Cold Beers & Wicked Trails: Best Hiking Spots in Flagstaff

One of the best things about living and working in Flagstaff is the abundance of nature all around us. We can be at a number of hiking and biking trails within minutes from any spot in town, and there’s always somewhere new to adventure. Whether you live in Flagstaff or are just in town visiting, you know that getting outdoors and hitting the trails is one of the best way to spend your days, followed by a cold beer at Historic Brewing Company afterwards of course.

Below is a list of some of the best hiking trails in Flagstaff that showcase all that beautiful nature that our town is known and loved for.

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Sandy Canyon: This incredible hike is found right out of town off Lake Mary Road and has a free parking lot located off of a well maintained dirt road. There are signs that direct you to the start of the trail, and from this trailhead you can connect to a number of other trails including the Arizona Trail. This hike begins on the Walnut Canyon rim head before going down into the canyon. You can make this trail as long or as short as you want depending on what other trails you connect it to and how long you want to hike. This trail features an easy in and out of canyon and a beautiful meadow filled with a variety of different trees and nature galore. This hike is also dog friendly and is only moderately trafficked meaning that during off times you may have it all to yourself.

Distance: 3 miles (out and back)    

Difficulty: moderate

Best Season: Spring, Summer, and Fall

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Campbell Mesa Trails: Campbell Mesa trailhead has a loop for everyone and is easily located near Continental Country Club and the I-40. There are three different single track loop trails measuring in length between two & five and a half miles. These trails are relatively flat but offer views of Mt. Elden, Anderson Mesa, and Mormon Mountain. The hikes are mostly shaded with more ponderosa trees than you can count, and frequent wildlife sightings. This trail makes you feel like you are way out of town, when in fact you are only fifteen minutes from downtown and only a five minute drive from our Eastside Historic Brewing Company location.

Distance: 2-5.5 miles (loop trail)

 

 

 

 

 

   Difficulty: easy

Best Season: All seasons

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Fat Man’s Loop: Another trail close to our Eastside taproom & production facility and conveniently located in Flagstaff is Fat Man’s Loop. This trailhead is located right across from the Flagstaff Mall and takes you up Mt. Elden. There are a number of other trails that begin from this trailhead, including Mt. Elden lookout, but Fat Man’s loop is a favorite with locals and visitors alike. This two and a half mile loop takes you among Ponderosa and White Fir pine trees and rock formations that were created during its volcanic creation. One of these rock formations is the reason behind the trails name as it can be a tight squeeze between two rocks to stay on the trail. This hike is mostly uphill for the first half but isn’t that strenuous and awards you with a view of the city and the nearby countryside as you climb.

Distance: 2.4 miles

 

   Difficulty: moderate

Best Season: Spring and Fall

This list is only a small example of all the wonderful hiking and biking trails that Flagstaff has to offer, with many more to discover on your own. Flagstaff offers so many opportunities to get outside and explore all of the natural beauty around you - so go get outside and make sure you reward yourself with a tasty brew afterwards!

 

What Makes a Porter, a Porter?

As both the craft beer industry and the home brewing hobby expand, new beer styles continue to emerge and existing beer styles are improved on and twisted to reflect modern times. One of the historically original beer styles, the porter, can now be seen on almost every tap list.  Porters have been refined, barrel aged, had additional flavors added to them, and been kept more traditional depending on the season, current trends, brewer’s preferences, and customers taste requests.

The porter style beer has been around since the early 18th century and was one of the first beers to gain popularity and helped to drive a revolution in brewing. While there are a few different stories about how porter originated, most people believe that it was created by London brown ale brewers who were being pressured to create better beers. These improved beers had more hops and were aged longer, and were named after the porters who carried goods around the city and were big fans of this new style of beer.

Although the recipe for a porter has changed over the years, it is still known for its depth of color and flavor. This style of beer ranges in color from dark copper to black depending on the variation and typically has an ABV between 4-7% and a lower IBU, usually in the range of 18-35. These beers don’t typically have much of a hoppy taste and aroma, but some porters do have a slight bitter flavor quality to them for balance. Depending on the exact style and the brewers addition to the beer, porters can have a roasted malt taste that may incorporate notes of chocolate, coffee, molasses, or toffee - just to name a few.

