Food & Drink News

Four Peaks releases seasonal Pumpkin Porter tonight at midnight

BY Jess Harter Thursday, August 31, 2017

Post image for Four Peaks releases seasonal Pumpkin Porter tonight at midnight

Four Peaks taps Pumpkin Porter, its best-selling seasonal beer, tonight at midnight at its pubs in Tempe and Scottsdale.

It will hit restaurants, bars, and retail stores next week.

Pumpkin Porter made its debut in 1999, when it was one of just a few pumpkin beers nationwide. Today, more than 1,000 pumpkin beers are brewed.

The recipe has remained unchanged for 19 years. Although brewed with pumpkin puree, the beer isn’t meant to taste like pumpkin, but rather pumpkin pie spices.

Learn more about the origins of Pumpkin Porter in this Q&A with Four Peaks brewmaster Andy Ingram from the MXSW files.

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Huss launches Copper State IPA to replace That’ll Do IPA

BY Jess Harter Thursday, August 31, 2017

Post image for Huss launches Copper State IPA to replace That’ll Do IPA

So long, That’ll Do. Hello, Copper State.

Huss Brewing in south Tempe has released a new beer – Copper State IPA.

Brewed with Citra, Amarillo, and Simcoe hops, Copper State is described as juicy yet dry and has an ABV of 6.5% and 69 IBUs.

The beer will go on sale, on draft and in cans, this week.

It replaces the brewery’s original IPA, That’ll Do (7.1% ABV, 69 IBUs), which featured Simcoe, Zythos and Columbus hops.

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The Perch Brewery in Chandler closes for kitchen renovations

BY Jess Harter Monday, August 28, 2017

Post image for The Perch Brewery in Chandler closes for kitchen renovations

The Perch Brewery in downtown Chandler closed Saturday for several days for expansion of its kitchen.

If you’re wondering why they didn’t keep at least the bar portion open during renovations, the answer is pretty obvious when you see the 6-foot-deep trench for new cleanouts leading from the kitchen, across the patio and through the front gate.

The enlarged kitchen, which is absorbing the former merchandise store space, will accommodate a new menu.

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A separate stand-alone building that housed a beauty salon before being turned into a private dining room, now has been converted to general seating. More seats also have been added to the side patio.

No reopening date has been announced, but if construction stays on schedule I’m told The Perch is hoping to reopen – the bar, at least – on Friday.

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Post image for Amazing Jake’s in Mesa undergoing renovations, food & beverage upgrades

After 10 years, Amazing Jake’s entertainment center in Mesa is undergoing a massive renovation, including an upgrade of its food and beverage offerings and a new name – Jake’s Unlimited.

Starting this week, Jake’s is closed for construction Mondays through Thursdays, but remains open to the public Fridays through Sundays. Construction is scheduled to continue through September.

The 87,000-square foot building on Baseline, west of Gilbert, is getting new paint, flooring, lighting, and finishes (artist’s rendering shown above).

New attractions will include a dual-level laser tag arena, VIP bowling suites, six mini bowling lanes, an open-space bumper car arena, a custom-designed carnival-style ride, more than 170 arcade games, midway games, a full redemption store, and an expanded kid zone.

The former all-you-can-eat buffet will be revamped by executive chef Scott Nelson, who will also introduce an a la carte menu. There will be two full bars for guests to enjoy specialty cocktails, wine, and beer.

Jake’s Unlimited also will debut Jake’s After Dark, an adults-only happy hour starting at 8 p.m. daily. The event will include DJs, food specials, drink specials, and attraction specials.

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Scottsdale Beer Company, Quail Distributing reach agreement

BY Jess Harter Thursday, August 17, 2017

Post image for Scottsdale Beer Company, Quail Distributing reach agreement

Scottsdale Beer Company, Arizona’s eighth-largest brew pub in terms of production volume, soon will be providing its beers to bars, restaurants, and stores throughout the state.

Valley-based Quail Distributing will begin delivering SBC beers in mid-September.

“It brings us great pride to team up with such a well-respected local brewery,’’ says Shawn Hillman, portfolio manager for Quail.

‘‘Scottsdale Beer Company’s dedication to freshness, craftsmanship and community involvement are major factors in why we are so thrilled to join forces,’’ Hillman says. ‘‘We couldn’t be happier about our new partnership.”

SBC was founded in 2014 by Douglas Ledger and Tom Davidson, who hired head brewer Brad Williams to oversee the 10-barrel brewing system.

