2017 update. Sadly, this wonderful bar has gone the way of history. The lease ended and the location was earmarked for redevelopment. BAH! But the legacy lives on through Huss Brewing whom we will write about soon.
Craft beer in America is a booming business these days. It seems that nowadays every little gas station has a chiller full of the local brews with a few state favourites and the demand for it in bars and restaurants is ever growing. Papago Brewing, though, is no zeitgeist surfer, they have been espousing the best refreshments in the Valley of the Sun since 2001. Not only that, but they also brew their own as well.
The first thing that strikes you on entering the bar, after the gigantic wooden statue of a native American, is the vast chiller* section. Taking up most wall opposite the bar, they are stocked with bottled beers from around the world but the majority of it is taken up with some of America’s finest. On the Belgian front, all the the big names are stocked like Chimay and Gulden Draak. As is usual in America, the English selection consists almost entirely of the big breweries and is kept at chiller temperature but in their defence this is Arizona and cool spaces are not easy to come by outside of a chiller. You would probably need oil company drills to dig very deep underground to get an English cellar temperature.
They also have a great range of draft beers with 30 taps on daily rotation and usually include an English beer though I have never sampled it there because…well, I can get plenty of that at home and why would I want the same old when I could get a real glass of Stone IPA from the tap?
Whilst like most craft breweries, Papago serves food including some amazing pizzas and soft pretzels, it still feels like somewhere you can while away the hours. There is even an internet-connected jukebox which can be operated via cell* phone apps. With the app allowing you to create playlists anytime, trying to find the most obscure music you can on it becomes an obsessive bar pastime, especially as the old CD jukebox had such sterling selection. However, for those who just want a quieter drink, there is a side room with no speakers in it so only those with the hearing of a bat will be able to tell what music is playing in the bar.
Arizona gets very hot most of the time and even in Winter, Scottsdale is still a t-shirt town. Papago is the perfect antidote, a vital desert watering hole offering an oasis of sanity and good taste.
*fridge. Seen as how I am talking about a bar in America, I might as well use the local lingo.
*mobile. See above