SunUp Brewery Serves Up An abundance of Local Flavor
Arizona’s sunny blue skies always seem to shine a little brighter on SunUp Brewery Company, located on Camelback just west of Seventh Street. There, you’ll find a variety of handcrafted beers and cask ales, as SunUp is not only a neighborhood favorite, but a respected name among beer connoisseurs. It’s a small, friendly place that brings in a great lunch crowd during the day and a handful of locals at night who give rave reviews about their crafted beer.
Mistress of brews, Mollie Luke, has been the general manager at SunUp for almost 10 years and explains the atmosphere there nicely. “What I love about working at SunUp Brewery is the customers. They have become family—it doesn’t seem like work when you’re surrounded by friends.”
Great Crafted Beers
The job of a brewmaster is to make a quality tasting beer, and when doing so, jotting down all the ingredients used to create it. At SunUp, they have recipes that go back eight years, thanks to Brewmaster Uwe Boer, whose district brewing style has earned him quite a reputation.
Boer is a true brewmeister, born and raised in Germany. He lived in a town surrounded by breweries, with the local fragrance being hop or malt. He later moved to California, where his first attempt at beer making was from a kit he had purchased. Later, he started to experiment with flavors, which got him even more interested in beer making. An interview with Sonora Brewing Company brought him to Phoenix, where he worked 10 years learning all he could about the business.
Some of SunUp’s popular Cask Ales include Barley Wine, Amber with Elderberries, Double Trouble D.I.P.A. and Brown Ale with Molasses. These Cask Ales are naturally carbonated. I enjoyed the Amber with Elderberries and found the Brown Ale with Molasses to have a smooth yet slightly sweet taste.
Also available are 14 Drafted Ales. I liked the popular White Russian and found it had a hardy taste. The Trooper IPA was milder, drinkable and is a crowd favorite. Other ales include Hometown Pilsner, a Black Lager, Hefeweizen, a Cream Ale and a Vanilla Porter, just to name a few.
History of the Brewery
Owner John Westberg was the original architect for the renovation of the small brick building in 2001, when Sonora Brewhouse opened its doors. At that time, the brewing of beer was done by Sonora Brewing Company. When the owners of Sonora Brewing Company sold the business, a decision was made to expand and turn the pub into a brewery. So, in 2006, Brewmeister Boer started brewing beer at a new location, Bar 2, next door to the original building—a wall of glass gives patrons a chance to look into the Brewer’s Den and see the brewing activity. Another recent expansion brought the brewery a state-of-the-art brewing system, taking the eight-barrel system to a 15-barrel one.
The kitchen at SunUp has recently been dishing out some new creations, thanks to a Santa Fe chef. Daily lunch specials can be enjoyed weekly, and the Happy Hour “Five for Five” selections come in good-sized portions and are very tasty, including fried pickles, deviled eggs and bruschetta.
“I’d describe our food as tastefully-created and well-made, with fresh ingredients that wouldn’t be expected,” states owner John Westberg.
From their very diverse menu, I enjoyed the SunUp Nachos served with blue and gold tortilla chips, black beans, Cotija cheese, chipotle, avocado, cilantro sauces and small slices of steak. It can also be ordered with chicken.
I can also clearly see why the House Ground Angus Burger served with blue cheese and bacon is so popular—it’s just plain really good. Next, I tried both the Red Chile Pork and the Green Chile Pork. It’s a toss up of which I enjoyed best; the red chili is spicier compared to the green chile. Both are served with warm tortilla wedges, which I unfolded and filled with chili, making mini burritos. A variety of entrees include shepherd’s pie, battered cod, chicken strips, fish tacos and salmon. Sandwiches, wraps, salads and sides give a great selection for every appetite. And be sure to save room for dessert, as the Jack Daniel’s homemade bread pudding and fried cheesecake are definite must-tries.
Yes, there is always a ray of sun beaming upon SunUp, and not only on the center patio, but soon on local grocery stores, which will now carry four types of their famous beers in cans.