It’s most popular beers include East Coast Grove IPA, Downshift Session IPA, Big Mouth Blonde Ale, and East End Amber Ale.

“It’s truly an honor to partner with an organization like Quail,” Ledger says. “We consider it a huge success to be in a portfolio that houses more than a handful of world-class breweries.”

A series of launch events will be held the week of Sept. 18.

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Scottsdale-based Flo’s Restaurants file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

BY Jess Harter Monday, August 14, 2017

Post image for Scottsdale-based Flo’s Restaurants file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Scottsdale-based Flo’s Restaurants, which operates three Asian eateries in the Valley, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Owner Flo Chan opened her original Asian eatery in Scottsdale in 1997, and has added (and closed) several addition locations over the years.

There currently are three Flo’s: Two in Scottsdale and one in south Tempe. All remain open while the restaurant group tries to reorganize its debt.

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Post image for JC’s Steakhouse hires chef from recently destroyed Mining Camp Restaurant

One restaurant’s misfortune can be another’s opportunity.

That’s how Dennis Petty and wife Diana Blewer, owners of JC’s Steakhouse in Gilbert, saw the July 28 fire that destroyed the historic Mining Camp Restaurant in Apache Junction,

That same day, Petty was on the phone to recruit chef Dennis Bagnasco, who oversaw the Mining Camp’s Dutchman’s Hide Out steakhouse for nearly eight years.

(The Mining Camp consisted of three restaurants: a family-style dining hall, a steakhouse, and a dinner theater.)

Bagnasco (shown above on left), whose 22-year career also includes eight years with Pei Wei, will head JC’s kitchen with Petty (right).

‘‘I saw it as a great opportunity to take some weight off my shoulders and Diana’s,’’ says Petty, who has handled nearly all chef duties with Blewer as his backup.

The addition of Bagnasco, whose first day at JC’s was Thursday, allows the owners more time to focus on intereacting with customers, planning special events, and expanding their catering services.

‘‘It allows us to do what we’ve wanted to do since we opened (in December 2014),’’ Blewer says. ‘‘Dennis has rarely had time to greet customers and chat with them.’’

JC’s Steakhouse, located on the southeast corner of Gilbert and Ray, opens for dinner at 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (3 p.m. for happy hour).

It also recently began opening for lunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Friday.

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Burger Daze at Liberty Market: 31 specialty burgers in 31 days

BY Jess Harter Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Post image for Burger Daze at Liberty Market: 31 specialty burgers in 31 days

Liberty Market launches its eighth annual Burger Daze promotion today. Every day this month, the downtown Gilbert restaurant is offering a different specialty burger.

(Pictured: This week’s first six burgers, in order.)

