As its award-winning breweries and brewpubs prove year after year, Utah is home to quality beer. Many of the businesses that produce those stellar ales and lagers are located in the state’s capital, but the craft conversation doesn’t start and end in Salt Lake City. An array of brewery venues, including offshoots tracing back to SLC trailblazers, can be found in popular ski destinations, Park City and Ogden. Join us as we introduce you to a quartet of local beer operations in each of these locales, both of which are roughly a half-hour drive from downtown SLC.
A note on Utah’s beer-consumption rules: In Utah, beer is separated into two categories: low-point and high-point. The former includes any beers coming in under 5% alcohol-by-volume (ABV). These are the only beers a brewery may package or sell in kegs. They are also the only type of beer a brewery may sell in cans or bottles at grocery stores. High-point beer (above 5% ABV) must be canned or bottled and can be sold to-go in those containers or poured into a glass and served at a tasting room, bar or restaurant. Packaged high-point beer can also be sold to-go from government-operated liquor stores.
Many visitors’ knowledge of Park City is limited to the city’s quaint Old Town and ski resorts (Deer Valley and Park City), but locals know there’s more to the town’s offerings than its tourist-geared areas, including its fast-growing northern expanses. The latter is popular for having plenty of parking, something that, ironically enough for a place with the word “park” right in its name, is hard to come by in the city center. Fortunately, public transportation is free year-round, providing a work around to pay lots.
Red Rock Brewery – Park City
1640 Redstone Center Dr
This outpost for one of Utah’s most award-winning and notable beer interests (Red Rock Brewery was named Large Brewpub of the Year in 2007 at the Great American Beer Festival, the country’s most prestigious brewing competition) is smack dab in the middle of Park City’s Red Stone shopping center. Transition from retail therapy or a flick at the cross-street movie theater (remember those?) to a cozy bar and resto with a brick-red and copper interior scheme emulating the earthen formations the business was named for. Artful placards lay out the plethora of beers available on tap and in bottles, an assortment that shifts with the changing seasons.
In recent years, RedRock brewers have gravitated toward hop varietals lending tropical-fruit flavors and aromas to their hoppier stock. A double dry-hopped hazy called Monkey Mind is all pineapple leading to passionfruit on the palate and a tangerine-skin finish, while Junior IPA’s bouquet presents mango followed by a cohesive mélange of orange and peach on the taste buds. Even the company’s best-selling beer of all time, piney Elephīno double IPA, has been given a hazy, tropical sibling, the dare-you-to-order-it-out-loud Fukifphīno. The latter is next-level juicy and brazenly boozy with notes of nectarine, peach, pineapple and grapefruit zest. And don’t sleep on RedRock’s amber ale. A bold interpretation of the style, it delivers warming flavors of chestnut and roasted peanut husks.
Pub grub rules the day with plenty of fried starters augmented by toasts of the avocado and wood-fired brie variety, plus a salad section nine entries strong. Wood-fired pizzas, assorted sandwiches, pastas, steaks and entrees such as champagne-Dijon-glazed salmon round out the edible fare.
Inside Tip: Ask your server about beer-and-food pairings. RedRock offers beer-education classes for the benefit of its staffers and customers.
Standout Suds: Elephīno, Double IPA
Top of Main Brew Pub
250 Main St
In 2012, the Beehive State’s first craft-brewing operation, Wasatch Brewery, teamed with fellow early entrant, Squatters Pub Brewery, to become the cornerstone of a craft-beer collective called CANarchy. When that business sold its brand portfolio to Monster Beverage Co., the energy-drink behemoth had zero interest in the Utah trailblazers’ brewpubs, restaurants and bars throughout the state, allowing Squatters’ founders to team with Utah investors to buy back those spots. Two of the most prominent are a Squatters eatery that has since been converted to the Park City Roadhouse Grill and a former Wasatch brewery-restaurant in Park City’s charming Old Town area rebranded as Top of Main Brew Pub.
