Unfortunately Owl’s Orchard Brewery has closed as of July 2016. This post will remain here in honor of the awesome brewery that once was and will never be again.
Owl’s Orchard is a brewery that’s literally run out of a guy’s garage. I know what you’re thinking: It sounds super shady. Just like my parents’ “businesses” that they used to run out of our home when I was a kid. I remember what a pain in the ass it was having to help my dad in the garage, bagging and packing all those slabs of delicious zebra meat.
But Owl’s Orchard isn’t like that. It’s a completely legit business and the home is a legally-licensed microbrewery. It’s in the town of Queen Creek, a suburb that’s about 45 minutes southeast of downtown Phoenix. The neighborhood is uncharacteristically green for Phoenix and the homes aren’t the brown, cookie-cutter style you’re apt to find most everywhere in the Mesa and Chandler areas.
The business is run by a guy named Marty who produces less than 1,000 gallons of beer a year but still has a steady following that grows through his Facebook page and word-of-mouth, just like my dad’s garage business. Except there was no Facebook when I was a kid so my dad made me learn enough Vietnamese to spread the word around town that we had genuine hand-grinded rhino tusks available to anyone who was willing to pay top dollar.
It was kinda hard to see the numbers on the houses while I was driving down the street so you’ll have to be on the lookout for the house in the picture above. Marty was playing with his two kids out on the yard when I pulled up and asked if this was Owl’s Orchard. He said it was and enthusiastically told me to come on in.
The garage housed the entire operation and there were three beers available on the day I visited: an Amber, a Wheat and an IPA. Owl’s Orchard isn’t legally allowed to pour pints or even samples so you can only buy growlers here. But know that you won’t regret buying a whole growler of any of these brews. I drank all three and loved each one of them. The IPA wasn’t overly hoppy, which I appreciated, and all three had really strong, bold flavors that still went down smooth. It was hard to choose a favorite since all three beers were great but I think my standout was the Wheat.
Apart from making great beers Marty and his lovely wife were super friendly and chatted with me a bit about their business as well as my travels discovering local beer and wine. I told Marty I admired him for not roping his kids into his business like my dad did to me which led to me having to witness a Vietnamese businessman try to stab my parents in our garage after getting into an argument with my dad over whether or not his rhino horn powder was 100% uncut which I totally knew it wasn’t but had to keep that secret. Marty looked horrified and asked me if I still knew any Vietnamese as a way to change the subject, I think. I told him I didn’t. I lost pretty much all the Vietnamese but still can’t seem to shake the memories/nightmares.
Anyway, be sure to visit Owl’s Orchard if you’re in the greater Phoenix area. I was told a Porter is also available from time to time as long as supplies last and that there are other seasonal brews sold throughout the year. Now this is a garage-based business I can get behind.
Mot, Hai, Ba, Yo!