Chow Bella

A Handcrafted Taproom Brings Beer and Skeletons to the Same Table

A Handcrafted Taproom Brings Beer and Skeletons to the Same Table
Allison Trebacz
The first brewery in Fountain Hills just opened, and the place is otherworldly. Bone Haus Brewing is a macabre collaboration between Keith Chapman (the brewery's product developer), Andy Weiner (brewmaster), and David Lozeau (artist).

“There is a Latin phrase, memento mori, which literally means 'remember you die' and has historically been intended as an inspiration to live for today,” Chapman says. “The name and theme are a nod to the ossuaries and catacombs, also known as bone houses, we’ve visited across Europe.”

Most taprooms in Phoenix are just tributes to beer with their industrial vibe, stainless steel countertops, and cinderblock bars. Bone Haus changes the formula – beer is an accent piece in a larger concept.

Two coffins hang above the bar, each sporting a handmade skeleton. A small altar with marigolds and wheat sits in the middle of the 20 taps. There’s a black and white portrait of a man with a killer 1890s mustache. The man has been nicknamed Hans Van Bierman.

Chapman is also a hobby writer and is working on developing lore for the taproom to tie the decor and the beers together with the many threads of Hans Van Bierman. The story itself is a closely held secret, but that’s for you, the patron of the taproom, to uncover.

The founders wanted to capture the dimly lit chambers and skeletal displays that are a visible part of Europe’s history. The walls are neatly laid with reclaimed, evenly cut pallet wood. The bar top is a copper creation from Scott Palmer at the Copper Phoenix Studio.

“After three months of demo, it took us a year to build everything, and everything is built by us,” Chapman says. In addition to being the product developer, Chapman handled most of the woodwork.

He has personally collected the pieces to create the chilling, whimsical atmosphere. Lozeau, a local artist known for his Day of the Dead artwork, brought the theme to life.

The 10-barrel brewing system is cordoned from the taproom by custom-made cemetery gates. Handmade skulls accent a pillar, canvases of Dia de Los Muertes skeletons guide patrons to the mineshaft. Lozeau’s colorful, macabre artwork is on display near the bar.

Want a Bone Haus beer? The bartender has to pull on a tibia-shaped tap handle. Almost every detail was handcrafted to fit Lozeau’s creative vision, skulls, coffins, skeletons, and all.

Weiner is responsible for the beer. He has 25 years of homebrewing experience. At Bone Hause, he started with darker brews like a Maple Brown Ale, a Bourbon Porter, and a Double Chocolate Milk Stout. Now Weiner is moving more toward summer flavors.

Those include a Raspberry Blonde, a Witbier, and a summer IPA about to debut. These beers are best enjoyed on the patio, which may soon start to host live music. There's no food for now, but the owners will be bringing in food trucks on Fridays and Saturdays.

So far, the most popular brew is a black IPA, which follows a strong hop flavor with notes of chocolate and coffee. “It's not a common beer you would find,” Chapman says. “There are a few breweries that make a black IPA, but that’s our most popular beer.”

Soon it will be available in several Fountain Hills restaurants and bars – just see if they have a tap that looks like a bone.

Bone Haus Brewing. 14825 East Shea Boulevard, #101, Fountain Hills; 480-292-9541.
Thursday through Saturday 4 to 10 p.m.
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