Phoenix Beer Scene Inquiry

Discussion in 'Southwest' started by Brewfisted, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. sharpski

    sharpski Champion (838) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Trader

    Thanks all! Not gonna have time to make the 2hr drive to Tuscon, so I'll take my chances and be happy with what I get.
     
  2. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (131) Jul 20, 2016 Arizona

    Given that you consider WH at least a notch below Tombstone, et al., I think your taste in IPAs may be similar to mine, as that appears to be an unpopular opinion. I'll have to get down to Tucson sometime and check out PV.
     
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  3. Beaverhuntr

    Beaverhuntr Initiate (35) Apr 20, 2018 Arizona

    I think Wandering Tortoise still has a couple kegs of Pueblo Vida on tap. I think they still have Bonfire DIPA and Chroma IPA. Wren House was just voted by Phoenix New Times as best brewery in Phoenix and Wandering Tortoise won best tap house.
     
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  4. breadwinner

    breadwinner Meyvn (1,202) Mar 6, 2014 California
    Trader

    Yeah, man, I can only imagine you'd dig PV -- to me, they just get that balance of slightly softer feel, tropical/citrus hop + yeast ester combo, and subdued and (and this is key) not too heavy, nor sweet malt contribution. Honestly, I've drank a ton of hazies from all over this country, and I think they do it darn near well as anyone.

    Wren House (hops) haven't ever done a ton for me, I dunno -- I find a yeasty astringency, they always seem to lean more citrus rind-y than tropical, the feel is never quite right, etc. (They did a decent dortmunder a while back that I dug, though.)

    Tombstone I like more than WH, for sure, although I tend to find some of their hoppy stuff just a touch too heavy in the body (sweet as well), and there's a certain "rotting fruit" vibe I get from the yeast they use. (That's not uncommon amongst the hazies for me, so I think I'm just sensitive to it.)
     
  5. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (131) Jul 20, 2016 Arizona

    Yeah, I definitely agree Tombstone tends toward the "dark" and heavy end of the style. It be nice to find someone who consistently puts out light and bright hazy IPAs. Thanks for the info!
     
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  6. Beaverhuntr

    Beaverhuntr Initiate (35) Apr 20, 2018 Arizona

    Well said , and I agree with it all. :beer:
     
  7. honkey

    honkey Zealot (543) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Premium Industry

    This was an interesting topic to follow for me. I didn't want to chime in while it was still ongoing a couple weeks ago as I didn't want my posts to stifle the sharing of opinions about my own beer, positive or negative.

    I think the mention of my beers being dark and heavier vs. Pueblo Vida being bright is a pretty accurate depiction of our brewing philosophies. When I first started brewing hazy IPA's back in 2015, the style hadn't really evolved much at that point. Heady Topper was the prime example of the hazy style and I set out to brew something similar. I find a heavier malt presence in Heady, which is the result of their Pearl Malt. I opted to use a similar malt (Floor Malted Maris Otter) which gives a biscuity, bready flavor and is a bit sweet. Contrary to what a lot of people seem to believe, we don't use specialty malts in 90% of our IPA's. When I do, it's in our extremely hopped beers and it's just a VERY small portion of honey malt to try to mask the astringency that will come from those insane hopping rates... Mediocrity, Most Hops, and Baby Wyatt are the ones that have used it. I haven't strayed from that Maris Otter much in the last few years except for the occasional change to Pils malt to pair with certain hop varieties. Even the Pils malt that I use (Weyermann Extra Pale Premium Pils) has a slight honey like sweetness to it which is apparent in our German Style Pils as well. More recently, we released "Almost Wet Hop IPA" which uses Bohemian Floor Malted Pils malt which is also a bit heavier in flavor than most pils malt and features a doughy character that I really like. If you want to try a bright Tombstone IPA though, that would probably be the one to try.