Both locations still offer popular beers from Squatters and Wasatch (as well as those from the new ownership group’s other entity, Salt Lake Brewing), but the focus of this old-is-new-again operation is on the brand-new brews being pumped out under the Top of Main banner and its “beer with altitude” motto. Those include year-round cores paying homage to Wasatch classics and Park City’s past. Case in point, Swede Alley, a nitro stout that comes across as a gentler form of Guinness and shares the moniker of the pub’s backstreet, a blonde dubbed Mother Urban’s Parlor that references a madam’s red-light establishment, and a helles lager named Schirf Beer after Wasatch’s eccentric founder.
Post-adventure pub questers in search of a classic American lager will be sated by rice-infused crusher, Utah Beer, while heat-hunters will appreciate Coalition Hellfire, a cream ale lent fruitiness and capsaicin bite care of habanero peppers. The latter pairs well with an eclectic menu offering everything from loaded mac-and-cheese, fish and chips, burgers and pizzas to ahi tuna bowls and Vietnamese pho.
Inside Tip: Following hop harvest each year, Top of Main releases Clothing Hoptional wet-hop IPA, which raises funds for the Summit Land Conservancy.
Standout Suds: Utah Beer, American Lager
1755 Bonanza Dr, Unit C
Veering off the main drag and spelunking a tiny industrial suite humbly marked “brewery” is highly recommended for fans of traditional beer styles and cutting-edge craftsmanship. Both are celebrated at Offset Bier, the brainchild of an nth-degree homebrewer and the longtime head of brewing operations for Utah’s largest craft-beer concern, Uinta Brewing. Together they nerd out while producing small-batch low- and high-point creations spanning the stylistic gamut. Those beers are split into two categories, an “off” family of creative one-offs made using new hops and brewing techniques, and a “set” assortment of beer-flavored beer styles tracing back to the Old World.
If Offset is known for any particular style, it’s the “Lie PA”. Shortened to “L IPA” on their menus, it’s a cute term they’ve coined for an impressive line of modernly hopped, unfiltered session-strength IPAs. Two recent iterations, Dopo (Mosaic, Nelson and Simcoe hops, producing popcorn-hull aromas backed by flavors of tangerine, gooseberry and pineapple) and Divi (bleeding-edge hops HBC 586, HBC 1019, Pink and Nectaron, a strawberry-cantaloupe bouquet and passionfruit on the palate) burst with flavor. Lagers abound with a Czech-style Tmavé Dark Lager wowing with prevalent cola-nut notes and a light-roast finish, but anything from Belgian ales to smoked beers and to-style classics can pop up on the menu on any given suds-day.
All of the above are offered in an intimate après-ready tasting room with snow-white cinder-block walls perked up by ski paraphernalia and multicolor bucket seats. The clientele is mostly local, the mood is chill and the beers are unlike anything one will find, not only in Park City, but much of Utah.
Inside Tip: To help offset beer’s caloric intake, Offset holds a run club on Wednesdays covering 2½ or 4½ miles with free food for all participants.
Standout Suds: Dopo, Lie IPA
Park City Brewing
1764 Uinta Way, Unit C1
It was 2013 when a local business opened producing beers bearing Park City’s name. Though beloved by locals, the business became financially inviable and closed six years in. That’s when it was purchased by Park City residents seeking to open it back up and take it to the next level. To do that, they hired a beer- and business-savvy brewer from Philadelphia who set up contract-brewing partnerships with larger Utah operations to allow Park City Brewing to get its canned beers into wider distribution while he cooks up inventive small-batch beers to stock the pub’s taps.
Brewing beer one barrel at a time makes for a great amount of variety and seasonality. A key example is an Oktoberfest-style Märzen crafted in collaboration with Ogden’s UTOG Brewing (see below) and given biscuity character care of Maris Otter. That said, the honeyed nose and slashing backend bitterness of German-style Pilsner Powder Buoy and robust toffee notes of six-malt amber lager Silver Creekwater make both reliable year-rounders. Those mainstays will soon be joined by a wildly popular blonde ale that’s poised for a comeback spurred by ravenous demand from fans of Park City 1.0.
