Tag Archives: Beer


Thirsty Lion announces opening in Scottsdale

Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill is excited to announce the opening of its second Arizona location at Scottsdale Fashion Square, following the success of their first valley location that opened in the Valley, at Tempe Marketplace, in 2011.
The gastropub will open its doors to the public on Tuesday, February 17th and will feature 8,500 square feet of interior seating, handcrafted food, 25 craft beers on tap, signature cocktails and over 1,500 square feet of prime patio space for enjoying the great weather. A ribbon cutting will take place by Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane at 10:45 a.mto formally welcome the restaurant to the area.
“The response on our opening in Scottsdale has all been very positive,” said Thirsty Lion CEO John Plew. “Thirsty Lion will be a great addition to the eclectic and diverse culinary scene.”
This is the second property Thirsty Lion has opened within a Macerich property.  In November 2011, Thirsty Lion opened up in Tigard, OR at Washington Square Mall, the success of which spawned the current growth of the brand. The continued growth of downtown Scottsdale, as well as the addition of Dicks Sporting Goods and Harkins Theater in the center, were all factors in Thirsty Lion’s decision to call Fashion Square its new home.  This will be the 6th Thirsty Lion location, following a hugely successful opening in Denver, CO at the new Union Station project.
Thirsty Lion’s culinary commitment is to provide an eclectic variety of cuisines, with an emphasis on local ingredients and bold flavors. A seasonal fresh sheet will focus on the changing season’s offerings, featuring unique ingredients including fresh seafood, quality meats and local vegetables and fruits. The bar will feature 25 craft beers on tap, many of which will be local, offering a beer on hand for every plate and every palate. The gastropub also features unique craft cocktails that utilize combinations of fresh fruit purees, juices and premium liquors, as well as 25 different wines by the glass.
“We work hard to combine quality ingredients and scratch recipes to create menu items that satisfy the ‘foodie’ in all of us,” said Thirsty Lion Executive Chef Keith Castro. “The flavor profiles are complex, yet blend well in their simplistic approach to create ‘craveable’ food; an intense desire for more.”
Thirsty Lion will incorporate two bars into the space including an indoor/outdoor bar that services the patio as well as an interior space that can be used for private events. The open exhibition kitchen and centerpiece bar create a sense of community. Multiple flat screens also make it the perfect spot for sports fans to enjoy delicious food, drinks and friendly service, while cheering on their favorite teams.

Battle brews for Arizona microbreweries

Some of Arizona’s most successful microbreweries are brewing for a legislative battle to hang onto their business. Four Peaks and San Tan brewing companies are in danger of losing their restaurants that aren’t attached to brewing operations once they surpass a production cap, the Arizona Capitol Times reported. Both companies have been close to going above the state-mandated limit of 40,000 barrels per year. Once they pass that, the microbreweries would be considered beer producers and would not be able to run their stand-alone eateries. Four Peaks has four bar and restaurant locations but two of them do not actually brew beer. “Are they willing to close two restaurants and put 200 people out of work?” Four Peaks co-founder Andy Ingram said. The company, which began in 1996 out of a Tempe warehouse, relies on the restaurants as well as beer for its success, according to Ingram. San Tan Brewing only has one bar and restaurant but is close to the production limit. Microbrewers plan to propose a bill in next year’s legislative session that they say would be a compromise. The current 40,000 barrel limit would stay intact but microbreweries turned producers would be able to have seven microbrewery operations. Some beer distribution companies are behind the idea but not those who distribute wine and spirits. The Arizona Wine and Spirits Wholesale Association said it will draft a bill limiting the number of microbrewery licenses for a producer. In addition, any microbrewer that crosses the 40,000 barrel threshold couldn’t maintain non-brewery restaurants. Don Isaacson, an association spokesman, said these growing microbreweries cannot have the benefits of being both a restaurant and a brewing business. “What they want to do is take some of the special rights that are there for microbreweries with them to the producer level. When they cross the line, they have to shed the other rights,” Isaacson said.

