top of page

Top 5 wineries, top 5 breweries in Northern Arizona, Weekend trip September 2020

Updated: Oct 6, 2020


Escaping the heat from Phoenix to Flagstaff, Oak Creek to Cottonwood:

Breweries and Wineries Weekend


This year has been an interesting one with so many events and general plans being cancelled, we haven't been going out much. However, this past weekend we were able to leave our hot city of North Phoenix and travel to higher elevation for a few days, though still remaining in the beautiful state of Arizona.


Considering the fact that so many people want to get away for the weekend here in Phoenix and traffic backs up so terribly Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings, we figured we would try to beat the traffic slightly by leaving early on a Friday and coming home on a Saturday. This way, we aren't having to take off too many days from work, but still not sitting through traffic back and forth and let me tell you, it worked great!


Our Story


We started. Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and on the road by 7 A.M. We had full on excitement in our hearts and ready to take on the weekend. In what seemed to be one swift motion, we drove ourselves all the way up to Flagstaff, AZ and continued until we found ourselves at the shores of Lake Mary.






Lake Mary


I was able to capture some great shots with my Nikon D3400 camera, as well as some from my Galaxy Note10. We didn't find too many people at the lake, just a few kayakers and picnickers setting up. It turned out to be a lovely place to brush what was left of Phoenix off from ourselves as we officially dipped our toes into what would soon be considered a great weekend experience.




Flagstaff


Once we were willing to part with the area and head back into the town of Flagstaff, we decided to take a longer, scenic route so that we could take in more of our surroundings and enjoy the sights along the way. In town, we met up with one of his sisters who would join us for the rest of the day and stopped in for some lunch at Grand Canyon Brewery + Distillery. Our time there included a sampling of a few of their beers as well as one of their Signuture Cocktails, Cactus Lemonade which contained Prickly Pear Vodka from their distillery. By the end of it, we had a shot glass to take home and a number of things to put in our cooler:

  • a 12-pk variety of their popular beers

  • a bottle of their Prickly Pear Vodka

  • 6-pk of their Kachina Throwback Ale (I think that one might be my favorite).


We spent the day exploring the town and visiting more breweries along the way. Our next stop was Dark Sky Brewery where we purchased a flight and a few pints. As it turned out, we liked a lot of their creations as well!

Some of our favorites were the Fest Bier (Seasonal) and the Wellenlange Kolsh, both of which we decided purchase to-go and pop into the cooler! At this point we are very pleased with ourselves for bringing a giant cooler with us knowing very well that we would use it to its full potential. We ended up taking the following with us:

  • Crowler of the Wellenlange Kolsh

  • 4-pk of the Fest Bier





We proclaimed this day to be dedicated to beer and indeed it was. At our next stop, we had a brisk walk over the train tracks to Mother Road Brewery. There was a bit of a wait to get in but once we were there, it was all smiles. We were already familiar with their Kolsh and knew that we liked it a lot, so we ended up trying a Blonde Ale each. Didn't end up taking any beer with us since we are able to purchase the popular ones at home, but we did end up with a Mother Road shirt!


At this point, it was getting late for us and we were ready for some dinner. During our time at Mother Road, I placed an order online at a pizza place that came highly recommended to us called Fratelli Pizza, which was right down the road from the brewery. They said 30 minutes until it would be ready, so we enjoyed our beers during that time, then popped on down to pick up our order and take it back to the hotel with us. It was said that they were the best pizza in town and I believe it. We got the Flagstaff Pizza (next time we will order it with extra pesto) and the Works, both of which were delicious.


Overall, here's a list of top 5 breweries I recommend visiting in Flagstaff:

  1. Grand Canyon Brewery + Distillery

  2. Dark Sky Brewing Co.

  3. Lumberyard Brewing Co.

  4. Mother Road Brewery

  5. Historic Brewing Company


Having a very fulfilling day, we laid our heads to rest for the night so very happy that we could say that it was only Friday, having a whole other day ahead of us to enjoy.


We awakened the next day, knowing there would be another fun-filled adventure ahead. We started the day out with a walk to breakfast. For most breakfast, I think I do a great job of cooking at home, with the ability to make most of what a breakfast-heart desires, but there is one thing that I don't really make at home and that is Eggs Benedict. So anytime we are out for breakfast, that is usually what I will get. Upon doing some research, I found a great place that offers a wide variety of Benny's as well as some unique coffee options. That place was called Brandy's Cafe and boy I picked a good one.



It is a smaller place, but getting there a little after 7 A.M. (which is when they open), there were only a few people in there and we got seated right away. Starting this breakfast mission out on the right foot, we both ordered a little something from their specialty coffee offerings.



I ordered the Cafe Viennese (double) and he ordered the Baja Mocha. His was on the sweeter side and both were a lovely start. As for the breakfast, both our hearts and tummies became completely full by the end of it.


