Brew Review

Goldwater Brewing Company in Scottsdale Is a Family Affair

Located on the corner of Scottsdale Road and Goldwater Boulevard, Goldwater Brewing Company easily could be missed in the blink of an eye. But despite the brewery's small stature, the beers created here leave a big impression. Since opening less than two years ago, this family business has managed to make a lot out of a little — not only serving its beers in the brewery's Old Town Scottsdale tasting room, but also distributing to bars and restaurants around the Valley. 

Though the Scottsdale brewery is relatively new, the Goldwater Brewing story goes back much farther than two years. It starts with a Saturday home-brewing tradition; Greg McClelland, the brewery's founder and director, has been home-brewing for 30 years, and the practice led to a love his whole family shares — and a business in which they all play a part. In fact, to call Goldwater a "family affair" might be putting it lightly. Members of McClelland's immediate and extended family fill just about every major role with the brewing company. 

For example, McClelland's wife, Pam, designed the brewery space, while the couple's oldest son, Chad, serves as head brewer. The youngest son, Dillon, is the brewery's creative director; son-in-law Jimmy Disken is director of operations and tasting room manager; and nephew Carl Duderstadt runs and maintains the steam-powered brewing system.

When it comes to brewing, Goldwater's motto is “Make great beer, then make it better.” The brewery offers 26 taps, nine of them representing Goldwater beers with the rest showcasing local and nationally crafted brews.


The brewery's flagship beer and permanent tap at the brewer is Desert Rose. Made with 100 percent natural cactus fruit, this Kolsch-style brew pours a blushing red, reminiscent of Arizona's famous sunsets, and drinks slightly sweet and refreshing with a crisp, clean finish. It's a difficult beer to make, according to Chad McClelland, who says his “dad has been brewing and perfecting it for 20 years.”

Other offerings such as the Scotch’dale, a Scottish-style ale; AyeYou, an American pale ale made with Cascade and Centennial hops; What a Day IPA, brewed with Chinook and Cascade hops; and Rye’t On!, an American nut brown ale made with biscuit malts, spicy rye, and old-fashioned molasses round out some of the brewery's other offerings. 

Looking forward, Goldwater Brewing is expanding the outdoor patio and balcony areas. Barrel-aging is also in the brewery's future, as they're in the process of occupying an underground adjacent space, which will be known as the Goldmine. This new space will contain four aging tanks for lagers and imperials and will create an opportunity for the brewery to grow in terms of creativity and adventurous brewing. Pours will be monitored through electronic wristbands and sold in 20- and 40-ounce increments. This means guests can be a little more adventuresome in their tasting experience, especially in regard to unique, bold, high-octane beers. The Goldmine hopes to be up and running by summer 2016.

For more information about the brewery, check the Goldwater Brewing Company website
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Sara Palmer is a local improviser, writer, teacher, and storyteller. You can commonly find her exploring the surrounding wilderness areas of Phoenix.
Contact: Sara Palmer