Pretzel with mustard and beer cheese | Photo by Leah LeMoine
There’s a palpable “neighborhood hangout” vibe at Huss Brewing Co.’s Uptown Taproom + Kitchen. It’s not just the picnic tables on the patio packed with friends catching up after work, or the couples stealing away for early date nights at the low-top tables inside. There are kids squirming in their seats and running back and forth to the adjacent lawn, frolicking among dogs on walks and babies in strollers. It’s a place where 20-somethings and retirees rub elbows, all here for the same reason: craft beer and tasty bites. I head there for a media happy hour in late spring with my pal Kristy Durkin of WhereShouldWeEat.
The bites are deeply discounted during happy hour, with four dishes being offered for just $6 each. A small pretzel – soft and chewy inside, faintly crisp and studded with jagged bits of salt – comes with punchy mustard and a ramekin of Cactus Valley beer cheese with a crown of chives. I prefer the melty cheese and bright herbs, but a dash of mustard here and there certainly sparks things up. Kristy, a German girl through and through, loves the mustard.
Chips are plentiful and paired with a small cup of mild salsa rich with puréed tomatoes. Fun twist: Dip your chip in the salsa and then in the beer cheese for a single-serving nacho vibe.
On the lighter side, the Caprese salad boasts four rounds each of juicy tomato and creamy fresh mozzarella, festooned with a chiffonade of basil and drizzled with balsamic vinegar and garlic oil. I love the garlicky touch.
Caprese Salad | By Leah LeMoine
I’m surprised by how much I love the hummus (black pepper or cilantro-lime), which is topped with a wee spoonful of pico de gallo and sided with a quartet of fresh veggies. The carrot sticks (freshly cut, no dicey baby carrots here), paper-thin radish slivers, cherry tomato quarters and cucumber coins are all seasoned with salt and pepper, so they taste great on their own before you even think of dipping them into the hummus. This is such a small touch, but it makes such a difference. Well-seasoned food is thoughtful food, and so much more delicious than naked crudités. I’m inspired to re-create this nosh at home.
Happy hour sips include $4 pints, $7 pitchers, $8 crowlers to go (yes, HH pricing on a to-go item!) and $1 off wine. Kristy tries the special-edition Pink Boots Pale Ale, a collaboration with the Pink Boots Society to celebrate and support women brewers. She loves its tropical quality, with notes of “candied fruit and stone fruit,” per the brewery’s tasting notes. It’s one of more than a dozen brews discounted for happy hour.
I am not a beer gal, so I go for the Mosey White Blend canned wine. It’s a refreshingly crisp and fruity mix of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. Wine-drinkers can opt for a Mosey Red Blend or a Mosey Rosé. Not drinking? No problem. Non-alcoholic options include Lola’s Soda (made with fresh fruit, $4) and Boylan’s Craft Sodas (cola, diet cola and Shirley Temple flavors, $4).
Pink Boots Pale Ale and Mosey White Blend canned wine | Photo by Leah LeMoine
Happy hour runs Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m.
100 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-441-4677, hussbrewing.com