Why you need to visit Phoenix’s growing craft brewery scene

With the warmer weather finally here, I am sure that patio beers are on your mind. When I visited Phoenix, Arizona I was surprised to find out that their craft brewery scene was as hot as the weather.  In fact, at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival in Denver (basically the oscars of beer) four Phoenix breweries took home awards.

In the last year or so, the city has seen a run of craft beer bars, new breweries, and new local brews popping up all over the area. The total craft breweries in Phoenix surpasses 50, and so I just had to check some of them out for myself.

I joined forces with Arizona Brewery Tours. I really loved working with AZ brewery tours because they offer private brewery tours that fit your particular taste buds and beer preferences.

Stop #1: Helton Brewing Company

Our first stop of the night lead us to Helton Brewing Company, a cozy newly renovated brewery located in an old tire warehouse. The spot includes a beautiful outdoor beer garden, games, live music, and of course an endless drink menu. I loved that the fact the owner of the brewery created most of the furniture inside by hand and really cares about the product he produces. My personal favourite drink was the IPA, a perfect balance between citrus, floral, and fruit. Enjoy it with their delicious shrimp watermelon salad.

Stop #2: Mother Brunch

Next up was Mother Brunch. A fun family run brewery with a chalk list filled with their hand crafted beers. Julie and her husband William are serious beer nerds, and that shows clearly in their delicious drinks. What I really loved about this spot was the combination of delicious drinks and comfort food. The contemporary pub food has a unique twist. You must try the jalapeño infused mac and cheese. You will be licking your plate clean.

Stop #3: North Mountain Brewery

The last stop on the trip was North Mountain Brewery. This place is like a real life Cheers, the set where everyone knows your name. NMB celebrates the history and art of the Arizona desert culture. The decoration of this cozy microbrewery celebrates the history of brewing, and how the creation of beer has brought societies together. The goal here was to create a community feel, and they hit the nail on the head.

I was blown away by the quality of the breweries in Phoenix. Each one had its own personality and speciality that made each one unique. I wish I had more time to explore and discover the amazing breweries spread throughout the town.

Why Phoenix is the best spot for your next girls trip

I had always known the beauty of Arizona. From the stunning landscapes, the depths of the grand canyon, the colours of Horseshoe Bend, but I had always thought of Phoenix as a place where my parents would go for spa days and tee-off times. I was wrong. On a recent trip with some friends to Phoenix, I realized there is so much more to this city. Mixed in-between the desert sands and mountain range, is a bustling nightlife, craft breweries, and adventure that this is the perfect spot for your next girls weekend.

Sure, usually my ladies weekends are a trip away to Vegas or New Orleans. Yet in 48 hours with two close friends, we discovered all that Phoenix has to offer with the help of Visit Phoenix.

The stay

There are so many adorable boutique hotels in the heart of Phoenix, but during this trip we decided to stay a little outside of the hustle. We decided to check into Civana, located in the adorable town of Carefree and trust me the name says it all. This brand new wellness resort is a place of total R&R.

From the moment you walk inside the doors, you know this is a special place. Friendly staff, beautiful mountain views, and a stunning salt water pool surrounded by natural vegetation. It was truly beautiful.

The resort  believes in healing through movement. Civana offers complimentary daily programs including yoga, juice making classes, and local hiking, which I sure took full advantage of. It really has unique activities to fit whatever journey you are hoping for.

There are also plenty of other amenities on site that ensure a relaxing and rejuvenating stay. From their world class spa, to farm to table fine class dining this is spot is the perfect combination of luxury and wellness.

You can find out more about this beautiful resort on their website; https://www.civanacarefree.com/

 

What to do

trying to fit everything Phoenix has to offer into 48 hours was a whirlwind, but we honestly got to see and discover so many unique activities. Here are so of my top things to do with your girlfriends in Phoenix.

1) Enjoy some local brews

What I didn’t know about Phoenix is that it has over 50 craft breweries. We joined forced with Arizona Brewery Tours to discover some of the best spots in town to grab a cold one. What I loved about AZ Brew Tours, is they can organize private tours that fit your beer preferences, and they also provide a party bus from stop to stop.

