Taphouse Kitchen Phoenix, the restaurant and sports bar at the corner of 32nd Street and Shea Blvd., has undergone several ownership changes since it first opened in 2014. The most recent happened in May 2020 at the height of the pandemic when Joseph Manzella and his Tableside Partners company bought the turnkey operation, added some booths and – more importantly for us beer lovers – filled the tap lines with its own craft beer. With 20 beers, ciders and seltzers on tap from Taps Brewery, Mason Ale Works and Newtopia Cyder (all are brewed out of Southern California), Taphouse Kitchen has something available for all palates and preferences, from the beer snob to those shy about craft beer, and all the beer–drinkers in between. We were recently invited to try six of its styles, plus food pairings for each. Here’s what we enjoyed.
Cheve Vienna Lager
The night starts with this clean and crisp 4.7% ABV lager. Cheve used to have an amber color to it but the Taps brewmasters changed the recipe a few months ago for the better. With a golden color and easy drinking nature, Cheve is perfect to start the night and pairs well with a brewery pretzel or the crispy calamari appetizer – or bring home a Taphouse 32-ounce crowler and pop in comedy flick Fletch starring Chevy Chase.
The American Cream Ale
The second beer of the evening steps up to a 5.5% ABV light–bodied cream ale that tastes nothing like a cream soda – and that’s a good thing. Too often, breweries create flavored cream beers that are overpowered with flavors of vanilla and too much sweetness. That’s not the case with this Taps Brewery flagship beer. Instead, you get a hint of cream and more of a Kolsch or blonde ale feel. Very crushable and a good entry level beer for those looking to get into the craft beer lifestyle. American Cream Ale pairs well with sushi rolls and medals from the Great American Beer Festival (2001 Gold, 2005 Gold, 2007 Bronze, 2012 Bronze).
Belgian White Ale
Next up on our beer adventure is the Belgian White, a 5% ABV Witbier or wheat beer, brewed with coriander and orange peel. You’ll notice both the fruit and the spice on the nose and on the tongue. Try this refreshing brew with Taphouse’s rack of lamb served over a bed of piquillo pepper puree.
Juicy Liu Hazy IPA
The ever–popular New England–style IPA appears in front of us and we like its fruity nature. Big notes of grapefruit come through on this 7% ABV hazy. Juicy Liu pairs well with fighting ninjas or you can order it to wash down with the Royale with Cheese burger on the menu at Taphouse Kitchen.
Flex West Coast IPA
As a hophead, now we’re getting into my wheelhouse. The 7.2% ABV West Coast style IPA is balanced nicely on bitterness, citrus and pine and pairs well with the blackened fish taco that was so tasty I couldn’t be bothered to take a picture of it for this blog.
Our final beer of the night is served up with one of Alondra’s Beignets from the dessert menu. As someone who hasn’t enjoyed a good Irish Red–style beer since college, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it helped end the night and how it paired so nicely with the powdered sugar–covered piece of fried dough that sat on top of chocolate and caramel sauces.