The Valley's demand for craft beers has grown over the past few years and locally owned Keegan's has definitely noticed. The restaurant is responding to this request by offering craft beers on tap this fall at all three locations in Ahwatukee Foothills, Camelback Corridor and Chandler.
Keegan's Ahwatukee manager, Buzz Boyd, said that beginning this month, craft beers will be offered bi-weekly, adding that marketing specials and promotions will be designed around the fall specials.
Boyd said the demand for different types of beers has grown in the past few years. Keegan's has been open for more than 20 years, but he said that lately, customers have asked for beer from smaller breweries in the country.
"In general, the craft beer market is really the only market that's on the rise right now," he said.
Boyd noted that there's a whole new demographic of drinker out there that's looking for new beer. In addition, he said that craft beers give patrons more choices when dining at Keegan's because they are able to match the beer up with different types of foods. Many customers prefer the beer because they believe the taste is unique, he added.
Keegan's managing partner and chef, Paul Burdick, said that the craft and micro beers started back in the early 1990s when a lot of breweries opened around the country. He said craft beers are making a return but it's now happening on more of a local level.
"In the last five years, more local breweries have popped up all over Arizona than ever before," Burdick said, adding that some of the growth has to do with the sophistication of the market and because customers are interested in artisan, craft-related products. He also said that there are so many different flavors and the beer market is a bit customer driven.
Burdick said that currently, due to the temperature, wheat beers are more popular because they are a lighter drinking style. As it gets cooler, he said more customers order heavier ales.
He thinks craft beers are here to stay and that Keegan's will keep rotating different beers on its menu. Burdick added that the selection is so large that customers are able to try different flavors as breweries acquire more distribution.
In addition, he said Keegan's offers beers that are not locally produced, and that some of the craft beers are imported from Prescott and will be put into keg forms for the first time.
"If you're a beer fan then you have a narrow window to scoot over to Keegan's," Burdick said. "There's an artsy environment and the selection (of beers) is so big that it's fun."
• Kirsten Hillhouse is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a senior at Arizona State University.