Forge Wood-Fired Pizza coming to the Biltmore’s Union

The Le Bon Temps Restaurants team is excited to bring Forge Wood-Fired Pizza (2502 E. Camelback Rd.) to the Union shops at the Biltmore Fashion Park, opening to the public on October 7th. Located inside a stylish, custom-designed space featuring a large bar, an imported Valoriani wood-burning oven, and a spacious and shaded patio with 2 large fire pits, Forge is a raucous yet food-forward pizzeria & pub. Executive Chef Jeffrey Amber and his team will serve lunch and dinner 7 days a week with a menu highlighted by hearty starters such as Crispy Cheese Curds and Long Cooked Ribs, as well as fresh salads and two-fisted sandwiches like the Fried Chicken with citrus greens and Calabrian aioli. That said, the real stars here are the signature wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas like the Fat Boy Pizza with house made sausage, bacon, pickled peppers and cream and the Three Cheese Pizza with mozzarella, seasoned ricotta, roasted garlic, and topped with arugula, lemon and Parmesan all prepared with seasonal ingredients to showcase sunny Arizona’s bounty. Forge will also pour local craft beers, including 8 drafts via a custom-designed cast-iron tap system, as well as select American and European wine varietals and a craft cocktail program using ingredients such as house-made ginger beer.

This is the third Forge location, with the original located on the gorgeous waterfront of Jack London Square in Oakland, CA. But Forge also has deep Valley roots thanks to partner, Andy Byrnes, a renowned local architect, builder and founder of the Phoenix-based design-build firm, The Construction Zone. Now Byrnes has partnered with restaurant entrepreneurs Michael Karp (owner of Barbacoa and Table 24) and Bob Burke (Pat Kuleto Restaurant Group and Gordon Biersch Brewing Co.) to found Le Bon Temps Restaurants, a full service restaurant firm that offers a turnkey solution for restaurants and bars. Forge also brings together a top-notch food and beverage team, with Chef Amber (former executive chef at XYZ, Chow, Moose’s and other San Francisco hotspots and guest chef at the prestigious James Beard House in Manhattan) and Jef Pimental who brings his quirky style of service and incredibly extensive knowledge of craft beers.

As in Oakland, Forge at the Biltmore evokes an industrial, shipyard-like vibe thanks to decorative elements such as black hot rolled steel, rough-sawn ‘burnt’ wood and the 6-inch steel gas pipe beer tap system. Furthermore, the combination of soaring ceilings and a rolling custom steel window wall helps blur the lines between the indoors and the expansive outdoor dining deck at this compact 1,500 sq.-ft. restaurant. However, Forge’s heart is undoubtedly the steel clad Valoriani pizza oven set in an open industrial space. All the details work together to make the guest feel included in the pizza making magic as they watch each pie, wood-fired to crusty perfection.

Coronado Brewing Co.

Craft beer industry thriving in San Diego

BrewHop founder Summer Nixon is eight months pregnant and drinking water from a swing-top glass beer bottle at Coronado Brewing Co.’s new manufacturing facility. She’s just delivered two flights of beer to the table while waiting for Coronado Brewing Co. co-founder Rick Chapman to join her.

Summer Nixon, BrewHop

Summer Nixon, BrewHop

It’s loud in here. The industrial sounds of pressure escaping massive steel kettles and the Tool song just audible enough to recognize it from the tasting room speakers has people occasionally looking at one another’s mouths to make out what they’re saying. The three dogs sitting at their owners’ feet don’t seem to mind the commotion. It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume these dogs have laid in their fair share of San Diego County’s 84 breweries’ corresponding tasting rooms or brewpubs. In fact, just one stroll through North Park and it’s obvious craft beer is a popular passion of San Diego locals and a growing one among tourists.

Nixon is the founder of BrewHop, a personalized tour company that over the last seven years has formed partnerships with more than 70 breweries in San Diego. The Seattle native is absolutely entrenched in the scene and is one of the more respected authorities on the craft beer industry. Though beer tourism is a year-round attraction for the city, Nixon says it was in December 2013 that she really started to see an uptick in her business. She’s booked about a month in advance. This is unusual, since it’s March, and her peak season begins in July.

