Utah Beer Archives – 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.
Well, 2020 was certainly one for the books! And, while most of these year-end reports could go on about how difficult the year has been, there is a lot to celebrate. Of course, with lockdowns, restrictions, and curfews all contributing to a down year, we are happy to say that our local breweries have so far made it through by weathering the elements and persevering.
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.
Last weekend was not a craft beer lover’s dream for me. I was charged with bringing liquor to the Burbot Bash, a nighttime ice fishing derby on Flaming Gorge, on the Utah/Wyoming border. My buddy and derby teammate brought the beer. He went with Coors Lite.
Utah’s September muzzleloader buck deer hunt yielded, for me, the viewing of several beautiful sunrises, tons of squirrels, birds of prey attacking those squirrels, other orange-clad hunters, lots of does and one tiny spike buck that I thought about shooting for only a moment before letting him walk away unscathed. What it didn’t yield was any buck sizable enough to fill the freezer.
Now I sit here, in October, drinking an Allosaurus Amber Ale from Utah’s Vernal Brewing Co. I drink this tasty, medium-bodied amber ale next to a campfire in the Book Cliffs of Utah, where I’ve spent the last two weekends trying to make up for a failed deer hunt by trying in vain to fill my spike elk tag for the winter’s meat. We’ve seen some elk, but so far the only spike among them was in our neighbor’s campsite, already dead and being prepared to fill their freezer.
Halfway through today’s 16-mile mountain bike ride in the 95 degree heat of the Moab desert, I looked down to check my water bottles; things were definitely half empty. I looked in vain for a tree or rock that might offer a bit of shade for a short rest, and I told my friends, Charlie and Stacia, “I $%&#ing hate mountain biking.”
When I stopped at the Utah state-owned liquor store last night after a day on the slopes, the label of Epic Brewing’s Pfeifferhorn Lager stood out, what with its powder-covered peak imagery. Named after the 11,326 foot Pfeifferhorn Peak, a.k.a Little Matterhorn, which overlooks the Salt Lake Valley, this beer’s label proclaims that its namesake’s “craggy summit lures hikers and skiers year round.”