Tailgating Treasures 10

Fall Fun with Family, Friends and Food

Phoenix is in the midst of a craft brewery boom, and Helio Basin Brewing Company is the latest arrival on the scene. Located on the corner of 40th and Thomas, Helio quietly opened in mid-July and has steadily been establishing a foothold in the area ever since.

“We’re starting to give people a reason to come out this way,” says Dustin Hazer, Helio’s co-owner and brewmaster, referring to his own brewery and two others nearby—Helton Brewing Company and Wren House Brewing Company.

When Hazer first checked out the venue—an 8,200–square-foot space that had been vacant for eight years—he was skeptical; until he stepped inside and saw the potential. In a short time, Hazer and his co-owner, Mike Conley, transformed the former pool hall into a light-filled space complete with garage door windows, a large dining room area, an elevated bar space and an enclosed space that holds the tanks where the beer is made.

“Our motto is quality-crafted in Phoenix. Coming from a large brewing scale background, I’m very particular about things being clean and consistent,” says Hazer.

Instead of a constantly rotating beer menu, Helio has six core beers, which includes the dark Robust Porter—one of the very first beers Hazer and Conley ever brewed together—and the House Beer—a light, approachable offering intended to please craft beer novices and connoisseurs alike and spur conversation.

“That’s what beer is all about: Bringing people together,” says Hazer.

Helio also prides itself on serving stellar food, too. The menu features locally-sourced, native Arizona cuisine like tortillas loaded with mesquite honey chicken, goat cheese, apricot pepper compote and micro epazote, along with rotating specialty entrees like roasted duck and elk strip.

Hazer also intends for his brewery to be as transparent as the glass where guests in the dining room can watch him brewing beer in gleaming silver tanks.

“We want to involve people in it,” says Hazer. “There’s nothing to hide.”

Helio has only been open for a few months, but Hazer says restaurants already have inquired about getting his suds on tap— Helton Brewing Company will serve Helio as a guest tap. And even though the craft brewery scene is competitive, the Helio team isn’t too worried about succeeding, with the future looking bright and promising for the brewery.

For more information, please visit HelioBasinBrewing.com.

Tasting Notes: A Sampling of Three of Helio Basin Brewing’s Signature Offerings

Blackberry Wheat

Not your typical fruit beer! Subtle hints of blackberry on the nose and a nice, clean body. The flavor of the fruit is both softly sweet yet refreshingly tart. Versatile enough for any crowd.

American IPA

Notes of sweet caramel and pine on the nose offer a great preview of what’s to come. The classic American hops complement the subtlety sweet yet pleasantly dry flavors from the Cara malts. A true-to-style classic, old-school American IPA.

Robust Porter

A beautifully dark and flavorful beer that is sure to please your senses without filling you up. Notes of burnt caramel, coffee and dark chocolate hit the nose from the special blend of malts in this brew. The flavor backs up the aroma, and then adds some. Complex and subtly, yet pleasantly, bitter, this Robust Porter finishes dry and clean, leaving you ready for another.