Brewery Review: Mother Bunch Brewery in Downtown Phoenix

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Since opening in fall 2014, Mother Bunch Brewery has become a downtown destination for hand-crafted beers and elevated bar fare. Thanks to its location at 825 North Seventh Street, just south of the I-10, it's a convenient pit stop on the way home from work, on the way to a ballgame, or when you're just looking for a new spot for a local brew. During our recent visit, our friendly bartender seemed to be on a first-name basis with nearly everyone at the bar, giving the place a very Cheers-like neighborhood feel. 

Mother Bunch's selection of beers touches on many different varieties, ranging from traditional, old-school classics to modern interpretations of newer styles. And though not every beer we tried was a home run, the majority of the beers were excellent versions of the styles they represented. 

Below is a list of beers we sampled with some brief notes about each one.

Old Skool IPA: Hops fans will enjoy this beer. The traditional IPA is made with four different hops (Tradition, Columbus, Cascade, and Hallertau) and provides a big pine aroma with background citrus notes. The malt backbone has fairly substantial caramel and bready notes, which creates balance, though the hop flavor persists into the finish. The beer is amber and clear and checks in at 6.9% ABV. 

Bunchanator Dopplebock: Dopplebocks are malt-forward, high-alcohol lagers, which are quite difficult to brew effectively. Of the entire lineup, this was the one that came up short, though the brewery gets credit just for trying such a difficult style. The aromas were subdued and the flavors nondescript. The beer finished somewhat harsh, indicating it was too highly hopped for the style.

Pride of Nottingham ESB: This beer was the star of the show, and can definitely be consumed in quantity. ESB stands for "Extra Special Bitter" which is, essentially, a British Pale Ale. Earthy hops and toasted biscuit notes in both the aroma and flavor provide a lot of flavor up front, while remaining light on the palate. Outstanding attenuation and just the perfect amount of bittering hops made this beer finish pleasantly crisp. This beer can compete with any ESB made this side of the Atlantic.

Oatmeal Chocolate Milk Stout: This is a dessert lover's paradise. Aromas of rich chocolate frosting and flavors of a chocolate cupcake with some coffee-like roast make the beer worthy of standing in for a more traditional dessert. It pours jet black with an off-white head and is creamy, smooth, and super rich. The beer would pair well with a raspberry or banana dessert for a nice contrast, but paired with chocolate could be overload. The Milk Stout checks in at 5.8% ABV.

Cara Cara Wit: This is a spiced wheat beer made with coriander and Cara Cara navel orange zest. The orange aromas lead and are supported by coriander in the background on a light wheat backbone. Very light bodied and thin, this would pair well with a light salad with citrus dressing.

Flores de Primavera Saison: This beer is a collaboration with Borderlands Brewing in Tucson. Chamomile, elderflower, and hibiscus were added atop a traditional saison. The resulting beer expands the flavor profile for the style, although the heavy handed spicing somewhat distracts from the lighter base beer. Traditional aromas typically found in a saison, including black pepper, hay, and lemongrass, were all present. In the flavor, lemon citrus and straw malt co-mingle, finishing with flavors reminiscent of pizza crust. This beer would make a great palate cleanser served with lighter seafood dishes. 

3 on 7 Amber: The name of this beer draws from its three main beer ingredients (water, malt, and hops) and its being produced on Seventh Street. (Hey, what about the yeast? Shouldn't it be "4 on 7" Amber?) It's an amber ale with toasty and slightly caramel-like malt. There are little to no hops in either the aroma or flavor making this a definite malt-forward beer that would go great with beef, pork, or chicken.

For more information, check the Mother Bunch Brewery website.

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