With Spring Training just around the corner, Huss Brewing Co. is ready for thirsty fans at its new Papago Brewing Company taproom at Mesa Riverview — realizing a dream of owners Jeff and Leah Huss.
The taproom, occupying the former home of The Brass Tap at 1033 N. Dobson Road, is inside a stand-alone 2,100-square-foot, 104-seat taproom and restaurant that will pour an ever-changing selection of 60 craft draft beers, plus packaged beers to go.
Its opening earlier this month coincided with Huss’ refresh of the Papago brand. Leah spent 14 years as co-owner of the original Papago Brewing Company in Scottsdale and helped pioneer the local craft beer scene, including the creation of Papago’s signature beer, Papago Orange Blossom.
Leah and her husband Jeff made the new taproom a personal passion project and says she long dreamed of reintroducing the Papago Brewing experience to the East Valley — not with a rehash or a replica of the old taproom but a new iteration.
“I really wanted to envision what Papago Brewing would look like in 2023,” Leah says. “So, we’ll still have elements of a traditional European-style beer pub and vintage furnishings, yet very fresh and forward looking.”
Besides freshly crafted brews spanning the entire Huss family of beers, the new taproom will also feature local beers from Arizona, along with small-batch and experimental beers. It includes past favorites such as Elsie’s Milk Stout and Hopago IPA, all paired with a compact menu of premium bar bites like the sausage and pretzel board as well as 12-inch pizzas, paninis, sandwiches and salads.
Most important, Leah says they’re excited to build on the solid craft beer foundation built by Brass Tap owners Jesse and Jason Rowe.
“They’ve been great stewards of the Mesa craft beer scene, and we’re excited to introduce Huss and Papago to the neighborhood,” she says.
The quiet locale at Mesa Riverview runs contrary to what’s happening for the rest of their locations — especially their taproom inside the Phoenix Convention Center.
Brewmaster Jeff — a diehard Chicago Cubs fan — looks forward to the next month and a half when Cubs fans will fill nearby Sloan Park as part for Spring Training.
Starting on Saturday, February 25, Papago will open for lunch at 11 a.m. and offer free shuttle from Papago Brewing Co. to Sloan Park for those attending Cubs Spring Training games.
MaLeea Cole-Briggs, Mesa Riverview property manager, says the taproom is a welcome addition to the center coming at an opportune time.
“The opening of Papago Brewing Co. couldn’t have been better timed,” Cole-Briggs says in a statement. “The pub’s wide selection of craft beers and old-world ambiance will provide a comfortable gathering space that we are sure our guests, including the area’s top sports fans and tourists, will heartily embrace.”
Leah and Jeff have 35 years of combined experience in the brewing industry.
Jeff, a former head brewer for BJ’s Brewing in Chandler, attended the Siebel Institute in Chicago and the Doemens Academy in Munich, Germany.
Huss Brewing Co. opened in 2013 with taprooms inside the Tempe brewery.
In 2016, Huss acquired the Papago Brewing Company in Scottsdale, creating the newly formed Huss Family of Beers and transforming Huss into the third-largest brewer in the state.
Although the Scottsdale taproom eventually closed, Leah and Jeff made sure Papago’s pioneering spirit lived on, purchasing Papago Brewing Company in 2016 and expanding the product line to include Papago Cherry Blossom and the brand-new Papago Blueberry Wheat beers.
And now approaching nearly two decades of existence in the Arizona marketplace, Huss has taken the iconic brand to the next level with newly designed cans.
“This refreshing and iconic brand is almost 18 years old, so we wanted to give it a bright and fresh new feel,” Leah says. “The new cans really showcase the oranges and refreshing nature that has made Papago Orange Blossom one of Arizona’s favorite beers for almost two decades.”