The Dusty Monk Pub: European-Brewed Excellence and Old World Charm
July 14, 2014
by James Jefferies
Beer is one of those things that people tend to have very strong opinions about, especially their favorites or total distaste for it. Most people have very vivid memories of their first beer, or more precisely, their initial encounter with it. My first sip came during an otherwise unremarkable evening at my Grandpa’s house, courtesy of one of my uncles.
We were watching a baseball game on television, and he just hands over this half-empty can of Coors, which took me by surprise. Of course, having sat in his hand for most of an achingly dull early season game, the can was warm, and it was a really revolting introduction to said beverage. I feigned a smile and thumbs up. Later on, after tasting a decent beer in a bar, properly cold in a pint glass, I realized what all the fuss was about. Of course, many folks still willingly drink the likes of Coors, Budweiser, or (ack!) Natty Ice and genuinely have no idea about the entire global/local beer movement that has been rapidly taking over the last decade.
Of course, the spate of possible choices for quenching your thirst these days is really something to behold. In Downtown Tucson alone, you can’t throw a rock without hitting an establishment with a plethora of locally-made craft beers on tap. (Of course, you shouldn’t be throwing rocks anywhere for that matter.) Porters, lagers, IPAs, stouts, sours – the universe of available beers now is dizzying, especially for a relative newcomer who’s only spent time with the six-pack picked up on the way home from a convenience store.
You could pretty much go out every night around Downtown Tucson and be able to try a different beer for a year, though we don’t necessarily recommend doing that either (like the rock-throwing thing, it’s just not a good idea). Sometimes, though, you might be in the mood for something with some serious history behind it. A legitimately polished beer, but one with so much character and quality behind it, it just makes the suds normally offered seem like dishwater. If you haven’t tried something new, there’s never been a better time in Tucson to do so!
Into this frothy mix of Downtown suds jumps The Dusty Monk Pub, which can be found in the southeast corner of Old Town Artisans at 201 N. Court Ave, and is managed by the same folks who run La Cocina. Modeled after a traditional European-style pub, the Dusty Monk has a spate of less-common but delicious beers on tap, along with a slew of different bottled beers. They also consider themselves to be a destination for whiskey lovers as well, and had an entire wall of choices available in that arena as well. Right now, they’ve been experimenting with their lineup during the course of their first month of operation, a longform ‘soft opening’ of sorts.
That said, on a Saturday night, a robust group of revelers descended upon the bar. Weekends tend to be a lively affair at OTA, and the scene inside was jumping with happy and talkative drinkers by 9pm. I opened things up by having a pint of Franziskaner Hefeweizen from the tap, which I would argue is a perfect summer beer – light, but driven by fruit and wheat flavor, and exceptionally smooth, much smoother than anything I’d had as a bottled American beer labeled a hefeweizen.
Second pint was a Julius Echter Hefe-weiss-dunkel, which was a darker beer, but absolutely no less delicious. Less fruity than my first, with notes of chocolate, and that same incredible smoothness that just says, “Hey, we’ve been doing this for a real long time.” Of course, the bottle itself boasted that the beer was ‘Brewed Under The Bavarian Purity Law Of 1516’. So yeah, German brewery skill can be safely filed under historically next-level excellent, and you can literally taste that long, storied tradition with every sip.
By mid-August, the Dusty Monk Pub should be open with more consistent hours. Right now, the ideal times to stop by are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, though if you call, they can tell you what the deal will be for that evening. It’s a charming spot, and again, the beer on tap is genuinely special. For more information, please check out their Facebook presence, or give them a call at (520) 622-0351.