Phoenix Beer Adventures (Part 3 of 3. Finally.)
Oops! I kiiiind of forgot about this last little Beer Diary Travel Edition post. My bad. It’s not even because it was a lackluster, unmemorable experience or something. In fact, it was by far the beer highlight of our trip.
For those of you who don’t remember, or who are just joining the conversation (hi! welcome!) Mike and I visited his family in Phoenix, AZ back in February. As with most vacations, we spent a fair amount of time checking out the local beer scene (Part 1 and Part 2 for reference). We stumbled upon Fate Brewing one afternoon after a delicious breakfast out with Mike’s fam. Well I guess “stumbled” isn’t really the right description. More like “drove by unexpectedly.” I mean really, this is Phoenix AZ. Stumbling implies walking, which doesn’t really happen in Phoenix. We did a little iPhone Google action and found out that Fate was basically a brand new microbrewery. Without hesitation, we both started mentally planning out the rest of our afternoon. Since hubby and I are not averse to a little walking, we decided to earn our beer. We walked the whole three mile distance to the brewpub. Almost an hour later, we arrived, thirsty for local craft beer.
Our initial impression was quite nice. Fate has an interesting mix of modern with vintage touches, like antique glass insulators turned lights, for example. It’s comfortable, but cool as well. Right away we were greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable staff member who told us what Fate is all about. They run a 7 bbl system of beautiful stainless steel with two fermenters, which you can see through glass from anywhere in the bar. They brew pretty much constantly – you could smell the wonderful aroma of funky fermentation as soon as you walked in the door. On any given day, they have 6-10 of their own beers on tap and a smattering of guest taps. It was actually at Fate Brewing that I had my first (and second) Four Peaks “Sirius Black,” which was reason enough to take them seriously. They also serve up 12 different wood-fired pizzas, which as far as I can tell from their simple and delicious Margherita pizza, are also quite good. How can you go wrong with pizza and beer? I don’t think its possible. At the time we visited (mid Feb), they had only been open for about three months, but it seemed like they had already hit their stride.
It only made sense to order up a couple flights to share. I think we tried every one of their beers they had on tap that day. All of the beers were good, but there were a couple of absolute standouts worth mentioning first:
The Hefeweizen (far left above). I think that theirs is the best hefeweizen I have ever had. Like, really. Ever. What a perfect, dry, citrusy wheat beer. Damn. I will go back just for this beer. In fact, we did go back, the next day and I ordered the hefeweizen and the Sirius Black. OMFG.
The American Belgo Pale Ale. This again, had a nice citrusy flavor, but with a hoppy dry finish. It was complex without being overwhelming. A delicious and drinkable beer.
The Pale Ale: This was another delightful, light, but surprisingly hoppy beer. Very refreshing. Would be easy to
pound drink two or three pints of it in a row. Very session-worthy.
Other beers I really liked were their coffee oatmeal stout, which was BIG on coffee. I literally wrote in my beer diary, “Coffee is right. Wow. Coffee all over.” Their standard oatmeal stout was also good and roasty. Perhaps lacking a bit of mouthfeel that I expected from the oatmeal, but still good. Their saison was also good, but I couldn’t get past the licoricey nose. Licorice is just not my bag. They even had a quite interesting collaboration beer with Sonoran Brewing called “Figmentation Collabbey,” an abbey style beer brewed with figs. It was interesting. Perhaps a little too sweet, but it had a nice spicy finish that helped balance the sweetness. The only beer I wasn’t a big fan of was their Irish Red, which I found a little boring. It tasted heavily of caramel malts, but lacked enough of a bitter counterpoint. I think just a bit more hops would have done this beer wonders.
Overall, I was super impressed by what this little microbrewery has accomplished already in its short tenure. There is no question in my mind that the next time we visit Phoenix/Scottsdale, Fate will be one of our first stops. Now if only they could ship some of that freaking delicious hefeweizen to Ohio.