It should come as no surprise to most of the beer consuming public that craft beers and microbrews have been dominating the new alcoholic beverage market for the last decade or so and have managed to securely take over a large portion of annual beer market sales from larger production beer companies. In an economy that has forced many professionals to re-evaluate their current role in the job market, many have ventured into the burgeoning and ever-expanding world of brewing craft beer. However, success is a fickle mistress in the over-populated world of brewing and more often than not, home brewers turned professional are forced out of the industry thanks to both brutal competition and a product that can be as difficult to sell as it is to make. Of course, like in any other industry, there are those well-known success stories that often drive others to follow in the proverbial suds laden footsteps of the pioneers who gambled on craft beer and came up big like Patrick Fields, creator of Old World Brewery in Phoenix, AZ.
Patrick, a successful business owner and innovator in the field of HVAC, gave up his career and his tool belt in exchange for a couple huge fermentation tanks, lots of raw ingredients and a whole lot of plumbing issues. Located at 334 N. 25th Ave, Old World Brewery has been producing a number of excellent beers over the last several years giving them the ability to open their own bar and lounge complete with pool tables, darts, and a stage for all kinds of musical acts. With the help of head brewer Matt Mercer, OWB has been in full production mode and has recently relocated to better suited accommodations in order to satiate the newly increased demand. Rather than just produce their craft beers, bottle it and sell it to the public, Patrick wanted a place where he could call home and introduce people to Old World Brewing on a personal level. As Patrick explained, “you have got to own your own backyard in order to succeed in this business. If the people who live nearby aren’t the ones buying your beer, then chances are no one is.”
Recently while I visited Patrick and the crew at OWB, I took the opportunity to try several samples of their stable beers as well as a hard to find rotational seasonal brew. However, out off all of the different delicious brews I sampled that day, one beer stood out in particular amongst all the rest; Old World Brewery’s Arizona Honey Wheat.
According to OWB, the Arizona Honey Wheat is “a true American Wheat – meaning we use our “house” ale yeast and not a specific European strain that might be common for other wheat beer styles (Hefeweizen or Wit). We use locally produced honey where the bees have collected pollen from mesquite, citrus and desert wildflowers.” Once poured from the tap the AHW has a warm golden hue and cloudiness associated with all unfiltered wheat beer. The flavor is unusually rich and complex for a typical wheat beer boasting bright citrus notes and a slightly sweet mesquite honey flavor layered behind hints of banana. Unlike a typical wheat beer, the AHW’s finish is crisp and very dry thanks to the characteristics provided by the Saaz hops used during the brewing. All in all, with a bright, crisp and clean citrus profile and a sweet, dry finish, the AHW has become my new favorite wheat beer.
So if you are looking for a new brew or even a new brewery all together, Old World Brewery definitely deserves to be right up at the top of your list. Especially right now, as there’s no better time to try local craft brews since starting February 19th is the official Arizona Beer Week. Old World Brewery will have several of their beers on tap so be sure to check them out at the main event!