Thunder Canyon Brewery

Not Rated.
Thunder Canyon BreweryThunder Canyon Brewery
BEER AVG
3.49/5
Based on:
43 Beers
177 Ratings
Place Score: 89
Ratings: 32
Reviews: 23
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

7401 N La Cholla Blvd
Tucson, Arizona, 85741-2308
United States
phone: (520) 797-2652

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: mzwolinski)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 32 | Reviews: 23 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Lobina
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of jbjcurly
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of UlfAndreas
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of davekaser
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of timlyon
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of mewanderinghome
4.01/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3

Note these ratings are a combination of the 2 very different locations.

I spent years ignoring this brewery after it opened. It was in a mall in suburbia, had a themed atmosphere, and a name that had me figuring it was some new mall restaurant chain I had no desire to ever bother with. Then after a rare trip to that mall's theater to see a movie in IMAX, the GF and I decided to try a beer there. Well holy crap. Not bad at all.

I wasn't blown away or anything, but it was easily the best local brew over the 2 other existing breweries at the time. Now, there's lots more, and TC doesn't have the absolute best beer, but it's probably still in the top 3. And of the top local breweries, they easily have the largest selection, and a decent sized guest list as well (if you like IPAs, I recommend their Good Vibrations out of the 3 or so of their own that they usually have on tap). They have very reasonable prices, which can turn into EXCELLENT prices during specials they've run. They have since opened a location downtown, and for a while they were running an incredible 50 cent first beer for local card holders, or if you checked in on social media. I don't think that's the case anymore, but I biked down there and took advantage of that on a near-daily basis for a while, combined with some happy hour half-price monster-sized appetizers for dinner. The standard bar fare food is by no means amazing but isn't horrible either. Definitely large portions, if a bit sub-par for my picky ass tastes. Their biggest problem really is the atmosphere. Especially at the downtown location. I've never been into themed restaurants, but at least the mall location manages to be comfortable- the downtown location just feels like sitting at the back of a generic sports-bar warehouse, minus some of the fun things you at least might expect in that sort of location, like pool tables or darts. Or hell, indoor bocce with the space they've got. Have enough of the Good Vibes though, along with often well-curated guest tap choices, and any complaints will soon disappear.. :)

Photo of Jodi215
3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

While visiting Tucson we looked for a brewery that was close to our campground and found this one. We were pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. Decor was cute, lots of beer trays on walls and rustic looking. Large bar with TVs but not so loud to be annoying. It is attached to a shopping mall which we liked. The quality was excellent as was the service. Very friendly staff. Our dinners were served faster than anywhere I think we've ever eaten. So if your in a hurry this place would work well. I had the fish and chips and it was really good. They let you get a half order which I always like. My husband had the pork shoulder which was really tender and smoky and the BBQ sauce was delicious. Beer selection was a little above average. My husband had a cask IPA and said it was very good. The prices are very reasonable. We would go back next time we're in Tucson.

Photo of cellardwellersbrew
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of groverj3
3.98/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

So, I've been to both of their locations. In a nutshell: downtown has a better beer selection, and the mall location has better food.

Downtown: The beer selection contains many guest taps. They have a pretty good selection of stuff from imports to craft beer from outside the Arizona area (let's face it, Arizona hasn't quite figured out craft beer to the level of my home state, MI). The food was decent, but it's more of a bar than a restaurant. Their brews are OK, and range from bad (I had a wheat ale, which was not very good) to great (Blackout Stout, on nitro, and very smooth). They didn't use appropriate glassware for my Hefeweizen I ordered, but I guess that's kind of minor considering the selection being pretty good.

Mall: Not very big, you might wait a while from a table. If they have guest taps they didn't tell us about them. From what I could tell they only had their own stuff. Which isn't that big of a deal if it's good, but there was a lot of variation. Like I said above, their Blackout Stout is worth trying. The food and service were better though. I think this location is more of a "restauarant" and less of a bar.

It's worth checking out if you're in Tucson!

Photo of sooner961
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25

This place impressed me in so many ways.

First of all, the space is absolutely massive and is a breath of fresh air from so many breweries I frequent (I'm looking at you every Albuquerque brewery) where I have to fight for a space at the bar, or a table, or a chair. This place had couches, a wealth of tables, and a massive bar. A great use of a space that was probably sitting vacant just waiting for some genius to take advantage of the cheap real estate and convert it into something massive and inspired.

