‘Suds And Smoke’ Fuse At New Chandler Pub - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

‘Suds And Smoke’ Fuse At New Chandler Pub

January 18th, 2019 SanTan Sun News
‘Suds And Smoke’ Fuse At New Chandler Pub

By Colleen Sparks

Managing Editor

Anyone looking for a place to quench their thirst with diverse beers brewed on-site and sink their teeth into savory, smoked meats can hop to a new restaurant with a risqué name.

Helluva Brewing Company, a restaurant and brewery, opened last month in its 6,000-square-foot space on Ray Road just east of McClintock Drive. It offers what the owners call “a fusion of suds and smoke.”

Customers can sip several beers made in-house or others from various brewers around the country and pair them with smoky meats including ribs, pulled pork, beef tri-tip and hamburgers, as well as beer-battered bratwurst on a stick, pub pretzel bites dipped in beer cheese and other smoky and brew-infused edibles.

Employees mostly emphasize the brews made in the back of the restaurant including the Aurora Amber Ale, described as a smooth, malty, caramel-style beer with low-hop character; Up In Smoke, a smoked chipotle porter and The Juice Is Loose, a New England IPA with a juicy, hazy taste and citrus and hops flavors with a “hoppy bitter finish.”

Those who love hops might be in heaven if they try the Hopedelic, a West Coast IPA made in-house that Helluva Brewing Company owner and brewer Shawn Shepard said has “lots of hops,” a floral smell and a “very bitter” flavor profile.

Cascade Brigade, also made at the restaurant, is a pale ale with a slightly fruity flavor that is “hop forward” and has a smooth, crisp finish.

A new brew Helluva Brewing Company is adding is called The Good Ole Boy, which Shepard said will be an “American light lager.”

It should be available by Jan. 25. He said another one of the restaurant’s brews, Das Gut, is a “German-style” very light beer with a slight sweet finish and a minor hop bitterness.

The owners are hoping to eventually provide up to 16 of their own beers on tap.

Shawn and Lisa Shepard own Helluva Brewing Company with brew master Steve Stone, who previously worked as head brewer at Huss Brewing Company in Tempe and completed his education at the Siebel Institute of Technology brewing schools in Chicago and Germany.

“I’ve been a home brewer for about four and a half years,” Shawn said. “My wife and I wanted to open a business. My passion is smoking food and brewing beers. The beer brings the clients in, but the food keeps the cheeks in the seats.”

Stone, who previously worked as paramedic and firefighter for the City of Tempe for 32 years, said he likes making different brews.

“It’s nice to be able to do your own thing,” Stone said. “I’m coming up with the recipes. It allows you a little more freedom to experiment. If it takes off, we’ll make it one of our mainstays.”

He said before becoming a professional brewer, he made beers at home for 10 years.

Shawn and Lisa are longtime mortgage bankers, but cooking is in Shawn’s blood.

“My grandmother’s still a phenomenal cook,” Shawn said. “My grandma was always the rock of the family. She had a southern cooking style,” he said.

He said he started cooking when he was in his mid-20s and then began making smoked foods. Shawn began brewing beers at home as a hobby when he was going through surgery and rehabilitation for dislocated shoulders as a way to pass the time.

While Helluva Brewing Company gives meat lovers plenty of choices, it is “not the typical barbecue joint” with smoked food smothered in barbecue sauce, Shawn said.

“We have a taste of that smokiness,” he said. “We’re more brew-pub style food with a smoked fusion to it.”

The baby back ribs, which are dry rubbed with brown sugar, onion powder and smoked paprika, are popular at Helluva Brewing Company.

The pulled pork, which is cooked with amber ale and also features sweet oranges, garlic and ginger, is also a hit at the new brew pub.

Customers can order several different types of burgers, including the popular Helluva burger, which has crisp, smoked bacon, along with fresh jalapenos, pepper jack cheese and caramelized onions.

Also on the menu for those who like to spice things up is the PB and J burger, a juicy burger with crisp, smoked bacon, house-made habanero-pepper jelly, creamy peanut butter sauce and cheddar cheese.

The pub pretzel bites are ideally sized for sharing and come with Helluva beer cheese as well as housemade grain mustard to dip them in.

Another shareable plate is chicken tenders that are buttermilk and beer marinated, flour dusted and served with French fries and a housemade dressing or sauce.

The beer theme also shows up in the corn brat pops, which are cornbread battered, beer bratwurst on a stick, paired with signature beer cheese and a local honey mustard sauce. Beer cheeses are also used for the mac and cheese, which has pasta shells, along with cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses and buttered Ritz crackers.

Vegetables also get special treatment at Helluva Brewing Company. A medley of cauliflower and sweet potatoes sautéed and finished in a smoker is available. The tomatoes in the grilled chicken sandwich are smoked as well.

Vegans can find offerings at the new restaurant as most of the salads are vegan and the local eatery serves a Helluva veggie burger with a black bean and chipotle patty, oven-roasted tomato and caramelized onions.

Shawn and Lisa met Stone through the equestrian community because Lisa rode horses and Stone’s daughter did, too. Shawn was impressed with Stone’s brewing background and told him he wanted to learn to make beers for a restaurant, not just at home.

Shawn said he and Stone’s “passion” for making “great beer” and the “extra details” they put into the process set Helluva Brewing Company apart from other brew pubs.

The water used to make the beers comes from reverse osmosis so the brews do not have a chemical taste found in city water, Shawn said. When customers order water to drink, the ice and water served is also reverse osmosis water.

Besides the beer and water, Helluva Brewing Company guests can also choose from many different types of wines on tap and cocktails.

Mimosa flights come with blood orange, elderflower ginger, prickly pear and kiwi mimosas. Beer flights are also available.

Customers are sharing their good experiences at Helluva Brewing Company online.

Kara Chase posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, “The inside is beautiful.”

“Beers were great as was the food,” Chase continued. “Service was really fast and staff was friendly. Recommend Shawn’s sampler for a good serving of 3 meats. Restrooms were really cool too. Definitely a great place for happy hour!”

Ashley Upton also ate up the food and drinks at the new brew pub.

“The food was amazing,” Upton posted. “The staff was so friendly and the inside looked great! So much heart and soul was put into this restaurant and it shows with everything there.”

Joel Pasinski soaked up the fun at Helluva Brewing Company.

“Awesome experience,” Pasinski posted. “Great food, staff, craft beer, and atmosphere. I plan on being a frequent guest and look forward to some more Helluva good times in the near future.”

Customers can catch happy hour from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at Helluva Brewing Company. During happy hour, diners can get $1 off appetizers, $1 off beers and $1 off well drinks.

Helluva Brewing Company is at 3950 W. Ray Road Suite #5 and it is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Information: @Helluva.brew on Instagram, on Facebook at facebook.com/chandlerbrewery and online at Helluvabrewing.com.