Old Ellsworth Brewing Company initiating growth in Queen Creek one brew at a time

Ryan Bostrom, one of the owners of Old Ellsworth Brewing Company, talks about how his brewery grew into what it is today. (Julianna Morton, Arizona State University)

[This story has been updated to remove an incorrect statement about who brewed the beer. The Independent regrets the error and any confusion it may have caused.]

Less than two years since its opening, Old Ellsworth Brewing Company is connecting the Queen Creek community and initiating growth in the heart of the town one brew at a time – all because of an ad posted in Choose AZ Brews Magazine.

Ryan Bostrom, his sister Christine McKean and her husband Brian McKean, owners of Queen Creek’s first and only microbrewery Old Ellsworth Brewing Company, said they embrace the community through local involvement and their use of homegrown ingredients.

“We love making beer,” Mr. Bostrom said. “We love to do a wide variety of styles, so the people out here in Queen Creek can get the vast styles of beer.”

The logo of Queen Creek’s first microbrewery is printed on the brick wall of the establishment located on the corner of South Ellsworth Road and East Ocotillo Road. (Julianna Morton, Arizona State University)

Since the grand opening in July 2017, growth has been driven by the popularity of the brewery—especially, on its corner of South Ellsworth Road and East Ocotillo Road, Jennifer Lindley, Queen Creek’s downtown development manager, said.

“They’ve been instrumental in activating that corner of the town,” said Ms. Lindley.

Ms. Lindley was the catalyst to establishing a brewery in Queen Creek.

“When I came on board in Queen Creek, it kind of shocked me that we had large agriculture retention but no brewery,” she said.

Ms. Lindley said she put an ad in Choose AZ Brews Magazine saying, “Queen Creek is an untapped market” for breweries, and after Ryan and Christine’s mother responded to the ad, Ms. Lindley said she began “nurturing that relationship” with the family and Old Ellsworth Brewing was born.

Mr. Bostrom said the brewery emphasizes the importance of using local ingredients such as blue corn from Grain R&D and olives from the Queen Creek Olive Mill.

“Everything is made here in-house. We don’t put anything out that’s frozen or comes out of a bag and onto the plate,” Mr. Bostrom said. “So, we take our time making the food and especially the beer.”

Old Ellsworth Brewing Company, 22005 S. Ellsworth Road, also has a full food menu. Chef Robert Hutson, who joined the brewery’s team after 20 years working for Tempe’s RigaTony’s, runs the kitchen.

“The restaurant side was something we had to learn, and Hutson helped big time,” Mr. Bostrom said.

The menu’s most popular plates feature the “hatch green chile chicken nachos” and “down south” pasta dish, which includes Italian sausage, shrimp and mussels, Mr. Bostrom said.

The quality of the beer and food “goes hand-in-hand,” Mr. Bostrom said. “It’s what helps us be successful—having good food and good beer, and not lacking on one or the other.”

Ms. Lindley said Old Ellsworth Brewing Company continues to immerse itself in the community through events such as “Tales & Ales,” a monthly book club created by a partnership with the Queen Creek Library.

The brewery also had a collaborative, “sold-out” event with Queen Creek’s The Pork Shop on Memorial Day, where Old Ellsworth Brewing Company “gave some of (their) beers to put into (The Pork Shop’s) brats,” Mr. Bostrom said.

“We’re still all about the community around here. We’re still as local as possible with everything we do,” said Jay Marshall, Old Ellsworth Brewing Company’s cellar man. “One of the better parts of working here is hearing that everyone likes coming here.”

“I’ve worked at a lot of places and with a lot of owners, and these (owners) are actually here to make sure everything goes right,” Mr. Marshall said. “They put in their time to make sure all the employees are happy.”

Mr. Marshall also shared future plans of the brewery.

“Our beers are only going to get better as we go on because we’re going to do more barrel-aging stuff, and we are going to do a sour beer soon,” said Mr. Marshall.

Although Old Ellsworth Brewing Company continues to grow, the owners’ plan is to stay local and serve Queen Creek.

“We’re going to stay here for now and see where it goes,” Mr. Bostrom said.

For more information on Old Ellsworth Brewing Company, go to oldellsworthbrewing.com.

Editor’s note: Julianna Morton is a student journalist at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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