Borderlands Brewing Starts Pouring Beer

December 5, 2011

By Teya Vitu

First things first about Borderlands Brewing Co., 119 East Toole Avnue.

Downtown is not getting another bar or brew pub or nightclub with Borderlands.

Myles Stone with the fermentation tanks at Borderlands Brewing.

“We’re a true brewery as opposed to a brew pub. We have no food. We make beer,” said Myles Stone, who owns Bordlerlands with Mike Mallozzi. “We’re structuring it as a tasting, more as a winery. You can have a taste of what’s on tap today. See what Blake’s brewing.”

That would be Blake Collins, the brewmaster Stone and Mallozzi brought on to bring clarity to their visions for brown ale, vanilla porter, amber, prickly pear wheat, a stout and Indian pale ale (IPA in brewspeak).

“I put my own spin on things,” Collins said. “What I try to do with my IPA is not be too overwhelming. I am playing around with new aroma and flavor hops hitting the market. The IPA is very tropical and citrusy,”

The tasting starts during 2nd Saturdays, on December 10, with a grand opening from 6 to 10 p.m.

After that, the tasting hours will be Wednesdays and Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. Remember, this is a working brewery, not a nightclub. But if someone stops by during the day and the brewery is staffed, a tasting could be set up.

“We’re going to be down here all day, every day,” Stone said.

Precise tasting hours are available here.

Tasters will pay $10 and get poured four half pints of whatever is brewing in the three fermentation tanks just inside the front door. And you get to keep your Borderlands tasting glass.

Borderlands won’t serve food, not even pretzels, but food trucks are expected to be serving just outside and food may be brought inside Borderlands, Stone said.

The plan is to distribute Borderlands beer to bars and stores. Hotel Congress is expected to start pouring Borderlands beer this month, and Borderlands is creating a signature American Ale for the Food Conspiracy Co-op that should be available by the end of the month.

The business plan calls for limiting distribution to Tucson for the first two years, reach statewide distribution in years three and four, and “only in year five leave the state,” Stone said.

Stone an Mallozzi aren’t just two guys turning a garage brew into a commercial enterprise. Stone is taking a year off before his third year in medical school, and Mallozzi now in his last year of a post-doctoral research contract at the University of Arizona.

Just how they will reconcile their doctoral ambitions with their beer brewing will play out in the next year.

“We love this,” Stone said about beer brewing. “Both of us want to stay in our trained professions. We’re having so much fun with this. We want to work out a career where we can do both.”

Collins has no such conflicts. He’s been home brewing beer for 6 years and was managing the Brew Your Own Brew shop when he came upon Stone and Mallozzi.

“You guys are way ahead of everyone else (who wants to transition from home brew to commercial brewery),” Collins said. “This is every guy’s dream who home brews. I feel luck. I’m the right person in the right place at the right time.”

At one time, Collins wanted to be a chef. He said his culinary background and understanding of flavor profiles informs his beer brewing.

“At the end of the day, when it’s 110 degrees, you want something easy to drink and refreshing,” Collins said.

Stone and Mallozzi purposely chose Downtown for their brewery. Their mantra is “We want to be a microbrewery of Tucson, not just in Tucson.” They could easily just be a brewery without letting the public in for tasting, but the historic, century-old warehouse they occupy has far too much charm to keep the public out.

“Oh, this building, it’s such a cool space,” Stone said. “We’d hate to waste it. Plus, being Downtown, it would be a shame to close this place up. Plus, it’s fun to have people in here.”