What is a Rye Beer Anyway?

While rye beer isn’t a style all on it’s own, adding rye to a beer changes a beer so completely that it might as well be. Rye is an ingredient that can be included into the malt mixture when brewing, transforming beer styles with it’s earthy, spicy taste. Rye has been added to beers for centuries, however, it is just now becoming trendy with most breweries producing a rye beer seasonally or as one of their mainstays.

Rye works best in more complex beers like IPAs, Pale Ales, and Stouts, but we have also seen it successfully added into lagers and pilsners. To be considered a “rye beer” the finished beer must have a significant amount of rye in the grain bill and strong rye flavors present within the beer. The addition of rye will add a characteristic spice to any beer, similar to pumpernickel bread. It can also change the color of the beer to include more of a reddish tone.

Joy Rye'd

We are a fan of adding rye to IPAs because the dry, astringent spice of the rye plays well and highlights the hop’s bold and bitter flavors. Our seasonal take on the Rye IPA is Joy Rye’d, a beer that Historic has been making for years with a devoted fan base of its own. This Rye IPA has a slight spiciness on the nose with a hop forward smell that is pleasant and not too aggressive, pulling you in from first whiff. As you sip Joy Rye’d you can taste the earthy flavors from both the rye and the hops that this beer is brewed with. This beer is crisp, with a malt forward taste and a strong hop backbone. The beer finishes with the rye aftertaste, hop bitterness and a delicious spiciness. It’s a definite rye spiciness, similar to the flavors that linger after you chew on a fresh piece of rye or pumpernickel bread and it lingers on the palate long after you’ve taken your last sip.

Rye beers have grown in popularity over the last ten years and we don’t see them going anywhere anytime soon. They contribute dimension, spice, and great flavor to the beer styles they are added to, and as more and more brewers get comfortable adding rye to their grain bill, we’ll continue to see new awesome rye beers emerge. Our Rye IPA, Joy Rye’d, is a favorite among many for its distinct flavor. This beer will be back on tap at all of our locations by the end of January, but it’s a small batch so don’t hesitate to expand your palate and grab a pint of it before it’s all gone.

Behind the Scenes at Bearizona

Did you know that right here in Northern Arizona we have our very own Wildlife Park featuring 160 acres of land, and hundreds of amazing animals? Bearizona Wildlife Park, located in Williams, Arizona, is home to many rescued and relocated animals that have been given a second chance. Bearizona is fun for the whole family and features both a drive through and walk through section of the park, making it accessible for all. Bearizona is also home to Canyonlands Restaurant, a themed restaurant within the Kennelly Restaurant Concepts family, with options for even the pickiest of eaters. Canyonlands Restaurant also has a full bar inside featuring our very own Historic Brewing Company beer and Grand Canyon Wine Company wine.

Although the ability to walk around the park with a craft beer in hand is one of the awesome things about Bearizona, there is so much to enjoy on any day you choose to visit. They have live animal shows each day, featuring a rotating cast of their amazing animals and staff. These shows are interactive, educational, and super fun to watch and be a part of. The drive through section of Bearizona is unlike most Wildlife Parks because through your car window you can see animals such as wolves, bison, bears, and more.

Petting Armadillo Bearizona

Last week, we at Historic had the privilege of going behind the scenes at Bearizona and meeting some of the animals and taking up close photos of them in their habitats. We were even lucky enough to let some of our favorite animals play with Historic Brewing Company cans, which made for a fun experience for us, people hanging out at the exhibits, and the animals. It was awesome to get to go into some of the enclosures, get up close with the animals, and see how they interacted with a new object. Don’t worry though, we emptied the cans before they were given to the animals, the staff was close by, and the cans were removed after taking photos so the animals were just given a fun chance to get curious about what we had to share with them.

One of our favorite parts of Bearizona is the stories behind the animals that were brought to the park, and how much their trainers and all of the staff at Bearizona care for them. Two of the bear cubs that got to play with the cans and get a tasty treat of maple syrup were rescued as babies from the Pinetop area. Their mother had been fed by a human and the whole family was in danger, so the cubs were rescued and rehomed at Bearizona. The two girl cubs share a large enclosure together and are loved by everyone who comes to see them. When they’re not playing with cans of Oceanfront they love to lie around in the sun, take lots of naps, and even try to climb the trees.


Bearizona is the perfect day trip from Flagstaff and makes a great destination to go to from anywhere in Arizona. It is family friendly and fun if you’re two years old or eighty-two years old. There’s something for everyone to do at the park and the staff is knowledgeable and excited to share what they know about all of the species that call Bearizona home. The park features a big restaurant with a variety of delicious items and a full bar with liquor and our own Historic beer. They also have a small outdoor grill restaurant with selected items, and a patio bar. If you haven’t made it to Bearizona yet we definitely suggest adding it to your list of go to destinations. Tell the bears we said hi!

