Sleepy Dog Saloon & Brewery opens in Tempe

Sleepy Dog

Rob Sizemore stands on an elevated platform between two large cooper tanks. In technical terms, he’s transferring wort from the mash tun to the copper.

For customers sitting just a few feet away at a bar, it’s less complicated: He’s making beer.

Sizemore, a longtime home brewer, and girlfriend Debbie Conforti opened Sleepy Dog Saloon & Brewery in Tempe two weeks ago.

Unlike most Valley microbreweries, Sleepy Dog’s beer-making equipment isn’t hidden behind a wall or enclosed in a glass room.

Sleepy Dog“We purposely did it like this so you can get the whole experience,” says Conforti. “The sights, the smells — they’re all right there.”

Large tanks connected by a maze of pipes and hoses occupy the majority of the warehouse-like space. But the front of the 3,900-square-foot interior features a small bar and lounge seating for 56.

Conforti, who has a background in interior design, decorated the area with a vibrant palette of electric green, purple and copper. Matt Weber, a metal artist from Chandler, built the furniture.

Now Sizemore, Conforti and Weber are focusing on beefing up the beer roster to make use of Sleepy Dog’s 14 tap handles.

So far, there are just five beers available: a light pilsner, a pale ale, a hefeweizen, an Irish red ale and a Scottish strong ale. Most are $4 per pint.

A strong IPA and a milk stout should be on tap this week, joined by a pumpkin hefeweizen the following week. Sizemore also is contemplating a barleywine.

The 21-and-over establishment offers a very limited food menu. Hot dogs are $3 and nachos are $4. Popcorn is free.

Sleepy DogInstead of typical glass growlers, Sizemore says Sleepy Dog soon will sell its beers to go in plastic, screw-top bottles in 16-, 32- and 64-ounce sizes.

The brewery also has signed up with Valley-based craft-ale distributor Pitcher of Nectar, which will be promoting Sleepy Dog beers to local bars and restaurants.

Sleepy Dog does not offer a daily happy hour, but this Sunday the public is invited to a brewery tour and sampling at 10 a.m.

Sleepy Dog Saloon & Brewery
Where: 1920 E. University Drive, Tempe (between McClintock and Price roads)
Open: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Prices: $6 per pint
Info: (480) 967-5476 or

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6 Responses to Sleepy Dog Saloon & Brewery opens in Tempe

  1. Great article and many thanks! Two points of correction. Most beer is now $4 a pint all the time with a big promotion starting Football Sunday and the brewery tour has been moved to 10AM so as not to interfere with the football games.
    Rob Sizemore

  2. Jess Harter says:

    Thanks. Rob. I updated the story with the new prices and time.

  3. MichaelAZ says:

    Whew! Better price at $4 per pint. $6 per pint won’t swing it. Question for owner Rob, if he’s checking: Will you guys expand your food menu? The winning combination over at Four Peaks in Tempe is good craft beer and good food. Also, are you guys really closing at 10 p.m. nightly? Us late-night working folks would like to stop in if you’re open later…

  4. Bayern says:

    Amazing place and great people. The plus is that they aren’t Four Peaks. I would rather order delicious delivery from Spinato’s and enjoy my beer with a laid back diverse group rather than the dirty hipster scene at 4Peaks

  5. MichaelAZ says:

    Dirty hipster scene at Four Peaks? Don’t know what time you find the dirty hipsters there, but I’m there late hanging out with a slew of journalists, computer folks, restaurant/bar industry people and pretty cool down-to-earth college kids. Hey, throw in a few dirty hipsters and you’ve got a great, diverse crowd. Coolest bartenders/staff ever in Sarah, Renee, Matt, Ryan, Murph, Trevor, Steve, Marques …

  6. L & R says:

    Stopped by the brewery this afternoon for the first tiime. Liked the decor and the seating arrangements. Tried the beer sampler at the suggesiton of our waitress-great idea for first time customers. Reasonably priced at $3.00 for the amount given, it’s a good way to sample the beer choices. The Pumpkin Hefeweizen was even included in the sampling, (we each decided had a pint of it afterward), but the regular beers are good also. The price for craft beer, $4.00 a pint all the time, is good, but if a discounted (Happy Hour) price would be offered it could be a nice incentive to get people to come in to visit and try the beers also. Good beers, good servce, nice atmosphere.

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