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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Arizona Tasting - Sonoran Cordillera Blanca

This week I've been working in and around Phoenix, AZ. The heat is brutal! In South Texas the humidity is what kills you, like living in a sauna. In Phoenix, it's like living in an oven (and I think my rental car technically qualifies as an oven at this point). Whoever says "it's a dry heat" is insane, it's still pretty bad! The temperature in my car was 129 degrees today when it was only 111 outside.

So needless to say, I needed a cold beer with a greasy pub dinner. I found a place in Tempe called Boulders on Broadway (530 W Broadway Road, Tempe, AZ 85282). As soon as I walked in the place I knew UrbanSpoon steered me right, they have something like 25 beers on tap including DogFish Head, Sierra Nevada, Rock Art, Sam Adams, Pyramid, Rogue, and many more! The only hard part was choosing which one I wanted.

So I decided on Rock Art Brewery's IPA. As you may recall, I drank and reviewed Rock Art's Vermontster a couple weeks ago. At that time Renee Nadeau, co-founder of the brewery, informed me that Rock Art brews were also distributed in Arizona. I saw a Kokopelli on the highway in Phoenix the other day so I figured it was appropriate.

Paul the bartender (hey, that's my name!) gave me a bottle of vinegar with my fish & chips and we had a nice conversation with a couple sitting at the bar. When I ordered the IPA he said "so you like good beers, huh?" I gave Paul the bartender the URL to this blog after talking about mead for awhile, so maybe I'll have another visitor reading this. Thanks for the beer Paul! Go visit this link for my previous post on Joe's Ancient Orange Mead.

Rock Art IPA was excellent! I love hoppy beers to the point that I've almost ruined my bitter palate. I am always chasing the next super hoppy example. This beer was a great balance between bitterness and flavor. It was a perfect compliment to my pub food, and it wasn't too bitter to be enjoyable. It's not a chugging beer, but it's also not too hard to get to the bottom of the glass. Recommended for sure!

The other beer I got to try tonight was an Arizona brew. I saw it in the store and picked it up on a whim without knowing anything about it except the name and that it's brewed in Scottsdale.

Sonora Brewing Company makes Cordillera Blanca White Chocolate Ale. I know, I know, I already reviewed a pale-colored chocolate ale. But, just like Theobroma, I expected this to be a brown or black color upon pouring. As you can see from the picture above, this beer pours a hazy pale yellow with a slight white head. At first glance you might mistake it for any light American lager style beer.

So the first thing I did, like I do with every brew, is take a big whiff to capture the initial aroma. Wow! I couldn't believe how similar to white chocolate this thing smelled! There is also a bit of a beery aroma as a side note.

By the way, as I am writing this a commercial for "triple-hop brewed" Miller Lite came on the TV. Seriously, how does their light beer being "triple hopped" make it taste better than the next yellow fizzy? Drink a Sam Adams Boston Lager or a Shiner Bock!

So, back to Cordillera Blanca. It's named after the Cordillera Blanca mountain range in Peru. The picture at the top of the page is what I'm dreaming about at night. 110+ degree weather will make you dream of snow. The name means "White Mountains" in Spanish and includes 33 major peaks, including the tallest peak in Peru.

This beer's flavor matches the aroma, distinctly white chocolate that lingers on the tongue. It is very light bodied and supposedly only has 4.7% ABV (this is according to the BeerAdvocate entry since the website for Sonoran Brewery is non-existent). It is extremely drinkable even with the strong flavor. I was able to easily get through the 22 oz. bottle. I'm pretty curious how they flavored it, I would almost guess that it's some sort of flavored extract since it's so strong. But, you know, it was a good beer so I can't complain!

Whew, this was a long one! Thanks for sticking with me, have a beer on me!


  1. Hehe it was almost cold this morning in Baltimore. Anyway good to see your not letting the convection oven that is Phoenix and area get you down.

  2. BTW comment from 30,000 feet top that punk!