AboutTim Haran, Author at PorchDrinking.com
Perhaps nothing makes brewers beam more than when one of their beer babies—and a lager at that—becomes a commercial success. For Jeff Bunk, director of operations for Proper Brewing Co., that’s the story of Whispers of the Primordial Sea.
He’d had his recipe for the smoked Helles with pineapple tucked away since his days working at a cidery in Oregon. Then, in late 2020, Proper put the beer on draft as a one-off. And in mid-2021 Whispers of the Primordial Sea hit the Utah market in 16-ounce cans. It became an instant hit.
It’s not a stretch to say yeast helped Shades Brewing make its mark. Specifically, the South Salt Lake, UT brewery utilized a strain of kveik — an ancient Norwegian farmhouse brewing yeast — to cement its place in craft beer.
Picture it: Salt Lake City, September 1989. The lights of Utah’s Broadway just got a whole lot brighter. On Sept. 5 of that year, Squatters Craft Beers opened its doors at 147 W. Broadway to become the capital city’s first brewpub. More than three decades later, the pub that ignited Salt Lake’s craft beer revolution is reflecting on its roots.
147 West Broadway Hop, a West Coast-style IPA, is the first in Squatters’ new series of rotating IPAs designed to celebrate the city’s now-booming beer community.
Policy Kings Brewery made history when it opened in late 2018, becoming Utah’s first Black-owned brewery. In 2021, the Cedar City-based nanobrewery released a pair of canned beers to “pay homage to Black culture,” said owners Deandre (Dre) and Sara Ridgel. The resulting Love/Hate Series features Love Black IPA and Hate Hazy IPA. Initially, two of each were sold together in 16-ounce four packs only at the brewery.
Bewilder Brewing Co., one of Utah’s newer breweries, recently released its first higher-alcohol packaged beer. Mole Porter is a 6% ABV brew that delicately blends sweet and spicy in a mouth-coating, enjoyable sipper.
In modern-day American craft beer terms, a brewery founded in the mid-1980s is an industry pioneer. For Nils Imboden, head brewer at Wasatch Brewery, a trip to Europe puts that in perspective.
“The last time I was back there, ‘Oh, you work at a brewery?‘ he said. “Yeah. ‘How long you been around? 1986. ‘That’s cute, kid.“
A quick calendar check might suggest that now isn’t the ideal time to sip a Señor Pepino Cucumber Lime Lager from Epic Brewing. As days get gobbled up by night and swimsuits give way to sweatshirts, craft beer drinkers tend to move away from beachy summer refreshers.
Of course, another look at the calendar provides proof that this is still 2020. And if there’s one thing the year’s made clear, it’s to expect the unexpected.
In some ways, Javier Chávez Jr. founded Cerveza Zólupez Beer Company specifically so he could brew Zólupez Lager Mexicano.
Chávez, the son of Mexican immigrants, wanted a beer that paired well with the food served at his parents’ restaurants. Even more, he sought to infuse his beers with Mexican culture and tradition while honoring his heritage.
While Kiitos Brewing consistently delivers tasty year-round beers, the Salt Lake brewery isn’t against experimenting in the brewhouse. Kiitos’ (KEE-tose) latest Triple Dry Hopped Hazy IPA shows off its desire to mix-and-match different hops combinations.
Thirty-five miles west of Salt Lake sits Bonneville Brewery. The brewery sometimes gets lost in Utah craft beer conversations because it’s outside the capital city and it’s been brewing award-winning beers going on eight years now, which often means it’s excluded from the new-school–cool-kids-club.
Sir-Veza, a Mexican-style light Lager brewed by Utah’s preeminent Lager brewery, is a beer for all seasons. The crisp Lager is the perfect refresher—or so I’ve heard—after a day spent carving turns on the ski slopes. For Utahns like me who don’t ski or snowboard, this is the time of year we’re dreaming of soft sandy beaches and warm summer breezes. And a sip of Sir-Veza, coupled with an active imagination, transports us to a sun-soaked oasis.
With Monolith, Salt Lake City’s Proper Brewing Co. begins its much-anticipated barrel program.
Monolith is a barrel-aged version of Proper Brewing’s Grand Sláinte Imperial Stout. It’s a limited-edition brew you’ll want to get your hands on.
It’s not often Hoppers Grill & Brewing Co. bottles its beers so when it does, as the usually draft-only brewery did with La Nymphe, craft beer drinkers know they’re in for a treat.
Chad Hopkins, brewer and part-owner of Hopkins Brewing Company, grew up in the Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Utah. Now, he’s crafting beers that pay homage to his past, like Sugar House Pilsner. The second batch of Sugar House Pilsner hit taps in mid-July and while it’s still an easy-drinking 4% ABV lager, this one features a slightly different recipe than the first.
No need to travel to a galaxy far, far away. Or to another dimension. The 10th Annual Tour de Brewtah—dubbed Spaced-X—is set to blast off right in our own backyard.
Scheduled for May 4—May the Fourth Be With You, after all—the bicyclist-meet-brewery space-themed event brings together cyclists and craft beer enthusiasts to “tour our ever-expanding local ‘brewiverse.'”
Brian Coleman chuckles when asked how the name Divine Lunacy, a decadent Belgian Quad, came about.
“When I think of Belgian beers,” the 2 Row Brewing president and brewmaster says, “I think of crazy monks getting drunk and having a good time.”
But that’s not the only reason 2 Row landed on the heavenly name, he admits.
New Utah breweries are opening at a rate not seen in a generation, if ever. The boom is providing plenty of options for craft beer lovers to drink directly at the source.
At peak times, many brewery taprooms are filled with good beer and lively conversations. However, as with any business, it’s not all-bustling, all the time.