Shades of Pale
Signature Beer: Publican Pale Ale
Cult Favorite Brew: The limited-edition Ready to Fly Amber Ale. “People say that it’s our best beer, the most complex that we make,” says Trent Fargher, Shades of Pale’s founder/CEO/brewer.
Where to Get It: Shades of Pale is available on draft and in bottles in bars and restaurants across the state; use the Find the Beer function on ShadesOfPale.com to find out who’s pouring it near you. Grocery and convenience stores stock 22-ounce bottles of Shades of Pale’s lineup. The limited-edition Ready to Fly is available on draft in select locations in Park City and in downtown Salt Lake City, including Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria (1044 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-2180), and in bottles exclusively at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
What’s New: The Park City brewery has grown a slow but steady following after debuting on the beer-festival circuit in 2010. Its three beers—4-Play Porter, Publican Pale Ale and Jack Wagon Wheat—were the first 22-ounce craft beers to hit the grocery stores and, now, “it’s selling well enough that our space is increasing on the shelf, and the distributors are asking for other size packaging,” Fargher says.
But six packs aren’t the only thing Shades of Pale has up its sleeve—the brewery is looking to relocate to a larger facility and upsize equipment “by the time the snow falls,” Fargher says. “We’ve gotten to a point where we physically can’t produce more product.” Expansion will allow Shades of Pale to meet the high demand for current brews, as well as branch out with additional varieties. “I’m getting tired of drinking the same old stuff,” says Fargher, who started out as a homebrewer and has been experimenting with some high-point lines for Shades of Pale. “And beyond just physically expanding our presence, we want to build a community around our brand,” with tours and beer tastings, he says.
1950 Woodbine Way, No. 5, Park City, 435-200-3009, ShadesOfPale.com
Signature Beer: Full Suspension Pale Ale
Cult Favorite Brew: Hop Rising Double IPA
Where to Get It: On tap and in bottles at The Beer Store, located in the Wasatch/Squatters Utah Brewers Cooperative brewery (1763 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City), Squatters pubs, restaurants, bars, liquor stores, gas stations and grocery stores.
What’s New: Squatters was sold to Fireman Capital Partners, a Boston-based company, in September 2012. Squatters has maintained the same employees, the same managers and the same beer, but has been able to move forward and expand production, says Dan Burick, director of Squatters’ brewing operations. “Fireman Capital Partners was a good fit for Squatters because they love that we keep it local, and they want to keep it that way,” Burick says. “They’re really supportive of our local efforts.”
This year at Squatters, there are new tanks, which were expanded in May and will be expanded again in August, as well as new packaging equipment. Squatters will be coming out with cans in the near future, in response to demand from active craft-beer drinkers.
The brewery has also been experimenting with firkins. Firkins, smaller kegs served on the bar, are a way for Squatters to get creative so people can experience a different taste of the same beer. Burick explains the process as taking 10 gallons of their regular craft beers and adding cherries, apricots, coconut, spices—pretty much anything—to experiment with new combinations of flavors.
147 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2739; 1900 Park Ave., Park City, 435-649-9868, Squatters.com
Uinta Brewing Co.
Signature Beer: Cutthroat Pale Ale, which is sold only in Utah.
Cult Favorite Brew: It’s a tie between Hop Notch—a new IPA launched in 2012—and Baba, a light, sessionable black lager.
Where to Get It: Liquor stores, grocery stores, bars and restaurants, Uinta’s brewhouse pub.
What’s New: In late 2011, Uinta went through a complete redesign and launched its Organic, Classic and Crooked lines. “When we started the redesign, a lot of the concern was wanting to be recognizable, and to still keep with the spirit of Uinta, which is embracing Utah in a positive way,” says Lindsay Berk, Uinta’s marketing manager. The redesign was both subtle (Cutthroat is still a jumping fish on a red background, but it’s more stylized, drawn with thicker lines; it’s a trout with personality) and striking—with bold colors, clean lines and a new, propriety bottle in a shorter, rounder shape with a compass around the neck. “We’re very passionate about the beers we’re brewing, and we’re confident in the quality of them,” Berk says. “With the redesign, it was a matter of getting that beer in people’s hands, and have them make that connection on the shelf.”
