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Sun, Dec. 15

It's Arizona Beer Week: Local purveyors celebrate 'craft' brewing

Ken Hedler/The Daily Courier<br>
Damon Swafford, co-owner of Granite Mountain Brewing in downtown Prescott, prepares a sample tray of beers Sunday afternoon.

Ken Hedler/The Daily Courier<br> Damon Swafford, co-owner of Granite Mountain Brewing in downtown Prescott, prepares a sample tray of beers Sunday afternoon.

PRESCOTT - Mesa couples Al and Kathleen Winn and Don and Laura Brubaker share an appreciation for motorcycles and microbreweries.

They were in for a treat Sunday afternoon when they visited Granite Mountain Brewing at 123 N. Cortez St. for the first time.

Upon arrival, they found out that Sunday marked the second day of Arizona Beer Week, which promotes the appreciation of craft (not mass-produced) beers.

The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild sponsors the event, now in its third year.

"I've heard of Harley (Davidson) week, but not beer week," said Kathleen Winn, community outreach director for Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.

Winn, who coincidentally has blond hair, said with a laugh, "I love blonde beer because blonde beer tends to be light and pretty."

The Winns, the Brubakers and the Brubakers' two daughters, Maria and Alexa, sat outdoors in back of the restaurant/brewery while a number of patrons sipped beers and listened to the School of Jazz jam session indoors.

The management of Granite Mountain Brewing kicked off beer week Saturday by tapping two styles of beers, said Amanda Richardson, one of the four co-owners. She was referring to a light, hopped pale ale and a Belgian IPA, which stands for Indian pale ale.

Granite Mountain also featured live music from Al Foul Saturday night, said Richardson, part-owners with Michael Stanger, and husband and wife Damon Swafford and Audra Yamamoto. They opened the brewery this past August.

Granite Mountain also offered a beer brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

While noticing a five-man jazz man was playing, Richardson said, "Beer goes with all types of music."

Beer takes at least two weeks to produce, depending on the style, Yamamoto said.

The Granite Mountain microbrewery contains three tanks and two fermenters that produce the beer that the establishment serves. Each batch produces about 720 pints of beer.

Granite Mountain also is located strategically next door to Mile Hi Brewing Supplies. They have no business connection, but the location is "purposeful," Richardson said.

Mile Hi owner owner Chris Mewhinney said he opened two years ago about a block north but moved a year ago to 125 N. Cortez at the request of Granite Mountain.

He said the new location led to "definitely a major improvement in volume."

Mewhinney estimated 1,000 people in the quad-city area dabble in home brewing - "maybe 100 serious home brewers."

Mile Hi sells ingredients needed for beer making, including hops, malts, barley and yeast, Mewhinney said.

He said he conducted an open house for beer week a year ago in which he gave out free samples.

"This year, honestly, I was too busy" to observe beer week, Mewhinney said.

The Prescott Brewing Co., at 130 W. Gurley St., observed beer week Sunday by serving "apps and taps," General Manager Susan Brown said, referring to appetizers and beer.

"All our appetizers are made in one shape or another with beer," Brown said. "All of these appetizers are accompanied by a pint of beer as well."

Brown said nine beers are on tap at the restaurant, and they change daily.

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