Ratings: 152 | Reviews: 135 | Display Reviews Only:
4.6/5 rDev +6.7%
Odd. Papago Brewing is in a strip mall on the southwest corner of Scottsdale Rd. and McDowell Rd. It's looks like you're coming into a small, crampt building, but it's very "deep" once you're inside. Pale wood supports are all over the place, tap handles on the supports and dart boards give this place a sense of cluster phobia. Board games can be found near the juke box, which sits across from the bar, where its 30 taps are perched behind the bar. Perhaps 5-6 house brewed beers, along with a number of high-quality guest taps (Sam Adams Double Bock, DFH Red & White, New Belgium's Biere de Mars). Several coolers house hundreds of different beers, which puts this establishment's selection in a class of its own. Someone always seemed to be at the bar keeping up with heavy draft orders, and having a few table servers bring out the beer quick made waiting for a beer an afterthought.
I was most impressed with the serving temperature of my beers. I ordered house beers (Elsie's Irish Cream Stout and Orange Blossom) , the former served in a pint glass (not a shaker) at about 50 F, the latter served cool (about 42-45 F) in a weizen glass, and which seemed to be the most popular beer poured during my time there. I saw other tables with different glassware for their beers. Having the right glassware and serving at the right temperature makes for a very optimal drinking experience, and having fresh, quality homemade beers at the brewpub is icing on the cake.
03-09-2009 05:38:45 | More by DoubleJ
4.75/5 rDev +10.2%
A quiet weekend with nothing planned stared vacantly at me from my Wall Chart Planner for some time. So, many Moons ago, I decided to take up the offer extended to several So.Cal. BAs from Sir Gusler when he visited the Strong Ale Festival at Pizza Port in December. A few BeerMails later it was sorted, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th February would be spent at Papago Brewing.
Taking an afternoon flight from LAX, and having been expertly whisked off the Airport Concourse at just after 4pm by the GuslerS10BeerMobile, like a Camel train we traversed the desert and soon arrived at a Strip Mall that had a very Alamo-cum-Western look to it.
A covered walkway actually hides the front of Papago Brewing from prying eyes. After ditching the Bags at the Motel just round the corner we walked the short distance under the covered Mall walkway. A turn of the corner, and you could not miss the beery frontage, which is next to the local Police office (!), so behave yourselves.
Once inside, my, oh my, I think I died and went to heaven. I immediately got a Beer Buzz, the sort you get when your beer senses tingle and you just know you have entered a special establishment. Lots of empty beer bottles fill the front windows; the frontage is also adorned with much beery memorabilia. To your left a large series of shelves carefully store a host of over 100 'Monk Club' Members Earthenware Pots, T-Shirts and other items for sale. To the right a row of shelves and many wine-bottle holders display a selection of bottle beverages including some very interesting looking Wines, Ports and Meads, about a 100 of them. The center has a smattering of wooden tables & chairs encompassed in an internal wooden beam structure, of which, all the horizontal beams near the ceiling are decorated with many Tap Handles from beers that have obviously come and gone. A Jukebox and Cigar stall on the left and a couple of large Monks make up the rest of the décor. The front of the Bar is like many others, but it is the back of this single room wonderland that holds the secret to the success of Papago Brewing. At the far left of the room is a large cooler set into the corner. It exposes an L-shaped frontage that has at least 8 or 9 full length glass doors from memory. It looks awesome and beer geeks are often seen deeply pondering the contents. In here you will find a whole host of bottles, all shapes, sizes and colors, from all four corners of the globe, too many to list. With some, quick eye reckoning, I came up with 350 bottled beers here.
At the far right is a smallish bar that has two 15-Tap banks set side by side against the back wall. These sell No Crap On Tap as the advert proudly states. No domestics here, just 30 fine beers that appear to rotate and change frequently. Some of the Taps are passed over to the Papago Brewing products also. In addition, a fine looking Handpump sits proud on the Bar with its traditional ceramic handle depicting an English hunting scene. It dispenses a Cask beer that also rotates, check the board for details.
Food is popular here, solid snacks through to wholesome meals. But even though myself and Gusler were here for the beer, we managed a couple of the Pretzels which were excellent and served with a strong German Mustard. The other food looked awesome and was very popular. The pizzas kicked ass.
I arrived with Gusler at 4:45pm and we closed the place at around 1am. The tally was something like; BJs Faschizzle Chardonale, Avery The Beast, Tabernash Rye Bock Lager, Drie Fonteinen 1999 Oude Gueuze, Rogue Kells Irish Lager, Papago Churchill Wheat Wine, Rochefort 6°, Bear Republic Petes Brown Tribute Ale, Lindemans Cuvee Rene 2000, Mogollon Horny Toad India Pale Ale, then the list gets a bit blurry. Excellent service that was exemplary and above that expected, but still welcome.