And it worked: The company saw 67 percent sales growth the next year. Uinta is now in Phase 3 of an expansion that will triple Uinta’s capacity. What this means for the consumer is that there’s more Uinta beer than ever; the company’s brews can be found in 26 states, which is where some of that 2012 growth came from—while no new markets were added, the places already carrying Uinta around the country simply wanted more of it.
And, thanks to that expansion, Uinta was able to fulfill a years-long goal of canning its beers so they can keep up with the state’s outdoor enthusiasts. Hop Notch, Wyld, Baba and Cutthroat are all being canned in a new system that knocks out 400 cans per minute, and are available on store shelves now.
1722 S. Fremont Drive (2375 West), Salt Lake City, 801-467-0909, UintaBrewing.com
Founded: 1986 in Park City (Utah’s first)
Signature Beer: The aptly named Devastator, an 8 percent amber lager.
Cult Favorite Brew: Recent addition Ghost Rider, a dry-hopped 6 percent IPA made with “super pale” barley and wheat, as well as a hint of coriander and a cool illustrated cowboy label that gives you a tough-guy/girl air.
Where to Get It: Wasatch’s higher-ABV beers are available at State Liquor Stores, most local bars and The Beer Store, located in the Wasatch/Squatters Utah Brewers Cooperative brewery (1763 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City). Wasatch 4 percent beers are available at bars, grocery stores, gas stations and The Beer Store.
What’s New: In 2012, it was announced that Wasatch and Squatters would merge into a single suds entity, which Utah Beer blogger Mike Reidel joking future-titled “Squasatch.” Whatever it will be called, Wasatch/Squatters (thanks to a $35 million investment from Boston equity firm Fireman Capital Partners) plans to open more breweries in other states, as well as amp up canning locally—so practice saying, “Toss me a can o’ Squasatch, man.”
250 Main, Park City, 435-649-0900, WasatchBeers.com
Zion Canyon Brewing Company
Signature Beer: The Jamaican Style Lager has held the title for a while, but ZCBC’s new English-style amber is selling well at the ZCBC brewpub.
Cult Favorite Brew: The Virgin Stout. “My stout recipe has taken on a cult following,” says master brewer James Valderrama. Women who come into the brewery and say they prefer wine to beer often end up leaving with a six-pack of the silky-smooth stout, he says, which has roasted notes and a strong chocolate flavor.
Where to Get It: On tap at the brewpub and southern Utah restaurants, in bottles on the shelves of southern Utah grocery stores.
What’s New: After changing ownership two years ago, Zion Canyon Brewing Company has been going through a restructuring. Valderrama, who’s been with the company for about nine months, changed all of the recipes; he and staff have been working hard as they take a new approach with the brewery and uphold “the integrity of the craft,” Valderrama says. The company recently pulled its five bottled beers—Jamaican Style Lager, Springdale Amber Ale, Hop Valley IPA, Virgin Stout and Extra Special Bitter—out of the Salt Lake City-area market, making a decision to focus on markets in southern Utah, as well as Arizona and Nevada.
But Salt Lakers might soon see ZCBC high-point beers on liquor-store shelves: Valderrama hopes to have two high-point beers out soon: Rockville Rye (7.4 percent ABV) and No Ropes Black IPA (8.4 percent ABV). Until then, visitors to southern Utah get to have all the fun, including the Angels Landing Apricot Ale and the North Rim Trail Hefeweizen, which are exclusively on draft at the ZCBC brewpub, nestled at the base of some of the area’s most astounding red-rock formations.
2400 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale, 435-772-0404, ZionCanyonBrewingCo.com