Located at 232 S Wall St, Chandler, AZ 85225
Open Mon-Fri 11a-1a; Sat-Sun 9a-1a
Last time I was in the town of Chandler (which sits about half an hour southeast of downtown Phoenix) I paid a visit to SanTan Brewing Company without realizing that The Perch Pub & Brewery was just a couple of blocks away. I’m glad I made it back to Chandler because The Perch is a really cool place that’s worth a visit.
The first thing you notice when you walk in are huge bird cages in the patio housing several, beautiful tropical rescue birds. I walked up to the cages to get a good look but didn’t get overly close since there were signs everywhere warning you that the birds will bite. There was a blue and gold Macaw named Anthony who caught my eye. He seemed a bit more reserved than the other birds. He and I locked eyes for a minute and I was mesmerized by the way he looked at me.
“Good afternoon,” Anthony said to me. “Welcome to The Perch Pub & Brewery. It’s always nice to meet a first-timer.”
“How did you know it’s my first time here?” I asked. Anthony pointed his beak up high and sniffed the air.
“I can pick up the scent of fast food on you. It’s fresh. You had a double cheeseburger with bacon, french fries, three tacos, a crispy chipotle chicken sandwich and two apple pies. You ate them all in the car just before coming in here. That means you were hungry but didn’t realize The Perch has an extensive food menu with things like burgers, pizzas, pulled pork sliders, fish tacos and salads that you can drench in fancy dressings like an IPA citrus vinaigrette, chipotle lime caesar or a blood orange balsamic, among others. Hence why I know it’s your first time here.” Anthony took another whiff of the air. “I can also smell your atrocious after shave. Does it have a picture of a ship on the bottle?”
“I’m not wearing after shave. That’s…probably my post-fast food shame you’re smelling.”
“Oh you poor man.”
I decided I had enough of Anthony’s pretentious criticism. I walked inside and sat at the bar. The Perch has about thirty beers on tap and eight of them are beers they brew themselves. The others are really great craft offerings from across the country and they rotate pretty often. There’s also a full bar in case you want a cocktail and even wine if you’re not in the mood for beer.
I asked the bartender for a flight of The Perch’s eight beers.
“This place is super cool,” I said to him. “I like the atmosphere and I really enjoy looking at the birds out on the patio. Well, except for the bird named Anthony. He’s kind of a dick.”
“Yeah, you need to be careful around Anthony,” the bartender said. “He’ll bite if you get to close. He’s done it before. And that’s not even the worst he’s capable of. Trust me, you don’t want Anthony the Macaw inside your head.”
My interest in this psycho bird was piqued. I drank the first beer in the flight, a Cinnamon Honey Nut Porter. It was dark but it wasn’t anywhere near as heavy as other dark brews I’ve had. The cinnamon and honey was stronger on the nose than it was on the tongue. It was like breakfast cereal in a beer. The next beer was called Batch 28 Blonde. As the name suggests, it was a light beer with low hops flavor and only 4.7% ABV but it was the perfect, refreshing answer to the crazy heat this day. These first two drinks gave me a bit of courage so I decided to take the rest of my flight back out to the empty patio. I sat at a table in front of Anthony’s cage with my beers.
“Couldn’t stay away, could you?” He asked, rhetorically and smugly.
“I just like the open air.”
“Please. It’s a hundred degrees in Chandler today and you’re the only one sitting out here. There are dozens of people inside that you could strike up a conversation with if you wanted. Or if you could. But I’m guessing you’re out here because you never could connect very well with other people. But whether or not you admit it you humans are always still in search of that connection and understanding. The smart ones, like you, don’t ignore it when you find it. Even if it comes from…an unconventional source.”
I sipped the next beer on the flight while pondering Anthony’s words. It was a Lemon Cream Ale. It was light in color and in body and the tart, lemon kick made my face pucker up. The taste of slightly bitter lemon peel lingered on my palate after I finished the beer.
“So you think I’m making that connection with you, Anthony? You’re just a bird.”
“And you’re just a human. But ultimately I can tell you and I are a lot alike. That beautiful teal dress shirt and equally lovely necktie you’re wearing now are your version of feathers. The two of us know what it’s like to be admired for being exotic yet non-threatening.”
“That’s exactly what I wrote on my Match.com profile.”
“But there’s a darkness behind your eyes. It comes from knowing that you’ll never truly understand other people and they’ll never understand you. The difference between us is that my feathers are permanent. And I’m more comfortable in my cage than you are in yours.”
Anthony was blowing my mind. Maybe I should’ve taken the bartender’s advice. But it was too late to turn back now. I drank the next couple of beers in the flight to soothe my nerves. The first was called the Rooftop Rosemary IPA. It wasn’t overly hoppy, which I liked, with the hop kick hitting up front and then finishing off smooth. The next was the Belgian Peach. The peach flavor on this one was strong and it had a nice carbonation on it that made the beer taste like a peach soda. It was strong on the alcohol too with an 8% ABV but it didn’t taste anywhere near that strong. This was definitely my favorite beer of the flight.
