Barrio Brewing Company: 2nd in our series on local breweries.
In my first local brewery review, Thunder Canyon Brewery, I shared my general preferences and prejudices regarding beer. So, I don’t need to repeat them here.
As we did at Thunder Canyon, Michael Polletta and I each ordered the sampler rack. We also ordered food that one might reasonably assume would go well with beer… any beer.
Michael ordered the Fish Tacos, flash-fried, lightly battered cod wrapped in flour tortillas with a side of Charro beans. He pronounced them “very good”.
I was tempted to order the Hot Pastrami Sandwich on rye with stone-ground mustard. But as I am on a strict diet to loose 40 pounds, I opted for the Western BBQ Burger topped with bacon, onion rings, cheddar cheese with a side of Barrio’s BBQ sauce and beer-battered fries. (Burp!) What an excellent choice I made. A most tasty burger. Love those beer-battered fries.
But to be honest, having deprived myself of real food the previous week, any pub food would have tasted like French cuisine. Nevertheless, as I discovered a day or two later, the whole meal only cost me 3 pounds. Now THAT’s real value.
So, how ‘bout them beers?
Well, Barrio brews a lot of varieties. Here’s the quick rundown.
- Tucson Blond: a light beer that was way too light for our tastes.
- Red Cat Amber: more alcohol and hops than blondie above. Just a hint of chocolate malt. Things were looking up, until…
- Hefeweizen: a traditional German wheat beer unfiltered (as in cloudy) served in the traditional German way with a slice of lemon. If you like wheat beers, which neither Michael nor I do, chances are good you will like Hefeweizen. Rich in vitamin B. Think of it as a health drink.
- T.J.’s Raspberry Ale: clearly this one is for folks who don’t like real beer. It has to be a girl-thing. Named after the brewmeister’s first daughter in 1992, this fruity drink is so popular it’s been in demand for two decades and still has legs. Hard to imagine.
- Copperhead Pale Ale: what can I say? It’s copper in tone. Medium bitterness, smells like hops, and as advertised, a clean, dry finish. We both liked Copperhead.
- Nolan’s Porter: a light ale, more malt than hops. Not for us.
- Barrio IPA: now we’re getting somewhere! Back in the days when Britannia ruled the waves, the English had to make beer with enough alcohol and serious bitters to survive the journey half way around the world. The historical purpose of India Pale Ale was to quench the ravenous thirst of their soldiers who occupied the Indian sub-continent. In this way, the Brits were able to bring civilization to a civilization that pre-dated them by thousands of years. Barrio IPA = seriously bad history for the Indians, but seriously good beer!
- Oatmeal Stout: a bit like Guinness (not from the can, only from the brewery in Dublin). This was a winner.
- NCAA Ale: I can’t find this one their website, but even after tasting all the aforementioned beers, I ‘m fairly sure we actually sampled it. A rich, full-bodied taste and aroma. 10% alcohol. Reminded me of blackstrap molasses. GOOD!
One thing I’ve learned by now is that there is a real advantage to enjoying a beer at our local microbreweries. It’s something more than variety. I mean, they offer a beer for everyone’s taste.
But even more important: freshness. Having now experienced beer fresh from the barrel, I’m now sure I will never again enjoy beer from a bottle or can the way I used to. Ignorance was bliss. But now that I know…
Barrio Brewing Company
800 E 16th St, Tucson
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