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Breweries/Brewpubs/Beer Bars

Hi Phoenix CHers. I'm a San Diego CH spending the next week in Scottsdale to escape the brutal June gloom here. Would like a couple of recommendations to sample the local brewing scene in terms of craft breweries and/or brewpubs. Also, a recommendation for a good bottle shop to stock the condo would be helpful. I really like big, strong, tasty beers and ales of all types. Staying in North Scottsdale but willing to travel somewhat. Thanks!

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  1. Whole Foods has a good selection of bottles, and there's 2 in North Scottsdale. For a much better selection but longer drive, check out Total Wine on Scottsdale south of Shea.

    As for actual pubs, start with Four Peaks- there's one up in North Scottsdale- they do a great job with both the beers and the brews. There's not that many other places that actually brew their own beers, but there are several places that have fantastic beer selections. Still up in North Scottsdale in Desert Ridge is a chain I think they have in SD, the Yard House. Food is "eh" for a chain, but a great beer selection. Other places in N. Scottsdale that ha

    Further south in Old Town Scottsdale, you have the Praying Monk which just opened, and is a tribute to all things Belgian beer-wise (they have other stuff too). South of Old Town is Papago Brewery, which actually does make their own beer which is quite good, but it is a bit of a drive for you, especially if you're firing down all sorts of beers :-)

    Further west from Old Town is a great place called OHSO (no idea what it stands for), which is supposed to have some of its own "nano brew" being developed, but in the meantime, has an amazing list of great beers on tap.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cactuschowdah

      I don't get all that excited about Four Peaks beers or their brewpubs, no particular reason other than its OK, but not that great, for me. I know they are extremely popular, but that could just be because most people are followers and joiners or maybe people really do think they make really good beer...

      OHSO, on the other hand, has a great selection of rare and unusual brews, many local to AZ. These guys seem to be much more hardcore about the details of gourmet beer and they are pretty strongly focused on the local craftbrew scene. I'd think that'd be the best brewpub for a serious beer lover. I've not tried their food, though.

      edit: not sure if the Scottsdale Road location of Sportmans is still open. They have a photo of it on the website, but the address is not listed, just the Phoenix/Cambelback location.

      There is also a Total Wine in Desert Ridge for stocking up the condo. If you want to go to a local wine/beer/booze store, try Sportman's location on Scottsdale Road near Shea. Its more about wine than beer, but its still a good spot with knowledgable and passionate staff and its not a chain, if that matters to ya.

    2. Many thanks! Papago was on my list but this is the first I hear of OHSO and the Praying Monk. Will try to make two or all three this week and report back. Looking forward to trying the local beers and it's always good to have a Belgian for good measure . :)

      1 Reply
      1. re: steveprez

        I went to OHSO for dinner last night because of this thread. The chile verde tacos are quite good, but pretty dang spicy. Nice house made flour tortillas and a good cole slaw, roasted salsa and guacamole. Probably a third or half of their beers are from AZ. Lots of IPAs as is trendy these days. It was super packed and really loud inside at 7 PM on a Friday. They have a nice back patio with misters and a good view of Camelback mountain.

      2. Been hearing good things about a place near Greyhawk called CBCB (Cold Beer and Cheeseburgers) Haven't been there personally but if anyone has a report?

        1. There is also Nimbus brewpub http://nimbusamericanbistro.com/scott...
          I can't vouch for their beer or food, but it looks worth checking out at least.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mwest9

            Avoid Nimbus at all costs. I had the Blonde and it was undrinkable and the food was inedible. We had to send back wings as way undercooked. The service was atrocious. Truly a monumental let down as it is in a great location and we were really looking forward to it. Worst meal in 10 years in AZ!!!

            1. re: danieli10

              Wow. I think there was a pretty bad review on Chow Bella as well on this place. Too bad- always like to see local breweries do good, but I can honestly say I've never had one of their beers, so I guess I'll never know what I'm missing!

          2. Total Wine is excellent.We're going to be in Cave Creek over the 4th of July, and were in Phoenix back in March. You can find almost everything at Total Wine. They do have several locations. I found my favorite Belgian (Exit 4 from NJ) there, but can't get it in Chicago. I will try the suggested places in this thread for sure though!

