Beer: Up 'N' Runnin' Brewery: Four Peaks Brewing Co. Style: Mild Ale ABV: 4.8 percent
Oh, and Four Peaks.
Some of those names should be familiar. Mother Road, for example, has been exporting beers from Flagstaff for over a year now. OHSO opened last November, but will soon begin serving beer brewed on location. Granite Mountain Brewing and Arizona Wilderness Brewing were successfully funded via KickStarter in March. Others are yet twinkles in their owners' eyes.
A few weeks ago, these 11 established and yet-to-come brewers combined powers to craft a collaborative brew. After a series of email conversations, they crowd-sourced a recipe that would capture the up-and-coming spirit and met for a brew day at Four Peaks' Tempe brewpub.
The product of their work, named Up 'N' Runnin', is a perfectly clear pale orange with brilliant clarity. Two fingers of frothy white foam stick to the glass in thick streaks.
According to Andy Ingram, head brewer at Four Peaks and the man who engineered the collaboration, calls the brew a "session pale ale," helped along in its spiciness with an extra dose of dry hopping and the addition of pink peppercorns. "Summer ales traditionally have a secret spice," Ingram says.
Both are evident in the aroma, which is bright and floral. Honeysuckle, orange blossom, grass mix, with a mix of lightly toasted bread, caramel and mild orange pith just below. The peppercorns are also noticeable here, but they're way more apparent in the flavor. Bitterness from both hops and the peppercorns sits down hard on the sides of the tongue. Light, bready toastiness, mild caramel sweetness and a dollop of honey mix with a big peppercorn bite in a balanced blend before a dry, quenching finish that deposits lingering flavors of toasted biscuits.
Up 'N' Runnin' is a clean, light, quenching and quaffable. It can also be thought of as a metaphor for Arizona breweries: solid but unexciting. With nearly a dozen new breweries that either opened in the past year or will open in the next, however, this may soon change. Arizona Wilderness, for example, plans to offer brews missing from the current oeuvre such as Belgians, sours and browns made with whole pecan pies.
Part of a city becoming a beer destination is having a variety of breweries to choose from and visit. Up 'N' Runnin' shows that the state's newbies are prepared to make a mark on the beer landscape. Can't wait till they're all up and running.
Zach Fowle is a Certified Cicerone, an accredited guide to beer. He works at World of Beer in Tempe.