Nov 28, 2023 - News

Two Arizona beers make top 20 list for 2023

A pint glass of bright magenta liquid and a clear empty beer bottle.

Jitterbug Perfume by Arizona Wilderness. Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

2023 was a good year for craft beer in the Valley.

Driving the news: Craft Beer & Brewing released its national list of the 20 best beers of 2023, and two of the entries were from Arizona:

  • Jitterbug Perfume from Arizona Wilderness
  • Radial Spines from 12 West Brewing Co.

Zoom in: Jitterbug Perfume is a mixed-culture beer that's barrel-aged for six months and rested on roasted organic beets, Meyer lemons and Indian coriander.

  • It comes in a clear bottle that shows off its bright magenta coloring.
  • "The dynamic push-pull between the earthy, bitter, fruity flavors of the beets and the tart citrus, offering a lifting freshness and a light touch of flinty fermentation funk, creates vivid yet unexpected contrast," per Craft Beer & Brewing.
  • The reviewer wrote that the flavor is dry, with an aroma that "suggests berry-like sweetness that isn't there."

Of note: Arizona Wilderness is a staple of the local brewery scene, with two locations and a third coming.

Meanwhile, Radial Spines from Gilbert's 12 West sounded a bit more conventional.

  • Reviewers described it as a hop-forward lager that melds "typically spicy-herbal pils hops with oranges, zest and a bit of tropical floral."
  • It's medium-bodied with a "measured" level of hoppiness.

Jeremy's thought bubble: I tried some Jitterbug Perfume over the weekend and liked it more than I thought I would.

  • The aroma is fruity and sweet, as you would expect with something that has such a bright red hue.
  • But the taste wasn't quite what I imagined. I was greeted by something much drier. The fruitiness was there but muted.
  • Since I prefer my drinks to be more dry than sweet, I was pleasantly surprised. It was much different from my typical beer choices, but I enjoyed it.

What's next: I wasn't able to find a bottle of 12 West's Radial Spines, which seems right up my alley, but I'm looking forward to trying it at some point, so if anyone knows where I can buy a bottle, let me know!

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