Counter Intuitive
Counter Intuitive/Facebook

There's no cooler place in the Valley for cocktails than Counter Intuitive, the late-night drinking hole opened by Scottsdale restaurateur Peter Kasperski earlier this year. With a rotating menu of drinks created by two of the Valley's best bartenders, Micah Olson of Crudo and Jason Asher (profiled by GQ), it should be no surprise that this spot offers some of the city's very best imbibing. Counter Intuitive debuted with a menu inspired by a New Orleans estate sale — think Sazeracs, Painkillers, and a killer version of a Pisco Sour — then moved on to a sophomore menu inspired by a mysterious trip some people believe Pablo Picasso made to Cuba shortly after the Cuban Revolution. The only downside is that the bar's open only from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights — but the limited hours also make it a true destination for post-dinner drinks.

Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.
Heather Hoch

There was a time, not too long ago, when no one outside Phoenix gave much thought to the beer brewed here. Oh, our brewers got attention with the occasional medal at a beer-judging competition, but the city wasn't a craft beer destination. All that changed in April of last year, when Arizona Wilderness — a mere six months old at the time — was named "Best New Brewery in the World" by www.ratebeer.com. An avalanche of press followed, and even a new tasting room adjacent to the brewpub couldn't hold all the thirsty pilgrims visiting the Valley to see if the spot was worthy of the title. Yet through it all — growing pains, collaborations with some of the world's most renowned brewers, shitty Yelp reviews — the bearded owners have remained unremittingly committed to the use of local ingredients. To taste a Wilderness beer is to taste Arizona, and that, too, is award-worthy.

Readers Choice: Four Peaks

SunUp Brewing Company
Molly Smith

We used to drink like you, dear reader: coffee in the morning, beer in the evening. That is, until we discovered SunUp's White Russian Imperial Stout. Not only is the brew absolutely space-jammed with coffee flavor — seriously, it tastes more like shot of espresso than an actual shot of espresso — but it's also a beefcake-y 9.2 percent ABV. SunUp Brewmaster Uwe Boer based the stout on a recipe that goes back to his home-brewing days in the '90s, tweaked with additions of vanilla and beans from Georgia-based roaster Coffee AM, as well as other, more secret ingredients. The beer only pops up on draft around the Valley occasionally, but each time it does, we're so amazed by its luscious coffee/mint/vanilla/chocolate flavor that we can't help drinking it all day long.

How could one possibly improve on Dos Cabezas' pink rosé? Why, by adding carbonation and putting it in a 16-ounce can, of course! We think that Sparkling Pink just might be better than the original, with a crisp effervescence and hints of green strawberry, grapefruit, and elderflower. It pairs with creamy cheeses, sweet confections, and spicy Southwestern fare, proving itself a wine of many applications. Without food, Sparkling Pink's clean and refreshing finish make it a great companion for poolside sipping, outdoor excursions, or even floating the Salt River. Best yet, its 16-ounce serving size makes it perfect for sharing.

www.doscabezaswineworks.com

Provisioner is on a mission to bring Arizona wine to the tables of its biggest skeptics. Although local wine production has come a long way from its arduous early years, consumer perception still has a long way to go. Priced for the casual wine drinker at $10 per bottle, Provisioner makes both red and white wines that are as enjoyable as they are approachable. Just like Provisioner's namesake frontier town stores, this label provides our wine community with a necessity we perhaps didn't know we needed — good tasting, value-driven wines that are ready for both restaurant and home bar.

www.provisionerwine.com

Crisp, bright, lightly floral, enjoyable. No, we're not just talking about the wines from Lawrence Dunham Vineyards; we're thinking of its great new tasting room, too. Situated on a quiet corner in Old Town Scottsdale, LDV is a nice afternoon stop, whether you're on a slow wander through nearby shops or heading there directly for an afternoon tasting. The "room" is really a converted house, and when you're at Lawrence Dunham Vineyards, you feel as though a neighbor is hosting you for the afternoon — albeit one with a great wine cellar and penchant for sharing. The open, breezy space is surrounded by beautifully planted Southwestern gardens that serve it well during its many community events. Whether you're looking to learn a few new things about wine or discover a great new Arizona vintage, Lawrence Dunham Vineyards is worth a trip — or two.

The Tavern
Evie Carpenter

What makes a wine bar great? Well, the wine list certainly has something to do with it, but with any bar, it also requires knowledgeable bartenders with good personalities and great attitudes. In both categories, The Tavern scores. The wine list at this Biltmore-area restaurant and wine bar features everything from $25 glasses of 2010 Silver Oak Cabernet to affordable options in both red and white, available on tap. And if you're not sure where to start, just ask. The bartenders will be happy to pour samples of what you think you might like, and once you settle in with a glass, they'll make sure it's not empty — until you want it to be. If you're lingering for a few pours, order either a cheese or charcuterie board. Ask nicely and they might even mix both into one plate so you can sample a little bit of each.

Readers Choice: Postino Winecafe

Crudo
Crudo

Though Andrew Calisterio's been in the Valley for only about a year, he's wasted no time making his mark on the local drinking scene. He landed a job at one of the most prestigious bars in town, Crudo, not long after moving here from California, and he already has made contributions to the bar's cocktail menu. Calisterio's liquid concoctions fall in line with Crudo's reputation for well-balanced and creative drinks that walk the line between being approachable and exciting to hardcore booze nerds. But he's got more than just a knack for shaking up great cocktails going for him; Calisterio's also got a barside manner that we wish were more common around town. Always willing to take the time to chat with drinkers and determine the best cocktail for the occasion, he plays educator and gracious host all at once.

Agility, passion, power, delicacy — Teneia Sanders-Eichelberger's voice has it all. The singer-songwriter, who performs under just her first name, grew up singing gospel in church, and the soulful acoustic pop she makes today makes full use of her versatile vocal cords. With the skill of a jazz singer and a warm, disarming stage presence, Teneia can make her voice do just about anything — charm you into a hypnotic trance, make your heart beat faster, or motivate you to get out of your chair and dance. In the summer of 2015, Teneia and her husband/musical compatriot, Ben Eichelberger, set off in an RV on a nomadic musical adventure, and they have only their fans to thank — the RV was the final goal of a successful crowdfunding campaign, in which the singer raised more than $20,000 for the journey. Only a special talent can inspire that type of generosity.

www.teneiasanders.com

Fresh off the June 2015 release of its debut album and with rock industry vet Alan Niven guiding the group, Razer has a lot of momentum. And though the entire band plays with the precision of sharpened studio pros, vocalist Chris Powers is Razer's greatest asset. The singer boasts a textbook rock 'n' roll voice — the power of a freight train, the soul of a blues singer, and the chops of an opera star. There are few things Powers can't do with his mighty pipes, and his vocals will lead the way for what might be the next band to break out of the Copper State.

www.razerband.com

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