Peoria Artisan Brewery | Kristina Frosch
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Author:Kristina Frosch

Welcome Chef Michael Mahalick!

chef michael5Peoria Artisan Brewery is excited to welcome Chef Michael Mahalick to our team!

Chef Michael grew up in a small town in Upstate New York with his two brothers who are also in the restaurant industry.  In California, Michael began as a dishwasher and worked his way through the ranks in cafés, gastropubs, hotels and farmers markets.

Michael honed his culinary technique under the tutelage of Executive Chef Stephen Jones and at fine culinary institutions such as Latilla at the Boulders Resort, Blue Hound at The Palomar Hotel and The Larder at Desoto Central Market.

Chef Michael’s approach to New American Cuisine is to utilize top quality products combined with simple ingredients and a playful flair.  Michael enjoys the culinary flavors of the American Southwest, American South and Argentina.  His love of the cooler months is shown in the bold flavors and presentation of his food.  Michael emphasizes the comfort factor of food as he finds his cuisine to be nostalgic as community and family are highly important to him.

Meet Chef Mahalick this Thursday at The Litchfield Taproom where he will be serving Pulled Pork on a King’s Hawaiian Roll with Spicy Pickles during the tapping of our Litchfield Hollow Pumpkin Ale.  We will also be serving delicious slices of Pumpkin Pie with house whipped cream.

We are excited to have Michael and Nicole, his wife, as part of our craft beer family.  His passion is genuine, contagious and readily apparent in his cuisine.

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Festivals!

With the cooler weather comes Festival Season! We are excited to present to you several festivals during October and November in which we will be participating. We highly recommend attending some or all of these festivals as they provide a great opportunity to sample different beers, meet new breweries and make new friends.

Beer, Bacon and BBQ; 24 October: The Wigwam Resort  Beer, Bacon and BBQ debut was last year and was a fun, wigwam-beer-for-web
intimate and very enjoyable festival.  On the front lawn of the historic Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, this festival is adjacent to our Litchfield Taproom.  A few hundred tickets have already been sold and this year’s bacon supply will be augmented with traditional BBQ dishes.  We plan to pour samples of our Litchfield Hollow Pumpkin; brewed with pumpkin, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves; and our Artisan Arsonist, a red ale brewed with smoked malts.  Ticket prices are extremely reasonable at $39 for two tickets via Groupon which can be purchased here.  We recommend you arrive early, grab your first of 15 included beer samples and then head straight for the bacon!

Peoria beer fest logoPeoria Beer Festival; 7 November: Peoria Sports Complex  We cannot begin to describe how excited we are to attend the Peoria Beer Festival.  Held in our hometown at the Peoria Sports Complex, this year’s festival will feature plenty of beer, live music, food and games.  We plan to turn out all the stops with our beers and bring at least four different styles to the festival to include our Savannah Marie IPA at 7.9% ABV featuring Amarillo, Simcoe, Columbus and Centennial Hops; Haboob Black IPA a dark cascadian style ale featuring columbus and centennial hops; Honeysuckle Street Ale which is our blonde ale brewed with honey malt which imparts a slight sweetness complemented by a crisp finish and low bitterness and our ………. well, we will make the last one a surprise!  Find ticket info and festival details at the link provided here.

Red, White and Brew Festival; 14 November; Ground Control Small festivals can absolutely be the best festivals. ground control picHeld in the parking lot outside of Ground Control in Goodyear; the Red, White and Brew festival benefits The Captain Jeremy A. Chandler Scholarship Foundation to honor the Green Beret’s service to our country.  Live music and over 30 breweries rounds out this intimate festival where you can spend your time meeting and speaking with numerous brewers and fellow beer lovers.  Tickets are available now at the link included here.

 

 

PHX Pizza FestivalPhoenix Pizza Festiva; 21 November; Civic Space Park The first of its kind and what better way to prepare for the Thanksgiving Holiday then a beer and pizza festival?!  Massive attendance is expected at this inaugural event and we will be present with plenty of craft beer to accompany the copious quantities of pizza.  Find details here on the vendors, beers, pizzas, live music and games that will be available.  Tickets are a reasonable $10 and separate purchase can be made within the event for the pizza and beers of your choice.

 

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Brewery Construction Progress

peoria-artisan-brewery-logo

We’ve come a long way and there is plenty more to be finished.  Fortunately, we have some great teams that are moving forward quite quickly and we are excited to bring you up-to-date with the current progress of our North Peoria brewery.

Initial SpaceThe space for the new brewery is, or more accurately was, a grey space – meaning, never before occupied.  In fact, Starbucks was planning on building out the site when the economy went out from under everyone’s feet back in 2008.  The initial dividing wall is readily apparent and has since been removed prior to the beginning of our underground work.  The photograph to the right was taken from the southwest corner of the space.  The entrance to the kitchen will be located just above the trash can and to the left of the floor light in the picture.  The chair to the right is just about where the main entrance is situated.  The bar area (which is not shown in this photograph) is just off to the left.

The majority of the work and cost involved in our construction project is in the utilities to support the brewery and the restaurant.  Overall, the facility is approximately 3,000 square feet and of course does not contain a single piece of pipe for water or gas (other than the fire sprinkler system).  Therefore, step one was getting the floor saw cut and dug to support the plumbing.

IMG_0549The next photograph was taken from the northwest corner of the building which will soon be the corner of our brewery.  The large hole in the middle of the brewery was dug to accommodate the trench drains that will support our brewing operations.  These drains will each be eight feet long, one foot wide and traffic rated.  Probably a little more robust than what we could use to get by; however, if you’ve ever seen us brewing at the Litchfield Taproom, which does not have floor drains, you would understand that these are a very welcome addition and something we are extremely excited about (it’s the simple things in life).  From this corner you can see the double doors in the distance which have since been altered to a single door.  This entrance will be directly into the kitchen area and will support our staff and deliveries from our vendors.  The single door will be situated in a short hallway between the entrances to the restrooms.  It will serve as an emergency exit which we hope to never use.  Of course, the view across the building from this location will change shortly; however, we will always be able to look out from and into the brewery as that will be surrounded by glass!

