Prescott, Arizona: New Breweries, Biking, and Whiskey Row

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A Brewery 38 Years in the Making

On a beautiful fall day in Prescott, Arizona, leaves rustling in the breeze, we met up with Jim and Jean-Marie Bellington and their rock-star brewer, Travis Smith of LazyG Brewhouse. Purchasing an old trailer park without any plans for what to do with it didn’t make much sense. However, since Jim and Jean-Marie met in a bar over beer, the idea of turning that trailer park into a brewery had at least a little bit of sense to it. Located just mere minutes away from downtown Prescott and the Infamous Whiskey Row, we chatted about craft beer dreams, bucket lists, small town community, and the proper way to cheers those that are always in our hearts.

Mountain Biking in Prescott

Always looking for those trails before and after looking for those breweries, Prescott does not disappoint. With miles upon miles of diverse trails both in and around Prescott, you can’t go wrong anywhere. On a rainy fall day, we found ourselves about three miles outside of town right next to White Spar Campground. We would have spent the $10 to camp there, too, if they weren’t already booked full. At any rate, there was a parking area right next to the campground that made it very easy for us to park RAIF and put on some warm clothes to brave the drizzly day. And with several options to choose from, many of them in this area being green and blue (our mid-life, beer drinking bodies love the blue trails), we were off.

The clouds parted just for us, and with views of quartz dotting the trails, fall colors guiding us around every corner, we came across a sobering yet beautiful memorial to the 19 Prescott City Firefighters that lost their lives battling the Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013.

With rain threatening to come pouring down, we made our way back down the trail, tired yet refreshed, saddened yet inspired, and complete in knowing that while we were rained out here, the U.S. has thousands of more trails and breweries for us to discover.

And that we did. Not far from Barnstar Brewing Co. – a must visit small farm brewery only open on the weekends just northwest of Prescott – we inadvertently came across a trailhead on Skyline Drive just south of the famous Alto Pit OHV area. With trails appropriately named Circus Maximus, Sideshow, and Clown Town, while lacking in thigh yelling climbs (Yes!), definitely not lacking in rolling hills, beautiful scenery, and even a creepy crawly tarantula to keep you on your toes.

For more detailed information on trails in Prescott, check out Trailforks and MTB Project.

Whiskey Row

Ok, so you have visited LazyG Brewhouse and fueled up on some local brew and food, you checked out a couple mountain biking trails, but have you checked out Whiskey Row? Named because of the large number of saloons located in one place, this little stretch in downtown Prescott is worth a wander to. The double doors of the Palace, opened in 1877, are reminiscent of the gold rush days. You may even feel a bit like Doc Holliday as you saunter up to the massive dark wood bar. Can’t you feel that gun hanging on your hip and the gold weighing down your pockets?

While LazyG Brewhouse is the newest craft brewery here, not to be outdone by the saloons, there are a few more craft breweries all within walking distance of each other, as well as a distillery and a meadery. So once you have had a few at the saloon, be sure to stumble (safely) to one or two of them:

And when done with all those, you’ll of course require some dessert, or maybe a late night pizza or two. Limoncello Pizzeria Napoletana is an authentic Italian restaurant located just off of Whiskey Row. Although our bellies were too full at the time for a full Italian meal (even then we were tempted to order a pizza – we almost felt guilty, as though we were in Naples and didn’t eat pizza), we made room for some handcrafted tiramisu and limoncello. If heaven were a restaurant, this place just might be it.

While Prescott, Arizona, is a town full of history, it is also a town finding its way into the 21st century, meaning it’s not crowded. With mountain biking, hiking, camping, craft breweries, restaurants, distilleries, and even a meadery, Prescott is not just building community, they are building family. So, don’t tell anyone – it’s a secret.

LazyG Video Notes to Highlighted Topics

1:13 Bucket List Item
Opening a Brewery Jean Marie and Jim explain the trailer park motif and why they wanted to open a brewery in Prescott. Buying the trailer park before knowing they were going to start a brewery on that spot caused some questions, but in the end it all worked out beautifully.

4:23 Phenomenal Opening
Prescott is a small town and the reception to a new brewery has been phenomenal! They have many regulars and the local community loves it.

5:26 Rock Star Brewer
Coming from the San Diego beer scene where he co-founded Societe Brewing Company, Travis knew it was time to switch it up a bit, and that he did. Only knowing Jim and Jean-Marie and not much else about Prescott, Travis moved his family to this much smaller town and much smaller beer scene. “It’s a big rat race that’s not fun anymore, and here it’s fun again.”

9:43 Crafting Community
Just as in so many other breweries, LazyG is no different. From the relationships with their employees to customers to all the kids also enjoying themselves in the beer garden, Jean Marie and Jim are building a brewery yes, but more importantly, they are crafting community.

10:57 Keeping it Local
Having the ability to control when a customer drinks the beer versus distribution, that is any brewer’s dream.  Drink the beer fresh from the tap. In the future, customers may be able to find their beer at a local restaurant, but that is the key word – local.

12:04 From Day Jobs to Dream Jobs
Working 1/2 days (meaning 12 hours – Jim has a sense of humor), they do work more than just your typical 40 hour work week, but they are having a blast doing so. Looking forward to making every day better than the last, Jim and Jean-Marie are finally living the American Dream.

13:36 A Stout Life
Jean-Marie and Jim met in a bar over beer 38 years ago, and their passion for each other and their dreams are still strong.  I teared up when they answered our Stout Life question. With dreams of growing the beer family and community along with a balance of good flavors both in life and beer, now those are Stout Lives.

16:54 In Memory of
Jim and Jean-Marie lost their grandaughter when she was 18. A lot of the brewhouse is dedicated to her. Cheers to those who are here, and those who are not.

We’d love to hear from you.

Celebrate all the moments in life, big and small.  What are some ways you celebrate those that  are always in your hearts but no longer standing next to you?

Let us know in the comments below.

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