New North Phoenix craft beer destination, Kitsune Brewing Co., opens its doors – Phoenix New Times | Dauktion

Kitsune Brewing Co. will open its north Phoenix brewhouse on Friday, October 7 after three years of construction.

Tyler Smith began planning his brewery in 2019. The following year, he teamed up with Simple Machine Brewing Co., another craft beer destination in north Phoenix, where he dialed in recipes and created his signature brews for about a year and a half. From there, he distributed casks and cans to tasting rooms and bottle shops throughout the valley.

“Every day was an adventure, but the cool thing about it is that we’ve been able to get our beer to market,” says Smith.

Now he can’t wait to finally welcome customers to his own brewery.

“I look forward to pouring my own beer for the people around me,” he says.

When Kitsune opens its doors, Smith plans to serve eight of his own taps and four guest taps, including beer from Mentor Brewery Simple Machine. Those who have gotten their hands on one of Kitsune’s cans will recognize the citrusy, cloudy IPA Forager and Fox Diver, a malty brown with hints of chocolate.

When entering the new brewery, the attention to detail is striking. The faucets are framed in a niche of marbled white quartz against matte black tiles. Bamboo plants adorn lush, walnut-colored tables, and the walls are adorned with custom-made artwork depicting a geisha and the kitsune of the same name—a magical multi-tailed fox from Japanese folklore who can serve as a protector of a community.

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Kitsune Brewing Co. will offer eight taps and four guest taps.

Sarah Crocker

More important than aesthetics, Smith wants people to recognize Kitsune as a space that’s open to everyone. The bar is wheelchair accessible. The brewery offers non-alcoholic beer. And Kitsune’s beer labels are printed in Braille.

“I really think everyone is welcome in this space,” says Smith, who represents the only black-owned brewery currently operating in the state. “We’re trying to show you that beer is for everyone.”

Creating this welcoming environment is what Smith learned while working at Nike, he says.

“Nike really gave me this mindset that you create a cool, welcoming space that allows people to experience your vision,” he says.

This job also took him to Japan, where he nurtured his love for the culture and the cozy, welcoming ramen joints and bars that inspired Kitsune, which Smith opens in his former workplace. Before traveling the world, he grew up in north Scottsdale and attended Paradise Valley High School.

“This is my neighborhood, these are my people,” says Smith. “My goal has always been to respect the culture and bring a fresh perspective to the brewing space.”

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At Kitsune, the walls are covered with bespoke artwork of a geisha and the eponymous kitsune – a magical multi-tailed fox from Japanese folklore.

Sarah Crocker

That journey began in 2019 when Smith and his family decided to return to Phoenix from Portland. Kitsune was in the works but was hampered by the pandemic.

Smith turned to Simple Machine to brew Black is Beautiful, a stout founded in 2020 by San Antonio-based Weathered Souls Brewing Co. to stimulate conversations about racial injustice and raise funds for local organizations working for justice and… use inclusion. The project invited breweries across the country to get involved and create their own versions of the beer.

Smith joined the Simple Machine team for brew day and hit it off with head brewer and owner Marshall Norris.

“He’s just rude,” Norris says of Smith. “I saw a lot of my ambitions in him.”

Smith is also the first to admit he still had a lot to learn. So he asked if he could bring two tanks and brew from Simple Machine.

“He’s a very creative brewer and has a lot of good ideas,” says Norris. “He took what I had to teach him and he expanded on it in his own way.”

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Tyler Smith, owner, founder and brewer of Kitsune Brewing Co.

Sarah Crocker

The brewery is just the beginning for Kitsune. Smith plans to open an adjacent ramen shop in the suite next door by this time next year. He hopes to host pop-up ramen nights in the meantime.

“(Smith) definitely gave me an appreciation for ramen,” says Norris, sharing his own excitement at the addition of the ramen shop. “I can’t wait for that to happen.”

On Friday, Chilte, a local food truck favorite with an expected physical store of its own, will host a pop-up serving birria tacos from 4 to 7 p.m

The addition of more breweries in North Phoenix is ​​important to the area’s burgeoning craft scene, Norris says.

“It makes a target.”

Kitsune Brewing Co.

Opening on Friday 7 October at 12 noon
3321 East Bell Road, No. 5

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