A Bird's Eye View of The Perch Brewery in Chandler, AZ
Posted on April 24, 2017 2:00 PM
The Perch is the type of brewery you tell friends about—the beer is outstanding, the rooftop offers a “bird’s eye” view of downtown Chandler, and the misted patio is an oasis of tropical plants. But, it’s the 70-plus birds housed in cages along the patio’s perimeter that really set it apart from other pubs.
“They came with the house,” explains owner Rebecca Lavenue, who purchased the property one block south of downtown Chandler after falling in love with the gardens and the 45 birds there at the time.
Soon after making the purchase, the Arizona Exotic Bird Rescue in Tempe contacted her to ask if she would consider taking in a few birds they were having a difficult time placing in forever homes. Lavenue told them she would take three; they brought 10. Although she has added other birds since, she feels she’s reached capacity.
“I’m not really sure how many I have at this point,” she says. “The smaller ones fly around so fast they’re hard to count. It’s over 70.”
The birds are a huge draw for The Perch and are so popular with guests that Lavenue has dedicated a section of the website to introducing a few favorites, such as Bubba, a royal blue Hyacinth Macaw, and Sharkey, the Rose-Breasted Cockatoo who gets “super excited” over pizza crust.
You can learn even more about the birds, including the sanctuary’s 14 Amazon and five macaw parrots, on The Perch’s Facebook page, where Lavenue features a different bird each week.
None of the caged exotic birds are available for adoption, something she’s frequently asked, but if you’re interested in making a lifetime commitment to a feathered friend, Lavenue suggests contacting the Arizona Exotic Bird Rescue. And, of course, you’re welcome to visit the birds at The Perch as often as you like—they love the attention!
But, there’s definitely more to The Perch than the birds. (Originally, Lavenue opened a smoothie shop here, and despite the birds, it wasn’t drawing as many customers she had hoped. Her friend and now business partner, Sue Sechrist, recommended switching to a business model that included alcohol.) People come for the beer, food, and patio, too.
“We have 40 beers on tap,” she says.
Roughly 20 of those are Perch beers, 10 are guest handles, and 10 are exclusives for the roof. Of the Perch brews, Lavenue says the Belgian Peach, with its fruity-forward profile, is one of the most popular, along with the Batch 28 Blonde, a malty, easy-to-drink American beer.
At times, especially under the direction of beer expert James Swann, who has since moved on, the beers have been creative, incorporating flavors such as grilled lemon, rosemary, and dragon fruit. Now, the emphasis is on crisp, clean beer. The Perch recently added a new RO system to improve its water quality and a concrete fermenter.
“We’ve got the only concrete fermenter in the state,” she says. “It’s going to allow us to do a lot more sours and saisons.”
That’s because concrete stabilizes the temperature of the fermenting beer inside, imparts no flavors on the beer, and is porous. Beer made in concrete fermenters lets the ingredients and the beer-making process shine.
In addition to making brews for its own taps, The Perch produces two beers for its sister property,55 Chicago: S’Weet Home Chicago, an American wheat, and South Side Red, an Irish red ale. (55 Chicago is adjacent to The Perch and can be accessed through a connecting open gate. Both have separate food, beer, and bar menus.)
People also come for the food, Lavenue says. The menu features pub staples like soft pretzels with beer mustard, burgers and pizza as well as quite a few items with fun twists like the pig wings, bone-in, beer-marinated pork shanks served wing-style with jalapeno marmalade. Or, the open-faced tamale made with your choice of pork carnitas or grilled chicken on a bed of house-made red chile sauce, topped with a fried egg.
The mac-n-cheese is also popular and comes with your choice of add-ons ranging from salmon to green chili pork, and you can choose from for specialty tots: buffalo, beer cheese and bacon, jalapeno marmalade, and garlic, herb and goat cheese.
On Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., The Perch serves breakfast burritos, a breakfast pizza, blueberry pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and other morning treats along with sandwiches, salads, and wings. Order a brunch flight of mimosas and Bellini’s to enjoy with your leisurely meal down.
Brunch on Saturday and Sunday isn’t the only happening at The Perch. Every Saturday at 9 a.m., you can enjoy yoga on the roof—your $20 yoga fee includes the class, a cocktail, and the opportunity to have your nails done—and on most Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, you can listen to live music. Check Facebook for information on who’s playing that night.
There’s also a slew of specials. On Monday Nights, the Bourbon and Burgers promotion gets you $3 off select bourbons with the purchase of a burger, and on Whiskey Tuesday, you get $2 off all whiskey excluding well and whiskey of the month. Wine’d Down Wednesday features half off all wine bottles and glasses of wine, excluding the house wine.
Information on monthly specials and special events, like Cinco de Mayo, can also be found on Facebook.
Lavenue believes The Perch, which celebrated its third anniversary recently, is unlike any other brewery you’ve ever encountered. The gardens surrounding the patio make you feel like you’re thousands of miles from the desert, and the birds just add to the ambiance.
Plus, the birds are a lot of fun for most visitors and for Lavenue.
“I really enjoy them,” she says.
If You Go:
The Perch Brewery
232 S. Wall St., Chandler
Hours: Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday – Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Rooftop hours: Daily: 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.