In our latest look at the Valley’s growing beer scene, we’re headed to Chandler to check out Helluva Brewing. It’s a relative newcomer that prides itself on “suds and smoke” and initially struggled to come up with a name – until a bottle of wine loosened the creative juices.
- Location: Chandler. McClintock & Ray in the former Zipps location
- Founded: January 2018, opened December 2018
- The Talent: Headed by owners Shawn and Lisa Shepard and head brewer Steve Stone
- Story Behind the Name: The Shepards battled with a name for their brewery for a long time. They wanted something authentically Arizonan but everything they liked had been taken already. One night, over a couple bottles of wine, Lisa said, “Whatever we decide to name it, it’s going to be one hell of a brewery!” Thus Helluva was born.
- Flagship Beer: The Juice Is Loose New England IPA
“Suds and Smoke” is a way of life for Shawn Shepard. The owner of Helluva Brewing takes great pride in the variety of smoked meats and craft brews you can find inside his young Chandler restaurant. “I have two huge passions: brewing beer and smoking food,” Shepard says.
Helluva’s founder speaks glowingly about his product, like a proud dad boasting about his well-accomplished children. “It’s a really damn good beer,” Shepard says about his Juice is Loose New England IPA. “We’re really proud of that beer and would put it up against any other beer of the similar style.” Helluva has created a double version called The Juice is Squeezed, and a triple of the signature style is in the works – along with a clever name.
“99 percent of the beer names come from me,” Shepard says with a laugh. “Three years before we opened the brewery, every beer name I had, I wrote everything down on my phone in the notes section. I think I have enough beer names to last another four or five years.” With craft beer names such as Bringing Sexy Back, Well Ain’t That Peachy and Red Headed Step Child, we can’t wait to see what Helluva comes up with next.
If you go for food, the must-try from the menu are the smoked wings. “Not a lot of places have smoked wings and if they do it’s not damn near as good as we do,” Shepard claims. Judging by the 19 herbs and spices he uses as a dry-rub on those smoked wings, he makes one hell of an argument.