Fenrir IPA: Inspired by the Infamous Wolf

We won’t get too geeky on you, but in Norse mythology there was a wolf so monstrous that he had to be chained up for fear of his strength and his propensity for evil. As the story goes, Fenrir broke through his chains twice, and bit the arm off of the god Tyr before he was finally chained to a rock and gagged with a sword, left to die until Doomsday. Of course a wolf as big and great as Fenrir wouldn’t go down without a fight, and as the legend goes he fought against the chief god Odin and swallowed him whole.

We tell you this whole story, because not only is it totally badass, but it’s also the inspiration behind our newest IPA. The Fenrir IPA was brewed with Styrian Wolf hops from Slovenia - hops that are extremely special and drew us in from the moment we saw the name and read the flavor notes.

The Fenrir IPA has an IBU of 70 and an ABV of 6.9% with a slightly sweet, tropical floral aroma. It is hop forward with flavors of grapefruit pith, tropical orchid, and hop spiciness. It has a delicious bitterness to it with little malt flavors because we wanted this beer to be all about the hops.

Hoppy beer

Speaking of the hops, this beer was brewed in a straightforward single mash infusion with a small amount of Nugget hops for bittering, Styrian Wolf hops for flavor, and Pale Ale and Crystal 10 malts. These unique Wolf hops were shown to Zack, our head brewer, by the awesome guys at Proximity Malt who work with Hop Head Farms and distribute this hop and many other varieties of hops. This select hops is completely different than any other we have brewed with, and Zack couldn’t wait to create a beer based around their unique flavor and aroma.

The Fenrir IPA, inspired by a wolf incredibly giant and evil, is the perfect beer for anyone who loves big hop flavors but wants something totally new and unique. This hop variety hasn’t been used in many beers before and is a first for Historic Brewing Company. This beer will be tapped at all of our locations starting December 14th, and you’re not going to want to miss this small batch, bold India Pale Ale.

Engineering Their Own Beer

Have you ever wanted to engineer your own beer? Wanted the opportunity to work with a seasoned brewer to formulate a beer that you’ve always wanted to taste? Well the folks at Civil Design and Engineering Inc. in Flagstaff got to do just that.

They knew that they wanted to make something extra special to give to their employees and their clients this year for the holidays, and that’s where we at Historic stepped in to help make that dream a reality. CDE approached us earlier this year with the proposition of brewing two distinct beers that would be made specially for them and later canned as gifts to the people in their company and their clients that work so hard all year. We knew this would be something fun and unique and we couldn’t wait to work with their team to brew something great.

Over the course of a few months we were able to help them engineer two beers that were perfect for them. Our head brewer, Zack, sat down with a few members of their team and brought them out different hops, different malts, and a few samplings of our own beers to get clear on what it is they wanted. They knew that they wanted to brew one IPA and one Porter so that narrowed it down, and from there Zack worked with them to decide on flavor characteristics, bases of the beers, and the specific taste that they were going for.

A group of employees from Civil Design and Engineering Inc. then joined us over the course of two different weekends to be a part of the brew. They worked with our Assistant Brewer, Austin, to start the brewing process and get a deeper understanding on how their beer would be made. From there the fermenting magic happened and about five weeks later their beers were kegged out into this world.

The end result was a piney, citrus IPA and a Hazelnut and Cacao Nib Porter. The IPA has an IBU of 6.6% and an ABV of 77 with a maltier base, more similar to an East Coast style IPA than some of the other IPAs that we have brewed in the past. It has Amarillo, Centennial, Columbus, and Nugget hops which all work together to create the bitter, pine, and citrus flavors that CDE wanted to achieve. This beer is malty, while still having lots of hop flavors, and different than other beers we’ve brewed in the past as it was engineered to meet the desires of CDE.

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The Hazelnut and Cacao Nib Porter is a big, bold Porter, closer to an Imperial, with an ABV of 7.5% and an IBU of 14. They designed this beer after tasting Pete’s Hazy Nuts, a Hazelnut Porter we had on draft a few months ago, but we made this beer even bigger and more special by adding in more chocolate flavors with the cacao nibs and making it an Imperial with a high ABV. It’s the perfect beer for a celebration and a great way to thank the special people in their firm.

Working with a local business to create two unique and special beers was an awesome experience and something we’d love to do again. The process of engineering and designing their own beer really spoke to the team at Civil Design and Engineering Inc. and was totally up our alley as well. They now have two extraordinary gifts for their team and got to be a part of the deciding, the actual brew, and have a tasting afterward at our brewery that truly made them a part of the experience. If you’re interested in designing your own brew for your company or organization contact us at info@historicbrewingcompany.com.   

What Makes a Porter a Porter?

