What started as a hobby, that swelled into an obsession has turned into a commercial business.
On Dec. 1, Tom Piazza opened Payson’s first local brewery, Mountain Top Brewing, off Tyler Parkway.
Piazza admits his love of beer went from crazy to ballistic in only a few short years.
One home brew quickly swelled into a few dozen and then tanks, grains and supplies started taking over his home.
Mountain Top Brewery has enough space for Piazza to spread his equipment out, much to his wife Cheryl’s delight, and bottle more beers. It also has a place for Piazza to talk beer with customers. Beyond the bottling area is a modest bar.
Piazza, a carpenter by trade, started competing statewide and then nationally with his brews, quickly gaining a following.
As president of the Rim Country Homebrewers club, Piazza had plenty of willing testers. He figured out what works and started selling online, getting orders from around the world.
“I didn’t go to the university of brewing or anything,” he jokes. “This is all passion driven.”
Piazza said he decided to become a commercial brewer “out of insanity” and to “share my passion.”
He said opening the pub has been a huge risk and a lot of work (he almost lives at the brewery), but he already has a few regulars who have claimed their own stools.
On tap currently, Piazza has scotch ale, honey wheat, peach wheat, cherry wheat, IPA and a dunkelweizen, which is similar to a hefeweizen, but darker.
He said he plans to tap a red beer and pale ale soon.
While the beers rotate regularly so does the food. The brewery doesn’t even have a menu.
Piazza said offerings would rotate from chili to brats, sloppy joes and other finger foods.
Piazza isn’t the first brewery in Rim Country. Earlier this year, That Brewery opened in Pine. Piazza said he is excited to bring a local product to Payson that residents can take pride in.
He is working to get the beer in local restaurants and bars and one day ship nationally.
For now, residents can stop in for a beer on tap or take home a growler for $20. Refills are $12.
The brewery, at 401 N. Tyler Parkway, is open in the winter from noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.