The craft beer scene in San Diego has been gaining steam since its mainstream revival in the late ’90s. In the last three years, the number of licenses has doubled and 32 breweries are expected to join the existing 84 before the year is out.

Karl Strauss Brewing Co.

Many locals consider the beginning of the San Diego craft beer scene to have started in 1996 with the opening of Ballast Point, Stone Brewing Company and Coronado Brewing Co. The three 1996 breweries, with Karl Strauss, were situated in the four corners of San Diego County. They were in suburban and rural industrial areas. As the industry grew, it worked its way toward the urban core. Today, many attribute the revitalization of neighborhoods such as North Park and up-and-coming Imperial Beach to the craft beer culture.

“The gentrification of neighborhoods has been a benefit of the craft beer scene here in San Diego,” says Stone’s Sales Director Chad Heath. “From downtown, to North Park, South Park and surrounding areas, bars and restaurants that center on supporting local have helped shift these areas into some of the hippest parts of San Diego because you can enjoy great food and a craft beer from the brewery down the street. You can see the same effect happening in parts of Los Angeles as well.”

Mike Hess, of Mike Hess Brewing Company, is a North Park brewer. Hess, a former financial services professional, started brewing in his garage. In 2010, he opened for business as a nanobrewery. Opening day, 100 craft beer enthusiasts showed up and drank his entire inventory. He had to shut down for two weeks to replenish his stock. Eighteen months later, he signed a lease for a former JCPenney and Christian bookstore in North Park.

Hess went from making 300 barrels a year in his garage to 5,000 a year after signing the lease in March 2012 for his North Park brewery.

“Seven years ago, most of us wouldn’t have come here after dark,” Nixon says. North Park, which used to be a location for USO dances in the ‘40s before its decline, has turned around and recently landed on Forbes’ list of hippest neighborhoods.

IPA, short for India Pale Ale, is the fastest growing beer segment in craft beer sales. It’s characterized by hoppy flavor, generally high IBU (International Bitterness Units), and, until recently, high alcohol content. San Diego is known for its IPAs. In particular, it’s known for putting out IPAs that are lighter in color, lower in alcohol and a hop-forward taste. The taste is created by a dry-hopping technique in which brewers add hops a second time after the beer is fermenting. This style is generally associated with West Coast IPAs, but Hess (and many other San Diegans) insist a San Diego IPA is unique.

A Stone Brewing employee adds hops to the mixture. Photo by Amanda Ventura.

A Stone Brewing employee adds hops to the mixture. Photo by Amanda Ventura.

“Even ours are different than what’s farther up the coast,” Hess says. “They’re drier beers, also they finish less sweet. I’m seeing more people interested in sessional IPAs in the 3 to 5 percent (alcohol content) range. Usually it’s between 7 and 8 percent.”

Brandon Richards, Coronado Brewing.’s sales and marketing director, says Stone Brewing led San Diego’s IPA movement.

“We just really like hops here,” he says, adding that about 30 percent of all craft beer consumed comes from San Diego. It was 4 percent, he says, when Coronado Brewing Co. started. (Stone opened two weeks before Coronado.)

In 2012, Coronado bought a 20,000-square-foot facility in San Diego to boost manufacturing. It has seen 70 percent growth and more than doubled the annual number of barrels it produces.

Rick Chapman, Coronado Brewing Co.

Rick Chapman, Coronado Brewing Co.

As for the rapid growth of breweries, no one seems too concerned.

“Beer isn’t sitting on shelves,” says Coronado’s CEO Rick Chapman.

“Our market is moving faster than everyone else’s and has been for the last decade.”

Stone, arguably one of San Diego’s most well-known craft beer brewers and distributors, and one of the original ’96ers, has never paid for advertising. Yet, the gargoyle imagery on its beer bottles is as recognizable as its bold flavors.

