Soon-to-open Uncle Bear’s Brewhouse Grill in Ahwatukee to brew its own beers

Jess Harter | Tuesday, August 13, 2013

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Uncle Bear’s will open its fifth Valley bar and grill next month in Ahwatukee, but it’ll be very different from the others partners Todd Carey, Josh Allison, and David Thompson have opened in Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek, and Surprise.

At nearly 8,000 square feet, the former home of El Paso Bar-B-Que Co. on the southwest corner of I-10 and Ray is nearly twice as big as the other locations. The extra space is needed because the newly named Uncle Bear’s Brewhouse Grill will brew its own beer.

UncleBears2Slated to open in mid- to late September, the Ahwatukee site will have a seven-barrel brewing system. There will be 14 beers on tap, including nine or 10 Uncle Bear’s beers. The rest will be rotating guest craft beers.

“There will be no domestics (like Budweiser or Coors),” says Jason Derby, director of marketing, sales, and events for Uncle Bear’s.

He says “core” beers for the opening will be a blonde, an amber, a dunkel, a hefe, an IPA, and an Oktoberfest.

Eventually, some of those beers, but not all, also will be served at other Uncle Bear’s locations, Derby says.

Head brewer Scott Bickert comes from Durango., Colo., where he worked at Ska Brewing and opened his own Durango Brewing. Locally, he has worked at Four Peaks, as well as the now-defunct Oggi’s and Rio Salado.

Josh Frank, who worked at Pale Horse Brewing in Salem, Ore., will be his assistant brewer.

Craig Driml, a private chef from California whose clients have included Johnny Carson and Steven Seagal, has been tasked with “stepping up” the food menu from the typical bar food served at current Uncle Bear’s.

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