Metro Phoenix malls are often home to some of the valley’s best hidden gems. And in the suburbs of the West Valley, it is.
From Peoria to Avondale, breweries and taprooms find homes tucked away in industrial squares or wedged between a barber shop and a dentist’s office. Beige storefronts give way to colorful bars serving top-notch craft beer.
The West Valley has everything from great bars serving beer from across the country to tiny nano-breweries brewing a few gallons at a time.
Here are eight must-see destinations for craft beer enthusiasts looking for the perfect pint west of Interstate 17.
These places offer great food as well as beer
Saddle Mountain Brewing Company, owned by Jacob and Laura Hansen, celebrates Jacob’s love for all things aviation and many beers are named after airplanes. The brewery may be best known for its Scottish beer Trail Dragger Clan-Destine, a three-time Great American Beer Festival gold medalist, but this Goodyear spot also has a full restaurant. Sit outside on the shaded patio and share a pretzel or a large amount on a “Holy-Yum” bison burger while enjoying the beers.
Tucked away around the corner of a Lake Pleasant Parkway mall, Peoria Craft Brewery could be one of the best hidden craft beer spots in the West Valley. But the corner of the corner is worth looking for. The modern brasserie, decorated with black and white photographs, receives a touch of warmth from the wooden tables and stools. While food is available all week, the scent of the barbecue wafts over patrons and their dogs sitting on the patio near a large smokehouse that operates Thursday through Saturday. The brewery focuses on IPAs and other hop-forward beers with 14 to 16 house beers and four to six other taps.
From the outside, Ground Control Craft Food and drink seems quite small. But passing through the doors, customers will find a vast space with high ceilings and multiple concepts inside. At the entrance, a cafÃ©-bar occupies the left part of the building and a small corridor on the right houses several refrigerators filled with beer to take away. Keep walking and you’ll find a large open seating area with a wood-fired pizza oven pulling you closer. The extensive menu offers burgers, salads, wraps and pizzas. At the far corner, a small bar serves pints of craft beer. Ground Control is a tasting room, not a brewery, so there are no house beers, but the rotating list features craft beers from across the valley and country.
Details: Saddle Mountain Brewing Company, 15651 W. Roosevelt St., Goodyear. 623-249-5520, sellmountainbrewing.com. Peoria Craft Brewery, 10144 W. Lake Pleasant Pkwy # 1130, Peoria. 623-572-2816, peoriaartisanbrewing.com. Ground Control, 4860 N. Litchfield Road, Litchfield Park. 623-535-9066, Groundxcontrol.com.
Meet the Brewer at These Great Local Places
Brandon Richter wanted to open his brewery in a former car garage. But when he couldn’t find one in his hometown of Peoria, he moved into a corner unit of the mall off Lake Pleasant Parkway. The theme of Richter Aleworks is obvious, however, as the space is decorated with traffic signs, car parts, and faucet handles made from engine connecting rods.
At the brewery, there is a good chance of meeting someone from the family; Richter brews beer, a son runs the bar and another runs the kitchen. The cozy brewery offers seven to eight house beers as well as a few guest beers for a total of 13 beers. Most of Richter’s beers are translucent because he doesn’t like the âhaze crazeâ. An in-house kitchen offers a variety of pub food as well as food trucks that park outside.
Currently, Transplant City Beer Company, or TCBC is so small that you could easily miss it. But the small brewery, located across from the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, is going to get a big upgrade soon. The white-painted brasserie and dog-friendly patio are in the process of moving next door to a large, historic building with beamed ceilings and a wraparound patio. But for now, a troop of regulars from nearby Luke Air Force Base can enjoy a military discount in the small tasting room on Honeysuckle Street. See brewers and co-owners Justin Egbert and Paul Power brewing their latest version while sipping the latest in this nano-brewery.
Entering 8-bit Aleworks, twinkling green string lights and flashing Double Donkey Kong and Ms. Pac-Man arcade games might grab your attention before the beer list. But this retro gaming themed brewery has a selection of beers worth checking out. Co-owner and brewer Ryan Whitten says he’s “known for throwing weird stuff into beer” as he infuses his beers with creative flavor combinations such as Boysenberry Vanilla and Fruity Pebbles with lime leaves. Whitten and his wife Krystina own the brewery, located in a business park on 127th Avenue north of Van Buren Street. Regulars and first-time visitorsoften have the chance to meet the owners who run the bar and brasserie.
Details: Richter Aleworks, 8279 W. Lake Pleasant Pkwy # 109, Peoria. 602-908-6553, richteraleworks.com. Transplant City Beer Company, 107 W. Honeysuckle Street, Litchfield Park. 623-535-3911, tcbcbeer.com. 8-Bit Aleworks, 1050 N. Fairway Dr., Building F, Suite 101, Avondale. 623-925-1650, 8-bitaleworks.com.
Grab some beer to go to these taprooms
In addition to many of the fantastic West Valley breweries, craft beer enthusiasts also have a few options for picking up cans to go. Press Savvy, a long and thin tasting room wedged between a hairdressing salon and a dentist, offers draft beers and take away. Stop to browse the beer fridge and stay for a pint at this modern mall bar. On-the-go options include four and six packs of local and national craft beers as well as options to combine to create your own selection. Some local offerings include Wren House Brewing Company, Tombstone Brewing Company, and Supersititon Meadery.
About 15 miles north, Taproom cactus offers a similar service for the Northwest Valley. Bright orange painted walls, a small bar, and an indoor-outdoor booth invite patrons to grab a beer and stay awhile. Beer refrigerators filled with colorful cans keep local and national craft beers perfectly cold and ready to take home and enjoy.
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