As both the craft beer industry and the home brewing hobby expand, new beer styles continue to emerge and existing beer styles are improved on and twisted to reflect modern times. One of the historically original beer styles, the porter, can now be seen on almost every tap list.  Porters have been refined, barrel aged, had additional flavors added to them, and been kept more traditional depending on the season, current trends, brewer’s preferences, and customers taste requests.

The porter style beer has been around since the early 18th century and was one of the first beers to gain popularity and helped to drive a revolution in brewing. While there are a few different stories about how porter originated, most people believe that it was created by London brown ale brewers who were being pressured to create better beers. These improved beers had more hops and were aged longer, and were named after the porters who carried goods around the city and were big fans of this new style of beer.

Hazelnut Porter

Although the recipe for a porter has changed over the years, it is still known for its depth of color and flavor. This style of beer ranges in color from dark copper to black depending on the variation and typically has an ABV between 4-7% and a lower IBU, usually in the range of 18-35. These beers don’t typically have much of a hoppy taste and aroma, but some porters do have a slight bitter flavor quality to them for balance. Depending on the exact style and the brewers addition to the beer, porters can have a roasted malt taste that may incorporate notes of chocolate, coffee, molasses, or toffee - just to name a few.

Porters are a favorite among many people, and this style continues to grow as new breweries and new beer lovers are born everyday. While this rich, dark, and complex beer may have traditionally been thought of as more of a fall or winter brew, it has defied any box it was previously put into and is now enjoyed year round. A porter brings a lot to the table with its mix of depth and drinkability, and will continue to be a beer that captures the taste buds of all those that try it.

Recipe Feature: Pumpkin Piehole Beer Bread

Chilly weather is the perfect reason to stay home and bake, and what better excuse to crack open a beer while you bake than the fact that the recipe told you to! If you’ve never had beer bread before, have you really been living? But in all honestly beer bread is crazy delicious, so easy to make, and is the perfect excuse to pick up some to go beers next time you come by the brewery.

Beer bread is a little different than other homemade breads because the beer adds a lightness from the carbonation, while still being hearty and with a slight sweetness that goes perfectly with a pat of butter or a bit of honey. This recipe only calls for one bowl, minimal ingredients, and could be made by even the most beginner of bakers.

This recipe is a pumpkin spiced take on beer bread, using some pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices, and of course pumpkin spiced beer. We’ve made this recipe with Pumpkin Piehole and damn is it a winner. We can’t wait for you to try this recipe - it’s easy enough to make on a weekday night with a big bowl of soup of chili, but it also makes a great addition to any of your upcoming holiday feasts.


Pumpkin Piehole Beer Bread

-3 cups of flour (can use all purpose or whole wheat or a mix of both)

-1 tablespoon of baking powder

-1 teaspoon of salt

-2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (can substitute for a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice)

-3 tablespoons of honey (sub maple syrup to make it vegan)

-1 cup of pumpkin puree

-12 oz of Pumpkin Piehole

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease a bread loaf pan.

2.Mix your dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

3.Combine dry ingredients with the honey and pumpkin puree.

4.Slowly add in your beer, mixing all ingredients together until well combined.

5.Bake for an hour, checking on your bread periodically and poking it with a toothpick to check if it is baked all of the way through.

6,Let your bread rest for at least ten minutes before slicing.

7. Enjoy your amazing bread with a pint of Pumpkin Piehole.

Employee Highlight: Jessica Price

Although on this blog we often focus on our beers and the new and delicious things that we are brewing, we wouldn’t be able to do all that brewing or bring our beers to the public without our kickass employees. They are the heart of this company and help to make everyone feel like a member of the Historic Brewing Company family. One of our most kickass employees is Jessica Price, the general manager of our Williams location. She has been with the company for two years and has helped to make a difference company wide with her dedication to service and her desire to connect and share with her employees and her customers.

Jessica moved to Northern Arizona after living in Michigan for most of her life where she not only grew up around breweries but also worked in the service industry for eleven years. She learned a lot about beer and realized that this was an industry that she wanted to work in when she was working for a bar in Michigan named the Winking Lizard. This bar had 45 beers on tap and gave her a lot of experience and knowledge about different beer styles and different breweries from all over the country.

Her move to Arizona came not only from a desire to change her surroundings, but also the desire to find cheap property so that she and her husband could have their own little piece of the world. Before moving to Northern Arizona, Jessica and her husband began to minimize their lives, realizing that they wanted to build a tiny home and create a more sustainable lifestyle without debt. They bought an old trailer, gutted it to the base, and then began the hard work of designing and creating a home of their own. They worked on their tiny home for 12 months - building it in between their part time jobs with the money they made working so that they would not create any debt while doing their build out. When their tiny home was complete and they had decided on a place to move, they packed up their lives and towed their trailer out to the property that they live on now.

