Dillinger Brewing Company has its sights set high. Their vision is to be the staple craft
brewery of the Southwest, and that includes embracing the culture and values of Tucson. “We are hoping to have a grassroots and down-to- earth vibe that is friendly and
welcoming, while still displaying modern artwork and classical Dillinger/gangster photos of yesteryear,” says co-owner Eric Rosas.
Dillinger Brewing opened its doors in the last few days of 2016. Already, the team is working hard to meet its lofty ambitions. It helps that the three founders are beer industry veterans. Eric Sipe and Eric Rosas graduated from the University of Arizona’s Eller School of Management, and have worked at local breweries. John Ritter, the head brewer, has earned two gold medals from the Great American Beer Festival, and worked for breweries in the Pacific Northwest and Tucson. “He [John] likes to brew traditional style German ales and lagers. For us it’s mostly ales since this is Arizona and it’s hard to keep ambient temperature down, but we have explored using a particular type of yeast strain that mimics lager yeast properties,” says Rosas. Their combined experience gives them top to bottom knowledge of the beer industry.
A true craft brewery, Dillinger’s offerings fluctuate with what’s available. Their debut lineup consisted of Desert Wheat, a very drinkable German-style Hefeweizen brewed with Sonoran White Wheat; Serrano Seduction, a version of the desert wheat brewed with spicy Mexican Serrano peppers and Hatch green chile peppers from New Mexico; and Lock Down Brown, a German-style Brown Ale whose name refers to John Dillinger’s arrest at Tucson’s Hotel Congress. Their next round of beers will include a red ale, an IPA, and a honey porter.
Dillinger’s comfortable, elegantly designed space is a welcome addition to Tucson’s northwest side, which has far less to offer in terms of breweries than Tucson’s downtown. Although some design elements, most notably the signature bar top, indicate a carefully chosen aesthetic, the overall vibe emphasizes the brewing side of the brewery. Patrons will know that the beer they are drinking came from the same space in which they are drinking it.