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Brewery Review: Goldwater Brewing Company in Old Town Scottsdale

You can find Goldwater Brewing Company at the south end of Old Town Scottsdale, specifically at 3608 North Scottsdale Road, in the heart of the area's "craft beer" hub between Brat Haus and Sip Coffee House. Goldwater handcrafts more than a dozen of beers of various styles, strengths, and colors. And despite being a fairly new addition to the Arizona brewing scene, the popularity of this craft beer taproom was apparent on our recent visit. For those that want to keep the party going, Goldwater also offers beers "to go" via growler sales, along with some cool T-shirts and tank tops for those that want to rep their love.

Today we'll review five of the brewery's most popular beers currently on tap. 

Desert Rose Cactus Ale (5.3% ABV, 16 IBU)
This beer pours an eye-catching, vibrant, candy-apple red. Made with 100 percent certified organic Arizona cactus, Desert Rose is very malt-forward, with not a lot of hop flavor or bitterness. The actual flavor and drinkability can only be determined by one's love of cactus flavor, which is clearly showcased in this ale. Though it wasn't our favorite on this visit, it's cool for a brewery in the heart of the Scottsdale's tourist center to feature a beer that showcases local ingredients.

S.M.A.S.H.E.D. Helles (4.9% ABV, 19 IBU)
Grainy pilsner malt sweetness leads, backed up with a crisp, clean bitterness that makes this helles drink somewhat like a traditional Dortmunder bordering on a pilsner. Pleasant sulfur notes from the fermentation process lead into big noble hops (again, like a pilsner) that produce spicy and floral aromas and flavors. The name S.M.A.S.H.E.D. is a bit of a misnomer though, as this is the brewery's lowest alcohol by volume offering. The name actually stands for "single malt and single hop easy drinker," which is an accurate description, especially perfect for summertime.

Birthday Suit IPA (7.6% ABV, 92 IBU)
Chinook, Citra, and Centennial hops deliver pine, tropical fruit, and citrus flavors and aromas along with a resinous mouthfeel that helps the beer to finish crisp and clean. The aromas are vibrant and pronounced, and they carry directly into the flavor of this hop showcase ale. A decent malt backbone supports to give some balance, but Birthday Suit is definitely a hop showcase. Of the five beers sampled this visit, this was the best of the bunch.

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Black Gold Porter (6.2% ABV, 23 IBU)
This beer is very roasty, perhaps a little too roasty, with dark molasses notes and background notes of caramel. The combination of dark malts provide an intense, almost smoky character that's somewhat distracting. It's not a bad beer; however, it could benefit from a decrease in some of the intense darker malts and an increase in bittering hops to balance the malt intensity. 

Brutus Imperial Stout (8.5% ABV, 55 IBU)
With smooth, creamy, micro-sized bubbles and a long-lasting tan head, Brutus doesn't drink like the 8.5 percent beer that it is. Chocolate, coffee, and roast notes share the aroma stage and carry through into the flavor and finish. Brutus checks in with a medium body, which is actually on the light side for the Russian Imperial Stout style. The beer finishes with a lingering sweetness, and like Black Gold Porter, could benefit from a higher hop bittering rate to balance the malts. When the heat breaks, this will be more of a go-to beer.

Goldwater Brewing provides a hip tasting room and shows a lot of potential, as some of its beers are already a home run, while others are just a few minor tweaks away. The brewery is open seven days a week from 3 to 10 p.m. on weekdays and longer on the weekends. Check out the Goldwater Brewing Company website for more information. 

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