Porters are a favorite among many people, and this style continues to grow as new breweries and new beer lovers are born everyday. While this rich, dark, and complex beer may have traditionally been thought of as more of a fall or winter brew, it has defied any box it was previously put into and is now enjoyed year round. A porter brings a lot to the table with its mix of depth and drinkability, and will continue to be a beer that captures the taste buds of all those that try it.

Nitro Piehole Porter

Customer Highlight: Mike & George

Here at Historic Brewing Company we are lucky enough to have a lot of regulars who we not only get to see quite often, but who we also get to know on a deeper level than just their favorite beer to drink. Mike Marsteller and George Lavorgna are two of those customers, and some of our favorite faces to see pull up a barstool at the brewery.

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Mike and George have both been in Flagstaff since 1980 but didn’t meet until 1993 when they were both working for Gore. While they knew each other at work for a few years, their friendship really began when Mike overheard George talking about one of his recent Grand Canyon hiking trips. Mike asked if he could tag along on the next one, and they’ve been each others main hiking/backpacking partners since then.

They have both hiked hundreds of miles in the Grand Canyon over the years and continue to make yearly birthday trips there, taking new and interesting routes when they can and exploring how the canyon has changed over the years. Mike and George have both also hiked the entire Arizona Trail in sections over their years here, and encourage anyone and everyone to explore the many amazing trails all over Arizona. They still do backpacking and hiking trips every chance they get, and are constantly pushing themselves to get outdoors and uncover new trails and adventures.

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Both men have been coming to Historic Brewing Company since it first opened, back when you had to buy a pint glass to have it filled with beer, and long before the tap room looked like it does now. They come meet up at their favorite Flagstaff brewery to catch up, trade stories, and plan their next hiking adventure. They told me that they are “always looking for the next good hike and the next good beer.” While they often order different beers while at the brewery, they both agree that Deer Lord is one of their favorite beers of all time and are looking forward to its return on the taplist. These men bring a special energy with them when they come in for a beer, and their stories and future hiking plans keep us inspired to keep hitting the trails and to keep searching for good beer every place the trails end.

 

Kilauea Krush: An Eruption of Flavor

During Historic Brewing Company’s latest Brew With Us our brewers and Chet, who worked with us on this brew, were inspired to experiment with different hop varieties and combinations in hopes of creating a tropical eruption of flavor. The end result, a tropical IPA named Kilauea Krush, definitely delivers in flavor with its notes of mango, pineapple, citrus, and balanced bitterness. This beer, named after the powerful and explosive Hawaiian volcano, clocks in at 68 IBU and 6.7% ABV and packs a punch with its combination of five different hops varieties.

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We brewed this beer in a single infusion mash, the traditional English way of brewing in which the grain and water are added together at once and then brought up to temperature. Kilauea Krush has a mixture of Nugget, Mosaic, Ekuanot, Vic Secret, and El Dorado hops which creates a complexity and layering of flavor in the beer. This combination of hops gives it the tropical flavors without having to add in any additional fruit or flavors to give it juiciness and depth. This beer also has Victory and Munich malts which balance out the hoppy flavors without giving it too much sweetness.

People can expect “a volcano of tropical flavors” according to our head brewer Zach, who also describes this beer as easy drinking and hop forward with some malt flavor on the backend. The bitterness of this beer does not linger quite as long as it does on some of our other IPAs such as Opposable, and also has a more complex hoppiness than our double IPA Alternative Facts. Our brewers have been mixing it up when it comes to our IPA beers lately and they have been enjoying moving away from the traditional flavor profile in these small batch brews. This most recent experimentation delivers in taste and layers of flavor while still being quite “krush-able”.

This beer has already been tapped downtown and will soon be tapped in our Eastside brewery location as well. Come and try this small pilot batch tropical IPA yourself, and if you’re interested in creating a Historic beer and being a part of the brewing process sign up for a Brew With Us event.



