Mother Bunch Brewing – Phoenix, AZ

Located at 825 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006
Open Mon-Thurs 11a-10p; Fri 11a-12a; Sat 10a-12a; Sun 10a-10p

Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of my last review which was in the form of an epic, Oscar-worthy screenplay, I can proudly inform y’all that The Classy Alcoholic scored a meeting with a high-powered Hollywood executive who called me up and told me that he was interested in adapting my blog into a feature film. He said he would come to Phoenix because that was the only town in Arizona he had ever heard of and suggested we meet at Mother Bunch Brewing which is located off of North 7th St just south of the I-10.

I was impressed that this guy from California knew about any Arizona microbreweries but I figured my blog must be getting enough traction outside of the state to bring real awareness of our craft beer scene. I told him I’d meet him right where he wanted.

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I walked into Mother Bunch Brewing and saw that they had an impressively large chalkboard for their beer menu. Mother Bunch has 20 beers on tap and five of them are their own. On the day I came into the brewery they were only pouring Arizona-brewed beers to celebrate the passage of the Arizona Beer Bill. This isn’t always the case, though. Mother Bunch’s beer menu usually consists of a few brews from other states along with the local stuff. But seeing only local beers on tap this day gave me a nice sense of state pride.

I went up to the bar and was greeted by an energetic young guy wearing khakis and a polo shirt.

“Hey, you must be The Classy Alcoholic! I figured nobody else would walk in here wearing a necktie. My name is Incense. I know it’s weird but my parents were hippies. It’s okay, though, they died in a car crash a long time ago. Come join me!”

This guy was intense.

“Nice to meet you, Incense. Thanks for seeing me. I figured I’d beat you here since I’m a little early. Hope you haven’t been waiting too long.”

“Oh I got here hours ago, dude. I thought since this place is called Mother Bunch it was like one of those specialty swingers clubs that we have in L.A. and I could meet tons of smoking hot MILFs. I didn’t even know it was a microbrewery. Do you have any MILF clubs in this town?”

“I – um, I don’t think I’m even sure what you’re talking about. ‘Mother Bunch’  was the pseudonym for a female French author in the 1600s who pretty much invented the concept of fairy tales. She’s like the original Mother Goose. The name was chosen because this brewery has a very strong female presence. The owner, assistant brewer and a lot of the staff here are female which is awesome because the beer industry tends to skew toward males. But there are tons of females involved in the craft beer scene and this place acknowledges that.”

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Incense cackled very loudly; enough that all the other customers in the place turned to look at us.

“Holy shit, look at the brains on this guy!” he said. “It fits perfectly with the whole suit and tie gimmick!”

“It’s not really a gimmick, I just like to-”

“I can tell right now, Hollywood is gonna love you, kid. You’re already a pre-packaged character with your outfits and your jokes and your functioning alcoholism that you somehow managed to translate into creative output. You’re not gonna need much prep to fit into the long line of tortured film auteurs. You’re already so much like every single one of them, it’s like you were built in a factory on an assembly line of self-loathing. You’re like The Terminator only you terminate smiles and self-confidence. Do you want to be in the next Terminator movie? I can do that for you!”

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“Woah, slow down, Incense, this is a hell of a lot  to take in. I need a drink. When I go to a new microbrewery I always get a flight of the beers they make themselves. Do you want to share the Mother Bunch flight with me?”

“Nah, I’m not a beer guy. I only drink cocaine.”

Incense pulled a flask full of cocaine from the back pocket of his khakis and took a swig. I ordered my flight from the bartendress.

The first beer was the Chill Haze summer blonde. It was the lightest of the bunch and was great for a summer day like today.

“What do you think about that beer?” Incense asked me.

“It’s good! It’s light enough to be a good way to introduce newbies into the craft beer scene. My blog is mostly aimed toward newbies and-“

“Wait, wait…you mean you actually have positive things to say about the beer you drink at all these breweries?”

“Well yeah, I love beer and I appreciate the Arizona beer scene. I respect the work done by people who run breweries. Is that weird?”

“It’s not weird but I’ve gotta tell you, positivity doesn’t really sell. People want snark. They want cynicism and negativity. They want you to use your wit to tear everybody else down because it makes them feel superior without actually having to be dicks. You’re the dick. You need to be the guy who says the stuff they’re too scared to say because they have souls. Taste this second beer and tell me what you think.”

