Southern Arizona’s hottest new brewery requires a trip to the Old West.
While the historic town of Tombstone has less than 2,000 residents, its rich western history has made it a major tourist destination with over 400,000 visitors per year.
Tombstone Brewing Company founder and co-owner Matt Brown isn’t a cowboy, however. He owned a law firm in Tempe, but followed his wife to Tombstone, where she had family job opportunities. She’s also is a fifth-generation Cochise county resident and her great-great grandfather was a judge in Tombstone.
Coincidentally, TBC’s location at 107 E. Toughnut St., Tombstone, AZ previously served as Tombstone’s city hall and Helldorado Brewing Co.
“I was chasing my daughter in the Bisbee Convention Center when I saw a sign for the building for sale,” Brown said.
With 14 years of homebrewing experience under Brown’s belt, he followed his heart and opened Tombstone Brewing Company on October 21, 2016 with the help of brewmaster Weedy Weidenthal. By January 2, 2017, the brewery opened its doors to the public.
Don’t be fooled by TBC’s youth — their brews are already selling out quickly at local bottle shops like Tap & Bottle and Ermanos Craft Beer & Wine Bar. They’ve also garnered national press as a brewery to watch from Draft Magazine.
“What we’re striving for is drinkability,” Brown said. “It has to be refreshing. Mouthfeel needs to be full, creamy, soft, high carbonation, and not too bitter, but it can’t possibly have too much hop flavor and aroma for us.”
Another Exercise in Mediocrity, an 8.1% ABV double IPA, is named after a snarky comment in a Facebook beer group when Brown announced he was opening a brewery in Tombstone. The beer isn’t even close to mediocre, however. The remarkable DIPA features Apollo hop oil, Citra hops, and Mosaic Lupulin powder, filled with juicy hop flavor and tropical aromas.
For intense hop flavor a little easier on the alcohol, try the 4.9% ABV Little Baby Wyatt session IPA. Idaho 7 and Cashmere hops provides peachy notes alongside citrus and tropical fruit flavors.
Furthermore, TBC will can an IPA, DIPA, and hoppy sour in the upcoming weeks.
While TBC already has a grasp on showcasing hops, they’re not a one trick pony.
Their roasty, malty Imperial Milk Stout clocks in at 12.5%, but goes down smooth like chocolate milk. It’s dangerously easy to drink, so don’t get carried away.
Sour beer lovers can appreciate the Over and Out sour golden dry ale. The Gose is modeled more on the traditional side with notes of coriander and orange peel, though a little heavier on the salt. In the Saison, the bubblegum profile comes to the forefront, balanced with Citra hops.
If you’re a Scotch whisky lover and one of their 500 ml bottles of Strong Scotch Ale Aged in Islay Scotch Casks ($10) are remaining during your visit, don’t miss out. It could easily be the Scotchiest Scotch beer in Arizona with its intensely peaty flavor.
Additionally, TBC boasts an aggressive barrel program with a goal of 100 barrels by the end of 2017. Some of the barrels in use at the moment include Clos Dady Sauternes, Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chateau Montelena Chardonnay.
“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing,” Brown said.
Although the gunfight reenactments take place elsewhere in “the town too tough to die,” the hitching post out front still brings “western” problems.
“One of the acting horses pooped on our bartender’s car,” Brown said.
Tombstone Brewing Company is located at 107 E. Toughnut St., Tombstone, AZ 85638 and can be reached at (520) 222-6781. Operating hours are 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily. For more information, visit tombstone.beer.
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran’s Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...