Dark Sky Brewing is a microbrewery that draws its inspiration from dark skies & starry nights.
50 Campfires caught up with co-founders and co-brewers Nick Irvine and Ryan Sandlin in the little mountain town of Flagstaff—to chat about the unique ingredients they use in their brews, and colorful history of Dark Sky Brewing.
50 CAMPFIRES: Tell us a little about your brewery, the types of beers that you brew, and what you feel makes your brewery unique.
DARK SKY BREWING: Dark Sky Brewing Co. opened May 1st of 2015. We really wanted to create a welcoming, community atmosphere surrounding our biggest passion, quality beer. In the Brewhouse we are focusing on the creativity that is infinitely available in the brewing process. Constantly developing crafted ideas, we are going for 100 different recipes in our first year! (Update! The crew of Dark Sky Brewing did hit their 100 recipe goal!) Some examples so far have been a Serrano Chocolate stout, a Carrot Cake ale, and a Salty margarita wheat ale. A fun (see: Crazy) goal but as of right now we are actually on track. We have been releasing one or two new beers every week and this keeps things fun and exciting for both us brewers, and the brewery patrons.
50 CAMPFIRES: What is your most popular/flagship beer? What makes it great?
DARK SKY BREWING: Our most popular beer would probably have to be our Jalapeno Pale Ale. What makes it great? It’s because we use local peppers that are picked the day before and I really believe this gives it a fresh taste not found in some other chili beers. This brew is really more about the flavor of the Jalapeno and not as much about the heat. You can actually drink a couple pints of it!
50 CAMPFIRES: We love hearing stories about how breweries got their start. What’s the history behind yours?
DARK SKY BREWING: Haha, long story short. I picked up one of those All-In-One Homebrew kits for me and my dad to brew on Father’s Day, and it ended up sitting in the garage for over a year. I finally grabbed it again and gave it a go (you can imagine the quality of a beer brewed with year old ingredients…bleh). Well, the beer was gross but I was hooked on the process. I’ve taught Biology for 9 years so I was super intrigued by the processes involved and was soon brewing regularly. Then my Co-Brewer (and another owner) Ryan Sandlin started brewing with me. That’s when it just started to get crazy, brewing almost every week! One night we had that conversation that I think every homebrewer has had at some point; “we should start our own brewery”. Well, we just so happened to have the right team together and rolled up our sleeves. No Investors, no partners outside of our 5 amigos (Nick Irvine, Ryan Sandlin, Larami Sandlin, Jeff Littrell, and Amanda Manville), we put together what we are very proud to call Dark Sky!
50 CAMPFIRES: We love meeting people who share our passion for the outdoors. Tell us a bit about the folks involved with your brewery, and what they enjoy doing outdoors.
DARK SKY BREWING: Oh man, so, we were initially going to be called Trailhead Brewery. I’m stoked that we didn’t go that route as I LOVE Dark Sky a million times more but outdoor spaces have always been a huge part of our lives! We are deeply in love with our little mountain town of Flagstaff and enjoy year round outdoor shenanigans. On any free day, or more realistically a free morning, you can find us running the Pine tree laden single-track trails, mountain biking the slick rocks of Sedona (45 min south), or earning our turns skinning up the slopes of our 12,000ft peaks. Oh, and there is our go to playground just 1-hour north…Grand Canyon! We have even begun putting together what we call Team DSB, a group of beer sponsored outdoor athletes. We have a runner and mountain biker so far. So psyched for that!
50 CAMPFIRES: Is your beer available in cans?
DARK SKY BREWING: Well, yes and no. No we do not have cans in production for distribution, but…we do have The Crowler! If your not familiar, this is a 32oz can that we will fill with your choice of any of our beers currently on tap. We then seal it right there, and send you off on your way with some crafty suds that are better for the beer and better for your adventure. What!!? It won’t break like glass growlers, won’t let in light or oxygen to produce off flavors, and is way more backpack friendly! We love em, and so do our customers.
50 CAMPFIRES: Where can we find your beer?
DARK SKY BREWING: Our beer can be found at our taproom and a very few select taprooms around Northern AZ and Phoenix. We will strive to keep our beer close to home because we want people to come enjoy it in the best damn outdoor town out there! Might be slightly partial in that one, haha
50 CAMPFIRES: If people want more info about your brewery, where can they go?
DARK SKY BREWING: We are all over the place, Facebook of course is probably the best place to check out what we’re up to. We also have a pretty cool Instagram account and our up to date tap list, blog and such is at Darkskybrewing.com Oh, and look for an increasing number of Beer Release commercials and a rad little podcast coming real soon!
Cheers ya’ll and have fun out there in the woods, it’s a much needed sanctuary for us all!