The opening of 8-Bit Brewery was such a fun time. Opening you ask? But you’ve already been sold and reviewed this place didn’t you? Yes and I’d really like to thank the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild for sharing my initial review of 8-Bit Brewery. Instead of another review, this will be my personal experience of the enjoyably long Saturday that it was.
So back to this opening business, well my friends, 8-Bit had a soft opening on May 2nd to the owners’ family and close friends. Another opening on May 5th for their co-workers and acquaintances. The opening on May 7th was a private event for those who supported the brewery through the purchase of merchandise. The soft openings helped ease the growing pains of serving to the public and the fact Ryan admittedly claimed “we didn’t really want to open a brewery with only 3 beers on tap.”
After just under a month of test openings, the 8-Bit Brewery officially Pressed Start on June 6th and opened its doors at noon. It was the typically sunny and hot day outside and was let in a little early to shoot some video before anyone arrived. Krystina and Ryan were consuming power ups before the doors opened. People started trickling in a few minutes later and within the first hour was nearly packed to capacity with thirsty gentleman and lovely ladies.
The complete list of beers on tap for the opening: White Mage, Black Mage, Hopsassin’s Creed, Legend of Zymur, and the Offensive Tanooki. I was looking forward to the Extra Life Amber but unfortunately this beer wanted to take a bit longer before it was ready to declare itself a new challenger. After speaking with Ryan, he let me in on something clever as to how the ingredients of each beer also attribute to their name. For instance the Extra Life Amber contains Phoenix hops if you can get the reference. I know I do.
It was already standing room only around 2:30 until the end of the night. Table space was at a premium but people didn’t seem to mind one bit. There was a geeky t-shirt contest at 3 with the winner going to the Star Wars baby. Nobody really stood a chance against that baby. The cosplay contest at 4 went to some great entrants but the really impressive Starlord from Guardians of the Galaxy took home the prize.
The 8-Bit Miata, an actual drift car of Starfighters Arcade came all the way from Mesa for the interested to take photos and ask any questions regarding a rather unique car. There are several YouTube videos of “8-Bit Bryan” and his 8-Bit Miata drifting on actual tracks. 8-Bit Bryan was happy to let me sit in the drivers seat and explain the journey he’s been through and stating how much work and the level of ingenuity that went into the car. I have to admit that I’ve never seen anything like it.
The Frites Street food truck showed up at 5 offering gourmet frites (French fries) with an impressive selection of aioli sauces and entrees to accommodate the carnivores, vegans and gluten challenged alike. Just fries? Fellow reader, these were monster fries with toppings for days. I had the Elote Frites with an egg on top and was astounded and thoroughly satisfied.
Some future plans include hosting a beer dinner with Frites Street. Pairing their food with the beer at the brewery. New beers on deck are the summer mini boss peach IPA the name of which is still under wraps for now. They’ll also have a seasonal summer hefeweizen.
People of all types showed up. From the geeks, gamers and cosplayers to the curious, craft beer enthusiasts, old, young and everyone in between. It’s a great indicator that the people of not just the West Valley but all of Phoenix are behind this place. I was amazed how both Ryan and Krystina kept up. I’m sure they slept through Sunday and deservedly so. I seriously salute their work ethic how much they just want to give their patrons great beer and a great experience.
In an era of hyper stimulating restaurant bars with a dozen, large flatscreen TVs that’s always blaring the most milquetoast of music, it was amazing to see nearly every single person in the room conversing, mingling and socializing without bright lights and shiny things to distract them. This must be what bars were like before the world lost its attention span. It really was a site to behold.
I’m actually kind of glad that the official grand opening wasn’t made into a huge spectacle. Though the amount of people there would lead anyone to believe it was. They kept it low key, they kept it for the people they kept it 8-Bit.