Located in a strip mall right off Interstate 80, the brewpub is a perfect pit stop as one heads in or out of its namesake locale. Grab a flight with some tasty apps (cherrywood-smoked chicken drumettes, fried cheese curds, tri-tip kebabs) or pop open a high-point can, sit a spell and make a meal of an amber lager-braised brat, pulled-pork sando or fried chicken and waffles.
Inside Tip: If you’re into hard seltzers – or simply traveling with someone who is – Park City keeps a constantly rotating assortment on tap.
Standout Suds: Silver Creekwater, Amber Lager
A sizeable city with a small-town feel and multiple ski resorts (Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, Nordic Valley), Ogden has shaken its reputation as a rough-and-tumble locale – Al Capone’s gangland-era tunnels still run beneath 25th Street, which was once one of the country’s most dangerous thoroughfares – softening into a family-friendly berg with a great deal of charm. Now, 25th Street is lined with bars and restaurants, many of which serve ales and lagers from local breweries. But there’s nothing like drinking them at the source.
2325 B Ave (B Street Brewery & Taproom) | 253 Historic 25th St (Ogden Restaurant) | 748 W Heritage Park Blvd, Ste 101 (Layton Restaurant)
The owners of Ogden’s longest-operating modern-era brewery have nearly three decades under their belts and foresight for seeing the potential in parts of town others looked past. In 1995, the restaurateurs opened Roosters Brewing on then crime-ridden 25th Street. Nearly a quarter-century later, they constructed another brewpub – their third – on the desolate grounds of a former stockyard. In both cases, those venues went on to become anchor businesses that have shown off the potential of once barren and troubled areas, helping them become thriving communities with local beer to call their own.
From day one, Roosters’ biggest seller has been its earthy, easy-drinking honey wheat ale, Bee’s Knees, but its best beers are the highest of their high-point fare. Caramel, rye bread and nutmeg are highlights of award-winning 9% alcohol-by-volume (ABV) doppelbock, Niner Bock (get it?), while equal-strength imperial stout Iron Rooster is rife with bittersweet chocolate and French roast coffee flavor. In recent years, the company has expanded its hoppy portfolio, offering IPAs of the West Coast, hazy, juicy and cold varieties at low- and high-point ABVs. The best of the bunch are juice-to-pith orangey Untamed Juicy IPA, the candied-orange and sweet papaya High Desert Hazy IPA, and Ogden Double IPA with its bold caramelized mango and resin essence.
If you’re too busy hitting the slopes to make it to Roosters’ in-town venues, you can hit one on the way home. The company operates a full-scale bar and restaurant with a built-in R&D brewery in Layton, 15 miles south on Interstate 15. In too much of a hurry to stop? No problem. Roosters has an outpost at Salt Lake City International Airport. Either will cock-a-doodle-do.
Inside Tip: Cross-drinkers can enjoy cocktails, wine and a namesake lager at The Coop, a sister bar and eatery next door to Roosters’ Layton location.
Standout Suds: Niner Bock, Doppelbock
Ogden Beer Company
358 Park Blvd
When a local entrepreneur took over the brewpub site previously operated by defunct Ogden Rivers Brewing, he had big aspirations. One of the first things he did was assemble a youthful yet experienced brew crew, including a 10-year female head brewer from Roosters and cellar savant from SLC’s Proper Brewing. A year in, Ogden Beer Company’s short-but-mighty tap list is stocked with well-made ales and lagers matching the lip-smacking dishes from a menu offering creative spins on typical pub fare, earning legions of local fans who also appreciate the venue’s bringing-the-outdoors-indoors environs (hanging flora, assorted woods and Instagram-ready “Eddie the Yeti”), two-story patio and upstairs bar for 21-and-up imbibers.
Ogden Beer’s core lineup says a lot about the modernity of those minding the store and industry trends. A pair of lagers, American (1851) and Mexican (Cultura), are clean and crystal-clear archetypes of the style, while an outstanding cold IPA (Space Cruz) is extra-dry, super-green and dares to be bitter. It fills out a year-round lineup that includes wheat ales infused with tangerine (Cougar Juice) and hibiscus (Hola Aloha). While other forms of IPA may make it onto the beer board, so too can just about anything from kettle-sour ales, porters and stouts to styles both trendy and staid.
