by Jerry Morgan
Last Saturday afternoon, I invited Borderlands Brewing brewmaster Blake Collins and his wife to come with me to the grand opening of Tucson’s newest brewery. I knew the big opening would be feature music, a food truck and, of course, some damn fine beer. What I didn’t expect was the massive crowd that came out to support these guys.
Ten-55 Brewing is in a small warehouse-like space at 3810 East 44th St, with tasting hours Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. We pulled up to find that the nearest parking was two buildings down and in view of another of Tucson’s breweries. Turning the corner, we saw tons of people congregated in the parking lot in front of this tiny space. After passing the “Age Verification Station” and receiving out bright green stamp of approval, we stood in the large line snaking from the doorway.
While waiting in line, I see people I know. Blake talks with a few people he knows. It seems like some sort of pre-planned get-together with friends, but it's just Tucson. As large as this town is, everyone seems to know everyone else in some way or another, totally reminding me of Six Degrees of Separation.
We get inside and receive a sampling of the four brews on tap: Lazy Duck (an American wheat); Leap Pale Ale (an American pale ale); Sugar Skull (a sweet chocolate milk stout, or what I like to call chocolate milk in a beer form); and Two Sons Citra (described as a double IPA).
Now, I’m not a “hop head,” or a lover of the IPA style. I know what one is and can appreciate the flavor, but it isn’t my style of choice. But Two Sons Citra was a tasty glass of something I’ve never had. Bravo good sirs! Bravo!
Meeting the guys behind the brewery, Chris Squires and John Paul Vyborny, was great. Then those damn degrees of separation kicked in again. Seems my boss here, Dan Gibson, had talked me up on my mead making and these fellas were itching to try the goods. Luckily, I had a little something tucked away to taste and didn’t have to lose face. (Either that, or they were kind enough to spare my feelings by telling me it was good.)