            1. Hey steve!
              Get to PHX a couple times a year and wanted to add the Kaz bar in old Scottsdale for a great place for drinks/apps..
              Four Peaks in Tempe is decent and have always had a good time.
              Durant's, Lons at the Hermosa, drinks at Royal Palms resort and Carolina's for Mex are always on the list...maybe Cafe Bink too.

              Enjoy the 'dry heat' in AZ!


              1 Reply
              1. re: Beach Chick

                Thanks, BC! Didn't get to Kaz this trip but had been there in the past for a bottle of wine and apps. I second your recommendation. Also, during a past visit we had a great meal at Lon's. We did the Chef's Table which is a five course meal on the chef's whim. Paired with wines. A very memorable evening, even after the six generous wine pours. :)

                Thanks for the other recommendations!

              2. A little late on the reply, but in case you've still got a few days here....

                Papago Brewing was mentioned, and it really is a must for beer lovers....I'm pretty sure it's the only place in the Phoenix area that regularly makes it on the list of top 100 beer bars in the country. It may sound strange, but one of the best tap selections in town is actually at the Watering Hole at the Chandler Whole Foods, at Ray and the 101 (not close to you, but an easy straight shot South). They have 21 taps (and always something rare and unique) and have a really comfortable space....definitely worth checking out, and they also have one of the better selections as far as retail.

                As for brewpubs, Four Peaks, which has been mentioned, is the 900-pound gorilla in town...the beer and food are very good. The Tempe location is a lot better, atomosphere-wise, than Scottsdale, but they are in an old Borden creamery building with only a swamp-cooler, so I'd only think about going after the sun goes down. San Tan Brewing in Chandler is also excellent...actually started by one of the original Four Peaks brewers....quality beer and food in quaint downtown Chandler in what used to be an old bank building.

                3 Replies
                1. re: boingo2000

                  Good call on the Whole Foods- they actually have a similar set-up at the WF on Mayo up in North Scottsdale where the OP said he would be staying at as well. Forgot about San Tan- I think of the 3 breweries (Four Peaks, Papago, and San Tan) probably my #3, but their food is really good also.

                  1. re: cactuschowdah

                    I always forget about Sun Up as well, at 3rd and Camelback. Decent beer, but probably not worth a special trip (and the food is pretty mediocre). Oh, and there's Sleepy Dog Brewing as well, which I know gets mixed reviews, but I think is worth a stop, especially if you're already in the neighborhood of the Tempe Four Peaks.

                  2. re: boingo2000

                    +1 on SanTan and a big time ++1 on Four Peaks.

                  3. AJ's has the best import and belgium beer selection that i can think of and it is all cold by the bottle, it is a bit more expensive but worth it for the selection

                    I would recommend Black Boss (Polish) beer for a porter and Aventinus Dopplebach (double wheat) beer and that will set the night off well or end it :)

                    I like Tempe Four Peaks the Kiltlifter is very good if you like Scottish Ales and their food is very good (for bar food)

                    Papago Brewery is great, i like their Orange Blossom beer - and they have 30ish beers on draft at all times, they have ok pizza if you need something to soak up the beer

                    have not been to OHSO but sounds like a cool place

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Dapuma

                      Thanks for pointing out AJ's. There's one very close the resort where we stay. Didn't get there as I'd already stocked up but a good recommendation for the future! We come back every year.

                    2. Thanks all for the great info! Much more than I could use in a week (without admitting to having a "problem"). Here's an interim report.

                      - Whole Foods - Good call! Very good selection of bottles and a "local" section dedicated to AZ beers. A nice touch when the manager of the beer section saw me selecting beers, came up and offered help and recommendations. Pointed me to some of the better local brews.

