Of course there's the cool name, the monkey and the local angle, but the bottom line is that Nimbus makes excellent brew. Really excellent. (We keep the fridge stocked with the pale ale: It's bitter and sharp and tastes great in the heat.) Nimbus makes ales and stouts and not lagers because of the nature of Tucson's water: You can read up on all this on the Nimbus Web site, but you'll need to try their various beers--once, twice, many times--to truly get it. Directions to the brewery and tap room are also online, but one of the best things about Nimbus is that three of their brews come in bottles, and the peculiarly attractive, simian-themed six-packs are easy to find in grocery stores around town. Beers, after all, are like dogs: Once you get attached to one, you want to take it home.
2. Gentle Ben's Brewing Company, 865 E. University Blvd., 624-4177, www.gentlebens.com
3. Thunder Canyon Brewery, 7401 N. La Cholla Blvd., 797- 2652, www.thundercanyonbrewery.com