The second beer in the flight was called McBride’s Irish Red.

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“This has a strong malty flavor that’s reminiscent of Killian’s, which I drank a lot of in my early twenties. It’s a good beer.”

“Dammit, kid!” Incense banged his fist into the bar and took another swig of his cocaine flask. “I thought you were gonna say it tasted like a homeless guy’s butt or a fish left on the hood of a car for a week or something hilarious and clever like that! You think the guy who created ‘The Wire’ became so popular because he wrote scripts about how respectable and delicious the local police and school systems were? No, he shit all over everything around him! That’s what true geniuses do!”

“I think you have a serious misunderstanding of what ‘The Wire’ was about, Incense.”

“I don’t know, I didn’t watch the shit. I see the next beer is called the Old School IPA. Now I haven’t actually read your blog but the smoking hot, college-dropout assistant I hired who thinks I’m gonna put her in a movie someday actually did read your blog and she told me you talk shit about IPAs all the time.”

“Well I’m not a big IPA fan and I am kind of burnt out on how popular they’ve become. Especially in California where you can go to some breweries and get full flights of only IPAs. I’m really waiting for the IPA bubble to burst and for other beer styles to start becoming more popular.”

“That’s it! Keep it going! I know you have some witty put-downs for IPA lovers, like how they probably all hate themselves and how the taste of super strong, bitter beers on their palate are a form of liquid self-flagellation!”

“Calm down, guy. The Old School IPA here is very hoppy with little citrus flavor. That’s sure to please hopheads. And even though they’re not my thing I know a lot of people enjoy them so I’m not going to tear them down and imply their tastes are terrible because they prefer IPAs. I genuinely love Coldplay. You think I like it when people say that anyone who loves Coldplay is an asshole?”

“Nah, fuck those people, Coldplay is the shit, bro.”

I could tell Incense was disappointed in my inability to verbally demolish the breweries I’ve visited and the beers I’ve had since starting this blog. I could see my Hollywood career going up in flames after this single meeting. I decided to get food while Incense was distracted with his cocaine flask.

Mother Bunch has an extensive menu and they serve some damn good food. They have several salads that would appeal to people who aren’t fat as well as appetizers consisting of cured salmon, beer-steamed mussels and sliders, to name a few. They also have specialty sandwiches and burgers. I opted for their Western Burger that was topped with smoked tri-tip, jalapeños and slathered in whiskey bbq sauce. I ate it while sipping on Mother Bunch’s Caramel Cream Ale that was on nitro.

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I normally dislike beers on nitro because they taste watered down and don’t have the same kick that the non-nitro versions have to them. But the Caramel Cream Ale here had enough flavor to it that it didn’t taste diminished on nitro. It was one of the few nitro beers that I found myself liking.

Incense could see me enjoying the cream ale and was looking increasingly pissed. I figured I’d try to salvage my future career.

“Hey man,” I said to him, trying to take his attention away from his cocaine flask. “If you really want me to be snarky and cynical and shitty I can totally do that toward big macrobrew companies like Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Did you know that PBR was sold to a Russian beverage company last year for just under a billion dollars? That’s right, all the stupid hipsters who love that shitty beer are just feeding a giant multinational corporation that spent at least $700 million on this beer brand because it’s expected to profit way more than that fucking insane purchase price. And projections show that about 30% of all global PBR sales will come from awful, bearded, flannel-wearing white guys down in Tucson. Because Tucson is so full of all those assholes. If a bearded, Tucson white guy on a bike happens to die you can replace him with ten other bearded white guys and no one would ever notice he was gone. They grow like weeds out there.”

“Woah, chillax for a second, bro!” Incense yelled. “I don’t know what a ‘Tucson’ is but you can’t be talking shit about Budweiser and PBR. They’re the biggest investors in the production company that I’m trying to hire you for. They’re gonna have final cut on all the movies, TV shows and web series that they want you to make. I’m tasked with hiring you to destroy the craft beer industry with your highly influential blog that I haven’t read because craft beer has been digging into the big corporate beer companies’ profit margins lately. You’re the golden child. You’re gonna bring accounts like Bud Light and Miller High Life and Tecate and Coors and Trailer Parkz beers back into the limelight by turning against your craft beer roots. You’re gonna be the classiest spokesman for the shittiest beers in the world. Also you’re a minority! Brown people are so hot right now. Don’t repeat this but I’ve heard that they’re gonna try to cast an ethnic Iron Man once Robert Downey Jr. dies in the next six weeks. If you stick with me you’ll have your own fucking action figure by the end of the year!”

