Kevin Binkley brings more to the table than innovative dishes. Binkley's has started brewing beer in-house.
Recently, Binkley, whose local restaurants include Binkley's and Cafe Bink, signed a brewing contract with an ASU film professor, Nick Butler, and Butler's father, Dale. Nick and Dale have been home-brewing beer for 10 years. Their family love for beer started in Nick's high school days when they lived in Frankfurt, Germany, and would go to Oktoberfest. With father and son sharing interests in beer and film, Limelight was born.
Limelight beers are inspired by movies. Binkley will be pouring them at his flagship restaurant on Osborn Road in Phoenix, providing space in his kitchen for Limelight to brew in small batches. Limelight beer will be on tap at Binkley's, which will offer an exclusive line of house beers. Binkley will be collaborating in the brewing, introducing ingredients that will result in beer tailored to his dishes.
"It's ridiculously good beer, and we wanted to be able to offer a unique house beer that you can't get anywhere else," Binkley says.
Nick and Dale brew on Mondays. Since Binkley's is closed on Mondays, they have space to brew small batches, just 10 gallons of beer at a time.
An evening at Binkley's, which features a 22-course meal and wine pairings, starts out on the patio garden. Slowly, guests make their way through the bar area and eventually to the dining room. Binkley even encourages guests to visit the open kitchen as he cooks. The feeling is communal, a good fit for a project like Limelight.
"We feel that brewing on a smaller scale allows us to do a lot of things that a bigger brewery doesn't do," Dale says of Limelight's approach. "We can make all kinds of adjustments to our base beer when we are fermenting on a 10-gallon level. If Kevin has an input with seasonal flavor so that we can set it up for a pairing with a dish, it's something we can accomplish since we have the flexibility."
Nick adds, "The base of every beer is from our recipes, but chef suggests what's in season when we add ingredients during the fermentation process, so the beer can pair with ingredients used during dinner service."
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Limelight's first two batches for Binkley are an IPA called “Some Like it Hop” and a cream ale with orange zest named “Pulp Affliction.” Binkley will start pouring Limelight beers on March 21.
In addition, Binkley's plans on hosting "Sunday Roasts," featuring Limelight beer tastings alongside Binkley's food.
Binkley's Restaurant. 2320 East Osborn Road; 602-388-4874.
Wednesday to Saturday 6:30 to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday to Tuesday.