From now until we publish the 2016 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times is naming 100 Tastemakers — members of our local culinary community who help shape the way we eat, drink, and think about food in Phoenix. Some you'll know, and for others, it'll be a first introduction, but each person on our list deserves a nod for helping make our city so delicious. Oh, and while you're here, be sure to check out our list of 100 Creatives.
87. Jason Calhoon of The Shop Beer Co. and Side Kick Cold Brew
These days you'll find Jason Calhoon brewing beer at Cartel Brewery — and the soon-to-open The Shop Beer Co. — but the Arizona native got his start in the scene long before the Tempe brew house produced its first lager.
Calhoon developed a passion for coffee, entrepreneurship, and customer service at the age of 8, and after leaving his dad's gas station, started and owned multiple businesses, including a bread distribution company, a craft coffee cart, and a coffee consultation service. After selling his coffee company in 2009, he went on to help manage and operate some of the best coffee shops in the Valley, including Bookmans, Press Coffee, Crepe Bar, and Cartel.
In addition to brewing beer, Calhoon also makes batches of cold brew for Sidekick Cold Brew.
Today he shares his go-to places for cocktails and the three Arizona-made beers everyone should try.
My go-to place for cocktails in Phoenix is Crudo, Counter Intuitive, and Clever Koi.
The best kept secret in Phoenix is Tuesday Ramen Night at Posh!
If I could have dinner with any five people, I'd invite Magnus Nilsson, Rene Redzepi, Jeff Kraus, Anthony Bourdain, and Francis Mallmann. We'd drink amaro, whiskey, beer, and coffee.
I'm currently obsessed with "the experience" ... for me that's what it's all about — quality and execution.
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I'm totally over hyped places that have zero to mediocre standards and get by on a name.
Three Arizona beers everyone should try are Fate Candy Bar Milk Stout, The Shop Beer Co. F.Y.I.T.M., and Dragoon Unihopper (every batch is different and unique).
The 2016 Tastemakers so far:
100. Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Cafe
99. Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
98. Debby Wolvos of DW Photography
97. Anibal and Salem Beyene of Café Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant
96. Bo Mostow of Uptown Farmers Market
95. Julian Wright of Pedal Haus Brewery
94. Stephen Jones of The Larder + The Delta
93. Eric Glomski of Page Spring Cellars
92. Richard Bock of Giuseppe's on 28th
91. Walter Sterling of Ocotillo
90. Daniel Sevilla of Angry Crab Shack
89. Doug Robson of Gallo Blanco and Otro Cafe
88. LaDawn Driscoll of Liberty Market