Any project of this magnitude will encounter a number of challenges from time to time.  Following the saw cut and digging, we discovered the main sewer line had some issues.  Additionally, city requirements can be demanding and we’ve had to make design modifications in order to meet their standards.  Lastly, we of course want to ensure everyone is as comfortable as possible and must ensure proper air balancing and have therefore been working on the addition of an air handling unit to the roof.  Fortunately, anything is possible with time and money.  We’ve also been fortunate to have an outstanding property management team to work with through all of these challenges.

IMG_0596One of the more exciting components of the project is the indoor/outdoor bar area and the patio.  This photograph shows the bar opening, on the right, and the entrance to the patio, on the left.  The bar opening has since been modified to include replacement block up to bar height.  The remainder of the space is still open to allow for installation of the garage door which will separate the space during the summer months when it’s simply too hot.  Otherwise, the door will be open allowing you to sit outside at the patio bar but look into the brewery interior.  We do apologize however, as your view will be slightly obstructed by the significant quantity of taps that will be in front of you (we thought you might forgive us for this).  The patio entrance on the left will be a single door with a solid glass panel, window, to the right.  The bar will extend the entire length shown bringing it to just over 14′ long.

As we would fully expect, and appreciate, we have received many inquiries as to our opening date.  Our ultimate goal remains the end of October; however, the challenges as mentioned previously and the need to have several weeks to brew may push us into the beginning of November.  Rest assured, we will keep everyone informed!

IMG_0382So what are the next steps?  Sewer line repairs will be complete this week, underground will be inspected and all the dirt will be put back in it’s place.  Concrete will quickly be poured and then the few walls within the space will go up.  Meanwhile, the outdoor patio will be poured, the wrought iron fence will go in and the garage door for the bar will be installed.  On the roof a 3-ton HVAC will be relocated, a 5-ton unit will be added and the duct work will go in. Finally, on the southeast corner we will be digging a massive hole to accommodate the 750 gallon grease trap/interceptor that will protect the city sewer lines.  We have also been working diligently to outfit the facility with finishes we believe will create the atmosphere that fits in with our approach to hand-crafted beers.  The floors will be slightly polished and sealed and the ceiling will remain open to the deck of the roof allowing the wooden rafters to be exposed.

You can find a complete set of photographs showing much of the construction progress on our Facebook page here.  Also, feel free to come by the site and take a peek in.  It will be very easy to locate once the signs go in at the end of this week!

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What is a Gastropub and How Does it Apply to Us?

Hand crushed malt

Our hand crushed malted barley

In our opening announcement several weeks ago, we mentioned that our North Peoria Brewery location would be a “new 3,000 square foot brewery and gastropub” featuring “the flagship beers of Peoria Artisan,” with a restaurant which “will feature classic, upscale cuisine emphasizing fresh and local ingredients whenever possible.”  Since then we’ve been asked somewhat frequently, “What exactly is a gastropub?”

Put quite simply, a gastropub is a bar that serves high-quality cuisine.  In our case, a brewery that serves high-quality cuisine.  Specifically, we aim to incorporate our beers into fresh, locally sourced and sustainable foods in order to provide our customers with an amazing beer experience complemented by damn good food.  Essentially, we invest a significant amount of time and effort into brewing our beers: sourcing malt, hops and yeast, preparing and maintaining our yeast, developing recipes, personally crushing our malt, cleaning and sanitizing equipment, controlling mash temperatures, controlling fermentation, packaging our beer, cleaning beer lines and the list goes on.  Why in the world would we not put the same level of dedication and attention to detail into the foods we will serve?

To think that accomplishing the above will be easy would constitute blissful ignorance on our part.  We recognize the many challenges inherent in this endeavor and appreciate that we must learn, grow and develop.  However, having accomplished so much thus far with our beers; not taking on this challenge would be a disservice to our customers.  We could keep it simple.  We could take an approach of purchasing pre-made or frozen food from local vendors.  We could, but we won’t.

Our environment will have a significant impact on availability of locally sourced and sustainable foods.  Honestly, many of us caught in the hustle and bustle of life in the Valley of the Sun do not commonly associate the day-to-day with farming and agriculture; however, it is alive and well right under our noses and goes well beyond the many citrus trees found throughout our neighborhoods.  Local Farmers’ Markets continue to grow in size and popularity while we all recognize the great food scene we have in The Valley.  It’s time to bring this culture to the NW Valley!

Relationships with our local farmers will be an instrumental component of our gastropub.  Date Creek Ranch, Maya’s Farm, McReynolds Farms and Duncan Family Farms are just some of the wonderful purveyors of agricultural goods that will allow us to provide you with unique culinary creations emphasizing what is fresh and local.  Organizations such as Arizona Farmer+Chef Connection are also key resources for Keeping it Local in AZ.

Another key component of our new brewery will be our Chef.  Our Steward of Delicious Eats is not yet known – we are searching.  Diligently, we are looking for someone that shares our passion for beer, food and for the camaraderie that is an essential component of our AZ Craft Beer Culture.  This person must be as dedicated to citrus, kale, pork and eggs as we are to malted barley, hops, yeast and water.  Together, we will combine our heartfelt passions into creating a community gathering place that emphasizes the best of what our families and Arizona have to offer.

Comments or inquiries, please feel free to contact Matt at matt@peoriaartisanbrewing.com.

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