                      - O.H.S.O. - Went with the family for Father's Day brunch. Nice, casual place with a "neighborhood" vibe. Nice back patio but was too hot to dine there. Constructing a nano-brewery but it wasn't functional yet, though they did have a couple "OHSO" branded beers brewed by Grand Canyon brewing. They have a special brunch menu on weekends. Good selection of beers on tap with a focus on local brews. Had a Monje Azul from Sleepy Dog brewery (very good). And based on recommendations in this thread had a Papago Orange Blossom. To me this beer had a sweetish, almost cloying, honey flavor that I would describe as an off-flavor. Maybe it was a spoiled batch or maybe this is what people enjoy about it. I was expecting something like Alpine Mandarin Nectar. I'll try again if I get to Papago before heading home. Moving on to the food: I had a very good brisket sandwich with a green chile sauce. Texans would balk at putting green chile on brisket but I found the combination very enjoyable. Wife had the shrimp tacos and thought they were very good (I didn't sample due to food allergy). French fries were done well here (i.e. crispy not soggy, proper amt of salt, etc). Had a pretty standard kid's menu and both kids enjoyed their meal. Service

                      - Praying Monk - Highlight of the trip so far! Very impressed with this place. Went for a late lunch with the family. About a dozen beers on tap and a couple dozen in bottles. Focus is on Belgian beers and Belgian styles brewed in North American craft breweries. No local beers on menu. I had two Belgian beers and was very impressed with the freshness of the beers. Attribute that to proper handling and clean tap lines. Served in proper glasses as well! Food was also very impressive. I had the Paia Fish Sandwich and it was delicious. Made with Ono. Spiced well. Cole slaw and caper aoili was very tasty and not 'drippy'. Better than the ones I've had in Paia! Wife had two "snacks": the Fried Cauliflower with Currants and smoked almonds. Possibly the best cauliflower I've ever eaten. She also had the Crab Dip which she enjoyed greatly. They don't have a kids menu but there are a few kid-friendly items on the Starters and Snacks lists for about $6. Both kids enjoyed the Bavarian pretzel and the corn dogs. My daughter loved the Prosciutto and White Bean soup, though she's a fairly adventurous eater. I highly recommend this place, especially to beer lovers!

                      That's it for now! Still hoping to visit Papago before heading home. I've also convinced the kids to get an early start on the way home (OK, bribed them with a McD's breakfast) so that we hit Alpine Brewery about lunchtime on the drive to SD!!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: steveprez

                        Praying Monk beer list is solid and my DH is going to love this place..menu looks great too!


                      2. Went to OHSO last night and wanted to add another +1 for that place

                        They have about 40 beers on draft, and every AZ pitcher is only $6 for happy hour (pretty amazing, fills up two pint glasses + a bit left over) and $1 3oz tastes of pretty much every beer (other than a few that are $2 which are the stronger ales) so you can really make your own sampler for cheap to see what you want to drink

                        Had the Brewers Plate 2 cheese 2 meat carmel corn (housemade) fruit roll up (house made) a roasted vegetable dip with apricot, olives, pickles (housemade), bread, crackers, mustard, etc

                        It was very good and also had skirt steak tacos, which were cooked med rare (perfect without asking) and they came with guac hot sauce and they were build your own with the steak dressed with a light slaw - and they were a very tasty, and a good sized portion

                        very impressed with the place, very laid back open the owners/service was great - only drawback was that they were U of M fans instead of Spartans...but i can forgive that :)

                        Worth checking out

                        StevePrez i had the Orange Papago there and it tasted a bit off from last time i had it from another bar, they said Papago changed the recipe so I am not sure what the deal is with that

                        Monje Azul had a sample of that and liked it

                        1. Too late but many don't realize that along with the 30 plus taps Papago has a couple of hundred bottles in reach-in coolers for drinking there or to take home.
                          Tops and Bevmo are OK but have not had any friends not be impressed with TOPS Liquor in Tempe. Locally owned and they usually get those sought after limited releases that Beer Geeks talk about on BA and Rate Beer late into the night. Taste of Tops, a few years old. is next door and they have an impressive list of Taps and bottles in the reach in coolers.

                          1. Do any of said breweries and brewpubs serve a root beer on draft, preferably a house-brewed variety?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: aynrandgirl

                              I believe Sun Up Brewing (3rd/Camelback) makes its own root beer. Sonoran Brewing does as well, but I don't believe they have a tasting room/bar location; it's just in botles.