In year one, all of Ogden Beer’s beers were low-point, but this year marks the rollout of high-points. The quality of those offerings will be key to verifying what many already believe: that the young, hungry duo behind this brewpub’s liquid assets may very well be the next big thing where Utah beer is concerned.
Inside Tip: The brewing team recently released what they believe to be a first-of-its-kind beer, a red (not amber) Mexican-style lager called Tres Flores.
Standout Suds: Space Cruz, Cold IPA
1258 Gibson Ave
Food is part of the equation at most Utah breweries, but the main focus for the husband-and-wife behind this seven-year-old family business (where the son has ascended to the brewing ranks and both his sisters fill administrative roles) are quality beer and quality communalism. Talisman Brewing’s intimate tasting room is decked out in an industrial chic motif with wood slats, corrugated metal, strung light bulbs, live-edge picnic tables and high-tops with the company’s hop-laced Celtic knot logo etched into them (matching a trio of wooden mallets behind the bar). That symbol of interconnectivity feels apt as convivial groups carry on lively conversations in the communal hub.
Talisman has the most varied and lengthy assortment of low-point beers in Ogden and something for just about every palate. Award-winners include impressively hoppy session IPA, Comin in Hop (peachy aromas, Satsuma orange profile, firm bitterness), and remarkably drinkable Uplift Scottish-style ale (dark bread, hazelnut). Fruity beers show well here, with Killer Grove blood-orange wheat ale and a raspberry gose called Berry Salty coming in dry versus overly sweet or sour. Another hoppy delight is The Dagda (translates to “Good God”), a West Coast IPA with grassy, piney aromas leading to candied-orange and lemon-peel flavors followed by a smooth finish. On the dark side, a chocolate milk stout called Udder Chaos features fun nuances of roasted hazelnuts and chocolate wafers.
In addition to competition accolades and being the only non-brewpub operation in Ogden, Talisman further differentiates itself as the first local brewery to produce a triple IPA. Boozy yet easygoing for an 11.3% beer, it’s an adventure in a can.
Inside Tip: Fall brings Talismania, an Oktoberfest-themed customer-appreciation party with food trucks, entertainment and activities for kids and adults alike.
Standout Suds: Comin’ in Hop, Session IPA
2331 Grant Ave
Over its long lifespan, the downtown brick building on the 2300 block of Grant Avenue has housed a manufacturer of military uniforms for U.S. soldiers serving in both World Wars, a fabricator of Mormon garments and, in a severe turnabout, a lingerie factory. Now it’s living its best life as UTOG Brewing, a brewpub inspired by far-flung beery eateries its airline-pilot founder fell in love with while on the road and wished he had back home in Ogden. Opened in 2019, it’s become a popular spot for families as well as locals taking in the wealth of nearby entertainment options (theaters, bowling, indoor skydiving).
A dozen taps dispense house beers, the most popular of which is Hammer Down, a hefeweizen infused with peach. That stone fruit also stars in an American sour ale named Son of a Peach, which is given a hint of sweetness with the addition of honey malt. Other fruited beers include the blood-orange-tinged Mandarina Kölsch, Motherpuckin’ Sour with mango and an everchanging fruited-sour series. Ginger and lime lend bright, spicy sushi-friendly character to Snapdragon rice lager, Amarillo hops add citrus to a tea-like IPA called Snowcat, and Papua New Guinea java from Wasatch Roasters imparts roastiness and red-berry flavors to Synergy Coffee Lager..
UTOG’s casual menu features starters (including “appy hour” balsamic-glazed brussels sprouts, baked chicken wings and deep-fried pickle spears), sandwiches and entrees including baby back ribs, fried chicken and blackened salmon. That culinary style and the company’s house beers will find a second home later this year with the opening of West Ogden’s Teebox, a golfing activity and education center that will features its very own UTOG location, equipped with an R&D pilot brewhouse.
Inside Tip: For a small fee you can watch Ogden Raptor baseball games from UTOG’s patio, which abuts leftfield at Lundquist Field and has its own kids’ play area.
Standout Suds: Synergy, Coffee Lager