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The Main Ingredient Ale House: Happy Hour Report Card

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The Spot: The Main Ingredient Ale House, 2337 N 7th Street, Phoenix, 602-843-6246 http://www.tmialehouse.com/

The Hours: Almost every day of the week (closed Sunday) The Main Ingredient opens its doors at 11 am and offers happy hour pricing until 6 pm, and in case somebody's got a case of the Mondays, happy hour runs open to close on that dreadful day.

The Details: $2.50 for every craft beer they have on tap, half off wells, and $4 glasses of select wine. No food deals, but the regular menu is relatively affordable.

(the happy hour break down after the jump)

The Interior: TMI comes off as a hip and urban neighborhood bar that manages to be refined without losing its welcoming demeanor. The re-purposed house boasts lots of dark wood, exposed brick, local artwork to add some flavor, and there's even a fire place. Long communal tables and cozy nooks for smaller parties dot the inside, along with a short bar with a couple of seats (and one of the only TVs in the joint). For those looking to enjoy a pint of ale on a crisp autumn evening, this is one of the best patios in Phoenix to do so. And there are plenty of heat lamps scattered across the spacious patio to keep you and yours toasty warm.

The Cost: A couple of brewskis, the soup du jour (mmm...that sounds good), green chile mac 'n' cheese, and a sammich came to 23 bucks before tax and tip. Not too shabby for a full meal for two and some fine ale.

The Conclusion: There was a bit of something for everyone on the beer list, and we settled for The Main Ale and a the Avery "White Rascal," a Belgian Wit. The beer list keeps it relatively local, highlighting breweries throughout the Southwest, and we spotted brews from California, Colorado and four from our very own state. Not too shabby for a couple bucks and change on happy hour.

We were initially kind of bummed that the happy hour didn't extend to any food, but the regular menu was surprisingly affordable. The soup du jour ($5) was a big bowl of cream of asparagus that was rich and flavorful, garnished with a couple of hefty crostinis for dipping. Mindy's Mac & Cheese ($7) was a dense gut-bomb (in a very, very good way) of macaroni, cheddar cheese, and green chiles baked to crisp and spicy perfection. Plenty big to share!

The big winner of the evening had to be the surprising Cash Money sandwich ($6), which initially piqued our interest with a description of cashew butter, red pepper cabernet jelly, and sliced bananas. It was warm and melty, crispy and ooey gooey. It could easily have slid into dessert territory, but the semi-sweet cashew butter and spicy jelly added complexity to this glorified PB&J.

Awesome craft beers for less than a bottle of domestic at most places, and a delicious menu that puts a spin on traditional comfort food? Well done. Even without any deals on food.

Overall Grade: B

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