Behind the Scenes Tour of Helton Brewing

KD9A1110Some things are worth the wait.  First dates, Season 2 of Netflix’s ‘Jessica Jones’ and craft beer.  At least well-made craft beer.  So, when Brian Helton offered us a tour of one of Phoenix’s newest, soon-to-be craft brewery additions, we took Helton Brewing Co. up on the offer.  After seeing the space and speaking with the owners and brew masters, we’re anxiously awaiting the opening of this new brewery.  KD9A1115Located on Indian School and 22nd Street, just a few minutes east of the SR-51, this brewery is north of most Phoenix breweries. Bill, investor and our tour guide for the day, explained that Helton being so far north is exciting. “It’s rare this area is zoned for brewing”, he says. In our heads, we just keep thinking, “If they’re zoned, why was the building Helton using originally a tire warehouse or that ATV store I always ignored? Beer should have always been made here.”

Ah, but, it’s here now, well, nearly here, and we’re looking forward to a forty-person tasting room and market, ample open seating and an outdoor patio with loads of room. It’s poised to be a dreamy neighborhood joint – way classier than Cheers – where the bitches can go knock back a few cold ones… Probably with their boys, since they asked begged us.

KD9A1151The chalk drawings in the tasting room are just a few of the visual accents already up around the space, which is still very much under construction. {Don’t worry, they were working quickly and didn’t stop just because we were there.}KD9A1149This tasting room features the most adorable, old-school, u-shaped bar with reclaimed wood accents and the front window will be lined with barrels for aging. Oh, also, there will be charcuterie from Wedge and Bottle. No big deal. {JK Yes, it is. Yes, that is a big deal!}KD9A1147KD9A1120While it might not look like much yet, we trust the guys at Helton to turn this side area into an open, well-lit seating area for dining and drinking.  KD9A1119With a mix of vintage and eclectic finds and handmade furniture made by Brian Helton’s stepfather, the space is going to be comfortable and stylish.  KD9A1122 Sneaking a peek in the back, you can see the silo, (which, of course, is a blank canvas for Helton branding) because, of course, everything will be done in-house!KD9A1125We made our way into the now brewing room, happily. Bill shows us the serving vessels, kegs and kettles. They intend to start brewing soon. Like, really soon. And we’re…hopped up about it. Too much? Too much pun? Never enough pun?KD9A1127These 8 serving vessels and 12 tap handles will hold enough for Helton to serve 8-10 of their own beers at any given time, with room for a few guest brews.KD9A1138To the left is the first step of the brewing process:  In goes the grain and water.  To the right is the kettle.  {If you don’t already know how beer is made, here’s a cute infographic for you.}KD9A1137Next up, the beer hits the fermentation process in these fermenters.  Lagers will ferment here for up to a month, but some ales can finish as quickly as a week.KD9A1132Unlike many new breweries in Phoenix who opened their doors before their first batch of beer was ready, Helton hopes to get beer into the barrels within the week and, ideally, they won’t make us wait too long after that to start serving! KD9A1130So, can we get a few for our next party, tho?KD9A1140Please note: We’re also loving the branding, as it’s simple, clean and to the point.KD9A1142Plus, they gave us stickers + swag. (No, we totally weren’t at all like 5-year-olds at Halloween digging our hands into the button  – stop judging us.)KD9A1145Turns out, Bill’s not only a brewer, but also a great photographer – thanks for the tour and this group shot!  And, special thanks to Brian for welcoming us into  Helton so we could share our excitement and anticipation for this new addition to the Phoenix beer scene. KD9A1152You can follow along with all progress on their instagram @heltonbrewingcompany.

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