On a Sunday in late March 2022, Ms. Karen and I headed down the road past Sonoita to Elgin for a visit to Copper Hop Ranch and Microbrewery. We had considered going to the Renaissance Festival this year but decided against it. We had never been to either place, but Copper Hop seemed closer and was not likely to be as crowded.
We arranged for a dog-sitter for our three-legged pooch, Dozer, and took off at 11 AM, because they don’t open until noon. Who drinks beer before noon anyway. The drive was pleasant enough, through rolling hills and cattle country past the Empire Ranch, one of our favorite historic places to enjoy the cowboy life and the great outdoors.
We arrived shortly after they opened. The bartender was just opening up. Tom, the barkeep, was a friendly fellow who told us the hops field which was just getting started out front, was mostly for show. He buys his hops elsewhere but brews it right there. He also sells whiskey and other spirits. He buys the whiskey from Flying Leap Distillery & Vineyards down the road.
The grounds had the appearance of more like a beer garden than a ranch, with plenty of room for music and dancing. Not sure where they were hiding the cows and horses. We will see. Could get hopping sometimes. Perhaps like the day before at the Chili Festival.
Once Tom was ready to serve, Ms. Karen ordered their Deadwood Amber. I got an IPA, hoping it would be hoppy. It was. Very good! Karen indicated her Deadwood was tasty as well and commented that she liked it better than my IPA. Seems my IPA was too hoppy for her taste. They did not offer flights for tasting but did offer a taste of the beer that you might wish to have poured. There are IPAs, wheat, berry and hops.
I was tempted to taste their whiskey, but decided against it since I was driving. As you can see by the pictures, it is a pleasant place to enjoy a sunny day. Plenty of funky seating, picnic tables, and garage sale memorabilia around. Not a lot of shade. As we left there were others showing up, some neighbors, some tourists like us.
We would have ordered lunch, but on this day, Tom wasn’t providing any food. He told us on Saturday, the day before we arrived, they had a chili cookoff, and therefore he wasn’t making any food the day we were there. As an aside, the Copper Hop website says they offer food, but don’t, interestingly enough, provide a menu? I suppose it is whatever they feel like serving that day. So be warned and pack a picnic. There are plenty of tables.
When we left Copper Hop, we were hungry. Heading back to Sonoita, we stopped at The Café, one of our favorite restaurants in all of Southern Arizona, but, as usual, they were swamped. People were queued up outdoors. The Café is the local restaurant here. It was recently joined by the Copper Brothel Brewery.
We headed back on Hwy 83 and stopped at one of our favorite wineries, mostly because of the views, Charron Vineyards, to catch up with the owners, Susan and Milton, whom we had met when we were giving wine-tasting tours a few years ago.
When we arrived at Charron, we quickly learned that Milton had passed away and Susan had sold out to another couple and moved to San Diego to be with her new grandson. We did, however, meet the new owners. Their names are Sarah and Colton. Colton is the farmer in the family who was busy pruning and tying the vines. Seems he loves his work in the vineyard. We certainly wish them the best. Above is the new patio they added. For those of you who do not know, Charron is the first vineyard traveling south on Route 83 from Interstate 10. It makes for a nice break, wherever you are headed or coming from.
Back to Copper Hop Ranch and Microbrewery. We rate Copper Hop Ranch three Saguaros. Might have been more, but we couldn’t rate the food. Although the beer was pretty good, we will call it a work in progress and perhaps, return in the fall.
Copper Hop Ranch and Microbrewery
5 Fairview Lane Elgin, AZ 85611
Located on Highway 83, between mile markers 24 & 23 which is south of Sonoita on the way to Parker Canyon Lake!
15 minutes south of Sonoita, Arizona