A Tour of Tucson’s Best Breweries

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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.

The beauty of the Arizona desert

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, what then? Searching “breweries near me” in Tucson can simply overwhelm you. We’ve done the footwork for you and broken down the many Tucson breweries by their neighborhoods, so you can visit as many as you want 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 favoritesHonestly, 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)

What breweries are located in Northern Tucson, south of Marana?

Catalina Brewing Company and Button Brew House are located in the Northern part of Tucson, south of Marana.

What breweries are located in Northern Tucson in the El Rio Acres area?

Dragoon Brewing Company, Dillinger Brewing Company (out of business as of October 2023), and 1912 Brewing Company are all located in the El Rio Acres area in Northern Tucson.

What breweries are located in Eastern Tucson near the University of Arizona?

Firetruck Brewing Company (formerly Sentinel Peak Brewing Company) and one of the two Iron John’s Brewing locations are located in Eastern Tucson near the University of Arizona. The Address (1702) Brewing went out of business in May of 2022.

What breweries are located in Tucson’s Northern Downtown area, also known as the Warehouse Arts District?

Borderlands Brewing, Crooked Tooth Brewing, and Corbett Brewing are located in the Warehouse Arts District.

What breweries are located in Tucson’s Central Downtown area in the Congress Street District?

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 Thunder Canyon Brewstillery, another great brewery. The Iron John’s Brewing location on Congress Street is now Juniper, a gin-focused cocktail bar and Ten55 Brewing ceased operations on January 24, 2023.

Voltron Brewing is a joint venture between Borderlands Brewing and Fire Truck Brewing. They have a small taproom serving beers from both breweries located a few blocks southeast of Pueblo Vida Brewing and Thunder Canyon Brewstillery.

What breweries are located in South Central Tucson’s Industrial District?

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. It is also home to one of the two Iron John’s Brewery locations.

What breweries are located in Southeastern Tucson?

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 first came across this little gem. We’ve since returned several times. 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 crank flight at Catalina

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 missed Button Brew House ???????????? on our first brewery tour of Tucson. We have since rectified that situation and are certainly glad that we did. Button has great beer and a community-minded, welcoming atmosphere with lots of indoor space and a large outdoor area, as well.

All of the Button Brew House beers we’ve tried have been good, but a couple standouts were their Chiltepín Red (a slightly spicy Irish Red Ale) and their American Muscle Milk (a hoppy American strong ale). They also have multiple variations of Micheladas, as well as several beer blends, mixing different combos and percentages of their various beers.

Beer Bar / Bottle Shop Bonus!

Not far from Catalina Brewing Company and Button Brew House is a great beer bar called Caps & Corks. This is a gem among Beer Bars and Bottle Shops. Caps & Corks has around 25 well curated taps with an amazing variety from around the country and sometimes a few international options. In addition to a fantastic tap wall, Caps & Corks has multiple coolers, again with some stunning selections from across the country and the globe, for purchase both on-site and to-go. They also carry some wonderful wines and meads.

Northern Tucson (El Rio Acres)

Dragoon Brewing Company – We were quite impressed with Dragoon’s selection, offering a wide variety of different 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.

Artwork at Dragoon

We eventually made it to Dillinger Brewing Company, but sadly, not before they closed down. We tried to visit the taproom on East Ninth Street, only to discover we had arrived a few days after Dillinger’s last day of operations on October 31, 2023. A new beer focused bar called Traxide Taproom had already taken over the East Ninth Street space, which included the final brewing efforts of Dillinger, so we at least tasted some of the fine beverages they had been making.

We were told by a former Dillinger employee that they sold their brewing equipment and some sour-focused recipes to local restaurant chain Serial Grillers, which intended to start brewing under the name Mosaic Brewing at Dillinger’s original production location on Oracle. We were also told that fellow Tucson brewery Borderlands bought several other recipes and other Dillinger’s intellectual property.

We haven’t yet made it to Dillinger Brewing Company nor 1912 Brewing Company, so you’ll have to let us know how they are when you visit or we’ll update you when we do. We’ve heard great things about both.

Eastern Tucson (University of Arizona)

Eastern Tucson is home to a couple of good, straightforward breweries: Firetruck Brewing Company (formerly Sentinel Peak Brewing Company) and one of two Iron John’s Brewing Company locations. Both make good beer, but don’t generally stray too far off the traditional craft beer path. The Address (1702) Brewing was also located in Eastern Tucson near the University of Arizona, but has gone out of business.

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!

A skateboard flight and pizza at Crooked Tooth

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.

Pinky up at Borderlands

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.

Borderlands is within walking distance of Crooked Tooth and Corbett Brewing, which are located within a couple blocks of each other. And for more food and drinks, check out Bison Witches. This is a kick-ass bar and sandwich shop that is chock-full of 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.

Good grub and beer at Bison Witches

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.

Revel Wine Bar

Central Downtown (Congress Street District)

Iron John’s Brewing Company had three taprooms in the Tucson area. The one we checked out was on Congress Street, but that location has since become a gin-focused bar called Juniper. The existing Iron John’s Brewing locations are on East Broadway in Eastern Tucson and near Barrio in the Industrial District of South Central Tucson.

Flights are a beautiful sight.

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.

Art is everywhere here.

Catch a show at the historic Hotel Congress and afterwards pull up a stool at the bar for some evening entertainment. 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 Juniper (formerly) Iron John’s, you’ll find the master of Hazy IPAs on 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.

Enjoying the beer at Pueblo Vida

Ten55 Brewing Company – Was a good Tucson brewpub with a solid variety of craft beers and excellent grub coupled with a cool patio space with outdoor seating primed for people watching. Sadly, Ten55 ceased operations in January 24, 2023. One of the many casualties in the maturing American craft beer market.

Ten55 patio

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.

Thunder Canyon Beers

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.

Voltron Brewing is a joint effort combining the forces of Borderlands Brewing and Fire Truck Brewing with a small taproom just a few blocks southeast of Pueblo Vida Brewing and Thunder Canyon Brewstillery.

From here, head 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!

Outside entrance to El Charro

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.

Mural on the wall at Barrio

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).

Patio love at MotoSonora

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 MotoSonora place as much as we do!

Southeastern Tucson

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.

Copper Mine

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.

Harbottle storefront

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.

Waiting to ride

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.

*Breweries we visited in the Tucson area.
???????????? our favoritesHonestly, 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.

Want More?

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.

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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.

Craft brewery and mountain bike trail finder map

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.


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