In 2005, Stone moved from a small facility in San Marcos to Escondido, where it opened its current brewery. The following year, it opened Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, a farm-to-table restaurant and one-acre beer garden. This allowed them to provide tours of the brewery as well as a dining-tasting experience that Heath attributes to a steady influx of tourists.

One thing that doesn’t stop at Stone, Heath says, is construction and expansion. In 2013, Stone added a second 120-barrel brewhouse and constructed Stone Packaging Hall, which is where its finished beers are bottled and kegged.

“I believe Stone and other great San Diego-based breweries are making a lot of great beers that are getting our region international attention,” says Heath.

San Diego Brewing Co. General Manager Karen Bernauer says the scene is set apart by collaboration between brewers and support from restaurants.

The National University Institute for Policy Research, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, reported craft brewers and brew pubs generated nearly $300 million in direct economic impact for San Diego County in 2011, based on $680.9 million in sales. That’s 1.5 times greater than Comic-Con International, the city’s largest annual convention. It’s estimated that 2,796 jobs were created or sustained by brewery industry jobs in 2011.

Brewery tourism in particular was found to be a year-round attraction. NUIPR’s research reported beer festivals alone attract nearly 100,000 attendees. The largest festival is San Diego Beer Week in November. More than 20,000 people attend and it’s estimated to have created 3,612 room nights and $469,307 in hotel revenue. A little more than half of brewery tourists, according to a University of North Carolina study, have an income more than $80,000. Many indicated a stay of three nights. Those who were traveling with friends or family were also staying at a hotel. On average, a brewery tourist will visit two breweries.

To help drive awareness to these events and local companies as well as create a united force among the breweries, the San Diego Brewers Guild was founded.

The guild hosts four annual events and supports 15 additional annual events.

To get more consumers involved, the SDBG started the Craft Coalition last summer. It has more than 200 members who have the option for behind-the-scenes tours and tasting room discounts.

To learn more about San Diego beer tours, visit brewhop.com.

For a visitor’s guide and to learn more about San Diego brewers and beer events, visit sandiegobrewersguild.org.

porter cake 4_no line_edited

The Dish: Porter Cake

If you’re like me, you’re over the bar scene associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Skip the green beer this year and make yourself a proper Irish breakfast. Pour a nice cup of Irish Breakfast tea or better yet an Irish coffee and enjoy a slice of Porter Cake.

If you’re interested in a true Irish breakfast check out this guide to a proper fry up. For other Irish recipes and many more featured on The Dish check out the Pinterest board where I pin my inspirations for all the recipes you enjoy each week.

This cake tastes even better when its had a week or so to let the flavors meld.

Porter Cake

1 cup butter, at room temp
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pie spice
3 eggs
2 3/4 cups mixed dried fruit (golden raisins, dried cherries, cranberries, currants, chopped apricots, etc…)
zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2/3 cup stout, such as Guinness

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and line the bottom of an 8 inch round cake pan with parchment paper or grease a bundt pan.

In a bowl, sieve the flour, salt, baking powder and spice. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time adding a 1/4 cup flour with each egg. Beat well after each addition. Mix well and add remaining flour. Add stout until batter is a soft consistency. Add fruit and nuts and mix well.

Scrape mixture into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour. Reduce heat to 300°F and bake for another 1-1 1/2 hours until the top springs back when touched and skewer comes out clean. Cool cake in pan.

*If baking in a bundt pan cook cake for 45 minutes at 325°F, reduce temp to 300°F and cook for another 30 minutes.

When cool, turn out cake and remove paper if using a cake pan. Wrap in parchment paper and store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.

You can eat it right away but it tastes best when it has had up to a week to let the flavors mellow and meld. Enjoy spread with butter alongside a hot cup of Irish Breakfast tea.


Praying Monk Presents "Summer School at the Monk"

Scottsdale’s Praying Monk is offering an opportunity to enjoy and learn about some of the most interesting beers from around the world, as well as the dishes that compliment them, during what they are calling “Summer School at the Monk.”

