Friday, June 14, 2013

Phoenix, brief review

I went to the Phoenix area for a day of board meetings for a conference I am a board member of.  All day I sat in an Arizona State University library conference room listening to other people talk.  Luckily, the day before I was able to find two great beer venues worth telling you about.

I didn't know much about the craft beer scene in Phoenix, so I reached out to @beerkristine who lives in the area for recommendations.  She did not disappoint, but sadly, I couldn't get to all of her recommendations.

On my way from a meeting in Scottsdale to Phoenix, I stopped for lunch at O.H.S.O Eatery and Nano Brewery.  It is a fairly new place, but I was impressed.  I bellied up to the bar, and received good service from the bartender.  His recommendations were on point.  He recommended the green chili tacos, and they were great, probably the best thing I ate on my West Coast swing (I also hit San Diego, blog to come).
O.H.S.O bar

The weather was perfect, and the garage doors on the front of the restaurant were open.  O.H.S.O has four of their own brews on tap, plus a large variety of Arizona craft beers and an assortment of beers from around the country and Belgium.  I sample all of their beers and a good selection of Arizona beers.  I had to take it easy and only drink small samples since I still had to drive.  The O.H.S.O beers were solid and worth trying.  Nothing Earth shattering, but really well made craft beer.

Since this trip was in early February, I can't remember all the beers I tried.  One beer that stuck out was Sonoran's White Chocolate Ale.  The smell was decadent, but the flavor and mouth feel were light and crisp.  For an IPA guy like myself, I still don't know why this hit the spot.

I left O.H.S.O and checked into a dingy motel near the airport (not my choice, but it is where the other board members stayed).  Luckily the bottle shop @beerkrisitne recommended, Tops Liquor in Tempe was about a mile away on the same road at La Quinta Inn.  (On a side note, the La Quinta Inn wasn't too bad...the free wifi was excellent).

Tops Liquor store is in the running for 2013 BBA bottle shop of the year.  The selection was awesome.  I have to hand it to them, due to their proximity to ASU, they have to keep a lot of cheaper BMC labels  to whet the appetite of college students, but the craft selection far exceeded my expectations.  Stone's Enjoy By was readily available (I think they got over 70 cases), as were labels I can't fathom getting on the East Coast, i.e Deschutes, Lost Abbey, Knee Deep and all of those Arizona brews.  I even found the Deschutes-Hair of the Dog collaboration that is a must try for people who liked barrel aged beers (this one was aged in 5-6 different types of barrels before it was bottled.

Next to Tops Liquor is their pub, Taste of Tops.  I didn't go it as I had to get back to the hotel, pack my beers for shipping home, and go to dinner.  If I am back in Phoenix area again, Taste of Tops will likely be my first visit.

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