Walter Productions is known for unique events. Soon, it may also be known for its unique beers.
The Arizona-based team has created larger-than-life event props and pyrotechnics featuring oversize vans and trucks. Now, it will try to create a dazzling local beer at Walter Station, its brewery, which will open in June on 41st and Washington streets.
Walter Station will be brewing with interesting hop strains and will be barrel-aging beer from the beginning.
"I don’t want to limp in; I want to come in with a little bit of a splash," says Jim Erickson, co-founder of Walter Station.
Production on Walter Station began about three years ago. Then, Erickson teamed up with Walter Productions' captain, Kirk Strawn. After a few meetings, Kirk and Erickson decided to tackle the project. Construction began earlier this year. The brewery's home will be the old Station 29 firehouse.
Walter Productions uses old-school vehicles with shooting fire, lights, and music to put on the "Walter Show" at festivals such as Lost Lake and Bonnaroo.
But why beer? Why not?
The folks behind Walter Productions simply love beer almost as much as making a scene. They want pour their own creations.
Erickson will be Walter Station's master brewer. He has concocted several Arizona brews to put on tap, including one called the Americano. "It's a variation on a pale ale, but it also has something I found a few years ago called Neomexicanus," Erickson says.
Neomexicanus is a hop native to New Mexico. The hop varietal started gaining popularity in the last four or so years. "Neomexicanus hops are just becoming available on the commercial market, and that's kind of what makes it so unique," Erickson says.
Erickson will also be barrel-aging beers. "The barrel program is essentially aging beers in oak barrels that have previously been used for liquor," Erickson says. Along with the oak-rich flavor of the barrel, these beers will also pick up flavors of bourbon, whiskey, or tequila.
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Walter Station will make its brews in one section of the old firehouse. The firehouse's front room will operate as a pub. And of course, there will be food. "We want to be an Arizona brewery and more importantly, we want to be as local as we possibly can," Erickson says.
Walter Station will serve "fast kitchen" food from local restaurants and food trucks. Erickson has already teamed up with the Persian-style eatery Saffron Jak.
Outsize vans, unusual beer, local food — this is the recipe for an intriguing summer opening.
Walter Station. 4056 East Washington Street, Phoenix.