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Mesa, Arizona is a quieter suburb that’s generally overshadowed by Phoenix, Scottsdale, & Tempe when it comes to food & drink. That’s started to change a bit in recent years. The light rail line that connects downtown Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa has revitalized areas along the route. As part of that revitalization, downtown Mesa is beginning to become a craft beer destination. Now when people attend events at the Mesa Arts Center, Mesa Amphitheater, or the Nile Theater, or spend a day at a Spring Training game, they can go for a beer before or after. There are several great places for craft beer in Mesa, and best of all, most of the breweries & beer bars are located within a few blocks of downtown Mesa. And cider fans, there’s a special something for you as well.
The Best Breweries in Mesa, Arizona
12 West Brewing Company
Named for its 12 West Main Street address, 12 West Brewing Company was started in 2016 by Bryan McCormick and Noel Garcia.
While they first opened the brewery in the Barnone project at Gilbert’s Agritopia (itself worth the journey), Bryan & Noel always intended to make downtown Mesa their home. They’ve now turned this old building into a huge taproom & events space.
In addition to 12 craft beer taps, the spacious brewery has a cocktail bar & a full food menu. Out front, there’s a two-level, dog-friendly patio.
The beer selection covers a nice variation of styles. In November, they had not one, but two fresh hop beers on tap. 12 West’s beers often include local ingredients from the farm at Agritopia. They also have cans available to go.
12 West also has live comedy shows in the basement, which is called Downtown Underground.
Address: 12 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201 (map)
Oro Brewing Company
Oro Brewing Company is a tiny-but-mighty brewery that has quickly become a downtown Mesa favorite.
Whether you’re in their intimate taproom or sitting out on the patio watching life pass by on Main Street, you’re in good hands with Oro’s nice beer selection, friendly atmosphere, and solid music on the stereo.
While the 14 tap selection at Oro Brewing Company goes across all styles, head brewer Jesse Kortepeter has paid particular attention to classic styles from the British Isles, such as their popular “Give Peat a Chance”, a smoky stout. They have also partnered with other local small businesses such as Scottsdale’s Village Coffee to brew special collaborations.
These partnerships don’t just stop there. Oro also supports the local community & local social causes.
There’s no food, but you can bring in something from popular nearby restaurants such as Gus’ Fried Chicken or Tacos Chiwas.
Address: 210 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201 (map)
Beer Research Institute
Beer Research Institute is one of the few Mesa breweries that’s not located downtown, but they have rectified that by opening a downtown arcade bar with 15 taps.
After homebrewing for a long time, Matt Trethewey and Greg Sorrels decided to open up a brewery to share their love of beer. The main Beer Research Institute brewery & taproom is located off the Superstition Freeway (U.S. 60) & Stapley Drive, right next to the AMC movie theater.
The arcade includes all of the favorites you’d expect like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Cruisin USA, & Rampage, plus pinball & more. They even have one of my favorites, Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Super Off Road. For a different challenge, check out the puzzle game “Ice Cold Beer”.
The original location has a full food menu with local ingredients, including some from their Mesa Urban Garden Project, while the arcade hosts food trucks.
The Best Craft Beer Bars in Mesa, Arizona
Along with all of the breweries in downtown Mesa, there’s also an outstanding beer bar that has everything I love.
Excellent beer? Check. Chupacabra Taproom has a fantastic selection of 32 taps, with frequent tap takeovers & events. If you want a weekday night to get fun, a Great Divide “Yeti” takeover can make that happen.
Excellent music? Check. The atmosphere at Chupacabra Taproom is also fun. On a recent visit, there was some good 90s stuff like Rage Against the Machine & the Beastie Boys, with an interesting segue from 311 to ABBA. There’s a bit of something for everyone.
Excellent space? Check. Inside, Chupacabra has a U-shaped bar that invites conversation. Outside, the big front patio is also lively.
Every city should have at least one beer bar like Chupacabra Taproom.
Address: 14 N Robson, Mesa, AZ 85201 (map)
Boulders on Southern
Boulders on Southern is part of a small local chain that also includes Boulders on Broadway & Spokes on Southern in Tempe. In addition to a full food menu, they have 20 taps of craft beer, plus trivia & karaoke nights.
Address: 1010 W Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85210 (map)
Bonus: The Best Cider in Mesa, Arizona
First, a technical note: ciders are not brewed, they are distilled. Now that that’s out of the way, there’s a cidery in downtown Mesa that’s worth a detour from your craft beer crawl.
Founded by brothers Josh Duren and Jason Duren, Sgt. USMC (Ret.), the veteran-owned & military-themed Cider Corps is bringing something just a bit different to downtown Mesa. What started as a therapeutic hobby for Jason following injuries on his deployment in Afghanistan ended up becoming the first cidery in Arizona.
Cider Corps has 15 cider taps, plus cider slushies that are perfect on a hot Arizona summer day. Their ciders have a variety of flavors, so you’re bound to find something to suit your taste preferences, even if you’re not familiar with cider. Standouts include the Sangin Sangria with prickly pear, strawberry, elderberry, orange, passion fruit, & lime, Mango Foxtrot with mango & rose hip, & POG with passionfruit, orange, & guava.
Inside the open & airy Cider Corps, you’ll not only find great cider (which is now produced at their larger cidery in Gilbert), you’ll also find great wood-fired pizza from Myke’s Pizza, a pop-up that has now become a permanent fixture, along with a coffee shop. Cider Corps functions as a welcoming neighborhood space for people of all ages & backgrounds.
Address: 31 S Robson #103, Mesa, AZ 85210 (map)
What are your favorite Mesa beer spots? Comment below!
Do you love craft beer? Check out more of my recommendations for the best craft beer around the world!
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Mesa, check out these Mesa hotels.