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The Beer Issue

Celebrating brewers, breweries and the Utah Beer Festival.

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A first for Utah: Beer fridges at state-run liquor stores. - FILE IMAGE
  • File Image
  • A first for Utah: Beer fridges at state-run liquor stores.

The Year in Beer
Brew news from around the Beehive State.
By Mike Riedel

The past year has seen a few ups and downs in Utah's craft beer scene. However, the state of our craft beer culture remains strong. Here are some of the highlights (and lowlights) of the past 365-ish days.

Toasted Barrel closes: Billed as the state's dedicated sour house, Toasted Barrel Brewing set up shop in Salt Lake City's Marmalade neighborhood in the summer of 2018. Co-owners Lynn Litchfield and Sage Dawson envisioned a place where locally made lambics, wild ales and IPAs would mingle seamlessly in one space for years to come. Sadly, COVID-19 on top of money woes forced the intimate and educational space to close earlier this year, though some of their wild and sour beers can still be found in some of the state's finer craft beer pubs.

Hoppers reorganizes: Founded in 1996, Hoppers brewpub was a craft beer staple for the beer nerds who lived farther south in Salt Lake County. Their Midvale location was unceremoniously sold out from under them to a national chain in late 2021, and they were forced to abandon their corner on Fort Union Boulevard. That's the bad news. The good news is that Hoppers' has used this setback to their advantage, and is reorganizing the business from brewpub to production brewery. Look for Hoppers to reopen in SLC's Central 9th neighborhood in early 2023.

Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services installs beer coolers: Beer is many things; eternal is not one of them. Beer is an active, living beverage that requires a moderate amount of climate control to remain viable. The larger breweries can pasteurize, increasing shelf life, but for the most part, normal beers are quite fragile. That's why I was happy to find that DABS (formerly DABC) has been installing multiple beer coolers in some of its newer stores, and in all of their stores that are currently being built. It's not a perfect fix to DABS handling of beer, but it's a welcomed start.

Park City Brewing reborn: In early 2015, three Kentucky guys with the last name of Ray opened Park City Brewery in Kimball Junction. The brewery did well and thrived for a few years, but as often happens in the high-rent area of Summit County, the brewery sought cheaper rent in Salt Lake City.

Eventually, the brewery was sold to a team of investors who quickly began the task of transforming Park City Brewery into Park City Brewing Co. The new PCBC is also in Kimball Junction (different location), and it brews beer in-house on a small brew system with plans to build a production brewery in Salt Lake. For now, they contract-brew their five canned beers locally.

Offset Bier opens: On the heels of Park City Brewing's rebirth, Offset Bier opened up within the city limits of Park City. Offset is helmed by Patrick Bourque and Conor Brown; Bourque's name may be familiar to you from his time at Epic, Uinta, Saltfire and Ogden River Brewing.

Bourque always found a way to express his creativity, but never on his own terms. Now, with the launch of Offset Bier Co., he and Brown have finally found a permanent home and a place to focus their simple vision on making beer that tastes like beer.

Prodigy Brewing opens: The long craft-beer drought in Cache Valley is over, with Prodigy Brewing opening its doors last July. Many are under the impression that this is the first brewery to operate in Logan, but there were actually quite a few back in the day.

In 1888, Jacob Theurer started Cache Valley Brewing, which served the people of Cache County until it closed up shop in 1912. Prodigy, located at 25 W. Center St. in Logan, offers a wide range of ales and lagers, with a menu that's considered upscale pub fare.

I recommend trying the Yellow Snow steam beer, along with What the Helles lager. Welcome to the family.