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Thunder Canyon Brewery
Active Beers: 50
Beer Ratings: 161
Beer Avg: 3.57
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
7401 N La Cholla Blvd
phone: (520) 797-2652
(Place added by: mzwolinski)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 21 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
Synopsis: A half-way decent brewpub in the middle of an outlet mall. Uninteresting but reasonably palatable beers. Yawn. Poor service.
As I am still recovering from my recent Utah brewery tour, I was able to enjoy this place reasonably well, not because of any special feature of this brewery other than the fact that the beers are merely bland, and not sickening (as the one-two punch of bland + sickening is quite common in Utah).
I had the Canyonator Doppelbock, the Sandstone Cream Ale and the Blackout Stout. None of them are anything to write this review about. The Doppelbock wasn't quite a doppelbock, but it was drinkable, even with a bit of a phenolic bacground. The stout was simple with an odd note in the distance. The cream ale was boring too. There just isn't any life in these beers. I'm getting tired of brewpubs that make beer on par with extract homebrew. If you like boring, simple, and just palatable enough to drink with food, then this is your place.
I've tried several beers made from amature (even first-time) brewers using those no-boil kits, and the beer here is not nearly as good as any of the no-boil kits.
The atmosphere is uninteresting as well. I sat next to the sign that said, "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me..."
The appetizers (which is all we had) were all good. The waitress showed an enthusiasm that ranged from listless to sedentary. She seemed to be trapped in a tar pit for most of the night. Eventually a search party was dispatched to recover a long overdue brew of little consequence.
But happy hour is the great equalizer, 3 beers and 3 appetizers for $20.85 (before tip) isn't bad at all.
Another pro is a reasonably good Scotch list about 16 or more single malts.
Now that my expectations have been sufficiently balanced to reality, I will try to visit again sometime and see if anything looks better.
05-09-2007 18:03:54 |
More by xymyl
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
I must admit that I was suprised to learn that I could find a nice brewpub in any of Tucson's stripmalls, but there it was, tucked in between gigantic movie theaters and overpriced clothing stores.
Signs point you to the establishment, but if you're on the right side of the mall you can't miss it, with the large tank rising high above the crowds out in front of the building. Behind that lies outdoor seating, but it was a crisp and windy winter day so we made our way inside.
Walking through the front door you will notice that, to the right, through glass, lies the brewery, bright with the shine of clean stainless steel. The bar lies just to your left. One could walk in and sit down without dealing with a single wait person...which I found out later would have been rather nice. However, we were there to eat as well so one of the women standing idly at the front of the restaurant walked us to a comfortable booth on the other side of the bar. Looking around, I noticed that the inside of the pub was rather large, with seating areas running back all the way to the rear which exits into the mall itself. The walls were covered in signs with cute sayings and old advertisements...somewhat typical american pub fare. So far the atmosphere was ok, though nothing special.
So we sat down and dove into the menu. I ordered their Thunderhead IPA. The two people with me ordered another IPA and their pilsner. Both were quite tasty. They were served at a nice temperature and seemed well cared for. Their selection of brewed-on-site beers was quite nice, with at least ten to choose from. It seemed like they had some staples, like the IPA, and some roatating offerings, like the Bees and Berry fruit beer. It also looked like they had at least one Flying Dog beer on as a guest beer. They also offer a few macro beers on tap or in the bottle, which is understandable, if not a little bit unfortunate (sure would be nice if they could subsist on food and sales of their own beers). It did put a bit of a dent in the beerish atmosphere though, as a table of four right next to us were seated an made drink orders. The first three were Bud Lights all around. The last person asked if they had Dos Equis and was disappointed to find they did not. She ordered another Bud Light. The waitress began to walk away when person #4 stopped her and said "We'd like a bunch of limes, too. Thanks". The waitress and I both cringed, but I held my tongue. Why do these people come to a brewpub? Better food could be had elsewhere...
As for the food, it was good. I had a bartwurst with kraut and pub fries. The other people with me had, respectively, a bowl of chili (it was chili week at the pub) and a turkey sandwhich. Everyone seemed pleased.
Now here comes my one standout complaint: the service was really sub-par. The person who sat us didn't say anything, just put the menus in front of us and walked away. Then our waitress came and asked "Anything to drink?" We picked our pints and she brought them then said "You ready to order or should I come back?". We wanted another minute or two, so she walked away without saying anything. When she came back MANY minutes later (after sitting at a table and chatting with a fellow employee eating there on off hours) she simply asked "Ready yet?". All while tapping her pen in an almost meant-to-be-annoying way on her notepad. Once our food arrived she disappeared until our pints were empty, when she said "Another round?" We had had enough of her, so we said no and she brought our check. Hopefully she was happy with the rewards her efforts reaped that day...
