All of the research that went into the Phoenix trip is paying off in spades. My own need to get out into the desert to see some petroglyphs combined with the crazy schedules of my friends has resulted in a lot of travel around the Phoenix/Tempe/Scottsdale area. As I try to fit brewery visits in around everything else, the research list lets me know which of the closest breweries at any given time might be worth a visit. I went to lunch with a group of friends, shopped for bottles to take back in my checked bags (ask any unfortunate soul that’s been stuck with me when I do this, it takes forever) and I think I have time to squeeze in a brewery before meeting up with friends again for dinner and, of course, another brewery in the evening. Then again, I have a trunk full of 2 cases of beer and it’s 101 degrees. I have to really debate as to whether I should take my limited time to return to the hotel with the beer before dinner, or squeeze in the extra brewery and risk ruining the beer in the car.
A quick check of the list and Google Maps shows that the closest brewery with the maximum potential is Pedal Haus Brewery in down town Tempe. The phrase “down town” can be scary or not depending on how large the area is. Somehow, I didn’t picture down town Tempe, AZ as being a huge mass of monstrosity buildings that is often accompanied by my least favorite inner-city crap-fest, the lack of parking. But, despite the general lack of monstrosity buildings, there was no parking to be found out of the streets. The cheap bastard in me was going to have to suck it up and shell out for a parking garage and then walk to the brewery. It does make me feel better that the parking garage is cooler than street parking and the beer in the trunk is probably much safer. But having to walk is not good when I have a very limited amount of time to begin with. Along with the lack of parking, I’m now envisioning a potential congested down town area brewery with extremely limited space. In my head I’m picturing a hole in the wall with a small bar, a few tables, and little in the way of decor. I’ve rarely been so happy to be so wrong. As I approached Pedal Haus Brewing, the first thing I came across was a little park with some cool rabbit statues.
Then when I get to the brewery itself, it’s huge. There is a domed area out front that I walked through to get to the main building.
Pedal Haus Brewery outside dome #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
And there is a little patio outside decorated with different sized bike wheels.
Pedal Haus Brewery bike wheel patio #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Inside the brewery is just as impressive. There are light fixtures all over the place that turned out to be re-purposed brewing equipment.
There were plenty of barrels for aging.
And a bizarre offshoot room with crazy lighting that seemed to have a funky bee hive feel to it.
Let’s take a walk through the place, shall we?
But here’s the best part. The manager, Michael, sat down with me to answer some questions. Pedal Haus Brewery has been open for about 2 years and currently operates on a 100 barrel system that is located exclusively at the tap room and restaurant area. A 100 barrel system is pretty big, but they don’t yet have plans on mass distribution. They hope to reach that point, but starting up the canning/bottling process is a major expense and they want to be sure they are well prepared. They chose the down town Tempe area because they like the cultural feel of the area, and because the owner, Julian Wright, is well known as a cyclist in the area. The main style focus for brewing goes to eclectic European styles.
So, the trip was a big win for me. I got to squeeze in an extra brewery in a busy day, got to experience a place with a truly distinct style, had my million and one questions answered, and walked away with a growler. Sometimes a little extra effort goes a long way.