The people of Southern Arizona put their spin on places to visit.
By Stacey Gregory
Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Allan Conger spent ten years in the Marine Corps before finding his way back to the Old Pueblo, attending The University of Arizona, and meeting and marrying Alicia, a Tucson native. Not only does he like beer, but he also discovered a creative outlet through homebrewing.
“I like being creative, so we started brewing beer in our garage,” said Conger. “Folks thought we were pretty good at brewing beers, so Alicia and I thought we’d give it a go and try and work for ourselves.”
They opened 1912 Brewing Company, named after the year Arizona became a state. Allan is the brewer, and Alicia runs the taproom.
“The atmosphere is laid back and welcoming. Our guests often describe it as feeling like home, and they can find something they like because we make such a wide variety of styles,” he said.
1912 offers more than 20 beer styles with about seven core brews on tap. Two flagship brews include Weapons Check (an Irish Red) and the award-winning Naughty Naranja (a gose). Seasonal options (fruit-permitting) include the favorite blueberry pie gose.
“My wife is Hispanic, so we also like to bring in Mexican ingredients, like our Mexican Candy gose,” he said.
When he’s not creating new flavors, Conger is exploring Tucson. He shares some of his favorites here.
Conger’s Tastes of Tucson
The obvious choice, but one not to be overlooked, is Tucson’s Mexican cuisine. You’ll find it on just about every street in the city. One of his favorites was also a 2021 Travel Magazine, “The 10 Best Hot Dogs in the USA,” and that’s The Sammy from El Guero Canelo. This is a Sonoran-style hot dog (a hot dog wrapped in bacon and topped with beans, onions, tomatoes, mayo, mustard, and jalapeño sauce) that has two hot dogs instead of just one.
“One Sammy dog is a full meal,” he said. “In the summer, a great addition is their mangoyada made with mango, chamoy, ice, tajín, and lime.”
Tucson has other options, too. The Parish tops his list. Tucson’s only Southern fusion gastropub offers bold dishes like Guedry’s Gumbo with crawfish hush puppies and an extensive selection of craft beers and unique cocktails created with housemade infused spirits.
“I love their compressed watermelon, pickled berry, and pork belly salad,” said Conger. “The people there are also great, including the owners. They push the envelope with different techniques and flavors.”
And when it comes to date night, the couple’s favorite cocktail is a whiskey sour at the Good Oak Bar, a downtown establishment serving local and regional whiskey and agave-based spirits, Arizona beer and wine, and delicious pub fare.
Follow Conger Around Tucson
Going outside is high on Conger’s list of things to do in Tucson. He spends time hiking and mountain biking at Sweetwater Preserve. The more than 880-acre preserve draws hikers, bikers, equestrians, walkers, and runners year-round. The 15 miles of trails were ranked #4 in the nation by Singletracks.com.
“You can spend quite a bit of time here, walking around and seeing all the different aspects of nature. It’s a good workout not too far from town,” he said.
He also points out the nightlife is a bit unusual in Tucson. The swanky Owls Club cocktail bar was once a funeral home built in the 1920s in downtown Tucson. Armory Park’s neighborhood haunt offers an extensive whiskey selection, an old-world wine list, well-curated spirits, and a modest beer program.
Another downtown Tucson funeral home was transformed into Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink with a second location in Oro Valley. Both modern Italian eateries serve elevated wood-fired pizzas and pasta, but the downtown location has the Tough Luck Club. The popular downtown basement speakeasy serves cocktails in the basement of Reilly.