As McFate Would Have It: Fate Brewing Co. South
The Food: The Grape Escape Pizza
The Beer: Summer Session IPA (5.2% ABV), Oh My Gatos Golden Cream Ale (5.4% ABV), Expert Stout (7.0% ABV)
The Place: Fate Brewing Company South (Opens August 23rd)
The Location: 1312 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ
It’s definitive. I can now call myself a true foodie journalist without sarcastic laughs from friends.
My induction came in the form of an invitation. As the unofficial AZ Food & Wine beer authority, I was brought in to take an exclusive first look at Fate Brewing Company’s newest location in South Scottsdale, appraising some brews, some foods and great conversation. You can keep your convincing arguments. I don’t need them.
I stroll up to the brew co. with excitement in tow. The industrial look to the location gives it a hyper-current vibe. Fate-branded wooden high-tops (because tall humans are people too) and giant tables exude a beer hall feel, easy to light up a conversation with the strangers around you. Giant metal tanks behind the bar offer a view into life a microbrewery at work. Stumble through the back doors, you’ll see the full army of metal vessels Fate uses to craft beer after beer.
Owner, beer expert, purveyor of hoppy flavors, Steve McFate greets me with a pint at the door. Is this real life? Summer Session IPA for our session; a smooth taste accompanied by enough hops to make Little Bunny Foo Foo look sluggish. This beer provided the perfect segue into our conversation.
Passion dripping from every one of Steve’s words, he described his experiments in beer making over the last 2 and a half years, trying around 170 varieties of flavor, styles, etc.. The search for the perfect beer.
“One of the things most enjoyable to myself and our head brewer is keeping things very rotational,” said Steve. “The reason we can do it is because those batches are so small. It’s not a huge financial risk if it’s not the world’s best seller, but it’s something that’s fun to put together. It’s really made an impact on what we’re known for.”
Mr. McFate intends to have 6 flagship beers surrounded by a number of seasonal and experimentals floated into the orbit. This method of trying new methods paid off in 2013 when Fate Brewing Company won silver at the Great American Beer Festival for their renowned Candy Bar Milk Stout. Characterized by hints of chocolate, vanilla and peanuts, I was told a liquefied snickers bar wouldn’t even taste as good. Alas, I must wait for winter to come before savoring such a masterpiece.
By this point, my first pint was nearing its climactic finish. Second beer on deck is the Oh My Gatos Golden Ale, lighter than the first in taste, but slightly more alcoholic than the Session. You, sneaky beer.
Escorted by the second glass is the Grape Escape pizza, undoubtedly an homage to another stoic Steve McLast-Name. Garlic oil, mozzarella and goat cheese line the doughy dish, topped with rosemary, balsamic glaze and (guess…nope, that’s incorrect) roasted grapes. Sweet cheesus.
For those who appreciate the finer things in life, this pizza is perfect, like a cheese and wine night, pairing salty, creamy cheeses with sweet fruit to give your flavor sensors hallucinations. Absolutely delicious, especially alongside my Gatos beer.
What might be most exciting prior to the launch is the exceedingly positive feedback from the community. During my afternoon there, no less than 10 people stopped by, asking if the operation was open for beer-ing. #CantWaitForFate is exploding across social channels, all from people looking for that new neighborhood joint. Steve believes that the style of Fate Brew Co makes it close to home for people, not only literally, but figuratively as well.
“I call it a pub versus a bar,” said Steve. “It’s filling a gap in the South Scottsdale area, and (at Fate North, their original location) there’s a real sense of community.”
Finally, it’s time for the tour behind the scenes, and my glass is 1% full (stay positive, my friends). I’m handed my last brew of the day, because it is, after all, only a Wednesday, and I don’t have a problem. Expert Stout, dark, rich yet not quite bitter, allowing for easy drinkability.
Hulking beer reservoirs surround Steve and myself as he discuss the complicated process of generating the beers for consumption. Steeping, filtering, aging, this science is way above my head, but, considering some of the beers my buddy brewed on his own in college, it sounds like it’s beyond many people. Not Steve.
7-12 days is what it takes for a beer to make it to the taps, unless you’re talking about the barrel aged beers. (What did he just say?! Barrel-aged beers?!) Yes, I did, bewildered buddy. Not all beers are perfect for barrel aging, some are better fresh, as was disclosed to me. However, Fate is perfecting the art of maturing the beers ripe for drum maturing. Stouts, porters, sours and then some. You better up your game, wine-o’s. Craft brewers are on the rise.
Now, with the rise of craft brews nationwide, could there be bubble like potential? Steve says maybe, but the positive expectations is in the quality and distribution. The massive scale distributors don’t run the show anymore. You can get craft brews from inside or outside the state at the majority of bars all over the country. Walk into a Safeway or Fry’s and the beer section is filled with the craftiest of six-packs. The market share for these smaller micro brews is tremendous.
“We’re on such a trajectory right now,” said Steve. “Where’s the top? There might be a bit of a drop off, but once that happens, there’s more than enough quality beers in the market to continue the rise. People are willing to pay eight, nine dollars for a six-pack if they know it’s going to be great.”
Bullish expectations, but not at all unreasonable. Bubble? More like a steel staircase to me. Try popping that one, economy.
Sunday, August 23rd is the date you should all mark. Fate Brewing Company South opens its doors to the McDowell, SkySong corridor. If you truly “Can’t Wait For Fate”, check out their original north location located on Shea, just east of Scottsdale Rd.
Pull up a high-top, and enjoy the view. Snag a pizza and a brimming brew. I’ll be there too.