The three stops we visited during the trip included the rustic “Beer Garage” at Helton Brewery, the open kitchen at Mother Brunch, and the funky North Mountain Brewery. I will have more on the specific breweries in an upcoming blog, but in the meantime you can find out more about Arizona Brewery Tours here;

2) Take a cactus selfie at the Gardens

Sure, Phoenix is filled with wonderful hiking trails, but where can you find and learn about all of the plants in one spot? the Desert Botanical Garden. They really create a world class experience through their exhibits, giving each guest the chance to discover and learn about the desert life. Have a chance to meet one of the gardeners and ask questions about the flowers and vegetation, get up close and personal with some flutter friends at the butterfly sanctuary, and take in the local art. This place is definitely a must see.

3) Tea time with a twist

Visit the Camby hotel for a modern twist on Tea Time, in what we like to call a Tipsy Tea Party. Sip on classic teas like English Breakfast or Earl Grey infused with spirt and sparkling wine. The teas were delicious and refreshing. The drinks are also served with some favourite tea time snacks and a surprise sweet treats to finish off the night. It is the perfect afternoon treat for you and your girlfriends.

4) Take to the Skies

Ever wanted to know what it feels like to fly? What Phoenix looks like from a birds point of view? For as long as I can remember a hot air balloon ride had been on top of my bucket list, and I had heard Phoenix was the perfect place to make that dream come true. We woke up bright and early and joined Hot Air Expeditions for an high flying adventure. The views of the desert, mountains, and lakes was spectacular. We landed our balloon in the middle of the desert and had breakfast, complete with mimosas to cap off an incredible day.

5) Relax and unwind at the spa

Alright, there are plenty of adventures in Phoenix, but it is important to find some time to relax and unwind also. Phoenix has some of the best spas in the world, why not take full advantage. We stayed local and got a spa service at Civana. I enjoyed an amazing double exfoliating facial. It was the perfect way to finish the trip.

I learned something new about Phoenix on this trip. That beyond the beautiful exterior landscapes, there is a whole city filled with life waiting to be explored. For outdoor lovers to cocktail connoisseurs, there is something for everyone I will definitely be planning plenty of girls trips here in the future.

Happy traveling my friends,

xo

Mia

Here are a few more snaps from Phoenix

48 Hours in Phoenix, Arizona: Vlog part 1

“great things never come from comfort zones”

April has been one of the busiest months of my life with work. Three home games for the Saskatchewan Rush, meant plenty of travel back and forth to Saskatoon. During our one bye week, all I wanted to do was sleep in my own bed until noon each day, but what would be the fun in that.

Instead an opportunity came up to hit the road yet again, but this time to Phoenix,  Arizona. What I knew about Phoenix was that it is desert terrain, it is hot, and it has great golf courses.

What I didn’t know about Phoenix was it has such a unique nightlife. It has an incredible craft brewery scene, a beautiful botanical garden, and is one of the best places in the world to fly a hot air balloon.

Guess what? On this trip I discovered it all. I will be sharing this trip with you through blogs and videos. My first vlog from the trip discovers the wellness resort, Civana Carefree that I had a chance to stay at, the beautiful hikes in the area, and a local brewery tour with Arizona Brewery Tours . 

Also don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube page so you don’t miss any of my future vlogs and travel tips!

xo

Mia

Mia Goes M.I.A. Grand Canyon Road Trip

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I have always loved taking pictures, capturing a moment in time forever. Snapping the beauty of a place or an object. While I went to school for videography, I was never a professional photographer, so it was an honour when I had a chance to travel across Nevada, Arizona, and parts of Utah with my dad, who happens to be a true professional photographer.

A bit of background as to who my dad is, Steve Gordon. He is a director, cinematographer, and photographer whose work has appeared in the National Geographic and the Victoria Art Gallery. He has won international awards, and sells is snaps for thousands of dollars. He is a true pro, and to listen and learn from him was a dream come true. In this blog I will be sharing our photographic drive, as well as pictures from my dad, myself, and my partner.

Day 1

We started our road trip in Las Vegas. A quick pit stop before the adventure begun, but of course there is so much to see and do in Vegas. A walk down the strip we filmed the Bellagio fountain show, and captured some of the bright city lights.

Day 2 

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The very next morning we packed the car and made way for the Arizona boarder. Along the drive, we decided to take a little detour to the Hoover Dam. While my dad usually photographs landscapes, we were both impressed by the Dam and how it spews out water so powerfully. It is amazing to see what people are capable of creating with their own two hands. It took five years to build, thousands of workers, and hundreds of casualties to complete the Dam.The Dam generates power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona, and California.