On Sunday, we came back here just after opening and after a beer shopping trip around 3 of the local AJs Stores for stocking up purposes. Even so, I still ended up purchasing more beer here also, and the prices were comparable, if not cheaper at times.
This is an excellent Beer Bar, a true marvel hidden in the Arizona desert that belies its size and location. All the staff were stellar (especially Mel on Sunday) and very knowledgeable but far from condescending which was awesome. They were always happy to serve samplers prior to investing in a whole Pint of something. On the Sunday a local even shared his $16 bottle of Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock with others at the Bar, many of whom he didnt know, including me. All this AND the esteemed company of Gusler, just incredible!!
Good Beer really does mean Good People here. If you dont have time whilst in Phoenix/Scottsdale, I strongly suggest you miss your flight and make time. Oh, and let Gusler know that youre in town!
Last Visit: Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th Feb, 2005.
02-17-2004 02:04:36 | More by TheLongBeachBum
4.2/5 rDev -2.6%
A great bar, a must stop. 300 bottles for sale or drinking right there, in addition to 30 odd taps of above average offerings. Mostly people sitting in their own groups at tables, but still a decent sized bar. Younger crowd, but the absence of music blasting attracts the likes of me. Beer served with right temperature and carbonation was noted. Not all of thier own contracted recipes were outstanding, however the range and quality of the taps was. Had a very good time, stayed way longer than i expected, and suspect I would do the same frequently if I lived within an hour's drive.
02-05-2010 16:38:25 | More by Sammy
4.34/5 rDev +0.7%
An enjoyable stop at the end of my first day in Scottsdale, I hit Papago after an epic shopping trip at Total Wine in the north end of town.
Located in a strip mall, Papago does not look like much from the outside, or from the inside either really. I got a stool at the bar in the back corner of the place. About a half dozen house beers were on tap (apparently they are brewed eslewhere) along with a great list of guest taps. I got a sampler which included the Coconut Joe, the milk stout and the porter. All were quite tasty and well made.
Food all looked good. I had the beer bites, crispy sqaures of pizza dough with dipping sauce. I have had this type of item in many brew pubs. This rendition was far above average.
Service was pleasant when you could get someone's attention. The bartenders seemed to spend a lot of time chatting with their backs to the patrons. Plus they gave my food order to people who had ordered after me, and did not realize there was a problem until the next order came out 15 minutes later. Since they ordered a red dipping sauce and I ordered a white one, this should have been easy to spot.
Anyway, I was hoping to get back for some more beers and a growler to take home but the schedule did not allow it this time. Next time for sure...
Update: Got to visit again last week, had the same experience. Great beer selection, solid food, nice service when you could get some. Seems there is no dedicated bartender (maybe just on slow nights) and the register (where they ring in takeout orders) is at the end of the bar. Both of these factors lead to long stretches where there is no one to even ask for anything.
Update 2: Arrived late from the airport, hoping to get a beer after a long day. The bartender was outside grabbing a smoke before closing (the place was empty) but offered to stay open so we could have a beer. Gotta bump up the service rating for that alone.
02-13-2012 15:11:22 | More by sholland119
4.4/5 rDev +2.1%
Very impressed from the moment I walked in. Walking in is a very good scene. The bar at the end, table at the front and a projection screen on the wall as you walk in. A large cooler at the back with a GREAT selection of bottle beers, not just locals but I picked up some Dogfish Head and my fav Barleywine Fish Leviathan from Olympia, WA. Brought home 100 bones in beer. The service was good, tap selection was Good but not overly impressive at all. Carried own beers plus numerous rotating taps from the West Coast. Pizza was really good and appetizers were huge. Lots of good food for the price. Guys know the beer pretty decently too. By far much better than Four Peaks!!! I will go back everytime I visit the area for sure.
01-21-2008 18:08:55 | More by barleywinefiend
4.58/5 rDev +6.3%
Papago is pretty darn easy to find on McDowell in the shopping plaza. Unsure how this is a brewpub since nothing is brewed on site.
The atmosphere could potentially become quite smoky, but at the time of our visit it was not. 30 drafts and 1 cask with coolers full of bottles. I read somewhere 400 bottles, but somehow the selection seemed a bit less than that although quite well selected. The beers all seemed to be well cared for, but some of the draft selections were a bit on the boring side.
The place is raw wood and beer decor. The bar area was a smokestack so we chose the screen area. The service was darn near a 5.0 and the selection darn near it as well. The food, while basic, was very good and the pizza very tasty.
I'd certainly head back again, with 30 decent taps, 400 bottles and carry out beer, how could you ever go wrong?
11-08-2005 03:49:33 | More by GCBrewingCo
4.75/5 rDev +10.2%
Traveling to Phoenix in March is always a pleasure, business travel or not. But traveling to Phoenix with a plan to meet up with the Great Gusler for a little beer tour of the Valley is sublime.