 

 

Meet the Man Amongst the Fermenters

Have you ever wondered who the man is hiding amongst the fermenters? The one who works tirelessly to brew all the craft beer and awesomeness behind the scenes? That man is Zack Stoll, our head brewer and tap room jack of all trades. Zack not only describes himself as head brewer of Historic Brewing Company, but also as head maintenance man, head landscaper, head firefighter, and Lauren’s (our tap room manager) emotional support dog.

Zack first started with Historic four years ago as a brewer’s assistant and has been our head brewer for over a year. He moved to Flagstaff five years ago from California where he was working for the forest service and home brewing in his spare time. However, his love for craft beer began many years before that. While attending college and playing rugby in Pennsylvania, he had his first craft beer and once he realized there was more than “piss beer” out there to drink, there was no going back.

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Zack took a home brewing course in college where he created his first beer, an Amber Ale aptly named the Fundy Fog after the fog that rolls off of the Bay of Fundy. While Zack says he didn’t receive an A in this class due to his lack of attendance in lectures, the labs where he learned the science and got to brew his own beer peaked his interest enough to come back to home brewing later in life.

Before coming to Historic, Zack was winning awards for his home brewing and making up to ten gallons a week to keep up with demand from friends and family who loved his beer. Zack got into home brewing and eventually brewing for Historic based on his love for craft beer, the science behind brewing, and his desire to create the beers that he wanted to drink. As a head brewer Zack is a patient teacher, a great mentor, and an overall goofball who makes the brewery a great place to work. Victor Samaniego, one of our brewer’s assistants, describes working with Zack as “just fun, there’s no other way to describe it. It’s hard work but the vibe that Zack creates in the brewery makes it super enjoyable.”

You’ll often find Zack at the brewery jamming out to pop punk, messing with whoever is around, and planning out his next beer. Zack’s favorite beer to brew is Oceanfront Lager because of the precision it takes to keep the flavors just right so that the beer is as he describes “delicious, light but flavorful, very drinkable, and with a little noble hops citrus to it.” Although Zack likes to experiment and keep things fresh, he also loves the more traditional styles and aspects of brewing and he especially loves brewing IPAs because he gets to work with a lot of hops.

One of Zack’s favorite beers to drink to drink in the summer is the Troegs Dreamweaver Hefeweizen from back home in Pennsylvania, and if he’s not behind the towering fermenters you can find him fly fishing, hiking, biking or out looking for wild mushrooms. Zack brings a sense of character to the brewery that not only increases the experience for everyone who gets to work and learn from him, but also to all of the customers that get to enjoy his creations and the devotion that he puts into making craft beer.

Solstice Saure Berliner Weisse: Long Days, Sour Beers

The recent summer solstice on June 21st officially marked the start of summer - meaning longer days filled with more sunshine, the perfect weather for outdoor activities, and more time in the day for delicious, cold beers. Here at Historic Brewing Company, we have a few beers we brew each and every summer, and the traditional Berliner Weisse is one of those beers. This year we decided to name the light, refreshing, and tart Berliner Weisse, Solstice Saure, after the summer solstice and our love of those long days of summer.

The Berliner Weisse is a traditional German wheat beer that was first brewed in Berlin and is characterized by its light and tart flavor. To brew this beer we started out with a simple wheat beer grain bill which we then kettle soured with lactobacillus. The kettle souring dropped the PH of the beer to 3.5, and we then boiled and treated it like a normal wheat beer. The lower PH of this beer gives it that sour and tart flavor that differentiates it from a normal wheat beer.

Soulstice Saure has an IBU of 10 and an ABV of 4.1%, with a flavor profile that is light, slightly sweet, and thirst quenching. People can expect this beer to be refreshing, tart but not too sour, and with a taste similar to that of a Sweet Tart candy. This beer is perfect for “anyone who is thirsty” according to our head brewer Zack, and would even appeal to those who don’t normally enjoy sours as it is more tart than overly sour. It is light but still has a fairly complex flavor profile and is approachable to any type of beer drinker.

This beer was released at the brewery on the night of the summer solstice, and will be on tap for as long as we can keep it around. Come down to any one of our locations in Flagstaff or Williams to give it a try, and make sure to let us know what you think of this traditional Berliner Weisse!