During the trip to Arizona, I wanted to stop by a local establishment called The Handlebar Pub and Grill. I had completed a previous web search on “craft beer in Apache Junction” and was surprised to find the listing – with a number of very positive remarks. The building is almost non-descript and is very easy to drive by. It does not look great on the outside and is a classic depiction of the quote “you cannot judge a book by its cover”. The inside of the Handlebar is very nice with a cooler in the corner filled with very good beer for carry-out, nice wood tables and chairs, two chalk boards showing the beers on tap and the menu, and a very nice (and long) wood bar with ~15 taps on the side wall that I think connects to kegs in an adjacent walk-in. There are also a number of TVs on the walls and entertainment performs Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. I had one of the best burgers in a long time – a blue cheese bacon burger with a side salad. The burger was perfectly cooked and I informed Danny, my father-in-law, that he has to check this place out with his group of guys that check out burger joints.
One item I appreciated was Trevor, the bartender, explaining to one customer when she asked what was like Rolling Rock and his response of “water”. It was classic and I knew right then that I was in an establishment that knows and enjoys good craft beer. The other “tell” was the lack of “macro-brewer” taps and if you want one, they are available in bottles; you will most like get an “are you kidding me” look from the bartender and the other patrons as well. A further “tell” was the number of different tap handles that serve as decorations on the exposed ceiling beams – and they have ran through a large number. I enjoyed an Oskar Blues G’Knight (8.7% ABV and 60 IBU) an Imperial Red / Double IPA and a Deschutes Hop Henge Experimental IPA (8.5% ABV and 95 IBU) a seasonal India Pale Ale. Both of these were very tasty and went well with the blue cheese bacon burger. I will be stopping by the Handlebar Pub and Grill on the next trip to Arizona.
URL – Handlebar Pub and Grill - http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Handlebar-Pub-and-Grill/413937897673
URL – Oskar Blues – http://www.oskarblues.com/
URL – Deschutes - http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/