Sonoran Sour Series of beers even if you classify yourself as not-a-sour fan. They are quite good. Oh, and talk about creative. How about a flight served on a skateboard? Yep!
Hungry? Right across the alley is arguably one of the best pizza places in Tucson, Anello. Serving authentic focaccia, Italian pies and freshly baked sourdough bread. Order some pies and bring it on in to Crooked Tooth. Quite possibly one of the best meals paired with some of the best beers you’ll ever have.
Borderlands Brewing Company 🍺🍺🍺 Managing to be both rustic and industrial, Borderlands has a style all its own. Located right next to the railroad tracks, the train might rattle your brain every once in a while as it passes by, but that’s just all a part of the ambiance here.
With an expansive patio and wide open taproom, this is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon hanging out drinking all the wonderful beers they have to offer. Combine those beers with some street tacos from their on-site food truck and this meal might rival the pizza one from above.
Oh, and by the way, you can walk to Borderlands from Crooked Tooth. And Corbett Brewing. And for more food and drinks. Check out Bison Witches. This is a kick-ass bar and sandwich shop that is full of so much character. Hungry or not, you must eat a sandwich from here. So good! Oh, and these places are all within a mile from each other. Speaking of walking, it’s just about a mile to walk to the next group of breweries just south of here. Put your walking shoes on and make a day (or two) of it.
But wait, there’s more to drink here. Wine! Yes, we drink wine. And if you do, too. Check out Revel Wine Bar. Cozy, cute, artistic. They specialize in European wines, and they are oh so good! We even wrote a poem while there. It was quite magical.
We didn’t make it to Corbett Brewing, as they were closed. Though we were hoping they would open back up for a future visit, they still appear to be closed, as of late 2021. A couple unconfirmed sources indicated that Corbett may be permanently closed, but we have been unable to reach anyone from Corbett to verify this. All the reviews and social media posts we could track down were from at least a year ago. If you can verify whether Corbett is closed, whether temporarily or permanently, please give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Central Downtown (Congress Street District)
Iron John’s Brewing Company – There are several taprooms in the Tucson area, so be sure to visit them all. The one we checked out was on Congress pre-COVID. Unfortunately, for now the Congress location is closed, but hopefully it will be open again soon. Its sheik style is a bit different than most small breweries. However, it matches the famous Congress Street quite perfectly.
UPDATE as of late 2021: Iron John’s Broadway and Congress locations remained closed. According to their website, the 18th Street location remained open, but was only operating on very limited hours for two days a week because of COVID-19. Again, if anyone has boots on the ground in Tucson with any further information on any of the Iron John’s locations, please hit us up at email@example.com.
And speaking of Congress, be sure to take a stroll around this neighborhood. There are many restaurants and bars to choose from and murals to check out. In fact, Tucson is full of art everywhere you look. It’s the art here that creates a vibrance in this big city, making it feel homey and eclectic.
Catch a show at the historic Hotel Congress and afterwards pull up a stool at the bar for some evening entertainment. Pre-COVID, we caught a punk rock show here, and made some interesting friends sipping on cocktails inside the bar. That’s how one visits Congress Street.
Pueblo Vida Brewing Company 🍺🍺🍺 Just around the corner from Iron John’s, you’ll find the master of Hazy IPAs in the Tucson beer scene, along with a community vibe that will keep you coming back here just to say hi.
Pueblo Vida has done a fantastic job of revitalizing a historic building. It’s wooden decor is both inviting and warm. If you love cycling, you can even store your bikes inside while grabbing that much deserved pint. Yoga classes, bike rides, cornhole tournaments, they do it all.
Ten55 Brewing Company – A short walk while touring breweries is always a pretty good idea. Head back on over to Congress Street for some more local craft beers, and grab some grub while you’re there. They also have a cool patio space with outdoor seating so you can get some fun people watching in on those sunny Tucson days.
Thunder Canyon Brewstillery – After spending most of the morning working at the coffee shop nearby, the Cartel Coffee Lab, we had to stop at the brewery. It was right next door. The second we walked in we knew this was a place to hang, drink some beer or rum, and eat some food. The people there made this place very memorable. Not only do they make their own brews, but they also make their own rum.
The old brick building gave the brewery a nostalgic vibe. With art throughout, a front patio and people that love what they do, this brewery should definitely be on your Tucson brewery tour.
