Mar 21, 2014

Hanger 24 comes to Arizona


Last night, I was lucky enough to attend the official launch party for the brewery Hanger 24, from Redlands California. I was told about this event about a week prior, and was informed it would be taking place at the Commemorative Air Force Museum hanger in Mesa, AZ. Now, for those of you that don't know me well, aviation history is one of my loves, in particular, WW II aviation. So, when I learned this, I just new I had to attended. So, invitation in hand, I made my way to east Mesa, to the Museum to welcome this new brewery to Arizona.

A little history of Hanger 24...
Hanger 24 is located in the old Norton Air Force Base building, across the street from the Redland Municipal Air Port in the 1970's. According to the company website, "Ben Cook, Founder and Master Brewer, has been brewing for 6 years, with last employment in the Quality Assurance Organization at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Van Nuys, CA. While learning about QA/QC at AB and majoring in Biology at California State University San Bernardino, Ben fell in love with Beer and its culture.  Wanting to learn more, he attended and graduated from the Master Brewers Program under Professor Emeritus Dr. Michael Lewis and Dr. Charles Bamforth at the University of California, Davis.  Following graduation Ben sought out and found the perfect brewing equipment, a great location adjacent to the Redlands Airport and aptly named his brewery Hangar 24."

Now, back to Mesa. If you have ever had the pleasure of driving through east Mesa in the spring, you can't escape the smell that wafts from this corner of the valley. Driving to, and arriving at the museum, I was greeted by the wonderful aroma of orange blossoms. It permeates the landscape in the part of the valley. Walking through the parking lot, towards the front door, the aroma was met with the sweet, smoky bbq smell pouring out of The Traveling Monk, the food truck that was catering this event. It was an odd combo, but strangely, the competing scents worked well together, making me hungry and anxious to get inside!
Upon walking into the main display hanger, we were met with a table to fill out name tags, info cards etc. Then walking passed that table, and into the expansive main display hanger, we were surrounded by a wonderful display of vintage aircraft, mostly WWII, but ranging from earlier, up through the Vietnam era.

Making my way around the various tables, I was able to sample some 7 different beers from this brewery.  Starting with their Orange Wheat, this refreshing, unfiltered aromatic beer was a great place to kick things off. What a wonderful addition to our summer beers available here in Arizona. This crisp, fresh tasting beer goes down easy, and was thoroughly enjoyable.

Their Betty IPA was next, and it was fantastic. One of the better IPA's I've had in a quite sometime. This complex bitter IPA was probably my personal favorite from the evening. A few of the other high lights from their light up included the wonderfully smooth Chocolate Porter, the bold Double IPA, a very pleasant California Spring Beer, the fruity, almost tart Vinaceous, and the malty, sweet Barrel Roll aged Barelywine.

I must say, this is one spectacular brewery. The entire line up I had this evening was just great. Not a weak beer at all, and a couple that I thought were just out of the park (the Orange Wheat and Betty IPA were my favorites, followed closely by the Chocolate Porter).

Jerry and Margaret
I was able to take the time and chat with a few
Whitney and Cory
 folks at attended to see how they like the beers. There seemed to be an overwhelming consensus that the venue was just awesome, and a perfect place to kick off a Brewery like Hanger 24. I had the great pleasure of talking to Army vet. of 24 years Jerry, and his lovely bride of 50+ years Margaret. Their son Paul owns Big Sticks Cigar Shop  over in Mesa Riverview. We had a great chat about his service, his sons business, and the beer were drinking. I also chatted with Whitney and Cory. Cory works at Arizona Wilderness Brewing. He was also very impressed with the beers on hand, and considering he is surrounded by great beer every day, that must means something!

Again, everyone I had the pleasure of chatting with was very impressed with the venue, and equally impressed with the beers. It was as perfect a match as you could make I think. Drinking a Hanger 24 beer, in an actual hanger, surrounded by vintage WWII aircraft, is akin to drinking a Guinness in a pub in Dublin, or a margarita on the beach in Key West, just goes together, quite naturally.

Ben Cook
I want to take the time, and personal thank, and welcome Ben Cook, founder, owner and Master Brewer of Hanger 24, for not only making such outstanding beer, and bringing to Arizona, but for taking the time to chat with me, and all the other last night about your beer. We share your excitement and enthusiasm in bringing this fine brew to our state. I look forward to many days around the pool this summer (and many more to come) sipping on an Orange Wheat, or camping with a Chocolate Porters around a camp fire. Your beer fits well here in our state, and I look forward to seeing it, and removing it, from store shelves. Thanks you again, and welcome to Arizona!

I also would like to thank Alec, and everyone at Golden Eagle Distributors for throwing on awesome party, and for allowing me to share it with you all.

So, keep an eye out for Hanger 24 on Arizona shelves, and grad a few, you will be glad you did.

For a complete set of pic's from the event, check out our Facebook page photo album here....

Hanger 24 Website here....

For more information on the Commemorative Air Force Museum, including schedules, hours rates, and even to book a ride on a vintage WW II aircraft, including the B-17 Sentimental Journey, or the B-25 "Maid in the Shade", check out their official website here.....

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

Here is a just a look at a great video of both the B-17 Sentimental Journey, and the B-25 Maid in the Shade flying over Arizona. Its a beautifully done video, or two amazing old war birds. Nothing to do with beer, but I just love this video, and wanted to share it with you, since it is related to this post!

The B-17 Sentimental Journey

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