When the snow flurries start to fly in other parts of the country, it’s time to come to Phoenix. Fall 2015 bonus: That’s when these new breweries will be cranking out beer.
Wren House Brewing Company (now open)
The weeks-old central Phoenix brewery was formerly known as Westward Brewing until a pesky trademark lawsuit from a West Coast distillery forced the name change. No matter, though; the brewery’s tanks and taproom are up and running, currently pouring four Wren House beers including my favorite, Black Caddis Porter, and the aromatic ginger pale ale Jomax. Brewer Preston Thoeny (formerly of Montana’s Big Sky Brewing) just tapped his Vienna lager, and a Berliner weisse was in the works when I visited. The minimal, laid-back tap room doesn’t serve food yet, but there are plans for upcoming food truck visits.
Helton Brewing Company (under construction)
On a stretch of Indian School Road near 22nd Street, there’s exciting construction happening inside a beige garage formerly home to an ATV and jetski rental company. It doesn’t look like much from the road, but a 10,000 square foot brewpub with outdoor patio is underway from owner Brian Helton. Helton is an 18-year veteran of the beer industry, racking up a couple GABF medals for his brews with Rock Bottom and later consulting for other brewing companies. He’s ready to strike out on his own this year with plans to brew four flagships including a Scottish ale, an IPA, a mik stout and a pilsner. Helton hopes to be open by fall.
Fate Brewing Company South (coming soon)
It’s hard to believe Fate opened its first location at Scottsdale and Shea just three years ago. Construction is now nearly complete on the brewery’s second Scottsdale location (on Scottsdale Road south of McDowell), which dramatically expands upon the first. The second brewpub not only has a larger seating area—150 inside and potentially another 150 on the well-landscaped patio—but also boasts a proper, larger kitchen with a wood-burning oven and a barrel room that could also host private events. Owner Steve McFate hopes to see it open by early September.
Goldwater Brewing Co. (now open)
There’s a bit of a beer corridor taking shape just south of Old Town Scottsdale. Weeks-old Goldwater joins Union Barrelhouse, Sip Coffee and Beer House and Brat Haus on this increasingly suds-heavy block. The brewery’s taproom is modestly sized but comfortable, with a copper-top bar and ample view of the brewery equipment. I settled in for a glass of Goldwater’s ESB, the only housemade beer on draft when I visited; Goldwater also brews a cactus fruit kölsch and a pale ale. Stop in for a pour, or take some home in a crowler.