23 September, 2020, 06:03

Iron John’s expands to Sports Arena on 18th Street; takes on Monkey Burger

You'll get a kick out of the new location.

With sought-after dreams of owning a brewery, the new trio in charge of Iron John’s is taking an already-established brand to the next level.

As of March 2019, Chris Faitsch, his wife, Rose Faitsch, and their entrepreneurial accomplice, Cory Carpenter, are the sole owners of Iron John’s Brewing Company. They had been gradually accruing shares since 2017 after the original Iron John’s owners parted ways.

“We did a lot of secret shopping when we were looking to invest and really liked Iron John’s beers and staff,” Carpenter said. “We liked our experience there the most and felt like we could do something with it to keep pushing the ball forward.”

Location scouting

The change in ownership brought a change in location as well. With a focus on finding a space that can host events and activities and welcome all walks of life, Chris, Rose, and Carpenter knew just the place to turn their sprouting vision into a fecund vine of hops.

The Faitschs own the 28,000 square-foot building at 555 E. 18th St. and have been renting the space to the Maracana Indoor Sports Arena, which features a full-sized indoor soccer field, a small practice area in the southeast corner, and a halfcourt space to shoot hoops. The arena hosts practice and tournament leagues for adults and youth alike, as well as time for individual recreational use.

Facade at Iron John's Brewing Company (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Facade at Iron John’s Brewing Company (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“I did a lot of research in looking for brewery trends and the combination of soccer and beer kept coming up.” Rose said. “Then, it dawned on me that we have a soccer field in our building that would be the perfect place for families to come—parents can enjoy a beer and watch their kids doing something active.”

From soccer leagues to sports camps and skills classes for kids to take over school breaks, the arena served as the perfect vehicle to take the trio’s idea and turn it into reality.

The space

The new taproom, which opened on October 19th, 2019, is inside the Maracana Indoor Sports Complex—the brewing tanks will soon follow.

Iron John’s patrons are able to use the practice space and basketball area free of charge, as long as a scheduled event isn’t taking place in the arena. The soccer field, however, must be rented in order to be used.

Interior at Iron John's Brewing Company (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Interior at Iron John’s Brewing Company (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The taproom features garage-style windows, which welcome the fresh air. There is plenty of seating, all repurposed, to accommodate those using the sports arena.

In addition to the chairs, the bar and tables are made from repurposed materials crafted by hand. Chris and his father are responsible for the handiwork; they used the wood from the old Golden Pins bowling alley to make the bar top in the taproom.

Interior at Iron John’s Brewing Company (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Obtaining a liquor license was easy; it was already active and was purchased from the owner of the sports arena. However, the license only allows beer to be consumed within the area of the taproom. An application for an extended license will soon be submitted, which will allow people to walk around with a beer and use the facility or watch their family, friends or teammates in action.

Expansion in the works (and a restaurant)

With 6,000 square feet to work with, the Faitschs and Carpenter plan to expand—both in product output and overall offerings.

“There’s a lot of quality in the Iron John’s beers and our variety is unique,” Chris said. “We would just like to add other quality items so it’s a fuller experience for our customers. We’d really like to be the full picture.”

Beer pour at Iron John's Brewing Company (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Beer pour at Iron John’s Brewing Company (Credit: Jackie Tran)

As the beer options expand, so will a full kitchen and restaurant. Stuart Lauer of Monkey Burger has joined the team; Iron John’s is absorbing the burger joint under its name.

Lauer is incorporating his culinary expertise, along with his experience at Monkey Burger, into the menu at Iron John’s. The current Monkey Burger site on Broadway will become another Iron John’s restaurant and taproom, which already has a full kitchen.

The plan is a new and improved menu, beyond what Monkey Burger had. They’re interested in adding pizza to the menu and getting a delivery system set up.

Bottles at Iron John's Brewing Company (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Bottles at Iron John’s Brewing Company (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“There’s a lot of great food in the area and we want to do an equally great job with ours,” Lauer said. “We want to offer food that can pair with our beers and that the community can enjoy right here or at the downtown location just as easily.”

Iron John’s is a brewery for the community. They strive to bring people together while stretching the reaches of the brand.

Whether you’re looking to book a space for a convention, event or birthday party or just want to go in to shoot hoops and have a beer, Iron John’s the place to do it.

Location and hours

Although the original brewery and taproom on Plumer Avenue is now solely for production, the taproom on Congress is still pouring.

Iron John’s Brewing Company 18th is located at 555 E. 18th St. and Iron John’s Brewing Company Downtown is located at 222 E. Congress St. It’s open from 4 – 10 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 1 – 10 p.m. on Saturday, and from noon – 6 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, visit ironjohnsbrewing.com or follow Iron John’s Brewery on Instagram.

Jake O’Rourke is a Tucson native, writer, editor, and musician. He enjoys tasting his way through Tucson’s copious food and craft beer options, listening to live music, and writing about the experiences he has within these endeavors.

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