As a side benefit of the craft beer movement's rise, airports have begun tapping local beer makers to replace typical lackluster options. Denver International now has Great Divide and Post Brewing, Portland International has Deschutes and Laurelwood, or San Diego International has Stone. On a recent four-hour layover at Phoenix International, the desert offered me a similar drinks oasis: Tempe’s Four Peaks Brewing's healthy-sized brewpub—with a beer list to match—within the airport’s American terminal. If anything can cut through the heat of a dragging travel day, it might be the brewery’s Sunbru Kölsch.
Appearance and Aroma
Sunbru looks like beer from a national advertisement. In the glass, it is golden with minimal foam, and perhaps even less cling, to interrupt that Pantone-claiber color. This kölsch offers more than you’d anticipate aromatically, though. Slight whiffs of honey and maybe citrus (though the beer’s official description references Champagne) will surprise anyone expecting a straightforward, mild brew.
Is Sunbru a good beer or just a liferaft for weary travelers? Upon the reflection, the answer is both.”
Anyone who regularly works kölsch into their spring/summer rotation knows choosing this style typically means drinkability—light in ABV, mild in flavor. Four Peaks’ Sunbru comes across as noticeably drinkable even with this expectation. There’s more flavor here than in many kölschs (that honey aroma leads to a surprising bit of sweetness in taste), but Sunbru has an exceptionally clean mouthfeel without sacrificing substance in each sip. Instead, each time you drink feels like you’re starting your beer anew, and Sunbru again and again delivers that fresh beer sensation.
Is Sunbru a good beer or just a liferaft for weary travelers? Upon the reflection, the answer is both. This kölsch would likely satisfy regardless of the circumstance, given its consistent crispness and smidge more flavor when compared to other beers in the style. That may not be enough to convince me to intentionally book a lengthy layover the next time I’m flying west, but I’ll seek out Sunbru in Pacific Time bottle shops and grocery aisles soon.