The idea for Catalina Brewery came to fruition in 2012 when Hank Rowe and Brian Vance were mountain biking, which they did regularly. After a long day, Hank and Brian were enjoying one of Hank’s favorite beers, which he had brewed himself with a Mr. Beer kit. Brian noted that Hank’s beers were so good, he should consider opening his own brewery! After a bit more discussion, Hank told Brian that what he needed was a partner to handle all the business aspects of the brewery so that he could focus on his passion: brewing great tasting beer. And so, a great partnership was born.
Brian Vance (left) and Hank Rowe (right) enjoying a beer at their brewery, Catalina Brewery
Before opening Catalina Brewery, Hank was a middle school history teacher. After retiring, he found a hobby in brewing with Mr. Beer when his wife gave him a kit as a gift almost 15 years ago. When the old Mr. Beer offices were up on the Northeast side of Tucson, Hank was a regular, coming in often to purchase brewing extract cans and picking our brewmaster’s brain on what new recipes he could make.
Now, Catalina Brewery is enjoying success in the local Tucson craft beer scene. Well known for its proximity to the town’s popular bike path, bikers are often seen at the taproom enjoying a pint or two after a long day of riding in the Southwest heat. This proximity to the bike path, plus Hank and Brian’s love of mountain biking, spurred Catalina’s theme of bikes as well their motto, “We bike, we brew.” The counters on the bar showcase dozens of old bike parts that have been donated by bike-loving patrons over the years, and the west-facing wall of the tap room features all of Tucson’s breweries on a giant map of Tucson bike path and roadways.
For the collaboration with Catalina Brewery, we wanted to bring our customers something fun and unique to our area. With this in mind, the Mesquite Agave Ale was an easy choice, as it embodies all the great Southwest flavor the Sonoran desert has to offer. The recipe features Mesquite flour, which is ground from the pods of mesquite trees indigenous to the Southwest, and adds a nutty sweetness with subtle notes of cinnamon, hazelnut and vanilla. Coupled with the addition of agave nectar for a crisp, dry finish, this beer is as delicious as it is unique.
Check our our interview with Hank Rowe at Catalina Brewery to learn more about this amazing local brewery!
More photos of Catalina Brewery in Tucson, AZ