Such was the case as I arrived at the Phoenix airport late on a Sunday morning. Less than an hour later I am ensconed in the Gusler S10 Beermobile and headed to the best Phoenix has to offer - Papago Brewing. The trip out McDowell passes some small rocky peaks, but the arrival at Papago's looks less like a peak of beerdom. But then, outward appearances can be deceiving.
We enter a nice beer trivia area at the front of the store and Gus is immediately greeted with several folks wanting to know where he's been. The arrival of royalty always excites the masses and so it is with the arrival of Gus. Mel is his favorite bartender and she is on duty today, all smiles and full of beer knowledge. My eyes bulge at the huge lineup of taps and the even greater lineup of glass-front coolers packed with fine bottled beer.
The long bar is joined by several stool-height tables for four and many picnic table seatings as well. Cigar storage is off to the side near the last of the cooler. A small stage for the frequent entertainment is centererd on the wall opposite the bar. A short past the coolers puts you at the facilities.
Papago's is staffed by caring owners, great staff, and good beer-loving customers. It is truly an oasis in the desert with great beer, very good food, and decent prices. To travel there with the most knowledgeable of Bas in the person of Gusler is a treat I shall long remember.
03-16-2004 04:06:59 | More by AtLagerHeads
4.3/5 rDev -0.2%
I had the pleasure of visiting Papago with Gusler on an all too brief stop in Phoenix recently. Based on what I saw, I hope I can return soon!
Papago was a very casual place, with southwestern decor and even a few surf boards as decorations. The room is rectangular, and not huge, but comfortable. The bar itself is of modest size, but most of the floor space is filled with tables with chairs. In the rear, across from the bar are 3 or 4 (or more?) glass-doored refridgerators with many, many, many excellent bottled beers. It is self-service, and you pay at the bar. Wow, an impressive bottled beer selection. As for the tap selection, it was also most impressive. Quite a few of Papago's beers on tap (though they are not currently brewed on premises) and a wide variety of other lovals and regionals (check Papago's web site for the list of 25-30 beers on tap at any given time). I sampled two Papago brews (Churchill Wheat Wine, and El Grande Nutz) where great, and a Rio Salado Redzilla (bourbon barrel aged) on cask -- wonderful!
The service was great and friendly, and I thank Gusler again for his hospitality in sharing this fine pub with me. I will make it a point to return to this great pub whenever I am in Phoenix.
01-16-2004 07:11:46 | More by UncleJimbo
3.61/5 rDev -16.2%
Pretty nice. Stopped after business trip based on Beer Advocate reviews, and glad I did. Fairly old bar feel. Upbeat. Sports TV. Bottle shop and good people. Beer was worth the trip. Nice variety with styles not noticed in other Phoenix area breweries. Bar/servers had no problem with bringing multiple samples to my table. Good, knowledgeable conversation. Food was ok. All in all a stop worth making.
10-04-2013 01:42:13 | More by BillRoth
4.5/5 rDev +4.4%
I went to this place three straight days a few weekends ago, we were staying at the Best Western across the parking lot, that worked out very nicely I might add, place has an odd location for an establishment of this caliber but that makes it even cooler, walk in and see several groups of people sharing beers and watching sports, looked like my kind of place already, immediately see tons of fridges along the back left wall stocked with tons of bottles, I cannot remember all of the bottles and cans of stuff we had while there but here a few, Alaskan Baltic Porter, Odell Bourbon Barrel Stout, Papago Oude Zuipers Tripel, Prescott Liquid Amber, and the Ska and Avery collaboration wheat beer, they had everything from Dogfish Head to Great Divide, Mikkeller, Brewdog, Oskar Blues, Bruery, Lost Abbey, Breckenridge, Big Sky, Green Flash, and Stone in bottles, they had thirty or so taps and all were craft or imports, while I was there I had the Oak Creek Brown Ale, several Papago brews that I will input reviews later on, I think I had five of the seven that were on draft at the time, as well as Sierra Nevada Estate IPA, the highlight was probably the cask of Sun Up Armadillo Red, they serve ten ounces of all draft beers for three dollars which was awesome, got to try more that way, did not have a single pint so I do not know what the prices were, we had the beer bread bites with marinara one night and the buffalo chicken pizza another night, both were very good, warning that the particular pizza is spicy, the staff was helpful and seemed to know what they were talking about, it was funny going back consistently because we saw them wearing the same clothes each day which was pretty gross, they have a cool display of old rare bottles lining the window to this place, they are open late which was nice because we were so busy during the day, and thankfully the place did not get too crowded on the weekends, I will be going back every time I am in the area, awesome place in Scottsdale that I recommend to anybody who loves craft beer
10-21-2009 03:35:27 | More by Floydster
Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, AZ
95 out of 100 based on 152 ratings.