Mother Bunch Brewing and the Story of a Modern Alewife
I thought a great way to wrap up my mini-series on Phoenix’s craft beer scene was with a Brewery Snapshot on Mother Brunch Brewing. I visited Mother Bunch Brewing last September on a whirlwind tour of breweries lead by Arizona Brewery Tours. As my guide for the day, Hoppy Motto, explained, our itinerary included breweries in the “Beermuda Triangle” – Mother Bunch Brewing, Helton Brewing, Helio Basin Brewery, and Wren House Brewing.
While I enjoyed each of my four visits, Mother Bunch Brewing stood out as someplace I want to revisit on my next trip to Phoenix. The beer flight and the food samples were just a teaser for all that Mother Bunch Brewing has to offer.
Mother Bunch Brewing’s Story
Julie Meeker founded Mother Bunch Brewing in 2014 along with her husband Jimmie McBride. Today, she overseas operations of the brewpub, leading the vision of both the kitchen and the brewery. Like many brewery operators, she got her start in homebrewing, relying on her can-do experience from a career in construction to take her brewing from a hobby into a passion fueled business.
The name, Mother Bunch Brewing, is a nod to the role women have historically played in brewing. In the 1500s and 1600s, women were often the brewers. Being an “alewife” was part of the household duties. Mother Bunch specifically comes from a character in the 17th century jest book called Pasquale’s Jest and Mother Bunch’s Merriments. It’s a story that plays well into calls from major beer publications for equality in beer.
Mother Bunch Brewing’s Location
Mother Bunch Brewing is located in Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row neighborhood. What was once one of Phoenix’s most vital neighborhoods is once again becoming a beat in the pulse of the city. Bordered up buildings that formerly housed crack dens are opening up as artist studios, galleries, award-winning restaurants, and boutiques. Many consider Roosevelt Row to be the arts district of Phoenix.
Mother Bunch Brewing’s home is in the J.B. Bayless Historic Building at the intersection of 7th Street and Garfield. Because of its prime spot on the way out of downtown, it has become a popular happy hour spot, or, as they call it at Mother Bunch Brewing, Traffic Hour. Downtown office dwellers looking to avoid traffic or just meet colleagues after work for a pint can often be found bellied up to the bar after work catching up with friends or email.
The inviting space is bright and airy with an industrial meets loft feel. At the center of the brewpub is a horseshoe shaped bar with a chalkboard looming overhead, listing their 20-tap menu. Typically, 15 of those taps pour Mother Bunch Brewing Beer and five pour other locally brewed wares. Because Mother Bunch Brewing is a brewpub, they also serve wine and cocktails
Check out the rest of my posts on the Phoenix’s food and craft beer scene!
Mother Bunch Brewing Beer and Food
When we arrived at Mother Bunch Brewing, Julie had two flights poured out for us to highlight what she felt showcased the brewery’s top game. If one theme emerged among the beers, it’s that they were all delicate, balanced, and creative. Each one had a nuanced flavor to highlight, but in a manner that danced well with other flavors. Highlights included the Cherry Popper Porter for its blend of smoke and cherry; the Tropical Dessert Saison for its beautiful balance of hibiscus and prickly pear; and the Grapefruit Wit for its convergence of yeast and juiciness.
The food menu focuses on plates meant to be shared, burgers, and upscale sandwiches. If an item on the menu says it’s smoked, that means it’s smoked in house. The smoked olives, smoked wings, and the Phoenix French Dip prepared with tri-tip are not to miss. If a burger is what you’re craving, go all in with the Mother of All Burgers, heaping with fried pork belly, white cheddar, smoked tomato-onion jam, aioli, and a fried egg.
If you find yourself in Phoenix, or maybe happen to live there and haven’t yet stopped into Mother Bunch Brewing, do yourself a favor and check them out for happy hour, dinner, or for well-crafted Phoenix beer just because.
Plan a Phoenix Beercation!
The Phoenix craft beer scene is booming! Since I was there last year, it’s almost unrecognizable. Start planning your Phoenix Beercation by checking out the latest hotel reviews on TripAdvisor. There are plenty of resorts like the Arizona Biltmore Waldorf Astoria and JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa to make it a true vacation.
Visit the breweries worry free with Arizona Brewery Tours. These guys took me around and they really know their stuff.
For non-food and drink travel related suggestions, I recommend Moon’s recently updated Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Sedona Travel Guide.