As a baseball fan, I find myself back in Tempe, Arizona each year for spring training. While I am no expert on Tempe, I have witnessed how the city has changed over the years. Each time I visit, I encounter new restaurants, breweries, and sights that seem to pop up out of nowhere. While there are many great places for food or a cold beer in Tempe, I always find myself returning to Four Peaks Brewing Company on 8th Street.
Founded in 1997, Four Peaks Brewing Company currently operates three locations in the Phoenix area. Their original location, which I recently visited, is located on 8th street in Tempe just east of ASU. They also have a location just to the south on Wilson Street and another location at Sky Harbor International Airport.
Though Four Peaks is a small, neighborhood brewpub, they are well known in the Southwest. Their signature beer, a Scottish-style amber ale known as Kilt Lifter, can be found in eight states. While Four Peaks is known for their craft beers they also serve typical pub food including burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, fish and chips, and salads.
The Mission Revival-style brick building which houses the brewery dates back to the 1890s, two decades before Arizona became a state. At this time, the F.A. Hough’s Ice Factory operated a creamery and dairy operation in this building. Years later, the iconic building was used as a recording studio by acts including Stevie Nicks and The Gin Blossoms. In 1997, Four Peaks Brewing Company moved in and opened their first location here on 8th Street in Tempe.
You can experience some of this past history by walking inside the building. With its tall ceilings, red brick walls, and open interior, the space felt like it used to be a factory. And, as a history nerd, I found this interesting. Dominating the interior was a large rectangular bar, perfect for those dining alone or for those who just wanted a beer. Brewing equipment, along with large metal brewing vessels, were visible on the northern section of the building behind the bar.
If you aren’t planning on sitting at the bar, you will find tables scattered around the room. More tables could be found in the narrow room adjacent to the main room.
If the weather isn’t too bad, I always ask for a table on the expansive outdoor patio. This is where I like to sit on my visits, especially after a spring training game. While it can get warm on the patio, the large awnings keep the bright desert sun from being an issue.
Four Peaks Brewing Company Menu
There was something for everyone on the menu at Four Peaks Brewing Company whether it was food or craft beer.
If this is your first visit, I recommend trying their award winning Kilt Lifter, a Scottish-style amber ale. Other than the Kilt Lifter, Four Peaks offered a wide variety of craft beers including seasonal beers.
As for food, the menu featured typical brewpub fare such as burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, and salads. Appetizers included pretzels, chicken wings, spinach dip, and nachos.
The full Four Peaks Brewing Company menu can be viewed at https://qrco.de/bbWFGA.
Almost every time I visit Four Peaks, I end up ordering the Southwest Burger ($14.25) made with an Anaheim chili, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, and sweet jalapeno dressing. I ordered my burger medium rare.
It seems like burgers these days are getting smaller and smaller while prices go up. While this burger wasn’t cheap, its certified Angus beef patty was thick, so I felt I was getting my money’s worth. The ruby red patty looked beautiful and fresh, a perfect medium rare. While seasoned well, I could taste all the beefy flavors of the meat. No fillers or seasonings were masking the flavor. After being cooked over an open flame, the patty was both smoky in flavor while crispy and crunchy on the outside. The flavor of the grill really came through.
Topping this burger were thick slices of red onions, fresh lettuce, a slice of tomato, a spicy and sweet jalapeno dressing, and a slather of creamy mayo. Each topping added both flavor, color, and texture to the burger. This was especially true with the red onions which added a crispy texture and sharp bite. No southwest burger would be complete without spicy, salty pepper jack cheese and a roasted Anaheim chili pepper. Both smoky and tart, the tender green pepper elevated this burger to a new level.
The final component of this burger was the bun. Golden brown in color and lightly toasted on the inside, this simple yet fluffy bun brought this burger together. It handled all the ingredients piled on top without falling apart.
On the side, I had the choice of pasta salad, salad, or fries. I went for the fries which were simple but got the job done. I found these thick cut fries to be flaky and crispy on the outside while tender on the inside.
First up was the Spinach Dip ($12.00) made with artichoke hearts, baby spinach, and roasted red peppers in a warm cheese blend. While it may look small, this deceivingly large dip served in a Noble Bread bowl with house tortilla chips could easily feed four people. The tortilla chips were fresh, crunchy, and salted well. They were the perfect vessel for dipping in cheese.
The highlight of this dish, not surprisingly, had to be the cheese blend. The dip reminded me of your traditional spinach dip made with cream cheese, sour cream, and salty parmesan. There might have been some mozzarella mixed in too. The mixture resulted in a creamy, rich, and salty dip that kept me going back for more. While I could have eaten this on my own, it was better shared.
Mixed in with the cheese were artichokes, a generous amount of sautéed spinach, and red bell peppers. The huge chunks of artichoke hearts, while soft and tender, added a crunchy texture. The red bell peppers added both color and texture along with a hint of sweetness.
While easy to overlook, the Noble Bread bowl brought the entire dish together. This circular bread bowl, baked by a local artisan bakery, was crispy and toasted on the outside while soft and fluffy on the inside. The bread had a distinct smoky flavor which intensified as I made my way towards the bottom of the bowl.
While simple, Four Peak’s version of spinach dip was the perfect combination of flavor and texture. If you are looking for something to share, this is it.
No matter the day or time, one thing that remains consistent at Four Peaks is their great service. This is true whether it’s a busy Friday night on the patio or a quiet Wednesday afternoon at the bar. I always get the same great service time after time, after all these years.
On my recent visit, it was no different. My server was friendly and efficient, even with the restaurant being so busy. Whenever I needed something, she was there to help. Even more impressive, my server remembered my entire order, correctly, without ever writing anything down.
While there are many great spots in Tempe for craft beers and food, one place seems to stick out. And, that is Four Peaks Brewing Company. With great food, a good selection of craft beers, and friendly service, I will continue returning to Four Peaks Brewing Company during my annual spring training trip to Tempe.
- Located in a historical building dating back over 100 years
- Great selection of craft beers
- Large portions
- Friendly service
- Often long waits on weekends
1340 E 8th St #104, Tempe, AZ 85281
GPS Coordinates: 33.41970,-111.91576