    My hop lot selections for Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe all are selected for their heavier (or darker if you will) flavors. The Citra has a ripe peach, mango, and lychee character, the Mosaic has an over ripe blueberry character, and the Simcoe has a tropical fruit punch character. The only "bright" hop that I use regularly is our Amarillo which I select a lot that displays the most ruby red grapefruit character. I also really like the Michigan grown Chinook which has an intense pineapple and an herbal quality to it. The reason I tend to stay away from the bright hops on a regular basis is because I feel like I can use a higher dosing rate with our other hops without getting a hoppy astringency. Lately though, as I drink a lot of hyped examples of NEIPA's, I've noticed that they frequently display an astringent character that I'm not a fan of, but that a lot of other drinkers either overlook or don't notice.

    We actually use the same yeast strain as Pueblo Vida and I think Wren House uses the strain on occasion, but only infrequently.

    In comparison though, Pueblo Vida most frequently uses a light Pils malt for their base malt and they do tend to use "brighter" hops. I have a lot of respect and admiration for both PV and Wren House (and I believe the respect is mutual) but I do think that we each have our own takes on the style, which is great for customers.
     
  8. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (131) Jul 20, 2016 Arizona

    Thanks for the detailed insight! I meant the "dark and heavy" thing as a compliment, despite my stated desire to find something light and bright. Which I prefer depends on what I'm in the mood for. Definitely room for both! I always like to add a bit of Columbus to my NEIPAs in order to balance out the sweet, fruity flavors a bit.

    I've got a couple of cans of Almost Wet Hop in the fridge along with the Idaho 7. Now I'm extra looking forward to drinking it tonight.
     
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  9. Beaverhuntr

    Beaverhuntr Initiate (35) Apr 20, 2018 Arizona

    The Idaho 7 and Almost wet hop stuff is pretty good. I had Tombstones Wet Hop IPA a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Pueblo Vida released a couple fresh hop cans yesterday too I think I'm gonna take a trip to Tucson and try those.. Cheers!
     
  10. breadwinner

    breadwinner Meyvn (1,202) Mar 6, 2014 California
    Trader

    Thanks for this reply, Weedy -- it's thoughtful, gives a really cool view into your/Tombstone's style, and, most of all, I appreciate you allowing some plebes like us to give our opinions -- not all brewers would you have that magnanimity:slight_smile:

    Funny you mention Heady -- that's actually exactly the comparison I've thought of with some of your stuff, though I think Heady is probably a little more bitter than your usual approach. Malt and color-wise, though, definitely. Which, hey, that's not a bad archetype to set after in the least.

    Really cool to hear your take on hop selection, too, which I can definitely pick up in your beer and, in particular, your take on the Chinook you guys use. I always thought Chinook as much more of an herbal + pine sort of hop, but I recall having last year's fresh Chinook hop from you guys and thinking it was surprisingly "tropical". A while later, though, I had Tree House's Sap, which is all Chinook, and there were some similarities re: departure from the "traditional" Chinook profile. What I took from this is that a) you can definitely get Chinook hops to evoke other flavors than traditional herbal/pine and b) the yeast character in these hazies is so prominent that those esters (and this is just my opinion) can probably make a lot of hops act differently and pull out certain flavors (generally "tropical" or heavily "fruity" is what I'd say). Meanwhile, since you mentioned Amarillo as your "bright" hop, I guess it should be no coincidence that the Amarillo single hops you've done have been some of my favorite beers from you guys:slight_smile:

    Anyway, I really dig your takes and it was cool to see how they shed light on some stuff I'd perceived/guessed at.
     
  11. sharpski

    sharpski Champion (838) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Trader

    I'm visiting Phoenix for the next few days. Anything I should keep my eye out for? Main purpose of the visit is family, but planning to hit 2-3 breweries and hopefully a bottleshop. I'll be staying in Sun City West, but realize I'll have to drive into Phoenix to hit the spots I want. I've got a rough plan, but any suggestions are welcome.
     
  12. Beaverhuntr

    Beaverhuntr Initiate (35) Apr 20, 2018 Arizona

    If you're staying in Sun City you can hit up Ground Control in Litchfield Park.. Ian keeps a pretty legit tap list in rotation. In Phoenix Wren House ( Brewery ) is good and Wandering Tortoise ( tap house ) has a legit tap list and they aren't far from each other Thats where I end up drinking craft beers in Phoenix..
     
