Sleepy Dog Brewery

Brewery, Bar, Eatery

1920 E University Dr
Tempe, Arizona, 85281-4608
United States

(480) 967-5476 | map

View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 30 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by timlyon:
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timlyon from Arizona

1.5/5  rDev -57.9%

Jun 17, 2014
More User Reviews:
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LXIXME from New Mexico

3.86/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

Oct 11, 2019
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Marilou61 from Arizona

4.8/5  rDev +34.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Feb 05, 2019
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kdawgbeerguy from Arizona

1/5  rDev -71.9%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 1 | food: 1

Nothing impressive. They don't experiment enough, they brew for convenience, as in, almost all the recipes are the same with some variation of their specialty malts and all beers sitting around 6% abv. The owners are quite lazy as well. They don't keep their brewery clean enough.

Dec 14, 2016
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Determined_021 from New Mexico

3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

May 21, 2016
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backslide311 from Colorado

3.15/5  rDev -11.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3 | selection: 3.25

Apr 25, 2015
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JonAdams from New York

3.96/5  rDev +11.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Fine place, first time here today. 12 different beers on tap, all their own. Retro 80's music, fresh popcorn, and the movie "UHF" (haven't seen that in decades) on the big screen.
It's a Wednesday afternoon, light crowd. I suspect it picks up a bit after 6. Mixed crowd, mostly pretty young with a few old timers like me.
Will definitely come back again. But I'll eat first!

Mar 05, 2015
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Hop_God from California

3.74/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Feb 25, 2015
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seven_0_brew from Nevada

2.38/5  rDev -33.1%
vibe: 1 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1 | selection: 3.5 | food: 1

My parents in-law purchased a Groupon for my wife and I to go try out Sleepy Dog, which opened very near to their house in Tempe. The Groupon that was purchased for us was for 4 pints at the brewery, plus two bombers to go.

We were on a short timeline, and arrived in town on a Saturday afternoon, and would be leaving town on Sunday evening. When we stopped by Sleepy Dog, it seemed pleasant enough, but we didn't get the full value out of our Groupon and only got one pint each due to the short timeline to get to a family event just following Christmas.

As I understand that most businesses take a loss on a Groupon in order to attract new customers through the door, I usually like to ensure that my business is profitable if I enjoy the place.

As we were sitting at the bar, I noticed that they had some really neat stainless growlers, so I purchased one of those as well ($45, if I remember correctly) plus paid to have it filled. My wife and I left after getting our growler filled and picking up our two bombers.

We went about our business for the remainder of the day. Since we were traveling, we threw the growler in the back of our SUV and left it back there, planning it take it back home (several hundred miles away from Tempe). The following afternoon, as I approached the car, I could see that something was amiss -- all of the windows were steamy. Upon opening the back of the car and doing some searching, I found that there was a pinhole leak at one of the welds on the stainless growler, and it was spraying a fine mist of pressurized beer all over the back of the car. Upholstery and everything else were completely soiled. Clothes ruined, business paperwork saturated (this was a working trip for my wife)... It was a mess. Since It was now Sunday, the brewery was closed so there was no way we would be able to exchange the growler. I took it inside and dumped the remainder of the liquid down my father-in-law's sink because I didn't have any time to drink, and it had probably lost most of its carbonation after a day of spraying its contents all over the back of my car anyway.. Since my wife and I were leaving town and would not be back for many months, I asked my father in law if he wouldn't mind exchanging the defective growler for us.

So my father-in-law goes down to Sleepy Dog shortly afterward to exchange the growler, which apparently goes without incident. The bartender assisting him offered to fill the growler to replace the lost beer after hearing the story, but since it was going to be several more weeks until he had the opportunity to deliver the growler to us, was told to return later to get it filled.

He did return several weeks later as instructed, but this is where it went wrong. A man stepped in and described himself as the manager, and confronted my father-in-law for trying to "steal beer." He claimed that he put some water in the keg, and it didn't leak - calling my father-in-law a liar. The growler had already been filled by a bartender at this point, so the manager demanded that my father-in-law pay for the fill. Then the manager stated "well your kids bought this growler at a discount anyway, so we shouldn't have even replaced it." Which is of course, not true (we paid full price, specifically to support the brewery) - and ridiculous as well - if something is sold at a discount, they don't think the product should be stood behind?

Sleepy Dog can suck it. I could easily take them to small claims court over the many hundreds of dollars worth of damages that their defective product caused to my car and its contents, but I'm not that kind of person. I didn't care about the damages, I just wanted the product I paid for - and that is all. Instead they decide to verbally abuse and embarrass my father-in-law, who was only trying to help.

Hopefully it is just the one employee who is so incredibly incompetent at his job, but I will still be voting with my wallet and staying far, far away from Sleepy Dog and its products in the future, and I suggest you do the same.

And to the owners of Sleepy Dog: I suggest you reprimand/fire your manager before he irreparably damages your business, because it seems like you could otherwise have a good thing going.

Feb 14, 2015
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italianstallion from Wisconsin

3.34/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.25

Dec 20, 2014
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IreRican from Arizona

4.56/5  rDev +28.1%

Oct 03, 2014
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EyePeeAyBryan from Arizona

3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Aug 22, 2014
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Camjmorton from Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

May 24, 2014
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trytoketchup from Arizona

4/5  rDev +12.4%

May 22, 2014
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spartanlaker from California

3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Nov 23, 2013
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VanillaHeat from Arizona

4/5  rDev +12.4%

Nov 21, 2013
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oilcan01 from Arizona

4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Nov 03, 2013
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DRTBrewster from Arizona

4.44/5  rDev +24.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Cool place to go chill, the beer selection is great and everything I tired was some of the best in AZ. A robust selection of variety for ABV levels and tastes, the Red was exceptional and the Belgians were awesome! Certainty worth a trip to just stop and have a couple before heading to your next destination.

