Catalyst Crafted Ales will open this fall in Tempe. Here’s what you need to know about the new brewery
An Arizona brewery with roots in California plans to open Catalyst Crafted Ales in Tempe next October. The brewery, run by Will Waltherson, will draw on the styles that craft beer aficionados desire – sours, IPAs and beers.
“These are the three favorites of craft beer geeks,” says Waltherson, who came to The Brewery in Placentia, California.
Another area Watherson wants to focus on is carbonated water. Hurry up, beer geeks, that’s not a typo.
“It’s a very underserved area of the Phoenix market,” Waltherson says. “For whatever reason, breweries don’t want to make it.”
Although hard soda certainly is Not beer, brewers across the country have tried to catch the wave started by White Claw – the champagne malt-beverage giant with a facility in Glendale. In Phoenix, Waltherson sees carbonated water as an untapped market and a style with room for creativity.
Take purple rain. Waltherson describes his creation as a “seltzer wine hybrid” made from Zinfandel, Syrah and barrel-aged grapes. It’s then bottled, he says, where it picks up some light, natural carbonation. The seltzer Brunchmaster from Catalyst takes inspiration from mimosas, and includes chardonnay and orange juices.
“If we want to make it, we will make it our way and enjoy it,” he says.
Other beers among the brewery’s “big three favorites” will include IPAs. Walthereson’s favorite is the West Coast-style IPA, a clear, crisp, session-friendly style that has notes of pine and citrus, generally from hops grown in the Pacific Northwest. And Waltherson says he expects the notoriously murky IPAs, too. On the heavier end, Catalyst will pour Envy, a 15-month-old stout in rye whiskey casks with coconut and vanilla.
Waltherson likens his approach to brewing to a culinary endeavor.
“I feel like an Italian chef. I just get the best ingredients and try not to mess it up,” he says.
He’s collaborating with others in the craft field to open Catalyst, including Kreg Bahm, who also owns Pour Wine & Taproom in Mesa. Despite leaning towards certain styles, the team stresses that they will have a full range of options made on the 10-barrel system, and will also pour wine, ciders and malts, largely from local makers.
“We want to generate a lot of interest and awareness of the amazing products you can find in this state,” says Bahm.
The Catalyst team brings brewing and tap room knowledge
Walthereson arrived in Arizona in 2018 and worked at Wren House Brewing Co. and The Shop Beer Co. Before launching Ad Astra Brewing Co. in Prescott with Rex Williamson in 2021. Williamson first came into contact with Walthereson through his son, and the businessman saw the opportunity. “To capitalize on (Waltherson’s) vision of bringing high-quality, very highly-crafted beer to the Arizona market.”
When the team planned the Tempe brewery, concerns arose about overburdening it. Ad Astra closed earlier this year to prepare for the move.
“Ad Astra[was]basically Catalyst’s experimental brewery,” Waltherson says. “Most of the things we’ve done have been successful (at Prescott) I will come back here one way or another.”
Bahm had known Walterison from his time at Wren House, and was intrigued by the idea of opening a brewery in the valley.
“Having watched (Waltherson) grow over the years, I really wanted to be a part of seeing him excel,” he says.
Another key for Bahm was making sure the brewery had an in-house kitchen.
Opening of a seafood taco store inside Catalyst
The catalyst will not be just a dining room. The space will also be home to SALT – short for Sea and Land Tacos.
Enrique Lloreste left the world of corporate banking to open a food truck just before the pandemic began. He started in downtown Gilbert and then became a regular salesman at breweries and taprooms in the East Valley, including Bahm’s Pour Wine & Taproom.
But Euristy’s goal has always been to open a physical location that serves “good beer with good food,” he says, which he says was “hard to find” when he came to Arizona in 1998. His association with Bahm led to an invitation to open at Catalyst.
Uresti will maintain its seafood-based food truck menu with offerings including octopus, shrimp and fish tacos, and add shareable snacks like shrimp cocktail and tuna tostada. Among the “land” options are carne asada, chicken tacos, pork adabada, burritos, and bowls. There will also be a surf and turf burrito with carne asada and shrimp; and toritos—yellow peppers stuffed with shrimp and cheese and wrapped in bacon.
“We want to be different,” Euristi says of his menu.
Catalyst set to open near Broadway and McClintock Drive puts it in a league of breweries, with Four Peaks Brewing Co. and Hundred Mile Brewing Co. Pedal Haus Brewery and Fate Brewing Co. a few miles away. The team welcomes this closeness and connection with fellow brewers.
“Catalyst says it all — growth, expansion, going forward, all of that stuff,” Bahm says of the brewery’s name. “We really want to see the beer community here grow…we want to be a part of that.”
Alice developed catalyst
It is scheduled to open in October
1845 E.N. Broadway Road, 106, Tempe
(marks for translation) Catalyst Made Ales