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  13. breadwinner

    breadwinner Meyvn (1,202) Mar 6, 2014 California
    Trader

    Yeah, Ground Control on the west side is your best bet (although from Sun City West it's still a healthy drive...everything is a healthy drive here:slight_smile: ). Otherwise, Kings Convenience all the way. Close enough to Wren House if that's your bag.
     
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  14. arizcards

    arizcards Poo-Bah (3,598) Jun 11, 2003 Arizona
    Premium

    One option in SCW is State 48 brewery and eatery if you want a spot to end your day's travels nearby. Food is solid there and they have a decent number of their taps and guest taps (check their website for current list).
    Another package store option is the Craft Beer Hop Stop at Union Hills and 7th Avenue - prices for singles are solid. Also there is a small number of taps available. Finally the Craft Beer Quick Stop at Union Hills and 7th Street is an option. More taps than Hop Stop but more expensive plus some shelf turds that maybe of interest. Cheers!
     
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  15. GuyFawkes

    GuyFawkes Poo-Bah (1,823) Apr 7, 2011 Illinois

    Hi. Staying in Scottsdale next week.

    I'm a hazy boi / pastry douche. No need to point out the best authentic pilsners or kolsh's. (Yes, I know I suck and am what's wrong with beer today)

    Where should I go?
     
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  16. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (131) Jul 20, 2016 Arizona

    Wren House.

    Wilderness sometimes has those things too. I dig McFate’s hazies, and apparently their candy bar milk stout is a big hit. You may be in luck, as I think it’s coming out around this time.
     
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  17. Beaverhuntr

    Beaverhuntr Initiate (35) Apr 20, 2018 Arizona

    Wren House , Wandering tortoise in Phoenix and Goldwater in Scottsdale all carry good hazy's.. I'm a hazy guy too.
     
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  18. Beaverhuntr

    Beaverhuntr Initiate (35) Apr 20, 2018 Arizona

    Did anyone go to Pueblo Vida 4th anniversary ? I did , the beers were good as per usual and their 4th anniversary DIPA was fucking outstanding! We ended up leaving with a couple cases of good beers.. The line was out the door by 12:15.. I think they sold out of the 4th anniversary beer too..Damn those guys brew some good beers.
     
  19. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (131) Jul 20, 2016 Arizona



    I can’t vouch for the quality, as I’ve never had either of these beers or anything similar, but I thought this sounded right up your alley.
     
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  20. breadwinner

    breadwinner Meyvn (1,202) Mar 6, 2014 California
    Trader

    Yep, killer time, killer beer, further cementing their place as best hazies in the state by a long shot for me. Really enjoyed their other stuff too - the barrel fermented table beer/wit-influenced thing called Brevedad was really nice and the barrel aged breakfast stout was similarly great, rich without being cloying. Also heard rumors about a second location coming online...:slight_smile:

    Also, anyone not stopping into Dragoon is insane. As usual, all beer stellar, and they have a barrel aged barleywine on right now called Buffy that has to be one of the best I’ve ever had (their first BA barleywine Lazarus was incidentally also among the best I’ve ever had). Dragoon is chronically undervalued around here.
     
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  21. sharpski

    sharpski Champion (838) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Trader

    It was on draft last weekend, along with Imperial and BA versions (no bottles/cans I could see, just draft). The regular version was great, smelled super sweet but tasted drier/more balanced.
     
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  22. breadwinner

    breadwinner Meyvn (1,202) Mar 6, 2014 California
    Trader

    Cans came and went quick. Glad to hear the regular was in good form! Have only had the BA verison this year, which was indeed a bit sweet and slick for my tastes. Agree that, when on, it dries out really nicely (for a sweet stout anyway:slight_smile: )
     
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  23. GuyFawkes

    GuyFawkes Poo-Bah (1,823) Apr 7, 2011 Illinois

    Thanks to the tips here, I was able to try a bunch of local brews during my stay in Phoenix.

