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A Look at Local Microbreweries

In the early days of America, immigrants brought over many traditions, styles, and crafts from their homelands. Beer was one of these crafts. As the country progressed, changes came. One of these changes was the Prohibition of the 1920’s. Although the Prohibition helped many men make a lot of money in the bootlegging business, beer did not prosper in the same manner as hard liquor. More than 800 breweries dies during this time, and between 1933 and the late 70’s, the traditions brought over by the immigrants were disappearing and the remaining 700 or so breweries that were left had been reduced to about 50.

In 1976, the New Albion Brewery in Sonoma, California began brewing beer as a craft. Unfortunately, the business only lasted six years, but it paved the way for the microbreweries to come. In the early 80’s hundreds of people began to open breweries.

During the early 1980’s, American brewers were seen as large corporations that put products out for mass production in order to make a profit. This made it difficult for the microbrewers since the industry experts of the time didn’t see the home-brewers as serious competition. This didn’t discourage these small breweries one bit. They continued to give their communities beer that was reminiscent of those old world traditions and taste.

The 90’s gave way to growth in the microbrewery business, and by 2008 there were over 1,500 microbreweries in the US. 2009 was a bad year for the large beer corporations, with sales falling for the first time since 2003, but the small brewers still continued to grow.

So, what does this have to do with Havasu? Well, we have our own microbreweries here in town that the locals love.

Barley Brothers

barley brothers lake havasuThis lakeside establishment opened 17 years ago as the first microbrewery in Lake Havasu. The six house beers that helped the restaurant step into the world of craft beers are the same six house beers you will find there today. Barley Bros. comes out with 4-5 new beers each season (all brewed in-house), and sometimes welcomes a guest beer (all local AZ brewers) to be on tap.

What are their biggest sellers? The Blonde Ale, Triple Berry Wheat, and Big Horn IPA are the ones you’ll hear everyone raving about. Of course, don’t discredit their other delicious creations. This year they have a treat in store—they’re very own Oktoberfest will be available by mid-late September. Now, you can’t ask for a better way to welcome the fall season than with an outstanding fall beer.

Barley Bros. is a Great American Beer Festival award winner. This award is coveted by beer makers all over the country. Even the big-wigs enter this competition. But rest assured, Barley Bros. will be there this year; dominating Denver once again.

Keith and the team at Barley Bros. is constantly involved with non-profit events within the community. So, stop by and grab a frosty mug. Your taste buds are sure to cheer while you relax after a long fall day.


mudshark_brewing-3This relaxed and fun restaurant may no longer brew their beer in-house, but they keep it all in town. Having begun major production of their beer in 2010, Mudshark’s beer has its very own building dedicated to the craft, and who can blame him? With 14 different beers on tap at all times, the brewing process definitely requires more room than the restaurant can accommodate. And what’s another cool fact about Mudshark? They are the only Solar Powered brewery in Lake Havasu. So, every glass you drink has been kissed by the sun—rather fitting for this sun-soaked town.
So, what are Havasu’s local favorites? Their Full Moon Belgian White Ale (very popular for its 8.5% alcohol content), the Up River Light, and the Peaceful Pumpkin are the Havasu favorites. 16 years ago, the Full Moon Belgian White shared the spotlight with the Havasu Helles, Vienna Lager, and Skyline Stout.

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