Four Peaks is one of the most well known breweries in Phoenix. We have been drinking Four Peaks beer for years even though we had never before visited the brewery. The brewery is in Tempe and as a brewpub it is a nice place to hang out and get a good meal with some hand crafted beer. Personally I wasn’t wowed by any of their choices, but all of them were decent and I would be happy to visit again. Jay, who is more fond of bitter hoppy beers, really enjoyed their 8th Street Ale, Hop Knot IPA and the Kilt Lifter. If you like beer that bites back, you should visit Four Peaks.
San Tan is another brewery whose beer we had been drinking for years, because they distribute in cans. Well, even more so than Four Peaks, it is worth visiting the brewery in cute downtown Chandler. The Brewpub is large and inviting and visiting in person will give you a chance to try their cask ales and the stout on nitro as well as seasonals that they do not distribute. They have quite a large selection at the brew pub and all of the ones we tried were good. Jay and I agreed that the Gordo Stout was our favorite, though I also really loved the seasonal winter warmer.
SunUp was a really pleasant surprise. It is one of the closer breweries to where Jay’s parents live and we hope to go back when we are visiting. SunUp has actually been around a long time, but they used to be called Sonoran. When we were there they were offering a regular porter instead of their usual vanilla porter, and we really enjoyed that. Jay was also fond of the Stinger Pale Ale, where as I preferred the Horizon Hefeweizen. We also had the opportunity to taste the seasonal barley wine and it was excellent.
Phoenix Ale is a new brewery, focusing on creating quality consistent brews that can be widely distributed. The manager has over 20 years of experience from Pyramid Brewing Company in Seattle. This place is around to stay and I look forward to seeing how they expand their tap selection and cask options.
As a brewery rather than a brewpub, Phoenix Ale is a great place to fill a growler or pick up a keg. It’s also a nice place for happy hour. Sharon particularly likes the fact that they have a foosball table in the tasting room.
Sharon’s favorite was the Fretzky, followed closely by the Imperial Porter. Jay really liked the Camelback IPA, which was a classic IPA with great flavor and color. All of their beers are unfiltered and seem to fill you up more than filtered beers. The Fretzky in particular is just a good solid beer. It doesn’t have anything added or a pumped up alcohol content, it is just well balanced and tasty.
BJ’s was another pleasant surprise. We were not expecting much since this brewpub is in a shopping area with a bunch of chain stores and no character. However, the Nutty Brewnette and PM Porter were very good. This is also equal to San Tan in terms of size and being a nice place to bring a date. There is a movie theater nearby, as well as the Musical Instrument Museum, so this would be a great place to grab a pint and some grub before or after.
Papago Brewery –
Papago is known to have terrible service (we have experienced it personally and everyone that we have talked to about Papago has agreed). If you want to try their beer I would recommend picking it up in bottles and just avoiding the brewery altogether.
North Mountain is a “coming soon” brewery with big plans for the Sunnyslope neighborhood. We attended their open house and were excited for the prospect of a brewery in that part of Phoenix, but concerned with all of the hurdles they still face to actually opening and serving us a pint. If they are able to open this year we will make sure to check them out when we are in Phoenix.
Special shout out to Tops Liquors in Tempe where you can get the best selection of craft beer in the Valley of the Sun.