Michael Garcia of Catalina Brewing (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Nine on the Line: Michael Garcia of Catalina Brewing Company

January 5, 2024
By Matt Sterner

“Nine on the Line” is a chef Q&A series asking the same nine questions to different chefs.

Catalina Brewing Company is located right around the corner from Button Brew House in Marana — making it an awesome craft beer destination on the northwest side of town. With Head Brewers like Michael Garcia around the Old Pueblo, it’s no wonder Tucson has been referred to as one of the “Most Underrated Beer Cities for 2023.”

Catalina Brewing is more than just beer, too. The Marana-based, bicycle-themed brewery serves ciders, seltzers, bottled wines, mixed drinks, and shots. Plus, there’s an arcade. Game on!

a man standing in front of a store
Arcade at Catalina Brewing (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

So, without further ado, I present Nine on the Line with Michael Garcia. 

1. What was the first beer that changed your perspective on beer? 

Back in 2012, I was strolling through a Safeway and spotted a cool-looking bottle of beer from Sierra Nevada called Narwhal. I’d never even heard of that brand of beer at the time, let alone an Imperial Stout. Once I realized there was so much variety with beer I wanted to know what else was out there. 

2. What are you drinking these days? 

Sometimes I enjoy the simpler things, so these days I’m looking for a crisp and clean pale ale or a light American lager. 

3. What is one ingredient or tool of your trade you use that you would recommend to everyone? 

A good temperature probe. I use it for keeping track of my grain mash temperatures but it can be used for cooking as well. 

Michael Garcia of Catalina Brewing (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)
4. What style, ingredient, or beer trend are you most excited about these days? 

This isn’t exactly new to the brewing industry but I have been experimenting with the ALDC enzyme in our beer production. So far, it has helped shave one or two days off of our beer production time here at Catalina all while helping us to create a good clean beer. A win-win for us and the consumer! 

5. Who (living/dead/real/fictional) would you most like to have a beer with? 

I can think of a fictional character and that would be Ron Swanson from “Parks and Recreation.” He’s just a cool dude with a stache and a wealth of knowledge. I’d like him to teach me how to make a cedar strip canoe! 

6. What city, other than Tucson, is your favorite place to explore the local craft beer scene and why? 

I would have to say any major city in the northwest such as Seattle because they tend to have more Stout and Porter varieties on tap. That is not as common here in the southwest. 

Catalina Brewing (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)
7. What do you like most about working in the local craft beer industry?

I appreciate how supportive the industry is of each other. Sometimes you will run into a hitch in the brewing process and need to borrow a piece of equipment or some supplies and usually, everyone is eager to help! We really like to take care of each other in our local craft beer industry. 

8. Which three Tucson bars, breweries, or restaurants do you frequent the most, other than your place of work? 

I enjoy Nana’s Kitchen for the quality of the food, but also for the impressive variety of mezcal and bourbon. Short Rest Tavern, tucked away inside Tucson Games and Gadgets within the Tucson Mall, is an excellent place to enjoy a board game with friends while sampling a vast array of beers. Most recently, I have been frequenting The Landing on Oracle Road for their impressive beer selection and Chubascos Wings

9. If you could only have one beer (or one style of beer) for the rest of your life, what would it be? And what meal would you pair it with? 

That is definitely a tough question but I would have to settle on a Japanese Lager from Orion Breweries and a good bowl of Tonkotsu ramen. It’s the perfect combination of flavors and textures, and it’s always my go-to when I’m craving something hearty and satisfying.

Michael Garcia of Catalina Brewing (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Catalina Brewing Company is located at 6918 N Camino Martin. For more information, visit catalinabrewingco.com. Looking for more Tucson breweries? Check out our interactive guide.

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