Every town, every community, every person should have access to good beer and it’s best when it comes from a local brewery. So, if I’m honest with myself, I am happy that Kingman now has a local – Black Bridge Brewery. Still, it’s difficult to walk through the doors of your dream knowing they were opened by someone else, to sit at the bar of your desire quaffing the liquid portraits mad at another’s hand. So a trace of resentment follows me, like beaten stray dog, when I enter the brewery. If only … (Insert heavy sigh here).
But my “if only” moment has passed like a microburst in the desert. I try to make amends with the stray and order a beer. Admittedly the brewery is a cute little place, tucked away in a small suite next to Sirens cafe in downtown Kingman. Sirens is a delightful place to eat and I believe they do deliver dinners to Black Bridge customers starting at around five, post meridian (PM).
Several years ago there was another brewery in town. It was called Your Mother’s. I don’t recall having heard much about it and it did not last long. So Black Bridge isn’t Kingman’s first brewery. Thus it properly advertises itself as Kingman’s first nano-brewery. I shall credit them with honesty and respect for that. They have not dishonored the beer world.
A nano. Yeah, that’s the route I wanted to go, too. Not sure exactly what size Black Bridge is running but I was aiming for around twenty gallons per batch. I would guess that’s about what they’re doing, too. Oh, I hear the stray growling. Anyway, it’s a small system that fits well in the small building.
The decor isn’t astounding but it’s not stale as the rest of Kingman; at least the place has some character – a consistent color scheme, a roll up door in the back of the building painted with a scene from a brewery, a nice solid bar. It feels comfortable inside. At least, it did when I visited around four pm, about an hour after they opened. There weren’t a lot of people. The employees behind the bar were in a good mood and chatted insouciantly with us. This was refreshing since a previous visit had yielded the normal Kingman atmosphere, namely, lowbrow snootiness and lame elitism. It was far more user friendly on the second visit.
The first beer I tried was B3 Wheat. It felt too sticky and was not effervescent enough but it wasn’t bad. Locomotive Stout had well defined coffee and burnt boundaries but not much of a body. It did possess a nice color. I had hoped it would be on tap for my second visit, but it was not to be.
Black Bridge’s Katastrophic Humiliation has an awkward name, to be sure, a Stone Brewing riff sans rhythm and attitude but it was easily the best of the beers. It was an admirable 10.9 percent concoction with a sultry orange and amber body. It had a barley-wine-ish slash strong ale look and feel. This beer had verve and wants to be a star. The alcohol doesn’t hit right away, the hops are subdued, currents of strong liquor and caramel are well balanced. Let this beer have a spotlight.
Another visit yielded the delight that is Wagonwheel, a bucolic brown ale. It was a tad muddy in appearance but had a mild nutty flavor. It’s a beer begging to be consumed. Chichester Bitter smelled like dog terd was cloudy when it shouldn’t be but actually didn’t taste horrendous. It was too forgettable however. I saw but did not taste one of their reds, Evil Red, I think. It looked gorgeous. Perfect clarity.
Despite my resentment and frustration, I am happy there’s a brewery in Kingman. It isn’t their fault I couldn’t have my own. I am resolved to enjoy their beers as often as possible. They need a little work but I’m willing to be patient. I enjoin all to meet me for a pint at Kingman’s nano, Black Bridge Brewery.