The beer café’s new general manager, David Johnson, is a beer aficionado and will be extending his encyclopedic knowledge of adult beverages to the public during four Tuesday sessions this summer, where those who attend will also be able to enjoy award-winning cuisine provided by Chef Aaron May.

“Not only do we want guests to taste this interesting beer but understand them as well; we want to expand every ‘students’ knowledge and love of beer,” Johnson said.  “The combination of great beer and Chef May’s amazing food is unbeatable.”166138907

Each class will expose the “students” to a different type of beer.

  • June 25: Ales and Lagers.
  • July 16: Geographic Styles
  • July 30: Micro Producers of the World.
  • August 13: Unique and Specialties.

“Praying Monk has rededicated itself to beer,” Chef May said.  “These classes are the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that.”

Tickets will $30 per-class, or $100 to attend all four.

For more information visit: PrayingMonkScottsdale.com.


Praying Monk Presents "Summer School at the Monk"

Scottsdale’s Praying Monk is offering an opportunity to enjoy and learn about some of the most interesting beers from around the world, as well as the dishes that compliment them, during what they are calling “Summer School at the Monk.

The beer café’s new general manager, David Johnson, is a beer aficionado and will be extending his encyclopedic knowledge of adult beverages to the public during four Tuesday sessions this summer, where those who attend will also be able to enjoy award-winning cuisine provided by Chef Aaron May.

“Not only do we want guests to taste this interesting beer but understand them as well; we 166138907want to expand every ‘students’ knowledge and love of beer,” Johnson said.  “The combination of great beer and Chef May’s amazing food is unbeatable.”

Each class will expose the “students” to a different type of beer.

  • June 25: Ales and Lagers.
  • July 16: Geographic Styles
  • July 30: Micro Producers of the World.
  • August 13: Unique and Specialties.

“Praying Monk has rededicated itself to beer,” Chef May said.  “These classes are the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that.”

Tickets will $30 per-class, or $100 to attend all four.

For more information visit: PrayingMonkScottsdale.com.


Four Peaks Makes Mark on Spring Training

This Spring Training season, locally brewed Four Peaks craft beer made its way into the hands and hearts of baseball fans from across the globe—a big step for the Tempe-based company, whose clearly-stated mission is “to craft exceptional beer and be able to share it with good people.”

Greg Ross, Director of Marketing at Four Peaks, explains the reasoning behind the recent addition: “Obviously beer and baseball have enjoyed a long marriage over the years in our country. Once we told our story to stadium management and concessionaires, we felt consumer demand and our place as the market leader could lead to a mutually beneficial addition to their concession offerings.  Our sales figures three weeks into the Cactus League season have been very strong and feedback from our concessionaires has been very positive.”

Currently, four Cactus League stadiums now boast the ever-popular Four Peaks Kilt Lifter, a full-bodied Scottish style ale, along with gold-medal winning Sunbru, a Kolsch-style lighter and more delicate style of beer. You will also find the 8th Street Ale, Arizona Peach Ale, and Hefeweizen styles at select parks. Matt Slatus, Director of Marketing & Corporate Partnerships at Camelback Ranch Stadium in Glendale which hosts both the Dodgers and White Sox, expresses his excitement: “For the first time in [Cactus League’s] history, fans have the opportunity to taste beer that may be within 48 hours of finishing the brewing process. It’s a unique opportunity for fans to enjoy a local product in its freshest state.”

Arizona is not the only state to recently introduce local craft beers to its spring training selection. This year, they are popping up in stadiums throughout the nation. Not only does this enhance the overall experience of the fans, but it also allows the unique opportunity for product exposure to markets that a company might normally miss out on. This exposure helps increase craft beer sales in those out-of-state markets where various teams are represented.

According to the Brewers Association, craft beer sales rose 17 percent in 2012, while volume was up 15 percent. By comparison, the entire U.S. beer industry saw volume go up only 1 percent. Better beer coupled with a positive economic impact is a win-win for the community and the craft beer industry. This increased desire to “drink local” has made companies like Four Peaks valuable contributors to economic growth.

