Greater Phoenix is home to an impressive lineup of award-winning craft breweries that serve up delicious ales. But with so many sips to sample, it can be hard to know where to start. Now, a new tour takes locals and visitors to some of the Valley’s top-rated breweries to learn about the beer-making process and taste some refreshing hoppy suds.
City Brew Tours Phoenix, the newest location of the national brewery tour company City Brew Tours, launched in June. Offering curated public and private tours led by beer experts, the experience is the product of franchise owner and East Valley native Holly Pigeon.
“I’m a big beer fan,” says the former marketing professional. “I grew up with Four Peaks before it exploded, and I had been doing my own tours with friends.” Then, during visits to Boston and Portland, Pigeon joined two excursions with City Brew Tours. “It’s like my passions collided when I was looking for opportunities,” she adds.
City Brew Tours Phoenix offers two standard tour options. The 3.5-hour Sip of Phoenix Tour stops at three breweries and includes up to 12 beer samples and locally curated snacks. The five-hour Original Brew Tour features four stops and includes up to 16 beer samples as well as a beer-paired lunch. Both options include round-trip transportation for up to 14 people.
The company partners with a growing list of breweries across the Valley. Current partners are Greenwood Brewing, Walter Station Brewery, Helton Brewing Co., and Phoenix Beer Co. in Phoenix; Four Peaks Brewing Co. and The Beer Shop in Tempe; SanTan Brewing Co. in Chandler; Desert Monks Brewing Co. in Gilbert; 12 West Brewing in Mesa; and Fate Brewing Co. in Scottsdale and Phoenix. Also included is cidery Six Byrd Cider in Arcadia.
“Our way of doing the tastings and tours is completely different than other tours,” Pigeon says. “We focus more on education versus the party bus experience. That gives our partner breweries an opportunity to showcase their stories and their beers.”
Knowledgeable guides — some are even studying to become cicerones, or beer sommeliers — share information about the Arizona beer industry as well as the history of beer in general, explain the brewing process, and educate guests about the various categories of beer and what foods pair best with each style. And because the tours rotate which breweries are visited and which beers are sampled, no two tours are alike.
“The craft beer culture across the Valley is booming,” Pigeon says in a press release announcing the company’s launch. “This is an excellent addition to the state’s offerings and will appeal to both locals and visitors from out of state whether it’s a bachelor/bachelorette party, birthday celebration, or just a fun weekend activity.”
City Brew Tours Phoenix offers tours from Thursday to Sunday. Sip of Phoenix is priced at $85 per person, and the Original Brew Tour is $110 per person. For more information, visit citybrewtours.com/phoenix.