Aug 12, 2013
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francus from North Carolina

2.81/5  rDev -21.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

This is a small tap room. The setup is a 10 bbl system and is located behind the bar. The fermenters appeard to be jacketed. There is no kitchen in the establishment, but they do have food from outside vendors. When we were there there was a guy making wood fired pizza outside and it was pretty darn good.

The service was decent, but not stellar. The beers did leave a bit to be desired. Between our group we pretty much tried them all and all of them were too dark for the style. For example, the triple was as dark as a dubbel and the red could easily be mistaken for a porter. Several of the brews had an off flavor of dimethyl sulfide. Looking at their equipment it seemed the boil kettle was not vented well, and the bartender told me they didn't have a fan on the exhaust vent. My guess is adding one to pull the steam off the boil better would clear that taste right up. It wasn't in all the beers, but it was in about half of them so I'm going to say a process issue.

Bottom line, an average place with a few decent brews and a few below average ones. Nice t-shirts, though.

Jun 22, 2013
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SmilinEric from Arizona

4.11/5  rDev +15.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Small microbrewery in the middle of a warehouse complex. The place is clean although it always smells a bit like floor cleaner to me. This is a microbrewery only but they do have food trucks offering services occasionally and there is a list of food delivery places as well. The staff is always very friendly and the beer selection and quality is very good. This place is low-key and a lot quieter than most other places nearby which I really enjoy. Definitely worth a stop if you're in Tempe.

Jun 06, 2013
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FlatRabbitRed from Arizona

4/5  rDev +12.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

This is a neighborhood pub, not a bigger one. The big one down the street has hundreds of people inside and a long line out front. Sleepy dog is the place to get away from that, there were maybe 10 people there when I went. Very small, beer was good, no souviners, just a few tables and a couple of people tending bar that really could not tell me much about the beer itself.

Jan 11, 2013
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SudsTerkel from Colorado

4.66/5  rDev +30.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I hit the SDB after sampling their ESB at OHSO Gastropub in Phoenix. It was excellent in all respects and I thought I'd better find out about the rest of their offerings. I'm glad I did; they offered a formidable array of beer on the night of my visit; in addition to the fine ESB, I had their IPA [7.0% ABV] which was exquisitely drinkable; very balanced with just the right amount of hops finish. I also had the Scottish Amber [7.5% ABV] which was a rich and smooth malty treat that was enjoyable from start to finish and so good that drinking it could belie its impacts on the drinker if not cautious - this one packs a wallop. SDB also has a hefe, red, American pale and a stout but I'll have to save them for another trip.

The staff was very attentive and friendly; SDB's brewer Carl was there and is a real good guy who's proud of his work and enjoys interacting with his customers. Finally, it's situated in an industrial park space in East Tempe; easy to find and populated by beer devotees. If you're looking for food, be sure to call first to verify what they're offering as while they had a food vendor doing pizza on the night of my visit, that arrangement is subject to availability.

Nov 10, 2012
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beerjournl from Florida

4.23/5  rDev +18.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 3

Just stopped by last week for the first time. I've been traveling to Tempe on business and just realized they were there, my loss. They have a nice little tasting room and a very friendly and helpful staff. I gave them a top rating for service because of the people working there. I had a few of their beers and a seasonal that was very good (Monje Azul?) that had agave nectar. Light and tasty! I also had their scottish and the IPA. All were very good. The good thing is that they were well made without flaws, and were exactly as described. They are clearly working on having some interesting brews, so for those who wanted something really different, keep visiting. My expectation was to get solid quality and they delivered. This is definitely a brand I'll buy on tap at other establishments, and a new favorite stop for after work.

Jun 06, 2012
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yemenmocha from Arizona

3/5  rDev -15.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3

Review is for a several visits since they first opened. Staff has always been friendly here, which is VERY hard to find in Phoenix metro. Restroom is clean too, which again is hard to find.

Atmosphere is plain and warehouse-like, reminds you that you're at a brewery, but also they've gone the sports-bar route it seems with accommodating so much for various games. That's a major negative for someone looking for a beer-focused bar/brewpub, not another sports-focused place.

On my first visit right after they opened I was told their beers are meant to be more approachable, more in line with "what people actually want to drink". Well, who? The general public who normally drinks BMC, or perhaps reduced-flavor faux crafts like Blue Moon? Well, I see their point - most beers are very "gateway" like, beers for people just getting into beer. Nothing blows you away with flavor, nothing extreme, nothing super hoppy, etc. Some ales such as the red are incredibly sweet, too, perhaps more than I've seen than any other example of the style.

Decent place, will try every so often, but not necessarily one of the best hits for Phoenix metro.

Jun 17, 2011
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Phelps from Arizona

3.51/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Sleepy Dog's a BYOF -- the only food they serve is popcorn and peanuts. You can bring food in from outside, however, which is nice.

I love the layout of this place. Nice, high ceilings; TVs on the walls; handmade furniture; an open and visible brewing area. A stack of board games sits in the corner for use on the family-sized tables that dot the place.

The people working at Sleepy Dog are knowledgeable, helpful and incredibly friendly. The first time I visited, I chatted with the owner for a good hour about all his beers and the brewery's history.

The only downside is, unfortunately, the most important aspect: the beer. Many of Sleepy Dog's offerings are lackluster, if not downright bad. I enjoy the Scottie, but not much else. A nice selection of guest beers saves the geek from dehydration.

A stop at Sleepy Dog is enjoyable if you make a night of it: bring friends, order some food, play games. You can even order a few brews -- just don't expect to be wowed.

May 12, 2011
Sleepy Dog Brewery in Tempe, AZ
Brewery rating: 3.51 out of 5 with 365 ratings