One-Brewery Arizona Towns

Editorial StaffAugust 31, 2023
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Want to get to know a place? Drink its craft beer. That’s the philosophy behind this roundup of remote Arizona towns and the suds-slinging unicorns therein.

Copper Brothel Brewery, Photo by Monika Jesser/Courtesy Copper Brothel Brewery
Copper Brothel Brewery, Photo by Monika Jesser/Courtesy Copper Brothel Brewery
Copper Brothel Brewery in Sonoita

Many have asked, but there are no upstairs rooms despite the word “brothel” on the sign. Family-owned and female-brewed, Copper Brothel Brewery – located on the hilly, wind-swept grasslands of Southern Arizona wine country – opened in 2018 by leaning into Arizona’s Wild West history and the world’s oldest profession. 

“The Copper Brothel name comes from the Marty Robbins song El Paso, where it mentions a girl from Rosa’s Cantina and falling in love with her” co-owner Garrett Jesser says. “Brothels were the cornerstone of mining towns in Arizona, and this is our homage to women and those roles in the Wild West.”

Saddle up to the bar inside the cozy, industrial ranch-style brewpub, and you’ll notice the beer names go along with the all-female theme, e.g., Felina Oatmeal Stout and Maggie Mae Pale Ale. Six flagship beers – including an American wheat, a blonde ale and a Mexican cream ale – are always on tap, along with several seasonals, all the creative work of self-taught head brewer Samantha Jesser. The Mexican cream ale pairs well with the battered-to-order fish and chips, one of roughly two dozen dishes available from the scratch kitchen menu.

“We did everything we could to make this a true destination,” Jesser says. “If you’re going to commit to a three-hour drive, we’ll make it worth your while.”

Matt Johnson

Copper Brothel Brewery

3112 AZ-83, Sonoita
The Brewery at Tirrito Farm, Photo by Matt Johnson
The Brewery at Tirrito Farm, Photo by Matt Johnson
Tirrito Farm in Willcox

The Brewery at Tirrito Farm needs no introduction to the craft beer community in Southern Arizona. Head brewer Andrew Walter’s reputation does the talking. “The first time we went to sell our beer in stores, they saw who brewed it and didn’t even need to taste it,” recalls owner Yuri Tirrito. “They said, ‘If he brewed it, we know it’s good.’”

Walter, a former assistant brewer at Tombstone Brewing Company, was hand-picked by Yuri and her husband, Dr. Sal Tirrito, to create a microbrewery in an area where wine thrives and beer was lacking – namely, Willcox, an agrarian community about 90 miles east of Tucson. “I’ve been homebrewing beer for a long time; I don’t like wine,” Sal says. “We didn’t want to compete with other vineyards in the Willcox area. We wanted to build a place where people can enjoy our beer.”

Tirrito Farm has now built itself into a craft beer travel destination, winning converts with its light and crisp Helles Lager and the citrusy, white-wine flavors of its West Coast Pilsner. (If you catch it in season, the Barrel-Aged Doppelbock is also a must-try.) But beer is hardly the sum of this unique foodie playground, which also features an on-site restaurant, simply called The Kitchen, plus a wine tasting room, event space, dairy, retail shop, farm tours, paintball arena and three guest suites for an overnight stay.

Matt Johnson

The Brewery at Tirrito Farm

6150 S. Kansas
Settlement Rd., Willcox, 520-200-7270,

Oktoberfest Extra!

This fall, craft beer lovers are invited to make the trek to Willcox for Oktoberfiesta at Tirrito Farm, its first ever Oktoberfest beer festival on Saturday, September 30, from noon-5 p.m. Tickets range from $10-$30 on
Insurgent Brewing Co., Photo by Johann Warnholtz
Insurgent Brewing Co., Photo by Johann Warnholtz
Insurgent Brewing Co. in Chino Valley

Tucked away in Chino Valley, about 15 miles north of Prescott, is Insurgent Brewing Co., a 7-year-old craft beer hideaway in the high desert. From classic styles like Barefoot German Blonde, Redneck City Ale and Pronghorn Pale Ale to more unique brews like the Bad Buddha Chai Tea Spiced Ale or the Limes & Punishment key lime milkshake IPA, head brewer and owner Rob Valenzuela likes to stretch the operational limits of his three-barrel system, supplying his 17 taps with a diverse and expressive lineup. 

The brewery has made a fetching addition to the town of 14,000, which is also a known commodity in the wine world, with two estate wineries – Granite Creek Vineyards and Del Rio Springs Vineyard – located  in town.

Attracing loyal locals as well as road-trippers passing through from Prescott en route to the I-40, Insurgent is worth the trip, especially to enjoy the singular Bad Buddha Chai Tea Spiced Ale, a 9-percent ABV hammer that features chai, juniper berries, orange peel, ginger and other spices. It’s akin to an old Finnish style of farmhouse ale called a sahti, and is a true one-of-a-kind in Arizona.

Johann Warnholtz

Insurgent Brewing Co.

990 Hwy. 89, Chino Valley, 928-636-9077,

Oktoberfest Extra!

Part Deux

Knock out your fall-color watching and Oktoberfest drinking in one fell swoop with the Verde Canyon Railroad’s Ales on Rails tour. Enjoy four samples from a wide variety of Arizona brewing while beholding the arboreal beauty of the four-hour, 20-mile ride from Clarksville to Perkinsville in the Verde Valley. Daily trips September 12-October 31.

Photo courtesy Verde Valley Railroad
Photo courtesy Verde Valley Railroad