Review of Oak Creek Brew Pub – Sedona, AZ

Posted on March 26, 2010 by

Sign Outside Oak Creek BrewpubRating: 2 out of 5

336 Arizona 179
Sedona, AZ
(928) 282-3300
www.oakcreekpub.com

First Impressions

After a long day of hiking our group was ready for a beer and some grub. Being the beer dude that I am I of course suggested the Oak Creek Brewpub. None of us had been there before and we were all excited to hit up a new pub. As we wandered into the Adobe style pub there were decorative tile and fountains spewing water about. The open floor plan in the basement was a refreshing idea until we ended up heading inside the building anyway. The first impressions were mixed by all. Servers frantically about, 80′s music on the radio, TV’s with basketball on them, old Christmas decorations above the bar and a sleuth of German style artwork on the walls.

Review of Oak Creek Brewery and Grill – Sedona, AZ

Beer

Oak Creek Brewery has been brewing beer for about 15 years until about 7 years ago when they opened another operation at the current brewpub location. Currently all the beer served is actually brewed on site and stored in vats behind the bar. Oak Creek has many award winning beers from both the Great American Beer Festival and the North American Brewers Association. So I decided to take the flight. To be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed.Oak Creek Beer Flight

Micro Light

This beer was bright golden in color with a malty sweetness that didn’t seem to be balanced by any hop bitterness as advertised in the menu. It ended up being served a little to warm for my taste for something this light. The point is to usually not taste it. It tasted better than a Bud Light, but it still had that weird sweetness that comes from an American Light Lager. This would be a great option for anyone that likes light American lagers. However, to me, it felt like this brew was only made to appease the tourist masses that must come through this town.

49′er Gold Lager

Much like the micro light but a little more pleasant on the tongue. This beer won a NABA Gold medal in the 2002. This beer had a minimal flavor profile, but was balanced nicely with some sweetness and hoppiness, a very versatile beer.

Orange Blossom – Seasonal

This brew is considered a Hefeweizen, at least that is what the waitress told me, but it doesn’t really take on that type of characteristic. In actuality, it is very light, very fruity with minimal citrus character for its name. In fact our group came to a consensus that it tastes like a water downed dreamsicle. A little bit vanilla, a little bit orange and overall, not that great.

Horseshoe Hefe

A 2003 GABF Gold medal winner, this brew is probably the best brew they have on tap. A great banana and clove aroma permeates my nostrils with relief that I’m going to finally have a beer I’ll enjoy. Made with 50% wheat, this cloudy, golden color brew has a sweet and spicy after taste. However, my wife seems to taste a strong alcohol after taste. I don’t get that, but I drink whiskey straight and like it.

Amber Ale

Bright amber color seduces my eye as I pulled this 2001 NABA Silver medal winner to my face to take a whiff. I smelt a sweet caramel flavor and immediately was intrigued to go after a taste. I was surprised at a very minimal hop character and a much stronger than anticipated caramel flavor. The beer finishes very subtly. It was not a favorite of the other Amber beer drinkers at the table. Just seemed to be lacking in a direction.

Docs Pale Ale

Upon first taste at the table this brew was a disappointment. However as it warmed up it became much more complex and enjoyable. Surprisingly there was minimal hop floral aroma as it was dominated by a caramel character. As you take a taste though the hops jump out and squeeze your tongue a bit, but quickly die off in a smooth finish. This brew is a solid choice among its brethren.

Village Nut Brown

A deeper amber, almost brown looking beer that promises to have a hop characteristic sneak up on you. Upon sniffing I get a super sweet, hazelnut smell. I take my first sip of the Nut Brown and as implied with the name it has an earthy, nutty flavor to it. However the hops never seem to catch up.

Porter

A bit of a let down, but still on my list of good beers to have while there. It looks like a Stout at first glance with its dark black appearance, but upon tasting the delicious sweetness and roastiness of the porter comes out. It is a solid choice, but be warned, you could be let down by its lack of impact.