I got the Jesse Extremely Exceptional Eggs (yes, they were) and he got the Eggs Brandy with a side of pancakes. We almost couldn't finish, but we dug deep and found a way through it all. The walk back turned out to be much needed and went straight to the hotel. We packed ourselves and belongings up into the car shortly after and headed South, but not with the intention of driving straight home by any means.


Sedona


Saturday was to be a day with wine in mind, but our first stop would be Sedona. We didn't stay too long, just wanted to enjoy some scenery and browse the shops. We bought ourselves a few handcrafted candles and an assortment candy. With that, we headed on our merry way to Page Springs Road where we knew the wine would be flowing and ready for us. In the meantime, there was so much beauty to behold on these roads, I could hardly stand it.







N Page Springs Rd


After all that beauty, we found ourselves at our first winery of the day, Javalina Leap Vineyard.



We decided in the car that we would play it cool and only share a flight of wine knowing that we were in for a big day, with much wine ahead. We made our way to the tasting area in the back and to our own surprise, instead of sharing a flight, we ended up trying every single wine on the menu instead.



They even offer food, which turned out to be perfect timing for our stomachs. So we got their Inigo Montoya Flatbread Pizza, which included grapes on the pizza, something we had never tried before and found to be quite yummy. The flavors happily took us by surprise and paired nicely with our wine(s). After talking with one of the employees for a little, he offered us a membership which would require us to buy wine throughout the year, but the benefits made everything seem worth it. With tastings, opportunities to attend special releases and being that we don't live very far away, we figured this would be a great thing for us to get set up with since we were planning to buy a few bottles while we were there anyway!


We signed ourselves up and in the end, we had 3 bottles lined up to take home:

  • 2018 Merlot,

  • 2018 Sangiovese

  • 2018 Rockslide




This place turned out to be one of our favorites of Saturday, for sure.


Right next door to Javalina Leap is Oak Creek Vineyards, they were a little more busy and not as attentive to us there. We each got flights - a white variety and a red variety, but didn't end up buying any bottles. They were a little cheaper and definitely had a lot of options, but I feel that they did not bring as much quality and depth to their flavors in comparison to the first place. Still, a place worth trying if you are on that road looking to try some new wines.


Going a little further down the road, we made it to Page Springs Cellars, a place we have been to before and much enjoyed the last time we were there. They have a wonderful view of the creek towards the back of their property where you can enjoy a bottle of wine. However, they were quite packed this time and didn't have any parking for us to stop, so we carried onward.


In the end, it turned out to be more wonderful than we had first imagined, being that we didn't hold back and had such a good time at the first place, doing everything we wanted to do there. We expected to go into every place and take home bottles from everywhere, which didn't turn out to be the case at all and it all happily worked out how it was meant to be.


Cottonwood


Finding ourselves very happy and satisfied with the experience at this point, we proceeded into the town of Cottonwood where we tried Burning Tree Cellars for the first time.

We shared a flight of their reds and to our surprise, enjoyed every single one of them. Their tastings are brought out one by one, starting from lightest to deepest in flavor. The person serving them up had such beautiful words to describe each wine that we found ourselves legitimately excited to try each one. In our opinion, every wine tasted better than the last. So we ended up taking home 2 of their deepest flavored wines:

  • 2019 Lotus

  • 2019 Xibalba (favorite)

Our next stop was a short walk to Merkin Vineyards Osteria and Tasting Room, where we tried a small amount of wine (we've been there before too and you can buy some of their popular bottles in Phoenix) so we didn't end up buying any bottles there. I still recommend going there though because their food is really amazing and unique, for instance we got Lasagna Cupcakes this time; One with Duck Confit (seasonal) and the other with Chicken Relleno.


Overall, top 5 wineries to visit between Page Springs Road and Cottonwood:

  1. Burning Tree Cellars

  2. Javalina Leap Vineyard

  3. Page Springs Cellars

  4. Merkin Vineyards

  5. Arizona Stronghold

We stopped off at a friends house shortly after, where we shared some of our provisions acquired throughout the weekend, opening a bottle of the Merlot (for the ladies) and having a few beers (for the boys). We enjoyed our time with them, sobered up a bit with some Thai food and popped back into the car to head back home.


The results of the weekend turned out to be quite favorable and we were so grateful that we could share some of our time with family and friends in between. Not to mention, the gift that will continue giving us a reason to go to a great winery for the next year.


I hope that you enjoyed this snippet into my life and I hope to be able to continue taking you on this journey with me.


Until next time,

-AZ Paintbrush Designs


P.S.


You might enjoy some things that I offer on my shop page. They are all items that I have designed and crafted myself, some are even beer related. I am always adding new items, so please pop in on occasion to see what's new. Click the link below




Comments


bottom of page