Northern Arizona Brewery Tour; Escape the Heat with a Cold One

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And now we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of August. There is no amount of ice cream, skinny cocktails, or boozy popsicles that will make the tail end of the Arizona summer bearable. Your best bet - grab a cooler and hit the road.

Take a drive up to the high country before summers end and pay a visit to three of Arizona's award-winning breweries. First stop - Prescott.

Prescott Brewing Co. is located right in the heart of Prescott on Girly Street. Independently owned and operated by John and Roxanne Nielsen for more than 17 years, the microbrewery's expertly crafted brews have won more then 26 awards. Currently on tap: Bumbleberry. The summer seasonal is brewed with 252 lbs of ripe blackberries and rich Arizona honey, giving it a beautiful ruby hue. Not into fruit beers? Try the Achocolypse. Three years in the making, the unique porter is packed with sweet chocolate notes and just a hint of coffee. Grab a growler and it's time to hit the red rocks.

Sedona's family-owned microbrewery, Oak Creek Brewing Company , has been producing some of Arizona's finest ales since 1995. Each beer is brewed using a unique process called "spunding" - a natural carbonation process creating finer bubbles for a smoother taste. The brewery's flagship ale, Village Nut Brown, is a safe bet with its sweet, slightly spicy flavor -- but we prefer Doc's Pale Ale. The rich copper ale has a nice balance of malt and hops, making it the perfect summer time pale ale to sip on the patio while admiring the scenery. Once you've had your fill of tourists, pack it up and head to the cool pines of Flagstaff.

Beaver Street Brewery is a a longtime Flagstaff favorite. Winnie and Evan Hanseth opened the doors of their beloved brewery back in 1994 after a nine month remodel on the 1938 building that Beaver Street calls home. Their microbrews have won multiple awards over the years including the gold in 2009's Great American Beer Festival for their outstanding Big Rapid Red. Our Favorite, the Hopshot IPA, took home the silver the very same year. We suggest trying everything Beaver Street has to offer - order the sampler flight for a 2oz taste of all the beers on tap. If you're up for one more, take a cab up the road to Beaver Street's baby sister brewery, Lumberyard. The one-year-old brewery is off to a good start, taking the gold at this year's Ameri "Canned" Fest for their IPA.

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