Neighborhood Hot Spot Now a Growing Destination
As breweries are popping up all over the country and American’s consumption of craft beer continues to shoot upward like a rocket, Arizona has made its own footprint in the trend, having a number of breweries in the Valley that are nationally recognized. One of those breweries that locals and tourists both frequent is SanTan Brewing Company, located in Historic Downtown Chandler.
SanTan first opened in 2007 under the helm of Anthony Canecchia, a former brewer at the well-known Four Peaks. Wanting to have more freedom to experiment with different flavors and styles of beer, Canecchia has since created a brewery that boasts dozens of original beers.
SanTan is perhaps most famous for Mr. Pineapple, a wheat ale that was originally the brewery’s summer seasonal brew. But by adding natural pineapple juice, a “firm malt character and a slight hint of clove” to a traditional wheat beer, as their drink menu reads, Mr. Pineapple has become incredibly popular. As a result, the beer has now become a year-round option.
Despite Mr. Pineapple’s hard-to-resist fruity taste, SanTan Brewing Company offers about 14 other beers on tap, ranging from the light and tropical to the dark and creamy. For those of us who are too indecisive to pick just one beer to try, the best option is SanTan’s sampler. The sampler features seven beers of your choice, served in “pourers” — 4-ounce glasses — resting on a tray which labels each brew chosen. But for those who are sure of what their taste buds wants, there is the option of getting a pint, 32-ounce “Canzilla” (which is a sort of aluminum growler) or a growler with refills.
Because of Arizona’s infamous heat, many patrons would probably prefer a summer ale like Mr. Pineapple. But SanTan offers a number of other light beers that have just as much of a tasty light summer flavor. One such brew that stood out was the Grapefruit Shandy, which is 70 percent beer and 30 percent grapefruit juice. This style of beer inherited from Europe is the ideal summer drink, with a citrusy and sharp taste. This is also one of SanTan’s more unique brews, due to the fact that most shandies are mixed with other juices like lemonade or apple juice. SanTan’s 12 brewers have experimented with a number of fruit flavors, such as their Hefeweisen Wheat or their Lemon Bar White IPA. Yet neither of the aforementioned beers have any actual fruit mixed in: the Hefeweisen’s banana-clove taste and smell comes from its yeast, and the Lemon Bar’s citrus flavor comes from its Sorachi Ace hops.
The brewery has started serving its next seasonal beer, the Oktoberfest, a German-style lager. This is one of SanTan’s few lagers, but you won’t regret ordering it, with it’s malty and clean taste. In fact, SanTan’s darker beers are the easiest to drink. Whether it’s the Gordo Stout, which Shawn Golden, one of the brewery’s front-house managers, says “you can sip all day,” or the Mad Czar, a smooth Russian imperial stout, the dark brews have an easy-to-drink style.
There are beers for any kind of bar frequenter at SanTan. Classic Budweiser and Coors drinkers can get the Epicenter, which Golden calls the “gateway into craft beer.” And those more-experienced craft beer drinkers, who more often than not are dedicated IPA fans, have a multitude of options, including the Little D Session IPA, Negro Nitrón Nitrogenated Black IPA, Heavy D Overweight IPA and Moonjuice IPA.
THE BREW PUB
The team at SanTan is so committed to its brews that a large portion of the food is made with some part of the beers, thanks in part to its new chef, Ryan Tichenor, who was hired in March. The crust of their brew pub pizzas and Cuban-style “Ricky Ricardo” sandwich are both made with beer wort. Their delectable brownies are infused with the seasonal beer — this season’s Oktoberfest is mixed into the chocolate caramel brownie, topped with hot fudge agave sauce, candied vanilla walnuts and salted caramel gelato. SanTan even mixes its spent grain from brews into peanut butter treats for patron’s dogs, who are welcome on its patio. Each dish has a suggested beer to pair with the food, and SanTan includes gluten-free options as well.
While the Valley has a variety of breweries to choose from, SanTan is not one to miss. The brick-walled building with high-vaulted ceilings, once home to the old Valley National Bank Building, is perfect for any kind of restauranteur, young and old.
Learn more about SanTan Brewing Company at SantanBrewing.com.