Anyway, in the end, Thunder Canyon Brewery is a mixed bag. Good beer and food at reasonable prices, but the atmosphere is a bit canned and sterile, most of the clientele weren't really all that interested in beer and the service is bad enough to be annoying. I would go again, though, with those things in mind, to try some of their other beers. I recommend trying it if you get the chance, just don't be suprised if some of the experience is less than stellar.
01-23-2006 18:25:04 |
More by UberWasser
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5 | $$
A: Spacious restaurant with additional patio seating, plenty of seats around tha bar. More of a family style atmosphere than the feel of a real brewpub though. I guess that's because it's in the mall. Seating is both booths and tables, and looking around there are a lot of old looking signs on the wall, many with funny sayings and quotes. I have not toured the actual brewery, but large glass windows allow you to see the areas where the brewing is done as you walk in.
Q: Everything is clean, the restaurant itself can' t be more than 10 years old. The beer is always served at a cool temperature, never too cold to avoid numbing the tastebuds, which I like.
S: I've always had great service, and usually you don't have to wait to be seated, unless it a busy night on the weekend. They are very friendly, and prompt.
S: They always have about 9 to 10 house brews on tap. There are several standards, and then they always have one of their "fruit" beers and usually a seasonal selection. Currently they carry Bees and Berries and Ye Olde Strong Ale. I think they also carry a couple of crappy domestics to cater to the non-risk taking crowd, which I really frown on.
F: The eats are pretty decent here. The best part is the wide variety of choices. There are plenty of aps, burgers, salads, soups, pastas, sandwiches, and some southwest style selections. Something for everyone. It's not fancy, just good pubfare.
V: Overall prices are reasonable, they have good happy hour specials and different deals each day of the week. It's worth it considering this is the only place of it's kind up here in NW Tucson.
01-21-2006 20:20:31 |
More by bennetj17
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
While recently staying at the Westin Inn, I made my way to the closest brewpub in Tucson.
Thunder Canyon is the first place I've been too with a store on one side and a theatre on the other. Actually I'am really jealous of the locals, this is a great idea, days shopping with my better half could be more enjoyable.
Anyway on the inside they have done their best with the space they have. With a patio to seat more in the front I wouldn't call it a small place.
I sat at the bar so service wasn't bad for me, but I noticed some of the waiters/waitresses tended to conversation sometimes more than tables.
Food was great I only ordered a chichen sandwich but it was great. I also ordered a sampler so that I could make a decision on which beer I wanted take home in my Thunder Canyon growler. If I could drink stout quickly enough I would have gotten it but I chose their amber ale. None of the 8 or 9 beers I tried were bad but their Imperial stout is a rough drink at 10% alc.
At 2 or 3 miles off of the 10 freeway it is worth the detour.
01-11-2006 03:22:29 |
More by Inflames
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Thunder Canyon is conneted to the Foothils shopping mall, which, along with its croweded fell, deminishes the atmosphere a bit. Especially because from some spots in the pub you can see out into the mall at the point were people line up to buy movie tickets. Nontheless, the beers that I had were good (but not exciting) and the food was priced ok and just a touch better than you might expect from brew-pub in a mall. Despite being bussy the service was prompt and the bar tender was helpful. They had 6 of their own beers on tap. I will probably go again but it will not be one of my regular spots.
09-18-2005 03:19:47 |
More by Bcant
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3
i hadnt heard to much about this place before i ventured into this brewery/restaurant, but i had high hopes for this place. the atmosphere is very arizona, more of a modern day saloon but without the attitude, very nice people and good service. then came the beer, i knew they brewed their own beer but i didnt think that was all they had on tap. i tried there amber ale first, the bartender said it was the most popular beer they had. i couldnt see why, it was very watered down and tasted like a 3rd grade iced tea. the food was very good, made up for the lack of flavor in the beers. i would probably go back again with some bobbys, i tried their porter before i left it was very tasty.
09-05-2004 01:14:21 |
More by ralphw56
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
For some reason, my expectations of TCB were not very high. I was pleasantly surprised.
I went directly to the outdoor seating area, so I didn't get a chance to evaluate the interior atmosphere. But hey, I love sitting and drinking outside. Too bad the view is of the Foothills Mall parking lot. A lot of "mod/hipster" chicks and dudes walked by though. I wonder where they were going?
I started with the Windstorm Wheat, which didn't impress. I then tried the Bees 'n Berries, which was surprisingly good. I finished with the Thunderhead IPA, which was also quite nice.
Other beer selections: Sandstone Cream Ale, Catalina Pale Ale, Deep Canyon Amber, Obsidian Porter, Prescription Pils, Blackout Stout, and Flash Light. They serve beer in lots of different sizes: 4 oz samples, 12 oz, 16 oz, 22 oz. There might even be one more. You can get kegs too.
The menu was long and featured what I'd call "Southwestern pub fare." Sandwiches, pastas, salads, lots of appetizers, some decent looking desserts. Decent mix of meat and veggie options. A good number of dishes are cooked or marinated in beer, which is something I typically look for at brewpubs. They also make pizza with a crust made from spent grains and fired over pecan wood. If I hadn't eaten so much pizza lately, I would've tried one. Instead, I had a southwestern pasta dish with portobello mushrooms. It was okay, but not something I'd look for again. The dessert was really good though, a peach bread pudding. It went nicely with the Bees 'n Berries brew.
The server was cheery and relatively quick. He gave me what I needed, no more, no less.
I bought a pint glass for $5.00. I like the logo, and I need a glass, but considering the fact that Nimbus sells even cooler glasses for $3.00, I feel slightly "ripped off." Only slightly though, because TCB is a good place, overall.
There's nothing stopping me from going back here again. It was a bit out of my way, but the beers I tried make me want to try some of the others. If you're visiting Tucson and have already tried Nimbus and Gentle Ben's, I'd definitely recommend a stop at TCB.
07-13-2004 06:03:22 |
More by HighCarbDiet
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
Thunder Canyon Brewery "Thunder Canyon has a nice family friendly atmosphere with lot of cool, goofy beer related sayings lining the walls. There is quite a bit of room here with lots of dining style tables, as well as a bar area that is front and center. The staff is quite friendly, though perhaps not quite as beer savvy as one could wish. They are quite helpful and willing to try though. The menu is very extensive with lots of tasty options to choose from. I had a tasty gorgonzola burger with mushrooms, bacon and a side ceaser salad. This paired very well with their tasty Obsidian Porter, that is a great foil for the Gorgonzola cheese.
The beers are all technically flawless, but most seem to be lacking that certain something that would make the great. Certainly worth trying though, as all of the beers that I have had are quite tasty."
07-09-2004 21:49:38 |
More by Gueuzedude
vibe: 5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4
Tried this place for a Friday happy hour, when the beers were cheap and the atmosphere was fairly lively. I hate to say that the IPA tasted like hoppy water and the ESB was better, but still pretty thin, with not much body. A lot of people have commented on bad service. The people were great to me, but the beer was not worth returning for. Too bad, because it's a really nice place.
11-08-2003 04:53:14 |
More by spazaru
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3
Visited on 4/16/03 - a Friday at 5:30pm...
Located in a semi-populated strip mall. Hard to miss it because they, smartly, installed a large, fake fermenter (or grain silo?) outside. If it weren't for that, I may have passed it at first.
Though it was quite busy (happy hour crowd), the atmosphere was rather cozy and comfortable. There is lots of "breweriana" on the walls, including a colonial recipe for beer that I got a kick out of posted near the restrooms. Atmosphere was strangely familiar and I realized why: with the exception of the attached brewery, it's like a TGI Friday's. It caters to the interests of beer enthusiasts but the patrons are largely "mall people".
Another BA reviewer commented on the service being poor. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was poor, so they may have done some re-organization in that department. However, they could still use some improvement. Our waitress didn't know what beers were on tap (unexcusable in a brewpub!) and didn't visit our table enough. Perhaps the manager is a tyrant, making for an unpleasant work environment and apathetic attitudes? Who knows...
They had seven beers on tap, a liquor selection, and a HUGE food menu. We had a hard time deciding what to order. The break basket was scrumptious, a sweetly aromatic loaf with honey butter. At the time we were there, they were having Margarita happy hour ($2.50 a glass). The option of mixed drinks is a smart business decision because it makes the place more enticing for non-beer-drinkers.
The food is good... I think. The Monsoon Sandwich (a variation on a French Dip) was utterly mouthwatering and delicious, but the Veggie Pesto Pizza "with Spent Grain crust" was rather dull. Since we didn't try anything else, it's a draw.
I tried four of their beers. One pint of their Obsidian Porter (a tasty beer with balanced roastiness: 3.5 on the BA scale), one pint of the Windstorm Wheat (a bland American wheat which needed the lemon: 2.8) and two pitifully small samples of the house stout and the house IPA.
It's worth a visit, but probably not worth it if it's too far out of your way.
05-19-2003 10:23:48 |
More by GreenCard
Thunder Canyon Brewery in Tucson, AZ
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