The drive then took us to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. There are very few times in my life where I have been truly speechless, but walking up to the edge of the Grand Canyon was one of those moments. We arrived close to the end of the day as the sun was setting behind the rock. There was a rainbow in the distance and dark clouds above that was casting different light over the endless rock. The Canyon seemed to go on forever and ever switching from deep reds to browns. The sight is something you have to truly see to believe. I don’t think any picture in the world can do true justice, but we did your best.

We spent the night in Williams and I cannot recommend this town enough. A lot of people might miss it by choosing to stay in Flagstaff instead, but I feel like this town has a lot more character and history behind it. This charming little town right on Route 66  has an old West feel, a lot of wild west inspired restaurants,  a zipline through downtown, and even a “gun” fight every night.

We were exhausted from the days adventures, but stopped by the Historic Brewing Company for a bite to eat and for a drink. I loved this spot because it was right in the heart of the adorable city, and also had their own locally brewed beers and wine available. I tried a flight of the wines and then called it night.

Day 3 

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Day three of our trip started with a drive towards Page, Arizona. Along the way we stopped at Sunset Crater. This is the youngest in a string of volcanoes in the San Fransisco Volcanic field. Appropriately named due to the volcano’s rim that is a dusky red like a sunset. It was a pretty interesting spot particularly hiking the Lava Trail. It is a one mile trail through hardened lava. It is amazing to see the vegetation that has been able to grow in the area.

the drive then took us Wupatki National Monument. This monument is among the largest Pueblos non the Colorado Plateau. It was called home by around 100 people. Less than 800 years ago this was the tallest, largest, and richest pueblo. Home of famers and artists, it was quite the community.

Our last stop of the day was what we had been looking forward to the most, Horseshoe Bend. There is a bit of a hike to the Bend so make sure to wear running shoes. Again we made our way up close to the end of the day with the sun hiding behind this incredible rock formation. Horseshoe Bend overlooks the Colorado River. The rock walls of the bend contain a variety of minerals which is why it has such unique and rich colours. This is a photographers dream.

Day 4 

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Our fourth and final day of the road trip I started the morning cooling off from the heat since we did this drive in the middle of August. I decided to explore Lake Powell with Lake Powell Paddle Board. It was an amazing workout and beautiful views of Antelope Canyon from the outside.

The day ended with the icing in the cake, the reason we had booked this trip in the first place, a photography tour of Antelope Canyon. We decided to visit Upper Antelope Canyon around noon to make sure the light was just right. The light beams in Antelope Canyon are what makes this spot so special. They only occur at a certain time of the day and don’t last long so to catch one is incredible. Our guide really made sure we were at the perfect spot at the perfect time to snap the perfect pictures.

We then made the drive back to Vegas going in and out of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada and through beautiful rocks along the way. I was in awe at all the beauty this side of the world had to offer, and to be able to learn from a world famous photographer who also happens to be my dad was an unforgettable experience. I hope that this blog is an inspiration to get out and explore and to find the beauty in this world.

Travel Tips 

If you are planning to do this drive here are a few travel and photography tips that I learned along the way.

  • Book in the summer: I know that it is unbearably hot in Arizona in the summer, but for photography reasons this is the best time to visit the Antelope Canyon. Because of the sun and where it is positioned, you are more likely to experience the beams in the summer months.
  • Go early or late: Besides the Canyon I would suggest either getting an early or a late start to the day to try and avoid the crowds and to get the perfect light for pictures. It is always best at dusk or dawn.
  • Wear close toe shoes: I wore sandals to Horseshoe Bend and was miserable, plus the rocks can be a little slippery so if you want to get the perfect shot make sure you have the right footwear.
  • Don’t plan too much for one day: Since we split up the main attractions, we had a chance to discover hidden gems like the crater that weren’t even on our to do list.
  • Look for unique shots: These spots are extremely touristy and so a lot of pictures are taken here annually so try and find a unique shot. My dad’s favourite picture of the entire trip was actually of a tattooed man standing in front of the Grand Canyon. You can check that shot out and more from the trip on his instragram @Steviewonderful110.

Happy snapping my friends,

xo

Mia