Ambiance

I pondered the very thought of hanging out in this place for an evening and it made me cringe. Madonna and Michael Jackson along with a whole another top 100 list from the 80′s was playing in the background. I still could not get past the Christmas trees that were still up over the top of the bar and the interesting “lodge” feel this Adobe took on. Mix that with some German arts and I’ve got a bad feeling that I’m in a tourist trap with no exit. The apparent lack of a common culture or theme gives this place a very wide appeal. I didn’t feel I was grabbing anything for information, nor experience, that I couldn’t have found at some major restaurant chain anywhere else in the country. The only thing that set this place apart was the copper vats behind the bar, otherwise, it was Granite City.

Food and Cost

The food was good. I had the Brewmaster’s Special, which ended up being pork sausage, brats, garlic potatoes, sauerkraut and a side of mustard. I really enjoyed my meal but the people around me were afraid for their lives later in the evening! The rest of the table sampled the turkey burger, pasta, and soup. All were delighted by the food, but that ended once we saw the bill. It just so happens that when you are in a tourist trap you pay more for everything. Its like asking for a discount on a wedding cake the day of your wedding. You are pretty much F’d in the A. All the plate cost around or more than $14 and the beers were $5 to $7.

Did I mention the service wasn’t that great? Aside from making one of us feel stupid for not knowing how to answer one of her food questions, she messed up our bill and was nearly impossible to understand with her heavy accent. (Which was not American).

Uniqueness

Overall, I felt this place was what you would call a “sell out”. It was trying to appease everyone, from beer to food to ambiance. Nothing stood out, nothing impressed me and overall, it just cost to much for what we actually got.

Would I Go Back?

Nope


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  • Chad A Wimberly

    I typically put clorox in an ice chest with my beer bottles to remove the labels. Then rinse in the dishwasher and then sanitize and place in the dishwasher while bottling. I use the Jet Stream as well. I find that Avery Brewing and Flying Dog lables are fairly easy to remove (I drink alot of these beers). Paulaner labels are a breeze after soaking. I'll try Oxy Clean for my next batch.

  • mikebiewer

    Nice! I've found that there are just some labels that come right off. Breckenridge and New Belgium labels would come off if you look at them wrong.

    I mainly soak in oxyclean it get all the grit and grim out. It just so happens that it works wonders on the labels themself. It is kind of a win win situation!

    Thanks for the comments!

  • Chelsey

    Thanks Mike!! Love the video footage! I'm in total agreeanice all around on Oak Creek, I think that place could be something unique for Sedona if they focused more on what they want their audience to experience. If food and brew are your main selling points then try to create an atmosphere that supports that instead of leaving it to your great aunt to fill it with crap that distracts you from the main events. And for gods sake, switch up your music, how can I enjoy my beer and best buds with Duran Duran blasting into my ears.

  • Chelsey

    I meant to correct my spelling on “agreeanice”, there is so “i” in agreeance…even though, “I” agree with Mikes interpretation of Oak Creek

  • mikebiewer

    LOL @ Duran Duran.

    I'm wondering if they would take on more of the theme of the environmental surroundings if it would be a better place. The red rock there is so beautiful, but they didn't employ that anywhere…

    Thanks for stopping in!

  • nickakers

    Yea… not an impressive experience. Seems like the place rides the wake of being located in a tourist trap and doesn't really care to deliver the type of quality experienced at other brew pubs. Then again… I only had one beer, the Docs, mainly because I was driving us home but I do admit I did enjoy the beer more as I continued to drink it.

  • mikebiewer

    I think its the tourist thing. They have to appeal to “everyone”. But regardless of that, there were a couple of beers that I thought were good and the food was good, but the service really sucked and the prices were a lil out of my league. Not to mention the Christmas trees and Madonna…Really?

    Thanks for the comment dude!

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