Located on a busy Tempe thoroughfare, the actual entrance of the Timberwolf Pub might prove hard to spot. The basic layout looks like a 75-foot-square log cabin. Once inside the single large open room the main attraction is easily apparent, 150 taps spanning the rear wall, just behind the bar. Another 250 bottled beers are also on hand. The 40-foot span of stainless steel sheeting houses the taps arranged in three rows. Above the taps are two rows of a beer bottle collection, along with pewter beer mugs hanging overhead. A chalkboard displays the latest specials. The long rugged wooden full bar features stools made from split wooden logs. The interior design consists of a gray concrete floor with about four dozen dark wooden tables and chairs. The 15-foot ceiling is textured with spray foam and supports brown colored ducting. A raised area offers more lounge space using kegs for seating. Eight silent TVs show sporting events while hands-on devices include one authentic and two electronic dartboards, a shuffleboard table, a CD jukebox, and the NTN satellite trivia game. Cigars are sold and fired up, even in the dining area! The ventilation is inadequate and there is no escape.
The bar does a good job given the performance of some beer distributors in the state of Arizona. The Odells 90 Shilling is a deep amber, full-bodied, with a big malty flavor and clean dry finish. The Michelob Hefeweizen is a cloudy dark amber, with a light head, light body, effervescent mouthfeel, lacking any clove or estery character to accompany the clean light wheat flavor. The Gimbergen Double Ale is a dark ruby color with a small head, rich malty aroma and flavor, full body and alcoholic "kick." The Leffe Blond is a dull dark straw color with a nice tangy/spicy flavor and plenty of yeast-produced esters.
The crowd is evenly balanced between men and women on weekend nights. Pints run $3.50 to $3.75, with $1 off during Happy Hour that runs Mondays through Fridays from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. and weekends 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. Other serving sizes include 23-ounce Pilsner glasses, Half Yards, and 60-ounce Pitchers. Periodic promotions feature selected beers from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., such as Big Ass Beer Wednesday with $6 23-ounce glasses and $1.75 refills. The food menu consists of Starters, Sandwiches, Entrées, Giros, Burgers, and other fried meats. The Grilled Chicken Sandwich is very tasty. A lighted merchandise case offers logo'd T-shirts, hats, and dart supplies. With everything on one level, the facility is pretty wheelchair friendly. In spite of the sign at the entrance reading "21 years to enter" the crowd seemed to be of recent legal drinking age. The very attractive waitresses may explain why people seem to not notice the "short pours" in pint glasses with very large heads. Arizona is still the land of light beer so finding a place like the Timberwolf Pub is truly like finding an oasis in the desert. Its hard to pass by without stopping to quench your thirst.
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri -