World of Beer brings hundreds of international craft beers to Tempe

World of Beer, which officially opened Aug. 8, snagged a prominent corner spot on Mill Avenue in Tempe. With this being the franchises first West Coast location, it houses a staggering 58 rotating tap beers. (Photo by Jessie Wardarski)

General Manager John Paul Watts said the Tempe location, on the northwest corner of 6th Street and Mill Avenue, is perfect for World of Beer because the area attracts a lot of new industry and is home to one of the largest universities in the country.

The bar occupies the former Old National Bank Building and houses its VIP room in one of the bank’s old vaults.

Two friends, Scott Zepp and Matt LaFon, founded the World of Beer brand in 2007. The two decided to expand the business, originally located in Tampa, Fla., in 2010.

There are 31 World of Beer breweries, with eight more expected to open in late 2012.

Unlike other Mill Avenue bars, World of Beer does not serve liquor or domestic beers.

Instead, it boasts craft beer from 40 different countries.

“Craft beers are a huge market now,” Watts said. “It’s growing every year.”

The bar has 520 different varieties of bottled beer and 58 rotating taps, which feature more than 300 beers in a month.

Local breweries such as San Tan Brewery and Four Peaks are featured on tap as well.

“We try to keep 20 different Arizona beers on tap at all times,” Watts said. “We do brewery nights with the different local breweries where we feature their products.”

All bartenders are expected to go through “beer school,” a 10-day training course where they are tested on their beer knowledge.

“It’s a must,” Watts said. “They all know a lot about beer.”

World of Beer bartender Bianca Harris said they had to sample each different style of beer during the training course and were tested twice prior to the grand opening.

“We were tested on the origin of each beer, what type of glass they are served in and general World of Beer culture,” Harris said.

Boston resident Dan Grielle, who was in Phoenix on business, said he chose World of Beer based on a friend’s recommendation.

“We had heard that the brewery just opened up and figured we would give it a try,” Grielle said. “The staff is great because they are knowledgeable in every type of beer. If you tell them what you like they will steer you in the right direction.”

Watts said the bar, which is open from noon to 2 a.m. each day, sees a mix of students and older clientele come in.

He said most of the older customers come in earlier in the day for happy hour, while students begin trickling in later in the evening.

World of Beer offers a college night, titled “World of Beer U,” every Wednesday where ASU students and staff get half off select drafts.

Students and faculty must sign up for a free WOBU card by showing their ASU Sun Card in order to participate in the event.

Customers can join the bar’s loyalty program for $15, which provides members a chance to taste rare or specialty beers and offers a 25 percent discount on Tuesdays.

Beer drinkers can accumulate one point for every different beer they try, allowing them to earn rewards such as t-shirts or a $250 bar tab if they try 500 different beers.

The franchise has just launched a free iPhone app, The World of Beer Mobile Loyalty App, which allows customers to see what the brewery has on tap at the moment. Users can read about beers from the app by country of origin and style.


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