    My favorites, in order, were:
    Arizona Wilderness Dirty Hop Water: I Wupped Batman's Ass
    McFate Coconut Bliss Candy Bar Milk Stout
    Arizona Wilderness Abundansea
    Beer Research Institute Blackberry Urban Art
    Wren House Jomax
    Wren House Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

    There were a few beers I didn't like much, but they have fallen blissfully from my memory, and I'm not here to bash any breweries anyway!

    I made it out to Wren House & Arizona Wilderness; otherwise, this place was a godsend:
    https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/48721/
    So many drafts, available in so many options (crowler, growler, mason jar, etc....)

    TL;DR -- thanks to all who sent me advise, you helped me have a beer-soaked vacation.
     
  24. OGShotzy

    OGShotzy Disciple (357) Oct 5, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Is there anywhere in downtown Phoenix to get Pueblo Vida, Wren House, and/or AZ Wildneress on tap? I’m staying near the Convention Center. Thanks in advance.
     
  25. MonkeyBread

    MonkeyBread Zealot (587) Apr 26, 2014 Nevada

    Best bet is Wandering Tortoise. Tap list updated frequently on Untappd and often can have any of those on.
     
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  26. bigbelcher

    bigbelcher Zealot (595) Jul 10, 2003 Arizona

    Not for those beers but a short light rail ride away and you can hit Sun Up Brewing and the Huss Brewing Taproom on Camelback. Both have excellent beers.
     
  27. OGShotzy

    OGShotzy Disciple (357) Oct 5, 2014 Pennsylvania

    I didn’t have a lot of time to explore, but I’ll be back again soon. Went to Tratto for dinner last night and stumbled into Valley Lager from Wren House and Abundansea from AZ Wilderness. They were good but nothing special.
     
  28. IGaveYouPower

    IGaveYouPower Initiate (124) Dec 2, 2010 New York



    Straight up do you work for or have family that works for Sun Up? In the time I've spent in PHX I've never heard anyone talk highly of Sun Up, and the beers I've had from them are as cookie cutter as it gets, but you're in here talking them up like they're Hill Farmstead every chance you get.

    Like, their amber ale is called 'amber ale,' they have a brown ale, a hefe, and a vanilla porter. They are a late-90s strip mall brewpub.
     
  29. MonkeyBread

    MonkeyBread Zealot (587) Apr 26, 2014 Nevada

    Without a doubt the Phoenix move is hitting Wandering Tortoise and Wren House which are 5 min from each other. Wandering Tortoise always has a Killer tap list and updated diligently on Untappd. Cans / bottles to go from the coolers, mead and wine too. Wren House I went on Black Friday and they had an absurd tap list of giant stouts, wheat wines, barley wines. Line out the door at opening to get a crowler release of a pasty stout that was excellent (Los Postres Tranquilo). These guys are without a doubt the best in the city. Love their barley wines, hazy ipas and stouts especially.

    Nobody else is on a level near Wren House. Arizona Wilderness, McFate, Beer Research Institute, Goldwater and The Shop would be next tier and each is great but not near the Wren House level. Then I’d put an average tier of just about everybody else below that: Sun Up, Helton, Scottsdale Beer Company, Huss, OHSO, etc.
     
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  30. Beaverhuntr

    Beaverhuntr Initiate (35) Apr 20, 2018 Arizona


    I agree with your ratings! I like Wrenhouse a lot too. I was pissed I wasn't able to get their Saguaro Society membership. They literally sold out online within 2 minutes. I also think Wrenhouse makes the best hazy IPA's in Phoenix. I love Wandering Tortoise too, its big and they sometimes get their hands on Pueblo Vida from Tucson and no body else in Phoenix ever gets anything from Pueblo Vida, so kudos to them for that. I find myself driving to Tucson a lot more these days to pick up a case or two from Pueblo Vida when Wrenhouse isn't releasing anything good.
     