Jessica, her husband, their two dogs and two cats all live in the 221 square foot tiny home, complete with two lofts. They own 3.5 acres in Ash Fork and their property backs up to the Kaibab National Forest with beautiful views of the mountain. They feel like this property is where they were meant to land and they have no plans to leave, but just to continue to work on this property to make it even more sustainable. This piece of land is their own little piece of the world and they couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

Jess Portrait BHW

Jessica’s husband is in charge of keeping up the property, including their amazing greenhouse, while we steal her away to manage Historic Brewing Company’s Williams locations. She began working for the company as a server but quickly moved her way up, and a year ago she became the general manager, overseeing the daily operations of the Bistro and Barrel House restaurants. She has always loved working in the service industry and especially loves working out in Williams where everyone seems to be on an adventure and is happy and excited to share their stories and experiences. Jessica herself said that is also also on an adventure, just a long term one. She loves that everyday of work is different and that she gets to connect with her staff and her customers on a human level.

She brings a lot to our company in terms of leadership, with her ability to handle whatever is thrown at her while managing our busiest restaurants out in Williams. She is able to manage her staff with fairness while being strong, which is one of the hardest but most respectable qualities of a leader. All of her experiences up to this point have allowed her opportunities to grow and develop herself as a person, and she translates that to her work with Historic. She is constantly evolving with her staff, the company, and the locations she manages as each day can bring new successes or problems to work through.

When she’s not at work you’ll find her working on her property, hanging out with her animals, hiking, or drinking a beer. Her favorite beer style is a Porter, but her favorite HBC beer is Sour Bear Arms which she loves for its unique flavor and complexity. She brings so much to our company and our company culture with her ability to make the best out of what is available to her in any moment. She is an incredible human and an amazing manager and we couldn’t imagine our Williams locations and this company as a whole without her leadership, resourcefulness, and kindness.

Gotta Love a Lager

Beer drinkers across the world will agreed - you gotta love a lager. While this style of beer was born in Bavaria hundreds of years ago, using ancient methods of brewing beers in caves or cold beer cellars, this style of beer later gained popularity across Germany and America and is still one of the most popular styles of beer produced and drank worldwide.

Lagers made their way to America in the 1850s when Germans began migrating to the United States and brought with them their brewing techniques and Bavarian hops. This style of beer took off in popularity because of its ability to be produced with cheaper and more readily available ingredients, as well as its ability to be mass produced. While barley and other types of malt were harder to cultivate in America and more expensive to grow, lagers could be produced with portions of corn, wheat, and squash which was more readily available in America. American beer drinkers were also drawn to this style of beer because of its cleaner taste and its traditionally lower content of alcohol. They often associated darker beers with higher levels of alcohol, but enjoyed that they could have one or two of these lighter style beers at lunch without feeling the effects of alcohol that would prohibit them from going back to work after their noon meal.

The rise in popularity of these lighter, cleaner beers that could be mass produced helped start the boom of large breweries across America. These larger breweries that produced lighter colored ales made it through Prohibition by changing their factories to produce things like ice cream and soft drinks, while the smaller breweries that produced darker beers didn’t last through the Prohibition period. Americans were accustomed to these lighter beers by the time breweries were able to produce beer again, and they lasted through the Great Depression as they were generally cheaper to make than darker beers.

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American lagers today are produced in a specific way that allows for a longer fermentation done at a lower temperature which affects the yeast, keeping it from producing esters which gives the beer a cleaner flavor profile. There are also less hops used in lagers, so there is less bitterness in the beer overall. These lagers are light in color, crisp, and tend to have a high amount of carbonation. They generally are low in both IBU and ABV with a more neutral flavor quality that is not overly “hoppy” or “malty”. Americans lager have a very light mouth feel that is thirst-quenching, refreshing, and generally easy to drink.

Mexican lagers, another popular style of lager in the US and regions of Mexico, differ slightly from American lagers. This style of beer was first produced in Mexico when Austrian immigrants began to settle there and brew. Today Mexican lagers are not only produced in Mexico but by many big and small breweries all over the United States. These lagers use a special type of yeast that gives the brew it’s unique flavor and special distinction. In our beers Oceanfront Property, Salt River, and Sonoran Amber Lager we use a yeast strain from Mexico that creates a finished brew that is light, clean, and well-balanced

It’s no doubt that lagers have changed over the years in both brewing methods and taste, however, they still remain one of the most heavily produced beers across the United States and the world due to their ability to be mass produced and enjoyed by many. While big breweries may be the most known for producing lagers, small craft breweries also enjoy tackling lagers and making them even better, cleaner, and more delicious overall. The lager style continues to grow in popularity as new beer drinkers emerge and they all seem to echo the same sentiment - you gotta love a lager.