Mexican craft brewery Buqui Bichi is now open in Chandler. Here's a taste of what's on tap | Phoenix New Times

First Taste

Mexican craft brewery Buqui Bichi makes its mark in Chandler

Buqui Bichi Brewing is settling into its new home in Chandler. Find out what all the buzz is about.
Buqui Bichi Brewing's Chandler taproom features 12 beers from the Sonoran brewer.
Buqui Bichi Brewing's Chandler taproom features 12 beers from the Sonoran brewer. Sara Crocker
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When a new spot opens in town, we're eager to check it out, let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened — an occasion to sample a few items and satisfy curiosities (both yours and ours).

Buqui Bichi Brewing is having a full-circle moment with the opening of its first U.S. taproom in Chandler.

Brothers Luis and Ramon Osuna initially started the brewery to bring craft beer, and the range of styles they found in the States, to Mexico. Since opening in Hermosillo, Sonora, in 2016, the brewery has grown to include five taprooms in Mexico and was named Mexico’s best large brewery in 2022 by Copa Cerveza, a competition that recognizes Mexican brewers.

While the Chandler kitchen and bar debuted in late July, it already feels like a neighborhood spot.

On a recent visit, the brewpub was aglow, and not just because of the sunset peaking through its rollup garage doors or the vibrant signs placed around the space highlighting different beers.

Folks queued for tables. There was a DJ playing light, bouncy disco and pop tunes that could appease the array of generations who were there (Celine Dion even entered the playlist). A front patio and live music are in the works, Osuna says.
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Although it has only been open since late July, Buqui Bichi Brewing has already attracted a crowd to its Chandler location.
Sara Crocker

What’s on tap?

During our visit, the brewpub had 12 beers on tap ranging from lighter lagers to a coffee stout, and maltier ambers to more bitter IPAs. The team ships in the beers from Hermosillo, the company's home base six hours south.

Lagers have a long, complex history in Mexico. Though Mexico’s indigenous people have crafted and drank fermented beverages for centuries, European-style beer brewing arrived with imperial forces, first from Spain and later from Germany. Today, the country is largely known for its large-scale breweries and their brands such as Modelo and Corona.

But, there's more nuance to lagers and the unique Mexican versions. To get a sense of Buqui Bichi’s lagering prowess, we tried the Kolsch Pitaya and Algo Vienna. The first takes Buqui Bichi’s flagship lager, Banquetera, and infuses it with prickly pear.

It’s by no means the first brewery to make use of this desert fruit in a beer, but Buqui Bichi's take is one of the best we've had. The prickly pear adds brightness in color and flavor. The Kolsch is a beautiful foil that is light, crisp and has a hint of biscuit flavor. Buqui Bichi only makes this beer when prickly pear fruit is in season over the summer, meaning the beer may not be on tap much longer, Osuna says.

Algo Vienna is Buqui Bichi’s Vienna-style lager. The amber-colored, malty style is said to be Mexico’s original lager. Buqui Bichi’s take balances maltiness with a light body and a crisp finish. It’s a craveable, crushable beer that’s not often seen on brewers’ menus. Buqui Bichi makes the case for it to become more common.

The brewery has range outside its lagered styles as well. Other notable sips include the Buena Bola, an orange forward wheat beer and Talega, a warm and roasty coffee stout.

What about the IPAs? We tried Sahuaripa, the brewery’s IPA and Bitachera, its hazy IPA. Sahuaripa is very true to the style and is piney and dry, with a hint of citrus. Bitachera has the strong citrusy notes and the body typical of a hazy, but it’s not the juice-like iteration many may expect.
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Sopes al Pastor arrive as a trio of crisp, fried masa cups holding a mound of marinated pork, avocado mousse, onion and cilantro.
Sara Crocker

What's on the food menu?

While beer may be the draw for many, the Chandler brewpub also boasts a full bar and kitchen. For its first U.S. outpost, Buqui Bichi teamed up with Martin Hurtado, co-owner of Miel de Agave in downtown Phoenix.

Items on the brewpub’s food menu range from Mediterranean to Asian, and Mexican staples to familiar American favorites like burgers and pizza. Two standout bites are Buqui Bichi’s aguachile and sopes.

We opted for the Mini Tostadas de Aguachile Tatemado. Fresh shrimp are dressed in a jalapeno and lime mixture and tossed with red onion, cucumber and avocado, which is then piled, along with mayonnaise and cilantro, on a tostada. The aguachile is punchy, bright and refreshing. It is a bit challenging to eat – one of the mini tostadas fell apart under this bounty – but well worth the mess.

Don’t skip over the short list of sopes, either. The Sopes al Pastor arrive as a trio of crisp, fried masa cups each holding a mound of marinated pork, avocado mousse, onion and cilantro. The pork is tender, rich and packed with savory flavor from a marinade that balances the sweetness of pineapple against the warmth and bite of the chiles.

The sopes come with a roasted pineapple habanero sauce that reinforces the flavors of the pork. The sauce has a bit of smokiness and a sweetness that belies the hit of heat that follows. Once acclimated to it, we couldn’t stop dipping our forks in for more.

Buqui Bichi’s larger bites include tacos, pizzas and burgers. We opted for the Sonorense Pizza, intrigued by the take on a Supreme Pizza that comes topped with carne asada, mushrooms, red onion and Anaheim peppers. In the Valley, the opportunities to find exceptional pizzas abound. Unfortunately, Bucqui Bichi’s came up short.

Despite the robust flavors of the kitchen's al pastor and shrimp, the carne asada was decidedly flat. While the pizza’s thin crust was crisp around the edges, the center was a bit soggy – perhaps overwhelmed by toppings.

After a few beers, it's nice to have a food menu, particularly one that looks beyond pub grub. But at Buqui Bichi, the real draw is what's on tap.

The Chandler spot is inviting, but for residents of many parts of metro Phoenix, the drive to the East Valley can feel like a bridge (or in this case, a highway) too far. Luckily, the team is readying to open another location in downtown Phoenix within the next month, according to Osuna, so we’ll be able to sip a Talega coffee stout downtown soon.

Buqui Bichi Brewing

325 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler

21 W. Van Buren St.
Opening this fall
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