A new brewery near downtown Phoenix opened to the public Tuesday, becoming the latest addition to the growing Arizona brewery industry.
The Phoenix Ale Brewery, located on the 3000 block of East Washington Street, has been producing beer since June, but this week it began giving free samplings of its products and tours of its retail facility as a way to teach people about craft beer.
The Phoenix Ale Brewery has two beers currently available, Fretzy’s Unfiltered Ale and Camelback IPA, and plans on adding a third, Watermelon Wheat Ale, in October, said Greg Fretz, co-owner and sales manager.
“We kicked off in Flagstaff and people loved our beer,” he said, referring to the company’s participation in The Made in the Shade Beer Tasting Festival in the northern Arizona city.
One of the brewery’s beers, Fretzy’s Unfiltered Ale, is available to order at Chase Field. The baseball stadium has been the brewery’s most important account, and this summer’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game was a big sales boost to the company.
The brewery plans to hold its official grand opening later this fall. Phoenix Ale Brewery also plans on adding four more beers to their line up over the next couple of years, Fretz said.
The brewery is inconspicuously situated along the light rail and could be easily mistaken for a storage building if not for its mustard yellow sign with black lettering.
Inside the 15,700 square foot facility, George Hancock, another of the brewery’s owners, greets customers cheerfully as they walk in for the start of their tour and immediately begins discussing his passion: craft beer. A few steps through a short hallway leads tourists to the pungency of the yeasts in the brewery’ ales and to the rest of the facility, revealing three huge, cylindrical vessels with cone shaped bottoms, used in the two-week brewing process.
The craft beer industry in Arizona is growing, and there are currently 26 Arizona breweries, said Troy Slicker, the statewide draft manager for Alliance Beverage, an alcohol whole seller.
“Local breweries are really neat,” Slicker said. “You get a chance to meet the owner and see the place, that’s a great experience.”
Will D’Urso, a journalism senior and casual craft beer drinker, said he welcomes more quality beer near downtown. He said he’s struggled in the past to find places that serve good beer in downtown Phoenix.
“More places downtown that serve quality beer would draw students and keep them downtown,” D’Urso said. “The more good beer in the industry, the better.”
Contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org