Tempe Festival of the Arts

Tempe Festival Of The Arts

On March 30th, 2012, the popular Tempe Festival of the Arts will return to the Mill Avenue District.

A bi-annual event, the festival typically draws in more than 225,000 visitors over a three-day period. The Tempe Festival of the Arts, which is considered to be one of the top art festivals in the country, is famous for attracting an abundance of talented artists from across the nation.

In addition to selling their works, some of the top artists compete in judging competitions in categories such as metalwork, glass, leather, painting, photography, sculpture, woodwork and even wearable art. More than 400 artists will be selling their works at the festival this year.

The Tempe Festival of the Arts will also feature plenty of activities for attendees of all ages. Adults can check out the exhibits for the Arizona Wine Festival and the Art of Beer microbrewery, both of which will offer free samples and sales. Families will be able to make their own arts and crafts at the Kids Innovation Station.

Numerous entertainment acts will perform throughout the weekend, including Traveler, Chicks with Picks, and Jazz Alive. Hungry visitors will be able to buy snacks, such as kettle corn or caramel apples, from street vendors, or grab a meal at one of the many restaurants located on the Mill Avenue District.

The spring Tempe Festival of the Arts will be held from March 30th to April 1st. Admission is free, and dogs are welcome, provided they are well-behaved and on a leash. During the festival, Mill Avenue will be closed between University Drive and 3rd Street.

[stextbox id=”alert” bwidth=”1″ bcolor=”000000″ bgcolor=”eaeaea” image=”null”]For information about transportation and parking, please click here. A portion of the proceeds will go to support local Tempe charities.[/stextbox]

close up shot of differnet varieties of of microbrews

Homegrown Brews: Get A Taste Of Arizona’s Own Beers

Breweries from all over the state that brew their own beers for a taste of Arizona.

  1. Four Peaks Brewery

    Tempe & Scottsdale – Kilt Lifter, 8th St Ale, Arizona Peach, Oatmeal Stout, The Raj India Pale Ale (IPA), Sunbru Kölsch Style Ale, Hop Knot IPA, Hefeweizenclose up of website

  2. SunUp Brewing

    Phoenix – Trooper IPA, Horizon Wheat, Amber, Vanilla Porter, Light Rail Cream Ale, Armadillo Red Ale, Stinger Pale Aleclose up of website

  3. Papago Brewing

    Scottsdale – Orange Blossom Wheat, El Robusto Porter, Churchill’s Wheatwine, Ryans Red Ale, Oude Zuipers, Elsie’s Irish Coffee Milk Stoutclose up of website

  4. Thunder Canyon Brewery

    Tucson – Deep Canyon Amber, Thunder Canyon IPA, Blackout Stout, Countown Honey Brown, Good Vibrations IPA, Sandstone Cream Ale, Warhead reserve, Windstorm Wheatclose up of website

  5. Flagstaff Brewing Company

    Flagstaff – American Blonde Ale, Sasquatch Stoutclose-up of website

  6. Oak Creek Brewery

    Two Sedona Locations – Gold Lager, Amber Ale, Nut Brown Ale, Hefeweizen, Pale Aleclose-up of website

  7. BJ Restaurant and Brewhouse

    Six Arizona Locations – Brewhouse Blonde, Harvest Hefeweizen, Piranha Pale Ale, Jeremiah Red, P.M. Porter, Tatonka Stout, Nutty Brewnetteclose up of website

  8. Beaver Street Brewery

    Flagstaff – Big Red Rapid, Hopshot IPA, Bramble Berry Brew, R&R Oatmeal Stoutclose-up of website

  9. Rock Bottom Brewery

    Four Arizona Locations – Varies depending on location: Raptor Red, Desert Trail Pale Ale, Light Lager, Wheat, Red or Amber Ale, Brown Ale, Pale Ale, Darkclose-up of website

  10. SanTan Brewing Company

    Chandler – Devil’s Ale, Sunspot Gold, HefeWeizen, HopShock I.P.A., Gordo Stout, Epicenter Amber Aleclose-up of website