A relatively new kid on the block, MotoSonora Brewing Company on Tucson’s south side has already made a name for itself thanks to a large outdoor performance space and a close connection with automobiles.
MotoSonora, which opened in early 2020, is the brainchild of Tucson brothers passionate about beers and cars. So the story goes, during a road trip through Africa, Jeff and Jeremy DeConcini discussed the merits of both the vehicles and drinks on their trip, and realized “it was indisputable that the beers were as integral to the overland experience as were the Land Rovers and motorcycles.”
In this fashion, MotoSonora is bringing back an old favorite for Arizona Beer Week, which runs from Thursday, Feb. 17 through Sunday, Feb. 27. “Racing Slicks” is a specialty dry Irish stout with a dark European taste, but remains smooth thanks to a nitro infusion. Made in homage to Irish beers, Racing Slicks has a signature roasty flavor, but enough different that it should appeal to traditional beer drinkers and craft aficionados alike. Throughout Arizona Beer Week, MotoSonora is offering $2 off pints and $1 off other pours of the 4.2% ABV stout.
“In college, I studied in Dublin and drank quite a lot of Guinness. So, it’s a specialty beer that is close to my heart,” said MotoSonora co-founder Jeremy DeConcini.
MotoSonora brewed the beer when they first opened, but haven’t brewed it since. Because it’s a nitro beer, Jeremy says it’s not as well suited for packaging, meaning customers will have to come down to the brewery to enjoy it.
“It’s one of my favorite beers, but it has a limited commercial appeal outside of the taproom. So we hope it will get people in, which is what Arizona Beer Week is about anyway,” Jeremy said. “We want people to come in and meet the people who are making their beer.”
Jeremy says MotoSonora is currently going through their cellar to select other special beers for release during Arizona Beer Week, however, their full roster is not yet announced.
Only about two years old, MotoSonora entered at a time when the Tucson brewing community was already quite active. As such, there were a few elements they wanted to focus on to stand out.
“There were a couple things we wanted to do to differentiate ourselves. One was that we wanted a big outdoor space,” Jeremy said. “We wanted to create an outdoor environment that would fit Tucson’s good weather. A lot of breweries might not have that option, and lucky for us we were able to. The other thing is that Tucson has notoriously hard water, so we wanted to have a pretty solid water treatment system at our facility that would allow us to make a wider variety of styles, and control the mineral content. And that’s not to say you can’t make good beer with Tucson’s water, but we didn’t want to be limited.”
Although Tucson already had more than a dozen breweries when they opened, Jeremy says the brewing community welcomed them and even offered support when COVID hit during their very early days. In particular, he says Tucson mainstay Barrio Brewing helped out during COVID by delivering food for MotoSonora’s customers, as they do not have a kitchen.
“To be honest, we were just excited to be part of the Tucson beer scene,” Jeremy said.
“The community and people are amazing. We probably would not be open if not for the brewing community. From a purely collaborative aspect, the Tucson beer scene has been amazing and we would not have made it without their support.”
Looking ahead, MotoSonora plans to expand their role in the community by working with more local food trucks and hosting more Tucson songwriters in the large patio. In the next few weeks, Tucson folk singer Leila Lopez will perform on Saturday, Feb. 12, local roots rock band Barnaby & the Butcher plays on Saturday, Feb. 19, and blues singer John Hawk plays on Saturday, Feb. 26.
“When I grew up in Tucson there were zero craft breweries. And I think we’re now getting to that critical mass in Tucson of breweries and brewing talent where people can feed off of each other and influence each other. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” Jeremy said. “I have people in my taproom who never originally thought of beer as a career, but with this many breweries in town, making beer is starting to look like a noble profession.”