| August 19, 2010 | 8:36am
I've been a fan of SunUp Brewhouse since back in the days when it was still called Sonoran. The name change, a legal result of SunUp's burgeoning distribution, took place a year ago (wow -- time flies!), but the place is just as good of a hangout, with the same ownership and laid-back, friendly vibe.
As of the beginning of August, though, they've amped up their food offerings, thanks the hiring of new chef Christopher Vance. A graduate of Scottsdale's Le Cordon Bleu, Vance has worked in Seattle, and Greenwich, CT -- where he was really into seafood -- as well as Downtown Phoenix's own Wyndham Hotel. He also owned his own Chandler-based catering company.
"We're taking it up another level," says general manager Liz Blackburn. "It's the best thing to incorporate so much beer into the recipes."
Indeed, SunUp's new menu features a lot of beer-friendly pub grub where beer is one of the ingredients -- something you'll find at top in-house restaurants at microbreweries around the country.
Here, they have amber-battered calamari with spicy remoulade, Trooper IPA slow-roasted pulled pork, Armadillo Red-infused buffalo sloppy joe on brioche, amber-poached brats on toasted brioche with caramelized onions, Horizon Hefeweizen mussels, and more.
On a related note, this coming Sunday, August 22, marks the brewpub's 9th anniversary -- stop by for food specials, free hors d'oeuvres, extended happy hour, Patriot Pilsner on tap, an open cask of aged barleywine, and door prizes.