THAT Brewery is one of Arizona's great brewing success stories. Birthed in 2012 (-ish), THAT rode the wave of craft brewing popularity in the state to become one of Arizona's more ubiquitous brands. THAT appears at every beer festival I've attended and their Trail Ale, Strawberry Blonde and Road Rash IPA has earned shelf space at every grocery store I've been to in the state. They came along in the right place at the ideal time.
THAT Cottonwood is part taproom, part production facility. The location debuted in late 2014 I can guess to ease production demand on their original location in Pine. The good thing about both Cottonwood and Pine is their 'out-of-the-way' settings, making them ideal as weekend get-away travel destinations.
What to Expect – Cottonwood
The Cottonwood location of THAT is located in a small industrial area of Cottonwood. They are in a large warehouse off of 6th Street, between State Route 89a and Mingus Ave. From 6th Street, turn west onto Cherry and then right about 100 yards later into the industrial complex. [For those using Google Maps/Street View to plan your navigation…be aware that the image you see in Street View is from June 2012 and Google Maps shows a locked fence at the entrance! Don't let that deter you.] THAT Taproom is at the back of the property.
Arriving at the parking lot, you might feel like you are in the wrong place. It’s a big, non-descript warehouse. But, the numerous trucks out front emblazoned with the THAT logo should give you confidence that you are at THAT.
Inside, the taproom occupies a very small portion of the space. The bar to the right seats five to six people at most and there are three to four other tables to accommodate other patrons. Photos posted to THAT’s website shows a few table games. The taproom area opens up to the production floor. On one visit, they had a stack of empty cans on the floor, waiting to be filled with Ale Trail, reaching seemingly two stories high. Fermentors likewise reach for the sky.
There’s no food service in Cottonwood, but their website encourages you to bring your own food when you visit. That will certainly encourage you to stay longer and enjoy a second pint. Once you get there, you will want to.
The intriguing thing about THAT Cottonwood is its ability to transport you away from its less than scenic location. Unlike THAT Pine, which is a full-on restaurant and a well-known traveler's stop set among the pines and firs of the upper Mogollon Rim, THAT Cottonwood is in an industrial building. Beyond a small set of stairs and a sign on the door, there's nothing going on to dress up the building. After the drive through Cottonwood and the slow creep through the industrial park, you may wonder if you are in the right part of town.
BUT, once you are inside the building and door closes, you can't escape the uber-cool sense that YOU ARE IN A BREWERY. You are right there on the factory floor. Unlike other Arizona breweries where the work happens behind glass, or in another building, or in a brightly lit factory floor, THAT Cottonwood's taproom is dark with wood paneling. There are cans waiting to be filled, with sacks of ingredients here and there. It's all happening RIGHT THERE. Not quite a Belgian Abbey, but still pretty cool and worth a second pint.
As far as the beer goes, my favorite is the OTC Pils, a smooth version of the style. Most might opt for the Arizona Trail Ale, an English-leaning Pale Ale. It's nice, but just like a Briton, it is made with black tea, which gives it a strong, dry finish. I tend to shy away from their popular Strawberry Blonde and Fossil Creek IPA. If you can find their limited Doppelsticke Altbier, it is totally worth the drive, to either location--Cottonwood or Pine.
Most people likely do not consider Cottonwood as a weekend getaway destination. Sedona, only 30 or so miles north, offers much more allure. However, much of the state’s wine industry has found a home in Cottonwood, making the city much more of an inviting destination.
If you plan to visit THAT in Cottonwood, head up on a Friday night. Stay at the Tavern Hotel in Old Town Cottonwood. The Tavern is a recently renovated hotel which, much like THAT, came along at the right time…right at the crest of Cottonwood’s rise in wine tourism. It offers an unexpected touch of elegance in the middle Old Town. You seriously won’t believe it until you see it. Staying in the Tavern Hotel is like spending the night in Architectural Digest magazine. It is amazing. Cherrywood bed frames and shelving, marble bathroom accents, vessel sinks.
When you book a room, get a “Sip and Stay” package. This combo deal will get you a free drink at the Tavern restaurant next door, discount on dinner at select restaurants in Cottonwood (I love Nick’s Italian) and free or discounted sips at the tasting rooms lining Main Street in Old Town Cottonwood. Consider using the free wine tastings Friday night after dinner. Wine may not be your thing, but the Sip and Stay package is worth it just for the dining discounts.
Saturday morning, take a tour of one of Cottonwood’s wineries or vineyards. Javalina Leap, Page Springs, and Alcantra are all within a few minutes by car. Consider a morning visit to Sedona and gaze at the red rocks. As you approach lunchtime, or shortly thereafter, visit THAT. Bring a pre-packaged meal and stay for dinner. THAT occasionally features local music on Saturday nights.
Recent Visits by Arizona Beer Traveler
June 2017 (Cottonwood)
July 2019 (Cottonwood)
October 2019 (Pine)
300 East Cherry Street
Cottonwood, AZ 86326
Pine Taproom and Pub
3270 N AZ87
(About 14 miles north of Payson on AZ-87)