Once again on the road for work, I found myself with a free afternoon in the sweltering summertime heat of Phoenix, Arizona and needing a cool place to eat and grab a drink. Luckily there happened to be a brewery just a few blocks from my hotel, so I walked over to explore Mother Bunch Brewing. Founded in 2014 by a wife and husband team, the name is an homage to the important role women have played in the brewing world throughout its history, and if this place is any indication of that talent and will continue to play in the future. So, grab a beer, relax, and try to stay cool as I recount my visit to this desert oasis.
- Beer – I’ve never gone back to a brewery on the same trip just for another round of one of their beers, until now. On tap is an impressive array of styles and creativity, ranging from the darkest depths of a milk stout to a bright and clean blonde ale. Unique flavors abound (carrot juice IPA anyone?) that blend well for some tasty brews, including my favorite beer of the trip, and maybe the year: the Cherry Popper Porter. A supremely delicious, smooth, easy finishing beer that I highly recommend anyone stopping by try, that alone is enough to score highly for me. Score: 4/5
- Brewery – Mother Bunch resides in a historic building in downtown Phoenix that is all brick with an industrial motif, combining the feel of the old west with the modern in an airy and open brewpub. Inside, an enormous horseshoe shaped bar dominates the floor, with ample table seating scattered around the room and watched over by the gorgeous murals on the wall. Outside there is a small patio area for the cooler times of the year (does that exist in Arizona?). They offer a full food menu, encompassing mostly burgers and sandwiches, with a few vegetarian options thrown in. The prices are reasonable, with a meal for two, including drinks, around $40. With hours the start before lunch and end late, there is plenty of flexibility for stopping in, though I recommend aiming for lunch or dinner as the food is delicious. Score: 4/5
- Ambiance and Entertainment – More restaurant and brewpub than tap room, the on-site events appear to be centered around food pairing nights (the stout and ice cream pairing they had recently sounded heavenly), though I do see trivia showing up a lot on their schedule. There are a few televisions around the bar for watching the local NFL and MLB teams. I did not see any tabletop or outdoor games that could be played anywhere. With such a large, open space it would be a great spot to host local live music, though I understand the logistical challenge that may present. Score: 2.5/5
- Location – Right at the edge of downtown Phoenix and one of the major routes out of that area, they picked a good spot for a brewery. Within easy walking distance are a plethora of restaurants, bars, the MLB stadium, and even other breweries. Not to mention the museums, art galleries, and the music venues inherent to a city this size. If you drive, there is a large parking lot right next door along with some street parking off the main road. The area is walk and somewhat bike friendly, just remember to bring lots of water so you don’t get too dehydrated. Score: 3.5/5
- Customer Service – Both times I visited on this trip the service was great. Seated quickly, my server took the time to chat and give some of the history behind the brewery and its name, plus make a few beer recommendations. Once my order was taken, the beers were brought out quickly with the food following in a reasonable amount of time. All in all they were pleasant visits and I appreciated the level of service they provide to the customer here. Score: 4/5
Total Score: 18/25
Favorite Beer: Cherry Popper – 5.5% Porter
Final Thoughts: Honestly, the porter alone is worth the visit, though the rest of the beer and the wonderful food are also part of the appeal. I was pleasantly surprised to find this craft oasis in the Arizona desert and highly recommend stopping in if you find yourself in Phoenix. I know I’ll be back next time I’m in town.