From here, we headed out to dinner with friends at El Charro on Court. While this is closer to the Warehouse Arts District than downtown, it’s only a short drive away. Serving Sonoran style food, Micheladas, and prickly pear margaritas…in a century old quaint home…YUM!
South Central Tucson (Industrial District)
Barrio Brewing Company – Looking for a place with both food and beer, a group of us came upon Barrio. Just across the railroad tracks – I’d say on the right side of them – this Tucson brewery has a huge patio out front facing the street and plenty of room to sit and eat and drink inside, as well.
With 12 taps to choose from, we chose flights to sample them all, and enjoyed some amazing appetizers and conversations amongst friends. The rustic sports bar like environment is right up our alley when looking for dinner with drinks.
MotoSonora Brewing Company 🍺🍺🍺 – We can’t say enough about this place. Started from two brothers’ love of overlanding in South Africa and drinking beer around a campfire, they hooked us from the beginning. So much so, that we even came back and recorded a podcast with Jeremy (owner) and Joel (brewer).
With firepits strategically located throughout their huge backyard beer garden, damn good beer, live music, friends, an on-site diner style food truck and even a dog run, this place was one of our favorites. Yeah, it’s a bit out there, but nothing in Tucson is really that far. Make sure you’re sober and drive your butts to MotoSonora.
We think you’ll love this place as much as we do!
Copper Mine Brewing Company – This little brewery may not have other breweries surrounding it. It doesn’t even have a patio nor a quaint historical building to call home. But what it does have is fantastic beer, a good variety of it, and people who love to make the beer and serve the beer. That’s all it takes to get us in the door.
Harbottle Brewing Company – Micheladas at a brewery? In Tucson, duh! These are billed as two handed ones, too – with all the stuff. It’s almost a beer. And speaking of beer, it’s a brewery. They’ve got that, too, in this neighborhood taproom.
From traditional styles to their sour program to their barrel project, you’ll find the beer you want here and the people you love to drink it with.
We didn’t make it to Blackrock Brewers, so you’ll have to let us know how it is when you visit.
Where’s the Bike Trails?
If you’re wondering about the hundreds of trails I mentioned in the Tucson area, stay tuned. We’ve got a lot of video footage and a write-up heading your way, soon.
In the meantime, check out Tucson Mountain Park or Enchanted Hills or Sweetwater Preserve. Use Trailforks to get you started. And at least you know where to drink when you’re done riding.
All the Tucson Breweries
As mentioned above, we didn’t make it to ALL the Tucson area breweries but we want to make it easy for you to do so. So, here are all the breweries for your enjoyment. The ones we visited have an asterisk next to them, and as you may have read above, you can experience a bit of our story while visiting each of them.
- Catalina Brewing Company*🍺🍺🍺
- Button Brew House
- Dillinger Brewing Company
- Dragoon Brewing Company*
- 1912 Brewing Company
- Firetruck Brewing Company
- The Address (1702) Brewing
- Crooked Tooth Brewing Company*🍺🍺🍺
- Corbett Brewing
- Borderlands Brewing Company*🍺🍺🍺
- Iron John’s Brewing Company*
- Pueblo Vida Brewing Company*🍺🍺🍺
- Ten55 Brewing Company*
- Thunder Canyon Brewstillery*
- Barrio Brewing Company*
- MotoSonora Brewing Company*🍺🍺🍺
- Blackrock Brewers
- Copper Mine Brewing Company*
- Harbottle Brewing Company*
*Breweries we visited in the Tucson area.
🍺🍺🍺 our favorites – Honestly, we loved all the breweries, but everyone has favorites, including us.
Now, go out there and create your own story, your own epic brewery tour of Tucson, Arizona. Don’t let the cacti stop you.
Listen to our podcast episode with Jeremy and Joel from MotoSonora Brewing Company. We talk beer, yes, but also travel, overlanding, surfing and so much more.
The Craft Beer Adventure Journal
Need to keep track of all the beer you drank? What it tasted like, looked like, where you drank it? We’ve got you covered with the Craft Beer Adventure Journal. Order yours today.
The Craft Brewery and Mountain Bike Trail Finder Map
Want more craft beer travel advice on where to go? Need to visit all the breweries? Check out our brewery map, getting you the info you need on the breweries and places you want to visit.
PRO TIP: When possible, please check ahead anywhere you go. Many places are re-opening, but some may not be. Due to the C-word, you need to be prepared for restrictions and closures. Be flexible. Be kind.