Originally Published: September 6, 2012 6:16 p.m.
PRESCOTT - The Prescott community helped kick start Granite Mountain Brewing with house parties and online contributions, so it comes as no surprise that the community also helped create the brewery's furnishings.
Granite Mountain Brewing opened its Brewery and Taproom last month at 123 N. Cortez St. in downtown Prescott, and the unique décor is the result of a collaboration between the business owners and numerous local artists, contractors and family members.
"It's been a very organic effort," said Amanda Richardson, who co-owns the brewery with her husband Michael Stanger and another husband-and-wife duo, Audra Yamamoto and Damon Swafford.
The next-door business, Mile Hi Brewing Supplies, even supplied the ingredients for Brewmaster Stanger's first four batches of beer until he set up his long-term suppliers.
The brewery currently is tapping Bradshaw Blonde Ale, Thumb Butte American Brown Ale, Muddy Wash Milk Stout and two seasonals, Rye Pale Ale and American IPA. Customers who want to try them all can get a flight for $9, then pick a fresh pint for $4.50-$5.50.
The "small bites" food menu complements the beer with items such as the bread that the local Pangaea Bakery makes with GMB's spent grains. GMB also grills braised brats and serves them with its own beer mustard. Gourmet cheeses, lima bean spread and sourdough pretzels also are available, and sandwiches are coming soon.
Stanger makes 100 gallons of beer at a time and right now he's working on an amber ale. Smoked porter is on the drawing board. Customers can try a new beer every three or four weeks, "especially now, while we're figuring out what people like," Stanger said.
Customers can learn a little bit more about the GMB brews from the charts on the wall that detail each beer's OG (original gravity or alcohol content), FG (final gravity or body), IBU (international bittering unit or bitterness), BUGU (bitter units/gravity units or balance between bitter and sweet), and ABV (alcohol by volume).
Stanger and his partners always enjoy explaining the charts to customers.
"They just really enjoy that information," Swafford said.
"There's a lot to learn about it if people are interested," Richardson added. "It's the same thing as wine."
The laid-back atmosphere invites customers to sit back and chat on a couch, pick up one of the board games lining a shelf or even play with the vintage toys alongside their children, Yamamoto said. Friends brought in some of the games.
"We wanted a comfortable space where people could hang out and relax," Richardson said. "People just like how it feels."
First-time visitors will find it hard to resist exploring the unique furnishings.
The front bar features curly maple and Peruvian walnut forming lines akin to the rays of the sun. Inlaid at the center is the Granite Mountain Brewing logo containing decomposed granite from where else, Granite Mountain. Keith Peterson and John Kessler of Prescott created the bar. Jerrad Smith of Paulden added the foot rail, and Jesse Rens of Prescott crafted the wooden tap handles.
Behind the bar is the mug tree that Rick Hartner of Kirkland created from reclaimed metal.
"It looks like a real mesquite tree," Swafford said.
It can hold 89 mugs for GMB Mug Club members. For $100 a year they get a tee shirt, $1 off pints, 10 percent off merchandise, sneak previews of new seasonal brews and invitations to special brewery events.
On the wall are profiles of Prescott's two major mountainous landmarks, Granite Mountain and Thumb Butte, by Brad DeVries of Prescott.
Jay and Kris Crocker created the shelf out of wine bottles. It holds GMB sale items such as tees and growlers.
Swafford's Dad John even got in on the fun, spending six weeks building the brew control system. He's a retired process controls engineer.
The "Wall of Fame" features the names of all the people who donated to Kickstarter to help the couples make their dream come true. It's also online at granitemountainbrewing.com.
GMB is one of the few gathering places downtown with outdoor seating, too. The multi-level back patio feels comfortably secluded with trees and old brick walls.
"The patio is a huge asset in a place like Prescott, where you can be outside 360 days of the year," Richardson said.
The taproom isn't open as late as saloons, so it's a great place to start the evening. Hours are 4-9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 4-10 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 1-6 p.m. Sundays.
The brewery will have entertainment from time to time on special occasions.
"The atmosphere is so much different in here than a bar," Richardson said. "It very much feels like a hip coffee bar."