More than ever before, young people are choosing unique experiences over material possessions.
This has lead to the constant media coverage of Millennials killing companies that simply can’t keep up with this new generation. There are also industries that are thriving by adapting to these new trends.
Shoestring travel is more popular than ever, and many apps are being developed with the goal of making travel cheaper and easier.
The Craft Beer industry is also experiencing a boost as drinkers increasingly choose small batch beer from local brewers who use regional ingredients instead of mass market beer brands.
Mother Road Brewing Company brings together both the love for travel and quality craft beer at a brewery located on Historic Route 66 in downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.
The inspiration for this beer company began on a road trip when the founders, inspired by the idea of “finding joy in the adventure” came up with the idea to merge their mutual passions of beer, travel and the laid back Arizona way of life.
The name comes from the moniker given to Route 66 by the Grapes of Wrath author John Steinbeck. In the novel, the Mother Road represents the fellowship found on the open road as well as the hope for new beginnings wherever the road leads.
The brewery focuses less on seasonal releases and more on producing a wide variety of quality craft beer that’s available throughout the year, all across Arizona. A flight of beer in their experimental brewery and tap room is the ideal way to take a journey through their beer styles.
Mother Road Kölsch Style Ale is inspired by the Gold Road Stretch of Route 66. The lager notes traditionally found in this beer style come across beautifully; Mild pear and lemon grass flavors lead into malted biscuit and finally a light mineral note.
Similar notes come across in the Copper Ale; Almost juicy with broad notes of ripe fruit across the palette. Served on nitro, it comes across as much more hoppy with funkier notes and a noticeable, long lasting head of foam.
The journey into more hop forward beer continues with some of their IPAs that they have made available in cans.
Daily Driver Session IPA is refreshing and reliable. A lime forward tropical aroma is perfectly balanced with a light citric hop note. It’s the perfect session beer to sip on before enjoying some of the limited edition offerings sometimes available at the Downtown Brewery like casked versions of their standard releases and the occasional Saison.
Tower Road Station IPA has gained considerable press coverage for both the cool artwork on the packaging as well as being a full bodied, rich India Pale Ale in a market that seems saturated with this increasingly popular style of ale.
The Tower Station is the nickname for one of the most iconic Art Deco buildings in America; a North Texas gas station and eatery that catered to the needs of motorists seeking hospitality in the heyday of Route 66. The namesake beer does not disappoint; it’s an unfiltered copper-orange beer capped with a fluffy, creamy cloud-like head. Tangerine and unripe pineapple dominates the aroma before giving way to crisp finish of pine needles and grapefruit zest.
Lost Highway Double Black IPA is dedicated to the road less traveled, and indeed this is among the rarer styles of IPAs in the United States.
An initial crisp and creamy mouthfeel leads into increasingly dark nuances of cocoa and citrus in complex flavor combinations. Orange zest and milk chocolate gracefully turns into caramelized blood orange and toasted cacao nibs as the beer is allowed to breathe a bit more. Different from the typical Imperial IPA or Double Black; it’s reminiscent of a classic West Indian Porter.
Flagstaff’s growing craft beer movement includes a few other breweries that are similar to the Mother Road Beer Company; they’re all based in Northern Arizona, many are themed around a desire for adventure, and they collectively create a noticeable beer district in their small city.
Wanderlust Brewery puts their unique spin on traditional beer. PANAM Stout adds flavors from South and Central America to a standard North American Oatmeal stout for a truly Pan-American drinking experience.
Located in a building that’s a part of Flagstaff’s Historic Railroad District, Lumberyard Brewing Company gets their travel inspiration from locations closer to home.
Red Rock Raspberry is an ale brewed with berries that’s an homage to Arizona’s famous red sandstone canyons like the Red Rock State Park and the Grand Canyon.
The nearby Historic Brewing Company Barrel and Bottle House keeps their beer interesting and inspired.
Ocean Front Property Mexican Lager is a clean and crisp quality lager along the lines of other quality session lagers like Havana Lager from Concrete Brewery in Miami or 10 Saints Lager in Barbados.
Undercover Cucumber Blonde Ale includes cold pressed cucumbers in each batch that lends itself to a lightly herbal, honey dew aroma in an easy-going beer.
Their bucket-list beer though is the Piehole Porter. It’s a medium bodied porter whose sweet notes are enhanced with the addition of Oregon cherries and Madagascar vanilla. Decadent and dark; each sip is a baked dessert disguised as beer with notes of both cherry pie and chocolate brownie coming across.
Collectively, these breweries make this small area in downtown Flagstaff into small craft beer focused community.
It’s reminiscent of places like the Art District in Los Angeles where Angel City Brewery makes California inspired beer, or Wynwood in Miami where street art and craft beer have come to define the neighborhood and inspire companies like Concrete Beach.
Ravenswood in Chicago, another popular beer neighborhood created the Chicago Malt Row that celebrates the many breweries in a small area.
Similarly, there is the Flagstaff Brewery Trail; and Mother Road Beer is an important part of this initiative along with the other nearby craft beer companies. Beyond Arizona they also share a kinship with craft beer companies all across America, all linked by the open road.
Mother Road Beer Company might brew for mostly Arizona, but they also create beer for anyone with a spirit of Adventure and a love for interesting beer.
Complementary Beer for this article was sponsored by Mother Road Brewing Company an Arizona based Craft Beer Company dedicated to “finding joy in the adventure”.