Westward ho! Beer in the Valley isn't all about CenPho and the East Valley. Here are 10 breweries and beer bars where you can grab a great craft beer on the west side of town.
Dubina Brewing Company
17035 North 67th Avenue, Glendale
You can sample five 5-ounce pours for $7.75 to get a taste of what Dubina Brewing is all about. A full menu is also available, and there is plenty of seating in the main dining area as well as at the three sided bar.
Bartender "Alleycat" was very knowledgeable and walked us through the sampler, which featured three standouts out of the five beers we tried. Grandpa's Pils, a Czech pilsner, delivers copious amounts of fresh grainy white bread malt notes and finished very refreshing. Two IPAs were also quite notable: The Blood Orange IPA is packed with orange flavor and aroma, while the traditional IPA, known as Bell Road IPA, provides tropical fruit and pine characteristics. Bell Road is quite similar to an all-time classic IPA, Bell's Two Hearted Ale, and a beer like this would likely appeal to seasoned IPA drinkers as well as those new to the style.
Freak'N Brewing Company
9299 West Olive Avenue, Peoria
This quaint taproom has room to seat only around 16 people, yet it's comfortable and welcoming. Freak'N offers a wide variety of beer styles from expected traditional standards to very creative options — as well as complimentary pretzel bites.
The American Hero Pale Ale is a tried-and-true traditional style pale ale and it delivered, powered by a hopping regimen solely of Amarillo hops. The Brown Noser Brown Ale is full of toasted bread crust flavor and nutty character, packing a lot of flavor into this refreshing beverage. Sweet Thang is a 10.1% ABV monster of an Imperial Stout marrying flavors of creme brulee and vanilla, while the Belgian Tripel is even bigger at 10.6% ABV with pleasant but potent flavors and aromas of clove and fruit. Freak'N also provides a "randalled" beer where beer flows through a filtering mechanism filled with fruits. The El Dorado Double IPA is randalled through papaya, passion fruit, and melon which not only brings the flavors of those fruits into the beer, it also brings a little bit of the fruit itself, which may or may not be appealing to certain customers.
Peoria Artisan Brewery
10144 West Lake Pleasant Parkway, Peoria
Peoria Artisan is a full-service brewpub with a dual personality. Inside, the squared-off space is comfortable and relatively spacious, with the bar located in the back corner. The bar also has a small patio area. A full menu is available, featuring standard American pub classics.
Standout beers include Haboob Black IPA (6.0% ABV), which has a very inviting combination of hop and roast aromas. The beer is nicely balanced, and fans of IPAs will really enjoy this option. Angus Boy Scottish Ale (6.3% ABV) is full of rich toffee flavors and had a thick, pleasant mouthfeel. Copper and brilliantly clear, this beer is perfect for those looking for big malt flavor in their beer. The Honeysuckle Street Amber (5.6%) also delivers copious caramel and toastedd bread flavors, with just enough hops to balance, making this a great option paired with a burger.
8279 West Lake Pleasant Parkway, Peoria
This small establishment features local guest beers on tap, including three from Huss Brewing, as well as house-brewed beers. And pizza.
Of the two house beers, the West Side IPA (7.2% ABV) seemed to draw the most attention during our visit, full of pine, citrus, and tropical fruit hop flavors and aromas, flowing smoothly over a bready malt base finishing crisp and clear. The beer was a well-crafted, solid example of the style even if the brewer guarded the beer's IBU number (international bitterness units) as if it were in the best interest of national security. What's up with that?
The St. Viriletus (8.9% ABV) is a Belgian strong ale brewed in collaboration with North Mountain Brewing Company of Phoenix. Though it's brewed with large amounts of chocolate and raisins, the chocolate was reserved and subtle while the raisins were front and center, along with some misplaced and distracting smoky aromatics.
Saddle Mountain Brewing Company
15651 West Roosevelt Street, Goodyear
Located just up the road from Goodyear Ballpark (the spring home of the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds), Saddle Mountain Brewing is the perfect place to celebrate pre- or post-game. Jacob Hansen and his team make a series of house beers branded as Taildragger beers, a reference to their aviation theme. They do a fine job across the board, both with year-round staples and seasonals. A full menu is available. and the pizza is a highlight.
Beer standouts include the IFR Oatmeal Stout (4.8% ABV), which is a black beer with coffee, roast, and molasses flavors served on nitro, providing a very creamy essence. Ray's Gold (6.5% ABV, 74 IBU) tantalizes with a lasting lacy head and pronounced pine aromatics finishing crisp and palate-cleansing clean. 300 Ft. Steve is an imperial red which pours a beautiful clear burgundy color with flavors of caramel and hints of raisin. At 7.5% ABV and 90 IBU, this is a sipper that should be savored.
State 48 Brewery
13823 West Bell Road, Surprise
One of the latest additions to the Arizona brewing community, this brewpub has a full menu and a solid lineup of house made beers.
1050 North Fairway Drive, Building F, Avondale
8-Bit Aleworks is a craft microbrewery with a retro gaming theme. Avondale's first brewery is the brainchild of Ryan and Krystina Whitten, a production-style facility located in an industrial complex. The brewery focuses on creating craft beer in small batches and includes a 46-seat tasting room equipped with plenty of gaming options to entertain guests while they drink. Brewer Ryan Whitten started brewing at home in 2004, and spent 11 years perfecting the craft on a small-scale system before opening 8-Bit Aleworks. During his research, he created Hopsassin's Creed, a session (light and very drinkable) IPA, which is one of the brewery's highlights. Made with three of the brewing industry's most sought-after hops, Columbus, Mosaic, and Chinook, it's a "greatest hits" of hop flavor and aroma.
9635 West Peoria Avenue, Peoria
The Deli is a low-key bar that gives patrons a little bit of everything, especially great food and outstanding service. This longtime Peoria staple boasts a great craft beer selection, but the Deli gives you many other great reasons to stop by. Enjoy live entertainment every Friday from 8 pm until midnight. The last Friday of each month is birthday celebration Fridays, when those with birthdays during this month can get discounted domestic drinks. Happy hour runs long, from 6 am through 7 pm Monday through Friday, offering discounts on bottles and draft beers. The Deli has pool tables and dart boards and even serves brunch. They also offer growlers of beer to go. If you or your friends aren't in a beer mood, grab margaritas and Bloody Marys.
Great Eagle Golf Course
17200 West Bell Road, Surprise
What's better than golfing on a beautiful, sunny Arizona day and getting to celebrate with a long list of craft beer options when you're done? That's what awaits you at Great Eagle Golf Course. Besides being a beautiful place to spend the afternoon, Great Eagle puts the same care and effort into making sure their craft beer lineup is second to none. The Great Eagle Bar & Grill features an emphasis on local and popular national craft taps as well as imports and ciders.
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4860 North Litchfield Road, Litchfield Park
Known by many to be one of the best spots to get craft beer on the west side, Ground Control's exterior might fool the uninitiated. The exterior sign reads "coffee, wine, gelato" and makes no mention of beer. Walking in, you don't immediately realize there's a full bar in the back until you get past the entrance, which features the coffee and gelato. Any case of mistaken identity is set aside once you make your way to the back and you see the wide variety of craft options available. They know their beer at Ground Control, and anyone looking for a nice variety of craft on the west side would be well served to check it out.