There’s a new bar with a speakeasy feel in Old Town Scottsdale.
Walk along Brown Avenue and peek in the salon-filled street to find Bad Water Brewing, a bar that balances its beers with fancy charcuterie boards and sleek, masculine furnishings that are part upscale sports bar, part minimalist hangout for those simply looking for a tasty brewskie.
The spot serves three craft beers, only distributed in Arizona: a lighter-than-usual IPA; a strong in alcohol, light-in-taste saison; and a caramely Western lager that was probably my favorite of the three (all $5 each). IPAs usually scare me because of their strong taste, though I’m attracted to the high alcohol content, so it’s great this fruit-forward IPA went down smoothly and still hit the spot at 5.5 percent alcohol. The saison, with an orange spice tinge, had a whopping 6 percent alcohol percentage, while the lager with a smooth finish had 5 percent. I was impressed with all these local brews, and our knowledgeable server did a great job at explaining the nuances.
We ordered a vegetarian Noble Stave charcuterie board (there’s also a vegan one, sans meats and cheeses), normally $15. It came with a scrumptious blueberry goat cheese, brie, gorgonzola, pistachios, almonds, olives, peppers, artichokes and more. It was definitely artfully presented and included some fancy cheeses, but I was disappointed there were only three flat lavash crackers. It came with three long, hard grissini crackers that were difficult to spread anything on, and overall, the offerings were a little sparser than I’d expect for the price.
My favorite part of the board was definitely the blueberry goat cheese. I’ve never had anything like it and would have enjoyed an appetizer featuring just that. The ingredients all went well together, though I would have loved more lavash.
As for atmosphere, the vibe was relaxed and would make for a great spot for industry folk looking to unwind after working in the area. I just wish there were some purse hooks on the high-tops, since there was nowhere to put mine except for on my lap, on the floor or on the table.
I wouldn’t say I would go there just for the appetizers, but the cheap-in-price, high-in-quality local brews are attractive, and it’s nice to have the charcuterie boards (six to choose from, starting at $11), to whet your palate before heading to dinner.
The spot features a 16-seater private room that will be used for educational beer events and that can be reserved for parties, a cool aspect to the venue.
The thing I enjoyed most about Bad Water was its unique beer selection, also including seven drafts and 10 bottled beers from guest breweries, including a favorite of mine, the Lumberyard Pale Ale from Lumberyard Brewing Company in Flagstaff ($6.) Learn more about Bad Water Brewing here.