Me: "I'll do #'s 1, 6, 7, 8, and......"
Dude at Crooked Tooth, without hesitation: "3!"
Dude at Crooked Tooth: "If you like those 4 you'll love #3"
Me: "Well alright, alright"
That was my first interaction with Ben Vernon from Crooked Tooth Brewing Company in Tucson. And you know? #3 was my favorite. I knew right then that Ben was a cool dude who truly cared and knew a lot about beer and how to make his guests feel welcome. In this episode I sit down with Ben and talk about the challenges/joys of transforming an old service shop into a fantastic brewery and whatnot.
A little while back I took a trip down to Tombstone to visit Matt Brown at Tombstone Brewing Company which was a great place making great beer. But I also had a secondary objective that day: get back to Tucson ASAP and grab chimichanga at the place that apparently invented it and just a bad ass Mexican food joint in general. The story about the chimichanga is great. But they had me at “fried burrito”. I had even skipped 2nd breakfast to make room for this legendary treasure. So we made the trip back to Tucson and walked into El Charro at around 2:30. “The wait is about 45 minutes”. My heart sank which is probably preferable to what that chimichanga would have done to my heart had we possessed the patience to wait that long. But 45 minutes was much too long for me to wait in my fragile state so we decided to go with Plan B: take the 0.3 mile walk to Borderlands Brewing Company to come up with Plan B.
Borderlands Brewing Company was a really badass place too. Located in an old brick warehouse right by the railroad tracks this place has character for days and some marvelous beers. The bartender was cool as hell and when we expressed a desire to check another brewery without hesitation she said "Crooked Tooth. You gotta check them out. Cool people making great beer". It was decided: Crooked Tooth would be the next stop. Another 0.3 mile walk (by the way, I was burning WAY more calories than was necessary at this point) and we were there. On the journey over we noticed hoards of people stumbling around the streets and realized we were right in the middle of a pub crawl. Lots of people wandering aimlessly trying to find the next place to find a great craft beer? I can relate to that.
We came around the corner and there is was: another great Tucson brewery in a brick building that looked like it had been there for a hundred years. As soon as we walked in I knew I was going to love this place. Right when you walk in there is an old payphone with vines on it sitting beside an old ass safe filled with board games. And the place was beautiful inside. Exposed brick everywhere and the huge wooden tables were heavy duty as hell. The place just had a cool vibe to it. And then I saw what they were serving flight tastings in: wooden skateboards with 5 holes in them to hold the tasting glasses. Heck yes! That when I first met Ben (see beginning of this article). I knew right then I had to cool this dude on the show. And he was totally down. Plus their beer is the shit. Especially the It's Always Sunny in Amarillo (and such a great name).
A few weeks later I was back in Tucson with mics in hand to record this episode. It was on a Saturday before they opened for the day during "Crooked Yoga" where people come in for an hour of yoga and then have a pint, all for $5. Yoga is just one of the events they are known for. Don’t forget about speed dating, live music, stand up comedy, the list goes on. So in the background of the episode you'll hear the Zenful music of the yoga in the background as Ben tells me the story of Crooked Tooth Brewing Company thus creating "Ben The Beer Zen Master". Has a nice ring to it. Enjoy the show. And go have a beer there. Today.
Intro/Outro music is "La Negra Tomasa" by Arizona's own Fayuca
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