Self-pour taps aren’t a new concept in the Valley — zpizza Tap Room began offering a selection of 16 craft beers and ciders and four types of wine on tap in 2015.
But Blast & Brew, the California-based fast-casual restaurant, will offer even more self-pour options for future patrons once it opens.
Tentatively slated to open Sept. 10, Blast & Brew at the Scottsdale 101 shopping center at Scottsdale Road and Mayo Boulevard will be its first Arizona location, joining five others in California.
“We felt that Scottsdale 101 had great visibility … and there are a lot of single-family homes and condos going up and down Scottsdale Road right off the 101 and Mayo Boulevard,” co-owner Parish Patel said. We felt that the growth was there and the demographics that we’re looking for hit the spot.”
Blast & Brew joins a number of new restaurants and lifestyle YAM Properties tenants opening at the strip mall.
They include Camp Bow Wow, a dog day care and boarding facility; EōS Fitness, a popular Arizona gym; Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers; Hot N Juicy Crawfish; and the Japanese restaurant, Vanilla Fish.
They are slated to open beginning this fall and through 2020.
“YAM Properties is excited to have a diverse group of new tenants moving into Scottsdale 101,” said Dan Dahl, director of real estate for YAM Properties. “Our hope is for this center to continue to provide a unique tenant mix that encompasses quality restaurants and a variety of entertainment and shopping selections.”
At Blast & Brew, customers can choose from more than 30 local and regional craft beers, wines and ciders.
The self-pour taps work like this: Diners are given a pre-paid RFID card, they place the card on the reader of the beer, wine or cider they choose, and they then pour as much — or as little — as they want into their glass.
Blast & Brew’s “Beer Geniuses” will be available, as well, to guide guests through the beer offerings and help them choose the best selection to pair with their meal.
“The uniqueness of the brand comes from the self-pour beer and wine and ciders. California has adopted to this quite a bit, [but] we would probably be one of the few that are actually putting this technology in the restaurant in the Valley,” Patel said.
According to Mike Reynolds, chief development office of Blast & Brew’s parent company, Milano Restaurants International, the Phoenix area is an ideal market for the Blast & Brew concept.
“Phoenix is primed for development because the area is saturated with build-your-own pizza concepts, and Blast & Brew will offer something completely different,” he said.
The brand began franchising in 2016 and is currently focusing on growth in the Southwest part of the U.S.
“We’re taking on the space by offering guests a 100 percent customizable experience from the craft beer they pour to the custom pizzas, specialty sandwiches, salads as well as the social experience they create,” Reynolds said in a press release in 2017.
More than 80 percent of Blast & Brew’s self-pour beer will be local, including breweries like SanTan Brewing and Huss Brewing Company.
“We are looking into a couple of other [breweries] from northern Arizona,” Patel added.
The other 20 percent will include more nationally recognized craft beer brands, like California-based Lagunitas Brewing Company.
In addition to an extensive craft beer, cider, wine and craft cocktails menu, Blast & Brew also offers a variety of artisanal appetizers, sandwiches, salads and pizzas.
“Our tagline for the brand is ‘Craft your food, craft your beer and craft your experience.’ So, you can come in and pick and choose your toppings for the pizza and actually craft your own sliders or salads or wraps. There are a lot of options on the menu for [patrons] to create their own thing,” Patel said.
According to Patel, all menu items are prepared from scratch, and Blast & Brew uses a brick oven to bake the pizza.
“One of the biggest reasons we got involved in Blast & Brew is they’ve been making pizza for the last 50 to 60 years,” he said.
Guests can choose from more than 40 locally-sourced and regionally-tailored ingredients and house-made sauces before their custom ’za is fired to perfection at 825 degrees.
“[The pizza is] a superior product. It tasted amazing,” Patel said of the first time he tried Blast & Brew’s pizza. “It was way better than what we had at any other fast casual pizza places that we have seen pop up in the past five years.”
Blast & Brew’s menu will have a few custom, Arizona-inspired items on it, as well, including pizza and chili.
“We are adding some local touches,” Parish said. “We’re adding some ingredients and things that kind of relate to Arizona — jalapeños, guacamole, things like that. We have not finalized ingredients.”
Following the opening of the Scottsdale location, Patel said they’d like to open up Blast & Brew locations in Tempe and the Chandler/Gilbert area.