Find an Oasis at Mother Bunch Brewing
Soaring temps and dry desert landscapes make cold beer a godsend in Phoenix. Luckily there is no shortage of craft breweries in the Arizona valley. Mother Bunch Brewing proved to be the perfect oasis and watering hole. This brewery was on the top of my “must visit” list. They came highly recommended by VisitPhoenix and they had a female brewer, Julie Meeker. We had been out in the heat for several hours and needed food and drink. Immediately Julie greeted us at our table and rounded up flights while we cooled off and perused the menu.
Julie Meeker, Owner/Brewer
As I mentioned, I chose Mother Bunch Brewing because of Julie. Julie is unassuming and welcoming. Like so many brewers, she comes with an electrical engineering background and tinkering mind.
Julie Meeker is an active member of the Pink Boots Society. As such she is a strong advocate for promoting women in the beer industry. The Pink Boots Society is an organization that supports women in the beer industry with education and scholarships. Julie earned a scholarship for the Oregon State University Craft Brewery Startup Workshop in Bend, OR.
Mother Bunch Origin
The name Mother Bunch comes from an obscure reference
to a 17th century alewife. Mother Bunch was a 17th century
literary figure, an alewife that was renowned for her
jests, storytelling and aphrodisiac ales.
…”she played a starring role as jester, tapster
and mistress of ceremonies in a popular London alehouse.”
Mother Bunch digs
Mother Bunch Brewing is located in Central Phoenix. A restored Bayless Grocery Store houses the brewery and eatery. Bayless Grocery Stores were an Arizona icon and this one, the seventh in the area, opened in 1928. The interior design leaves the historic brick walls visible with a welcoming horseshoe bar in the center. The business opened the restaurant service first in 2014 and started brewing in 2015. The brewing uses 7 barrel and 15 barrel fermenters. They do their canning directly off of the fermenters. In 2016 90% of their beer was sold within their own taproom. Growth goals for 2017 are to start marketing out to other local taps in the Phoenix area.
Mother Bunch Beer Flights
Between our combined 16 samples we were able to taste most of the 19 beers on tap. Each one of the four of us enjoys very different beer styles so this was a great way to explore the offerings. We settled on the Sriracha Beer Mac as a shared plate. Oh Mother Bunch thank you for the treats!
The beers were all innovative and refreshing. One thing I have found in Arizona vs Wisconsin beer is that Arizona favors lighter and more fruity beers. I am sure that the heat plays a role in this trend. As an example there was a Belgian Ale with beets, rhubarb and rutabaga, a Pineapple Gose and the De Peche Mode Ale, a Saison featuring locally sourced peaches.
Final votes for our favorites were:
Single Blonde 1.3-a single malt blonde ale hopped with New Zealand Wakatu. Pale yellow color and crisp light flavor
The Mother IPA-Classic West Coast IPA. Deep golden color and strong hoppy bite.
Golden Ticket-New England style Pale Ale. Hazy liquid gold with a fruity finish.
Mounds Stout-Oatmeal Chocolate Milk Stout with coconut. Rich mahogany color and flavor fit for dessert. The two girls both voted this as the winner. We didn’t taste the Cherry Popper Porter but after this Mounds we probably should have!!
All this Great beer AND Food!
Oh Mother! the food was good! Julie teamed up with chef Holly Arguella from the beginning in 2014. The food was creative, flavorful and fresh. My husband tried the Crown Burger; a juicy hand-formed patty perfectly cooked, with corned beef, red cabbage and Thousand Island dressing. A delicious combo for the Reuben-lover in my family. Our less adventurous eater raved about the good ol’ American Burger that he declared was the best burger we had found in Arizona. Both burgers came with the “motherlode” of french fries. My friend enjoyed the French Dip with a trendy addition of arugula and fennel. I simply wallowed in the freshest most amazing Nicoise salad. The salad consisted of crispy fresh greens, olives smoked in-house and loaded with seared Ahi tuna. Throw in capers, green beans, hard-boiled egg, a sweet-tart lemon vinaigrette and you are in heaven.
Put Mother Bunch Brewing on your Radar
If you are planning a visit to Phoenix you really must visit Mother Bunch Brewing. The beer, the food and the service will delight. Better yet, if you are currently in the Phoenix area, Mother Bunch is participating in the 4th Annual Urban Ale Trail this weekend, Saturday September 23, check them out.