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ENRIQUE LIMÓN
  • Enrique Limón

A Clash of Clinks
Sail, bike or dragon-ride to these local breweries.
By Mike Riedel

It used to be that "Salt Lake City" and "beer" were as rarely uttered in the same sentence as "Sandor Clegane" and "thottie." Now, our little mountain enclave is finally getting its ale groove, and is in the midst of a craft beer boom. Need proof? Over the past three years, a baker's dozen of new breweries have opened across the state, six of those in the central downtown area. Here's a quick brewery guide to the craft beer spots in the capital city's inner grid:

Toasted Barrel Brewery
Billed as Utah's dedicated sour brewery, Toasted Barrel's goal is to push the limits of what sour and wild beers can be by producing exotic and standard styles, all with an emphasis on hand craftsmanship. Owners Sage Dawson and Lynn Litchfield came by craft beer through the joy of homebrewing, but found little in the way of regularly-available, local sour beers. Now the city's northernmost brewery has a regular selection of young and old sours, including beers like their Sour Farmhouse ale and their newest release, Black Currant Sour. 412 W. 600 North, 801-657-6942, toastedbarrelbrewery.com

Red Rock Brewing Co.
One of Salt Lake's O.G. breweries, this downtown staple opened its doors in 1994 and has been upping the city's beer game since, all while nabbing the Great American Beer Festival's Large Brewpub of the Year award in 2007. No matter if you skew toward ales or lagers, low- or high-point, Red Rock's consistent portfolio of award-winning beers keeps the comfy brewpub packed on a nightly basis. Their Elephino Double IPA is the state's second-most popular local beer, and their Nut Brown Ale has more awards than creepy Craster had kids. Multiple locations, redrockbrewing.com

Squatters Beers
Think of them as local beer's First Men. Way back in 1989, Peter Cole and Jeff Polychronis took a gamble that their fellow Utahns would crave homegrown beers in a cozy downtown setting—and they've only continued to grow since. Initially, the brewpub occupied the first floor of its 300 South location; it now takes up all three levels. Building on that legacy, head brewer Jason Stock keeps the beer selection fresh, innovative and traditional all at once and handsomely adorns every bottle of Hop Rising, the realm's best selling high-point beer. 147 W. 300 South, 801-363-2739; 1900 Park Ave., Park City, 435-649-9868, squatters.com

Kiitos Brewing
One of Utah's newest breweries is all about gratitude. Hell, the word Kiitos means "thank you" in Finnish. Located on the far west side of SLC's Granary District, Kiitos has rapidly built an excellent reputation. The large, unassuming brewery houses a bar, retail store and a vast selection of pinball machines. Head Brewer Clay Turnbow committed early on to making full-flavor draft offerings while rolling out the barrels (literally) with a diverse range of barrel-aged beers. Try their Vanilla Stout. 608 W. 700 South, 801-215-9165, kiitosbrewing.com

Fisher Brewing Co.
It's rare when you can take a brand and successfully reinvent it. That's what happened in February 2017 when four pals (including a former City Weekly scribe) opened up the second incarnation of the A. Fisher Brewing Co. in Salt Lake's Granary district. The original brewery shuttered in 1963, and primarily brewed light lagers. This new iteration went in a completely different direction: small and localized. Concentrating on small batches and wide variety, this draft-only brewery has become one of the city's greatest success stories. 320 W. 800 South, 801-487-2337, fisherbeer.com

Templin Family (T.F.) Brewing
The newest brewery in central Salt Lake is the brainchild of noted brewer Kevin Templin, who made a name for himself as head brewer for Red Rock Brewing. Looking toward German traditions for his family-style brewery, Templin decided to concentrate on Old World styles with an emphasis on comfort beers. Long festival-style tables with benches that encourage social interactions, mixed with a variety of high- and low-point brews have created a cozy atmosphere that's drawing in beer lovers every hour of the day. 936 S. 300 West, 385-270-5972, tfbrewing.com

Proper Brewing Co.
In early 2013, two brothers by the name of Connelly opened a brewpub in the Aves. Their Avenues Proper and Publick House was an instant hit, and the beer gushed out of the small, neighborhood brewery. To keep up with demand, the Connellys created Proper Brewing Co. on Main Street, the heart of downtown. The beer flows much more freely here, with 10 rotating beers on tap and multiple bottled high-point offerings. Proper's Vienna-style Leisure Brau always puts me in my happy place. 857 S. Main, 801-953-1707, properbrewingco.com

Epic Brewing Co.
Utah's largest locally owned brewery has been bucking the system since opening their doors in 2010. When this maverick brewery debuted, they were the first in the state to exclusively offer high-point beers. Eventually, they got into the lucrative draft-beer scene, but the State Street brewery's bread and butter has always been its cutting-edge big beers. From its Big Bad Baptist Imperial stout to a cornucopia of IPAs, this downtown staple continues to be ... well, epic. Don't forget to check out their newly expanded taproom. 825 S. State, 801-906-0123, epicbrewing.com

Desert Edge Brewery
In 1972, a restaurant called The Pub opened in SLC's Trolley Square. Back then, it was mostly Coors that made its way down wayward travelers' gullets. In 1995, The Pub expanded into the craft beer business and dropped its generic name in favor of the jazzier Desert Edge. It won Utah's first gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival for its Happy Valley Hefeweizen the following year. Over its history, brewers have come and gone, but current head brewer Chad Krussel is making a name for himself at the east side brewpub with his American pale ales. If you haven't tried Krussell's Citra Rye Pale Ale yet, get on it. 551 S. 600 East, Trolley Square, 801-521-8917, desertedgebrewery.com

RoHa Brewing Project
Chris Haas, RoHa's co-owner and head brewer, built a reputation brewing at the aforementioned Desert Edge by concocting classic beer styles with mass appeal. After decades in the biz, Haas and his partners established the RoHa Brewing Project in April of last year. The philosophy remained the same: Create technically proficient beers that are appealing and interesting with the added freedom of no draft restrictions. Right out the castle gate, RoHa's Thursday India Pale Ale won a bronze medal at the North American Brewers Association competition. If IPAs aren't your thing, their Kensington Saison is sure to satisfy nicely. As always, valar morghulis! 30 E. Kensington Ave., 385-227-8982, rohabrewing.com


A version of this feature appears in our 2019 City Guide. Pick up a copy today to read up on everything that makes SLC the coolest place this side of The Wall.

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About The Authors

Enrique Limón

Enrique Limón

Bio:
Editor at Salt Lake City Weekly. Lover of sour candies.

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