Brain Helton, a 19-year veteran of the brewing industry and cicerone-certified brewer, plans to open Helton Brewing Company in Phoenix later this year. And when it comes to craft brewing and education, Helton's interested in celebrating it all.
Helton Brewery is expected to open in early December at 2144 East Indian School Road, a location strategically nestled between Arcadia and uptown Phoenix. What was once a radial tire warehouse will eventually house a grain room, tank room, and tasting room, as well as an indoor bar with additional table seating. The giant building sits at just over 10,000 square feet — a number that doesn't even include the space for an outdoor beer garden.
Current plans have Helton Brewing Company opening with 12 to 18 taps, allowing for several seasonal varieties and three to four guest taps. The brewery will open with four traditional beers: A Scottish ale, an IPA, a milk stout, and a lager. There will be sixty barrels on-site, all used for barrel-aged beers. Halton's also a fan of cask-conditioned beers and plans to have fresh firkins every Friday.
As we mentioned earlier, Helton's interested in building a community, not only on a map, but person-to-person and brewer-to-brewer. To achieve that he plans to hold classes, which he refers to as “labs,” during which home brewers and those interested in the craft can try their hand at brewing. Helton mentioned plans of giving away a Home Brewing Kit at each class and in hopes of inspiring the art of brewing.
Helton also plans to incorporate food pairings. “The plan is to bring in foods that represent someone else’s art,” Helton says.
Items such as cheeses, charcuterie, salads, paninis, and waffles were all mentioned in Helton's plans and he intends to focus on the educational aspect of beer and food pairings by matching beer flights with food options of the patron’s choice. He wants to create a sensory experience for patrons to play around with as opposed to simply going somewhere for dinner and drinks, making the brewery a sort of “tasting lab” for foodies.
The brewery will also serve wine and spirits but Helton's not so much interested in providing cocktails. Instead, he'll be offering flights of various spirits, once again introducing a level of education into his production. Patrons will have the opportunity to play around with flavors and learn the nuances between different styles. Helton has no plans of distilling himself at this point, but is excited about organically growing into his new space.
Those traveling by bike or foot will get additional incentives such as discounted beer and food prices; It's a way to connect with the neighborhood, as well as curb some issues that could arise from having limited parking. The space is large and Helton says, “We will be growing into it.” Down the line, he hopes to support both bottle and can distributions.
“There are a lot of good brewers in Phoenix and a lot more coming," Helton says. "They are opening the market for people to come in and see what Phoenix has to offer."