“Incense, none of that is me. I’m just a humble blogger trying to highlight local beer in this state that I love and that I’ve adopted as my home.”

“This state can’t give you the money and fame that I can! I used to be just like you. I started out playing in a Christian reggae band that was the headlining act for county fairs all throughout Oklahoma. Now I’m the guy that single-handedly brought the world all sixteen of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies!”

“Wait, I though there were only ten Michael Bay Transformers movies.”

“The last six were porn versions. The official name of the latest film was, ‘TransgenderFormers, Volume SEX-teen.’ You see, in Hollywood you can make everything you want happen if you have enough money. And when you make as much money as I do you can pay women to like you. I’m so rich I haven’t had to cry during sex for at least five years. Can you say the same, kid?”

I could not.

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I looked at the last Mother Bunch beer that was in my flight. It was called Cherry Popper. It was a chocolate brown porter that tasted of smoked malt with slight hints of coffee and only minimal cherry flavor.

“I’m getting ready to head back home,” Incense said to me. “I need you to tell me if you want to join my Macrobrew Revolution. I’m gonna head into the bathroom to do more coke. When I come back out here I want an answer from you.”

Incense walked towards the back of the brewery. I sat quietly and thought about the fortune and fame that Hollywood could bring me. I closed my eyes and pictured the Classy Alcoholic feature films that would perform terribly at the independent Arizona-based, non-profit movie theaters but would eventually find a cult following from the Netflix streaming deal I would cut. I thought of the chance to cast either Jimmy Smits or Gabriel Garcia Bernal or Esai Morales or Danny Trejo or Fernando Colunga as me. I was ready to sell Arizona’s microbrew industry out.

Just as I was about to walk into the bathroom and tell Incense that I would take his deal and also have some of his cocaine I was approached by a middle-aged woman who tapped me on the shoulder.

“Hi! I’m sorry to bother you,” she said. “But…are you The Classy Alcoholic?”

I was a bit taken aback that someone recognized me in public.

“Yes, I am,” I said. “How did you know?”

“Because of your outfit,” she told me. “My ten year old son is your biggest fan.”

Her child walked up to me wearing a button-down shirt with a clip-on necktie.

“Hello sir,” the kid said to me. “My mommy told me that I have the alcoholism in my blood because she and my daddy both need to drink to try and forget how much they only married each other because of my birth. And all of my grandparents worked in the mines down in Bisbee so they also drank excessively to try to forget how many of their friends died in the mine collapse. I told Mommy that if my future was predetermined and that I was destined to be an alcoholic because of her passing down her genetic sadness…then I at least want to be a Classy Alcoholic…like you.”

I could feel the tears rolling down my cheek as I autographed the Classy Alcoholic poster that was a picture of me that the kid carried with him and would eventually tape to the wall of his bedroom. Incense came out of the bathroom right at this moment and was ready to hear me accept his Hollywood deal.

“I’m sorry to tell you this, Incense, but I’m not gonna turn my back on the Arizona craft beer industry. I don’t care how much money I can make working for the Budweiser or PBR or Date Rape Beerz brands. I’m gonna stick to highlighting the positive aspects of all the Arizona microbreweries. They may not all be perfect and a lot of them may make pretty terrible beers but if you enjoy beer at all then you’ll find that any Arizona-based microbrewery will have something you at least kind of like. Plus I’m a role model for any future sad alcoholics who want to grow up to be amazing like me. I can’t let them down.”

“Wow. That’s pretty powerful and I respect your decision…but I also will steal your life story and hire Akiva Goldsman to write an Oscar-baiting screenplay that uses all of your real experiences but dilutes them enough that you can’t sue us and then pass it off as an original story. We’re gonna make all the money off of you. You could’ve been involved in this. But you chose to turn us down. The door to Hollywood is officially closed off to you.”

Incense walked out and left me alone at the Mother Bunch Brewing bar. For a brief second I thought I should’ve take his deal. But deep down I knew I couldn’t be the guy who betrayed Arizona’s craft beer scene. Arizona microbreweries have been my life for about the last eight months. And spending the day at Mother Bunch Brewing made me realized that Arizona microbreweries would be my life for the foreseeable future as well.

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