  31. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (131) Jul 20, 2016 Arizona

    I’ve got to heavily disagree here. Literally every positive you listed (and I bolded) I view as a strong negative. Obviously personal preference, but I’m just speaking on behalf of everyone who isn’t interested in waiting in line for expensive trendy beers with huge ABV. I’ve been to Wren House several times and have found them to be above average, but mostly forgettable. Give me a few pints at your second tier breweries any day, especially McFate (and Wilderness, but they are more hit or miss for me). I also think throwing Helton in the bottom tier is doing a disservice to anyone who chooses not to go there based on that assessment. I’d be there more often if it weren’t such a haul for me.
     
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  32. Beaverhuntr

    Beaverhuntr Initiate (35) Apr 20, 2018 Arizona


    I've never been to Helton. Reason being? Wandering Tortoise is literally right down the street. Not bashing Helton though its just Tortoise always has good stuff on tap.
     
  33. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (131) Jul 20, 2016 Arizona

    Well I’m sure you’ve had a Helton brewed beer, as I believe they contract brew Tower Station for Mother Road. Otherwise I think their Northeast IPA is a great, somewhat unique take on the style, and the other beers I’ve had there have been good too. The atmosphere inside is really cool too, as Brian builds most of the stuff himself, and all of the interior is lined with wood reclaimed from a barn in Indiana (where he is from). I’d recommend a stop in sometime if you’re in the area often.
     
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  34. Beaverhuntr

    Beaverhuntr Initiate (35) Apr 20, 2018 Arizona

    Anyone going to Wandering's anniversary ? Looking forward to that Wren House collab DIPA plus their tap list looks fucking amazing!Starts at 9am on Saturday and it will probably be jammed packed by 9:30
     
  35. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (131) Jul 20, 2016 Arizona

    Probably not. I’ll have family visiting from out of town, so I’ll be busy all weekend. I think you’re referring to the AZW collaboration, though.
     
  36. Beaverhuntr

    Beaverhuntr Initiate (35) Apr 20, 2018 Arizona

    Yeah one of those collabs.
     
  37. DefenCorps

    DefenCorps Poo-Bah (3,895) Jan 18, 2007 Oregon
    Trader

    Hi all!

    I'll be travelling with the wife and kids to the Phoenix area, and likely will be staying in Tempe or Scottsdale. Time will be tight, so my preference would be to find a bottleshop/bar where i can pick up a variety of singles to go(12oz/16oz cans/bottles) with the goal of trying new to me breweries. While I'd love to try some Wren House beers, I'm not interested in 4/6 packs and am not really into the hazy/milkshake IPAs. Based on what i've seen in this thread, my best bets are Tops Liquors and Kings Beer and Wine (which is more of a haul). Any other recommendations?
     
  38. breadwinner

    breadwinner Meyvn (1,202) Mar 6, 2014 California
    Trader

    Tops is fun but a bit insane inventory and organization-wise. Little is stored cold, so it’s fine for non-IPAs/delicate beers like lagers, but otherwise I’d go elsewhere. (It does have a nice pub attached to it with a usually excellent tap list). Liquor Express in Tempe is what I’d recommend. Better storage conditions, I believe they sell singles too (may want to call to check on that). Kings is fantastic and a go-to if you can get there. Wandering Tortoise isn’t quite as far from you as Kings (though still not close enough to call convenient) and while they sell singles I think the markup is rough. Good tap list there though.
     
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  39. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Initiate (131) Jul 20, 2016 Arizona

    I’d second Liquor Express. I’d also recommend Bottleshop 48. Both stores sell singles and store them cold. It’s just a couple of miles down McClintock from Liquor Express, so I’d try to hit both in one trip. Bottleshop probably has a better selection of beers, but I often find some limited stuff at LE that Bottleshop either didn’t get or sold out of, like Tombstone. Bottleshop also has a good draft selection for on-site consumption or growler fills.
     
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  40. breadwinner

    breadwinner Meyvn (1,202) Mar 6, 2014 California
    Trader

    BTW, you'll also be close to McFate Brewing, which has a great outdoor patio, an area where you can play cornhole (which your kids may dig), and, of course, they produce some great beer. Worth a stop if you're not just looking for stuff to drink at home.