Mesa has long been known for its great selection of Asian dishes, with small restaurants serving Cantonese dishes, large grocery stores selling kimchi and ingredients to make bulgogi, and spots specializing in some of the best dumplings throughout the Phoenix subway.
But Mesa is also becoming a destination for drinks. Breweries are popping up in the town in the East Valley, and now downtown Mesa has enough for an afternoon of drinking.
Stop at Oro Brewing Company to try a homemade beer. Then, pass by Cider Corps to taste the magic of the apple. Head to Chupacabra Taproom for a selection of craft beers from around the world. Then end the afternoon with a hearty meal at 12 West Brewing Company.
Craft beer lovers also have something to look forward to, as the Pedal Haus brewery in Tempe plans to move in soon.
These breweries have great food and beer
Although technically a cider house and not a brewery, Cider body is on the list of must-see destinations for craft drinks in Mesa. Brothers Josh and Jason Duren create fruit-flavored, but not too sweet, sparkling ciders sold at specialty liquor stores and subway bottle stores in Phoenix.
But the beauty of stopping in the taproom comes with the rotating specials, including frozen cider slushies during the warmer months, and food. Mykes Pizza, a local pizza pop-up created by chef and owner Myke Olsen, found a permanent space inside Cider Corps and bakes specialty pies several evenings a week.
From the outside, it’s hard to tell how vast downtown Mesa is 12 West Brewing Company That is true. Step into the space to find towering ceilings and a grand dining room of patrons eating burgers, burritos, and poke bowls. The eclectic menu has options for many tastes, as does the drink list.
Popular 12 West beers, including the ultra crushable Zona Pilsner or the bright and fruity Blap Blap Blood Orange Belgian Wheat, are the mainstays of the menu. But keep an eye out for seasonal outings with a list of craft cocktails, many of which come with a show. The Butterfly Effect, a bright purple cocktail served in a martini glass, comes with a “magic bubble” perched on top that releases a cloud of flavored smoke when it bursts.
Coming soon: the original location of Pedal Haus Brewery is located in Tempe. In 2020, an outpost opened in Chandler. Now, two more sites are in the works: one in downtown Phoenix and another in Mesa. The two existing Pedal Haus locations serve a classic pub menu as well as several vegetarian and vegan options. The Mesa location is slated to open in December, according to the brewery’s website.
Details: Cider Corps, 31 S. Robson, No. 103, Mesa. 480-993-3164, cidercorpsaz.com. 12 West Brewing Company, 12 W. Main St., Mesa. 480-508-7018, 12westbrewing.com/mesa. Soon, Brasserie Pedal Haus, pedalehausbrewery.com.
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Located on Main Street in downtown Mesa is a small space where you might run into a neighbor. Look for the black and white sign and decor to find Oro Brewing Company, a mini but powerful brewery. Some staple beers include Hopiphany, an American IPA; the Singularity, an American lager; and Give Peat a Chance, an extra solid foreigner.
Depending on the weather, Chupacabra Taproom can be the perfect place to go out all year round. In the winter, or on a particularly hot summer day, make yourself comfortable inside the small brick building for a pint and play a board game. When the weather permits, sip the taproom’s large selection of beers on a picnic table on the patio.
Beer Research Institute, or BRI, is located inside a Mesa shopping center. But as hidden gem hunters know, it’s often the setting for a great local find. Seating at the bar and a few kiosks are usually packed with friends and family having a beer together or enjoying a meal. Along with a rotating beer list, BRI also serves burgers and pub food. Pay attention to some of the thought-provoking beer names including Taxation Is Theft, a wheat beer brewed with tea, and Morning Sex milk stout.
Open since 2012, Desert Eagle Brewing Company leaves the hip vibe and trendy decor to the new breweries in the valley and instead focuses on the vibes of the old school beer bars. The relaxed place offers fruit beers flavored with black cherries and pomegranate, as well as a menu of pizzas and sandwiches. Stop by this brasserie in the afternoon, and you’ll often find an act of live music entertaining a crowd of regulars.
Details: Oro Brewing Company, 210 W. Main St., Mesa. 480-398-8247, orobrewing.com. Chupacabra Taproom, 14 N. Robson, Mesa. 480-751-5566, chupacabrataproom.com. Beer Research Institute, 1641 S. Stapley Drive, Mesa. 480-892-2020, thebeerresearchinstitute.com. Desert Eagle Brewing Company, 150 W. Main St., Mesa. 480-656-2662, deserteaglebrewing.com.
Stop here on your way back from a hike
the Goldwater Longbow Taproom, a Goldwater Brewing Company outpost in Old Town Scottsdale, is located away from the Downtown Brewery Collection and finds its home in Northeast Mesa.
Whether you’re coming back from a tour of the Salt River wild horses or a hike in Usery Mountain Park, this modern taproom is well worth a stop. Decorated with dark metal and wood, the taproom provides an industrial yet cozy place to enjoy one of the many rotating beer options. A stocked refrigerator also offers cans to go. If it’s from the tap, try it hot pink Desert Rose Cactus Kolsch.
Details: Goldwater Brewing Company Longbow, 5942 E. Longbow Parkway, Unit 105, Mesa. 480-590-3215, goldwaterbrewing.com.
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