A weekly look at the draft selection at beer-friendly bars across the country.
I'm spending the holidays in Phoenix, Arizona. One thing I immediately noticed is Phoenix has quite an affection for big box retailers and massive restaurant chain locations. Lots of land out here I guess. Fitting then that many of the city's "top beer bars" as determined by sites such as this one are nationwide brewpubs like Rock Bottom or BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse. And though I'm sure a number of great independent beer bars exist in the Phoenix metropolitan area of which I'm guessing savvy and enraged commenters will be happy to enlighten me, I thought this a perfect opportunity to give one chain its due.
Whereas most chains' beer selections tend to lean towards the uninspired, some -- such as Yard House Restaurants -- have managed to excel. Along with locations in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Nevada and Texas, Yard House has three locations right here in Arizona. Every location boasts between 100 to 250 beers on tap, and yes, though many of them tend to be pedestrian (you'll likely find Michelob Ultra on every list) with such a large selection even the most discerning beer connoisseurs can find something that will pacify them.
After the jump, find some insights into how Yard House selects their beers and a link to their massive draft list.
Kit Snider who determines Yard House's draft selections was gracious enough to speak with me the day before Christmas and shed a little light on how he determines what to put on tap. First off, every location in the Yard House chain has a unique beer list... with one exception: The three here in Arizona. Whoops! But Kit says he likes the idea that if a patron enjoys a beer they find in one location, they can come to one of the other two regional locations and get the same beer. Fair enough.
As far as how he chooses different draft lists, he said much of it depends on climate and demand. "Colder weather might have darker selections," he said, whereas warmer climates lend themselves to beers that are "clean, crisp and easier to drink." And if you want a beer at your nearest Yard House location, just ask. If they get continued requests for a specific product, they "definitely want to meet those demands as much as possible."
I also inquired about any affinity towards stocking local beers. His answer surprised me: Often times, they'll shy away from going local for the sake of local. He cited their Denver location as an example: "We put 35 plus local beers on tap in Denver and the response we got was that people were looking for more of the extreme beers from the west coast." Turns out patrons could get those local craft beers at bars all over the city. They were turning to Yard House for something new. So why not use their national chain power for good instead of evil by bringing in unique beers from different parts of the country? Makes sense.
So my holiday in Phoenix has taught me a valuable lesson: Sometimes the big guy really is keeping us little guys in mind. Though I guess I should have assumed a restaurant that keeps over 100 beers on tap at every location wants to make people happy!
The entire draft list -- 113 beers long -- is a bit too massive for me to reprint in a single blog post, but you can see what The Yard House is serving up in the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Glendale area by clicking here (PDF). And find the lists from all 20 plus locations on their website.
Yard House has three locations in Arizona: 9401 W. Westgate Blvd., Glendale; 21001 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix; and 7014 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale. www.yardhouse.com.
[Photo Credit: yardhouse.com]
Chew on This
Royal Wedding Cake Details Revealed! - YumSugar
Most Popular Stories
How to Throw a Dim Sum Party