What to order at Wren Südhalle, Wren House's new Ahwatukee taproom and restaurant | Phoenix New Times

First Taste

Wren Südhalle takes drinkers to Europe, no passport required

Beloved local brewery Wren House opened a taproom and restaurant in Ahwatukee. Here's what to order.
Rich pork rillettes are served with mustard, pickles and rye bread.
Rich pork rillettes are served with mustard, pickles and rye bread. Sara Crocker
Share this:
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).

Wren House Brewing Co. is a darling of the local craft beer scene, and beyond, for good reason. The brewery always seems to be one step ahead when it comes to predicting styles that are about to trend, and are executing a range of styles with aplomb.

Given their customers' thirst for quality local craft beer, the company has grown, first with a facility and beer garden in Prescott, and now with a new taproom in Ahwatukkee.

In theory, the owners could have just copied and pasted their Phoenix format with the new spot, which opened in late August. But Wren Südhalle is something totally new. While beer is still central to the new outpost, the team has added food crafted by one of the Valley’s culinary heavy hitters and is introducing drinkers not just to the brewery's own beers, but also to a curated selection of German and Czech imports.

Walking up to Südhalle, which means South Hall, customers will see an airy patio to the side and a white neon sign reading “Bier Here” next to the main door. The inside is decidedly chic, with clean-lined Scandinavian minimalism and warm, earthy pops of green. Large communal tables and benches flank one end of the bar, with more intimate round tables on the other.
click to enlarge
The inside is decidedly chic, with clean-lined Scandinavian minimalism and warm, earthy pops of green.
Sara Crocker
The bar is the heart of the space, which creates a horseshoe around the room with 24 taps at its center. It has a brass top and is tiled with square light-emerald tiles. Those taps are split between Wren House beers, imports, four wines and a hard cider. Below the tap list, coolers hold cans of Wren House beers.

Given our familiarity with the brewer, we skipped the in-house beers and opted for some of the imports. A helpful beertender walked us through the offerings, navigating the taps that were literally and figuratively foreign to us. We settled on a kolsch from Sünner, a Cologne, Germany-based brewery founded in 1830 that is still family-owned, along with an Oktoberfest. Both beers came in glasses fit for their styles – a tall highball-esque glass and a dimpled mug. The kolsch was effortlessly crisp and sessionable and the Oktoberfest offered a sweet maltiness with a hint of bitterness.

click to enlarge
Wren Südhalle features 24 taps that include Wren House beer, international imports, wine and a hard cider.
Sara Crocker
Another difference from the original brewery is the addition of a food menu. Crafted by Bacanora chef Derek Christensen, the menu is short but shows care and attention paid to using quality vendors and ingredients.

The items are German beer hall meets American gastropub, consisting of shareable items, burgers and kids’ meals. It’s a menu almost exclusively centered around rich meats, cheese and bread. To quote the inimitable (albeit former) "Real Housewife of Beverly Hills" Lisa Rinna, “She’s rich, honey!”

While what's offered is being done well, the menu begs for a salad or something lighter and brighter to cut through that richness or to throw any vegetarians or dairy-intolerant folks a meat- or dairy-free bone. Indeed, after our visit, Südhalle shared that it’s added two new menu items based on customer feedback – a chicken schnitzel sandwich with lemon-fennel aioli, pickles and lettuce and a salad with seasonal greens and a mint and lime vinaigrette.

To be fair, if you’re at a beer hall, are you really counting calories or carbs for the day? Probably not.
click to enlarge
The pretzels, made by Nice Buns Bakery, are thick and get a bit decadent with a slather of brown butter and goat milk beer cheese.
Sara Crocker

We opted for a pretzel, pork rillettes and the Käse Burger – a smashed beef patty, smashed käsekrainer sausage patty, alpenhorn cheese, onions, pickles, lettuce, mustard and the remoulade-like Haus Sauce.

The pretzel, made by the locally-owned Nice Buns Bakery, is thick and has a mall pretzel-like quality – in a good way – thanks to a slather of brown butter over the crust and a sprinkling of flaky salt. It comes with a zesty whole-grain mustard and beer cheese spread made with goat milk. The rillettes come with mustard, pickles and large, thick-cut slices of rye bread. The condiments add a nice balance of sweetness and acid to counter the rich pork spread, which is made by slow-cooking the meat in its own fat. There was ample bread – and while the generosity was appreciated, we were approaching carb overload.
click to enlarge
The Käse Burger features a smashed beef patty, smashed käsekrainer patty, alpenhorn cheese, onions, pickles, lettuce, mustard and a remoulade-like burger sauce, Haus Sauce.
Sara Crocker
And, then came the Käse Burger. The smashed sausage patty added richness and depth to the beef patty. This burger gets a little messy from the melty cheese and addictive Haus Sauce, but it's worth the risk – and lots of napkins. We added on a side of fries, which are tossed with dried dill for an herbal note.

A visit to this new taproom would be a great way to splurge after a long hike at the nearby South Mountain Park and Preserve. Hopefully, the additions to menu are a sign of more items to come that will further round out the menu and build on the solid foundation set since opening. Wren Südhalle likewise has us excited to see what's planned for the company's forthcoming location in the Paradise Valley mall redevelopment in north Phoenix in 2024.

Wren Südhalle

4025 E. Chandler Blvd.
KEEP NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. Your membership allows us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls. You can support us by joining as a member for as little as $1.