Written by Angela Muniz
Photography by Mark Lipczynski
With exception of the hum of planes approaching Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and a nostalgic mix of ’90s hits on the speakers, the patio of The Shop Beer Co. is quiet in the late morning. For now, the action is taking place behind the scenes in the brewery. But come happy hour, the taproom will be humming with barroom buzz and lively conversation.
Recently named one of the fastest growing breweries in the country, The Shop Beer Co. is keeping pace with the changing mix of this corner of Tempe. Just a stone’s throw from Downtown Tempe just south of Tempe Town Lake, the brewery is located in a building that was once home to two city mayors. Since opening, it’s become a popular hangout for workers, students and neighbors alike.
Owners Dave Arnce, Dylan DeMiguel and Jason Calhoon had already been brewing for three years at Cartel Brewery when the time came to move in 2016. The house and industrial space behind it weren’t the obvious pick, but as more traditional spaces fell away, their gut instincts about this unusual venue took hold.
“That’s what we liked from the beginning, that it was inherently one of a kind,” says DeMiguel.
The pair have built on that distinction starting with the name. “For us, The Shop can mean anything,” DeMiguel continues. “I think that’s true for our beers, as well. We never say never.”
The brewery has a core of styles that visitors will always find on tap. The juicy IPA Church Music; FYITM, a double West Coast IPA that comes in at 10 percent ABV; and Coffee Brown, an ale that is also served on nitro.
But it’s the experiments that have given The Shop cult beer status. Arnce explains as the brewery has expanded with equipment and staff, they’ve had room to play. “Tempe is still a super-niche beer town exploding with potential,” he says. “This is where the fun is. To just be exploratory.”
And explore they have. With lead brewer Calhoon, The Shop has created everything from a rotation of sour fruit ales dubbed the Neonic Series to the high-gravity stout Dream Crusher. It also has a weekly Wednesday Randall infusion. The house patio has been transformed into beer garden-style seating where people can order from food trucks on site or bring their own eats. Arnce says locals often bring picnics for a night out.
As Tempe grows around the brewery, Arnce and DeMiguel welcome the diversity of guests. “Beer is supposed to be unpretentious—everyone just coming in and hanging out together,” DeMiguel says.
“I’m kinda thrilled to see it become the center of town,” Arnce adds. “It’s genuine. There’s stuff to do. Now people call this their home base.”
The Shop Beer Co. | 922 W. 1st St., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 477-9212