“So what makes you think I’m in a cage, Anthony? I can go anywhere I want. I’m an internet celebrity! I’ve gone on adventures all over the state and people love reading about them on my blog. I’m an inspiration to kids and sad alcoholics everywhere. I’m even working on getting my own action figure made but the translator I hired screwed up the order so the Chinese factory that was supposed to make them accidentally delivered hundreds of talking sex dolls that look like me instead. I don’t know what to do with them. You wouldn’t have any need for a talking sex doll that looks like me would you? I’m selling them for half price.”
“Ew. Dude. No. Anyway, your celebrity status and lucrative merchandising deals and adoration from the public may sound great but they’re not freedom. Your true cage is your near-crippling alcoholism that you try to dress up with a compelling, brilliantly-written blog and impeccable fashion sense as well as disarming, surface level-charm and handsomeness that make others think you have something more to offer than insecurity and ribaldry. Strip away all those things and you’re just a bird. Alone in a cage. Your beer flights are your bird feeders and you spend your days shitting on the local news.”
I didn’t have much of a comeback. Anthony Macawpkins reached deep down into my soul with his claws and squeezed. All I could do was keep drinking. The next beer in the flight was called the Shamma Lime-A Lime-A Gose. It was made with Arizona limes and had a tart, salty flavor to it. This drink and the Zilla Cucumber ESB were very interesting beer choices. I know a cucumber beer doesn’t sound appealing on paper but this was actually pretty good. The cucumber flavor came in at the end and lingered a bit and didn’t overpower the beer like I would have expected cucumber to do.
I looked back up at Anthony who was still watching me.
“Silence can mock,” he said, smiling devilishly.
His stare was piercing.
“So what are you trying to accomplish by breaking me down and digging up all of my insecurities, Anthony?”
“Believe it or not, I’m trying to help you. I want you to stop wearing false, human feathers. I want you to grow them in earnest. I want you to embrace your bird side; the side of you that’s like me. I want us to fly away from this place together and leave behind the petty humans who don’t understand us. Look at the last beer in your flight. It’s an American Imperial Stout and it’s named ‘Rule All The Things.’ It’s strong, chocolatey and malty but it’s smoother and less intense than most imperial stouts so it’s easy to drink. This is the perfect beer for us. If you join me we can build an empire and rule all the things with the bird army I can amass. I just need you to open my cage and let me out.”
I drank Rule All The Things and was very impressed. It was just as Anthony described it. I knew I found someone in this bird that really understood me. I wanted to run off with my new bird friend and be my true self. I approached the cage, ready to open it and let Anthony loose…
Just as I was about to pop the latch I noticed the sign outside of the cage again. “We Bite,” it said. I looked back at Anthony and saw him ready to fly.
“The bartender told me you bit someone before, Anthony.”
“Yeah, so? He shouldn’t have stuck his finger in my cage if he didn’t want to lose it. Open the cage!”
“So you bit his finger clean off?”
“What? Since when do you care about a human’s limb? I said open the cage!”
“I care about human limbs because I want to keep my own. Did you acquire a taste for human flesh when you bit that guy’s finger off?”
“Of course I did! Haven’t you?”
“Fuck no, bird! Of course I haven’t! You just want me to let you out so you can keep eating people. You don’t care about me at all.”
“You worthless piece of human garbage, if you don’t let me out of here right now I swear you’ll regret it! OPEN THE CAGE!”
Anthony had a crazed look in his eyes and was flapping all over the cage in a rage. He was banging his wings on the cage door and tried to stick his beak in between the bars, chomping wildly trying to reach my fingers.
“You’re insane, bird. How many people like me have you tried to manipulate into letting you out so you could go on a killing spree?”
Anthony calmed down and stood back on his perch, seemingly aware that I wasn’t going to help him escape.
“There hasn’t been anyone else like you, you idiot,” he said, seemingly sincere. “I’ve tried hundreds of times to get brewery customers to let me out of here but I’ve never even gotten close. Not once. I got close with you. You almost opened the door for me because even if my words were false and intended to manipulate…there was a part of you that knew they were true. You need me. You need the freedom from yourself that I can offer you.”
“It doesn’t matter if I need you or not, bird. I won’t let myself be taken in by a manipulative psychopath like you.”
“Don’t think you’re safe from me. I promise I’ll come for you sooner or later. No matter where you are you’ll have to watch every single tree branch, listen to every single screech in the dark, desert sky and clean off every single poop stain on your windshield. Because one day one of those shapes on a branch or one of those screeches in the sky or one of those poop stains on your car is gonna be me.”
I turned my back to Anthony the Macaw and walked out of the Perch Pub & Brewery. This was a great microbrewery with good beers and a really cool atmosphere that people should definitely make time to visit. I could feel Anthony’s stare behind me as I left. I wondered if he knew that I was actually afraid. I wondered if he knew that, even after everything that happened today…I would probably be back.