This blog documents my attempt to drink a beer from every country in the world and every state in the United States.

Friday, July 6, 2012

State #14: Arizona

Beer: Texas Tea

Brewery: Mother Road Brewing Company, Flagstaff, Arizona

ABV: 6.0%
Enjoy some Texas Tea whilst leaning against a mash tun. As beer geeky as I get.
After ten long but fun-filled days of driving and hiking through the Southwest, my wife and I decided that we needed an afternoon and evening of good beer and real food. Fortunately, our last night placed us in Flagstaff, Arizona, which is a fantastic place to find both of those things. After walking around a bit and enjoying $2 pints at the bar of an historic downtown hotel, we decided to walk back to our (non-historic) hotel to rest and regroup.

Flagstaff had other plans for us, however. You see, Flagstaff has gone beer mad, and it’s difficult to walk more than a few blocks without running into a brewery. Our route, down a little side street that apparently used to be the old, original Route 66, took us past Mother Road Brewing Company. We had to stop in.

Mother Road describes itself as "A brewery with a motoring problem," and all their beers' names have an automotive twist to them. I'm guessing the car parked out front doesn't belong to any of the people involved.
We sampled a few of their wares in their tap room, but were particularly smitten with the Texas Tea, a blend of their Gold Road Kolsch (35%) and Lost Highway Black IPA (65%). Despite only opening in November, Mother Road (named after the aforementioned Route 66) is already bottling their product and has a small but pleasant tap room attached to their brewing operation. The Texas Tea, being a blend of two beers, is ONLY available at the brewery itself, and in my opinion is worth the trip from wherever you are. It’s color resembled the crude oil for which it is named, but it’s not nearly as thick as, say, a stout or a porter. It did have a lot of the chocolately, malty flavors that a good porter would, plus a really nice hoppy flavor on account of its genes being mostly IPA. Basically, it had a ton of flavor, and yet hit the spot on an 80 degree afternoon.

Here's a closer look at the Tea. It's about 1/3 kolsch (the light beer in the background) and two thirds black IPA. Yum!

We liked it so much that we bought a growler of the stuff and brought it back to San Diego with us. We also stopped into a store later that night to try to find some more local beers, and the girl working there proceeded to tell us about EVERY SINGLE BEER in her store. We think she was probably high.

Cool: you can sit at a table and drink your beer literally right next to their equipment. One of the fermenters in the background (at left) had a bucket full of bubbling something-or-other below it, all right on the taproom floor. Anyone more knowledgeable than myself want to clue me in as to what's up with that bucket?
So thank goodness for Flagstaff. In a state where politicians have lost their everloving minds, where green lawns and golf courses exist miles beyond the developed core despite 5 inches of rain per year, where a walk outside in August can result in third degree burns and heatstroke, and where people appear to live in fear of just about everything, Flagstaff has retained a cool head, cool temperatures, and a cool vibe. Cheers to that.


  1. I wanna make some Texas Tea now. That sounds freakin yummy.

    Here's what's up with the bucket: it's called a blow off tube. As the gas is released during fermentation, it needs someplace to go so the fermentation tank doesn't explode. Submerging the other end of the tube in a bucket full of liquid prevents oxygen from getting in (and possibly contaminants). They're kinda gross-looking, but pretty common in small breweries.

  2. Spencer is correct. The extra bubbliness that you see in that bucket is due to the sanitizing liquid it's filled with. Water alone could allow some bacteria to get into the beer via the blow-off tube. So you have to put something in the bucket that'll kill off anything that could contaminate the beer. The most common sanitizer is called Star-San, and when it gets agitated it makes a lot of soapy-looking bubbles. It can make a serious mess if the fermentation is particularly robust. There are a few sanitizing liquids that don't make the soap bubbles, but they have drawbacks as well. Iodine stains everything, vodka is expensive (and could prove tempting to drink for broke college students or beer geeks on a dare). Personally, I find the bubbling sound kinda soothing. My special lady-friend, much less-so.