  • Today: Coffee Burger with Beehive Barely Buzzed Cheese, candied bacon, and onion whipped cream on Hawaiian bun.
  • Wednesday: Monte Cristo Burger with Swiss cheese, shaved ham, strawberry jam and powdered sugar, served open face on griddled bread pudding.
  • Thursday: Spanish Burger with manchego cheese, chimichurri aioli and sliced Spanish chorizo on panella bun.
  • Friday: Ultimate Buffalo Burger with buffalo patty, pickled carrots and celery, St. Pete’s blue cheese, Frank’s Red Hot buffalo sauce on kaiser bun.
  • Saturday: Chilaquiles Burger with chilaquiles, sunny side up egg, tomatillo salsa, cotija cheese on a jalapeno ciabatta bun.
  • Sunday: Liberty Joe Burger with housemade sloppy joe and cheddar cheese on Hawaiian bun.
  • Monday: Gordita Burger with pico de gallo, lettuce, pepper jack cheese on house-made fried gorditas. Served with tortilla chips.
  • Aug. 8: California Burger with guacamole, lettuce, tomato, and Monterey Jack cheese on a croissant.
  • Aug. 9: Shrimp Po’ Boy Burger with two 4-ounce patties, fried shrimp, coleslaw, and house-made remoulade on a baguette.
  • Aug. 10: Thai Ramen Burger with ramen noodles, Thai basil, cilantro, seasoned pork, and red chile peanut sauce on a panella bun.
  • Aug. 11: Onion Ring Burger with fried onion ring, smoked cheddar, sauteed red onion, potato chips, and BBQ sauce on kaiser bun.
  • Aug. 12: Short Rib Burger with braised short ribs, fresh mozzarella, and shaved parmesan on ciabatta bun.
  • Aug. 13: Croque Madame Burger with shaved ham, Swiss, fresh tomato, sunnyside up egg, smothered with bechamel, served open faced on challah toast.
  • Aug. 14: Elvis Burger with cheddar cheese, chopped bacon, peanut butter, and pickles on housemade waffle bun.
  • Aug. 15: Boursin Burger with herbed Boursin cheese, caramelized onions, and fresh arugula on Hawaiian bun.
  • Aug. 16: Black Bean Butternut Burger (vegan) with black bean and butternut squash patty, avocado, heirloom tomatoes, and baby greens on a kaiser bun.
  • Aug. 17: The Greek Burger with feta cheese, Nicoise olives, oven-dried tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce on potato bun.
  • Aug. 18: Poached Pear Burger with white wine poached pear, Cambozola, bacon, and spring mix on Hawaiian bun.
  • Aug. 19: Louie Burger with crab salad, chopped bacon, avocado, red leaf lettuce, and Russian dressing on pretzel bun.
  • Aug. 20: BBQ Pork Burger with house-made BBQ pulled pork and creamy coleslaw on seeded kaiser roll.
  • Aug. 21: Brie and Mushroom Burger with brie cheese, truffled mushrooms, watercress, and oven-dried tomato aioli on onion brioche bun.
  • Aug. 22: Fried Chicken Burger with beef patty, fried chicken, bacon, jack cheese, ranch and jalapeno chips on Hawaiian bun.
  • Aug. 23: Korean Beef Burger with beef patty, Korean-style short ribs, kimchi, radishes, and sesame seeds on hand-cut bun.
  • Aug. 24: Serious Grilled Cheese Burger: Fontina, Jack, Cambozola, and shaved cornichons on panella bun.
  • Aug. 25: Fresh Grind Burger with house-ground brisket, ribeye, short rib patty, fontina cheese, tempura fried oyster mushroom, and demi glace served open face on polenta cake.
  • Aug. 26: Savory Dossant Burger with gruyere cheese, crispy bacon, and roasted garlic aioli on onion dossant.
  • Aug. 27: Elote Burger with fire-roasted corn, Mexican spice blend, lime aioli, pepper jack, cotija, Fresno peppers, and cilantro on jalapeno ciabatta bun.
  • Aug. 28: Curry Masala Burger with grilled halloumi cheese, curried onions and tomatoes, and masala aioli on a brioche bun.
  • Aug. 29: Basil Pesto Burger with basil pesto, fresh mozzarella, fried zucchini, and arugula on ciabatta bun.
  • Aug. 30: Chile Relleno Burger with cheese-stuffed relleno, shredded lettuce, green enchilada sauce, and cotija cheese on a panella bun.
  • Aug. 31: End of Daze Burger with Hatch chile cheese, foie gras, duck bacon, truffle aioli, and parmesan tuile on toasted brioche.

Prices will be determined by market rates.

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Post image for La Ristra New Mexican Kitchen taking orders for annual Hatch chile sale

August is almost upon us, so it’s time to order your Hatch chile peppers.

La Ristra New Mexican Kitchen in Gilbert will hold its fifth annual Hatch Chile Festival on Aug. 25-26. You must pre-order your Hatch chiles in advance.

Peppers are $45 for a 40-pound sack or $80 for two sacks. Peppers are available in hot and extra hot.

Restaurant staffers will travel to Hatch, N.M., in early August to pick up their annual supply of chiles, which they will roast in their parking lot during the Aug. 25-26 festival.

The weekend also will include a Sante Fe Brewing tap takeover and live music.

To order your Hatch chiles, call La Ristra at 480-545-2880.

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Real, Wild & Woody beer festival nearly doubles attendance mark

BY Jess Harter Monday, July 31, 2017

Post image for Real, Wild & Woody beer festival nearly doubles attendance mark

The fourth annual Real, Wild & Woody beer festival drew a record crowd of more than 3,100 to the Phoenix Convention Center on Saturday.

The indoor event, which featured cask (real) beers, Brettanomyces yeast (wild) beers, and barrel-aged (woody) beers – is one of three premier festivals sponsored annually by the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild.

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The footprint of this year’s fest was more than twice as big as last year’s. Most of the extra square footage was needed to accommodate the larger crowd, which easily surpassed the 1,600 mark set last year.

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A record total of 73 craft breweries participated. Each offered three to six different beers for sampling.

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Besides beer and food samples, the fest offered numerous activities, including a climbing wall, a giant chess board, a retro video games arcade, a silent disco (pictured above), foosball, live music, and more.

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