Kelly Vaughn

The Verde Baptist Church served the Cottonwood community from 1928 until the early 1960s, when the church changed locations and a Pontiac dealership moved into its former building. Several more business iterations occupied its rooms until 2013, when the city issued a request for development proposals in an effort to save the building from demolition. Robert Conlin, the chef and owner of Bobby D’s BBQ in Jerome, was the only person to submit a proposal.

“It took seven years for the project to come to fruition,” Conlin says. “We had just broken ground with the demolition phase of construction when the first whispers of the COVID-19 pandemic entered the picture. By March, when the closures hit, we were in full construction. We opened Belfry Brewery on October 1, 2020, just after many of the dine-in restrictions had been lifted. Needless to say, it was a very difficult time to open a new business.”

Regardless, Belfry has thrived, thanks in large part to its extensive menu of new American brewpub fare. One guest favorite, Conlin says, is the deep-fried Alaskan cod, battered with the brewery’s Batty Blonde ale. The Belfry Steak Salad features 6 ounces of grilled sirloin atop a bed of mixed greens and tossed with avocado, blue cheese, cherry tomatoes, pickled red onion, bacon, roasted red peppers, croutons and a red wine vinaigrette. Other favorites include Detroit-style pizzas, hearty burgers and a loaded pulled pork sandwich. 

And, of course, a brewery wouldn’t be a brewery without beer. Belfry’s offerings include the Batty Blonde as well as a Vienna lager, a triple oat stout, a wheat ale, a Belgian dubbel and multiple beers that change seasonally. A slew of craft cocktails round out the bar menu. 

But perhaps the most important thing about Belfry is Conlin’s dedication to retaining some of the building’s original charm. “As part of our renovation, we reconstructed the original bell tower, which had been torn down when the church was deconsecrated,” he says. “We hung a 36-inch church bell, cast at the American Bell Foundry Co. in Michigan in 1901, to complete the Belfry.”

That homage to the building’s original intention is just part of Conlin’s overall approach to the Belfry. “We offer scratch-made food with love,” he says — “fresh, craveable dishes that pair well with our house-brewed beer. Our philosophy is simple: Good food. Good beer. Good people.”

Business Information

Belfry Brewery
791 N. Main Street
Cottonwood, AZ
United States