Now to the beer. Muthaeffing kudos to these guys for offering beers besides their own and good ones at that. Lagunitas, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Odell, and many other craft beer favorites were available on tap. That's great in a lot of ways, as I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to mix it up from time to time and have tons of options. Wise folks these guys are.

As for the TCB brews, woooowww. These were quite a surprise really. As with many of the other breweries in Arizona, I noticed a lot of adventuresome concoctions and a wealth of sessionable beers. I opted for the sampler and was expecting a few to many misses, which tends to be the case with a lot of average or bad breweries. Well this place is neither average nor bad.

The Good Vibrations IPA: potently hoppy, great floral and citrus nose, and a perfect balance of malt and hops and citrus hints on the tongue with no rough throat feel

Sandstone Cream Ale- just like the name suggests, it was creamy, smooth and with a healthy body. Definitely a good session beer.

Blackout Stout- This was the real showstopper for me. I love stouts and more commonly imperials, but this blew me away. The malt presence and complex nose gave way to an incredibly smooth and flavorful beer. It was subtly sweet, creamy and had a body that was not light, but still would've permitted me to drink 2 or 5.

Orange U Glad- Again, a real surprise here. I was expecting some weak flavor and body and got neither. The nose was heavily citrusy and sweet and drank exactly the same as the flavor remained and with a full body. A lot of times you get a fizzy soda-resembling drink when you order something like this, not here though.

Windstorm Wheat- Ditto much of the Orange U, which was also a wheat. Good body, mildly sweat and wheaty. Another great session beer.

Rillito Raspberry- Like a few of the other beers here, what seemed like a gimmicky joke of a beer turned out to be surprisingly good. This was sweet, but still retained it's beer character and body. I really liked this.

I had a few other beers but can't recall what they were, but nothing here disappoiinted me.

I will definitely return to this place next time I'm in Tucson. Also, I tip my hat to the music, which was quite good.

Photo of marcotulio
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Their Blackout Stout is one of my favorite beers. I'm also not really into fruit beer, but everyone should try a pint of Rillito Raspberry, a really fun beer. Thunder Canyon's food might be their weakest point, but their beers surely make up for their kitchen's shortcomings.

Be sure to visit them when you're in Tucson, it's a must, and don't forget to take a growler.

Photo of DonDirkA
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The beer selection here is nice, of course being a brewery it mostly consists of their beers but that is expected. I love their Blackout Stout and the Barrel & Cask beers are usually an interesting experience (the best I ever had was barrel-aged Bing Bang Ale. Out of this world). The service is usually good, depending on the day and who is working. The worst part is that they recently changed their menu and everything got much more expensive. like $1+ per dish. Doesn't seem like much but it was already high-priced brewery food before, now its a bit silly.

The beer is still $4 like always though. (Or if you're like me, $2 after 7pm sun-wed)

Photo of t0rin0
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Visited 3/3/2011 with the Ratebeer Winter Gathering.

The place is located in a busy shopping center and has lots of tables. The place is very open and comfortable.

The beer is all at least decent and covers a wide range of styles. Of course they have the standard styles (cream, hefe, amber, pale), a fruit beer, and even a barrel aged beer (imperial porter).

There was one server for the whole lot of us (15 or so) and she was new and didnt know much about the beer. However she tried and when she didnt have an answer she went to find out. She even put up with the losers that are the beer geeks.

The food as pretty good albeit a bit over priced. Might stop back for dinner and a sample of beer or two.

Photo of Naugled
3.33/5  rDev -15.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Not a bad mall brewery at all. Atmosphere is mostly your typical breweriana stuff, trays, posters and other items. Rebar and stone used to decorate most of the place, didn't quite get it, but it did seem to work well together. Had an indoor and out door bar and seating. Seating is a mix of tables and booths.

We got a sample to try the beers. They had at least a dozen beers on tap including a guest beer. It was quite a selection. They list the IBU's and ABV's for the beer geeks, but other than that I couldn't find very good descriptions of the beers. For instance they had two IPAs but they couldn't really explain the difference between them. The beers were all better than average quality, and we were pleased with them all excluding the fruit flavored beers.

Service was adequate, but not outstanding. Beers available on tap were listed on a few signs around the place but from where we were sitting we couldn't see any of them.

