What do you get when you bring together a Marine, a Muay Thai fighter, and a pharmaceutical scientist? Well, in the case of a new central Phoenix brewery, you get a lineup of six craft beers and a food menu that blends Arizona ingredients and Spanish-style cooking.
Located at 3935 East Thomas Road, Helio Basin Brewing Company comes from owner Mike Conley, a former Marine; brew master and pharmaceutical scientist Dustin Hazer; and head chef and trained Muy Thai fighter Tamara Stanger.
The brewery opened earlier this month in the strip mall on the south side of Thomas Road just west of 40th Street, but its story goes back to when Hazer and Conley met in college. Hazer, who was studying pharmaceuticals at Allegheny College by day and making beer with Conley by night, convinced the school's science department to fund their brewing. After graduation, he decided to follow his passion and study brewing at Chicago’s Siebel Institute, while Conley joined the Marines, then went on to Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business. Hazer brewed on the East Coast until getting an opportunity to move to Arizona to brew with Four Peaks in Tempe, though he'd return to the right coast to spend four years as brew master for Southern Tier Brewing Company, one of the largest breweries in the country.
At Helio Basin, the team aims to produce beers with classic ingredients. With six core beers available year round, the brewery's line up offers a little something for everyone — there's a American IPA and an American pale ale, as well as a blackberry wheat beer and a robust porter. The brewery's six remaining taps will be filled "only when a good story presents itself," Hazer says.
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As far as the kitchen, that's where Stanger comes in. She hopes to offer elevated bar fare and has created a “uniquely Arizona” menu for the brewery. The lineup combines Native American and Spanish-style cooking to produce dishes such as mesquite honey chicken, housemade chorizo, and Yucatecan banana. When possible, Stanger's also sourcing meat locally from Arizona Beer Beef Company at the T.T. Ranch near the base of Black Canyon City.
The brewery is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., except on Sunday, when it closes at 9 p.m.
For more information check the Helio Basin Brewing Company website.