Food was typical pub grub, but decent I would definitely go back for the food alone.

Value was good. They seem to offer many beer specials for happy hour and for different days of the week and for lunch. I liked that part a lot.

A very decent brewpub for a mall location, I would frequent again the next time I'm in town.

Photo of LittleDon
3.98/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Appearance wise, this could be any theme eatery in the US. I sat inside, since it was 108 the day I was in Tucson. It is located in a mall with outside access. Expect to share your outing with families waiting to see a movie next door and few, if any, beer aficianados. The beers I had were all very good to excellent. Aside from the pedestrian atmosphere, the low point was the waitstaff's beer knowledge. I'd suggest talking to the beertender if you want to know more about what you're drinking. Selection is limited to what they brew, but what I had was good. Food gave me an upside surprise. Very tasty.

Photo of merryjoulton
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

Atmosphere is very pleasing, lots of beer related decorations which are very much appreciated for me. Also some local references to give it a hometown flair. I had the Little DIPA which was an excellent beer. I hope to go back soon to sample the rest of their brews because I was incredibly impressed with their take on an imperial IPA. Service was fine, had no beer questions so I'm not sure what the waitresses knowledge base was nor do I care. Selection was good, there must have been at least 8-10 original beers on tap. Food was mediocre at best, I shared their two napkin pork sandwich and it was dry and bland. The beer bread it was served on was good though. The menu was pretty substantial so I'm not going to write off all their food yet before trying some other menu items.

Photo of BeerDonkey
4.18/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Visited mid May 2008. Thank you fellow BeerAdvocates for the recommendation. In Tuscon for a couple of days for a wedding and wanted to make sure I was able to sample some the local craft beers.

Located in a strip mall. The brewpub is on the northern side of the mall, facing La Cholla Blvd. Nice, dark, but cozy inside eating area. Very clean bathrooms. I chose to eat outside as I wanted to feel some of the heat.

Have 8 or so of their own beers on tap with a good variety. I expected a bunch of wheat beers, the Bock and Strong Ale were a surprise. Tried the Stout, Amber, Bock (my favorite), and Wheat. Overall good beers, not extreme by any means, but solid.

Good prices during Happy Hour: 3$ pints and half off appetizers, 3-7pm every day. Food was good and also reasonable. The best wings I've had in years.

Photo of russpowell
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This was my favorite place I hit in town.

Had a nice restaurant BP vibe, nothing stellar. Loved the patio dining

The beers were all pretty much above average a few good & a few average

Service was fantastic, one of my kids was being a pain in the ass & the waitress handled the situation like a pro ( I resisted the urge to strangle him) & attended to all our needs efficiently

9 beers on tap, plus a guestbeer, a tasty wit from Belgium, almost gave this a 4.5. My favorites were the ESB, the PA & IPA, plus the dopplebock

The food tasty & varied. Any place that has BBQ, a wurst & cobbler of the day has a soft place in my heart. If ever back in Tucson, I'll
hit this & Gentle Ben's again for sure (Only had 2 beers there, but both were good).

Photo of PhxHorn
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This is one of the nicer brewery restaurants in AZ. From top to bottom, it's a class act. Comfy seats and nice tables, as opposed to what are basically pieces of lumber at Four Peaks or Papago. You get the impression you're in a restaurant, not a warehouse. Lots of visually appealing waitresses who actually come to your table to see if you need anything. The place is very noisy or rowdy. No blasting TVs or screaming sports fans. It's too bad I have to drive a hundred miles to get there. A varied menu, and of the four times I've been there, I haven't had a complaint about the food. They also have a big scotch selection. Lunch and a beer ran about $14 plus tip. Appropriate for lunch or a date, even.

The beers in general are good but not great. I haven't had an outstanding one, but haven't had a bad one either. The stout was good, and the IPA was a little mild for my tastes and compared to west coast Cali IPAs, but not bad. My wife had some kind of blueberry beer last year, and while I don't care for fruity beers, it wasn't bad and she liked it. For me, it's not one particular aspect, but the overall experience that makes me like this place. I'm surprised to see mentions of bad service. Like I said, I've been several times and the service ranges from decent to (most recently) outstanding.

Photo of xymyl
2.85/5  rDev -27.7%
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.

Photo of UberWasser
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

Photo of bennetj17
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

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Thunder Canyon Brewery in Tucson, AZ
89 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.