19 breweries in Salt Lake City that are changing the Local Beer Scene
Raise your hand if you’ve heard a joke about the beer in Utah, specifically the weakness of said beer.
Now everyone put their hands down.
Though the breweries in Salt Lake City Utah are hampered a bit by the archaic beer and brewery laws in Utah, the craft beer scene is definitely coming around of late.
And by “of late”, we mean that a state law was just changed in 2019 that now allows the breweries in Salt Lake City to serve draft beer up to 5% ABV, up from the previous 4% limit (this also applies to the highest-gravity beers that grocery stores and convenience stores are allowed to sell). This might not sound like a big jump, but it definitely expands the draft beer portfolio available to the Salt Lake City breweries.
Don’t worry, you can still purchase the full-strength beers in bottles or cans to-go (what they call their “high-points”), so you can taste the beer as it was intended.
In 1994, there were only 4 craft breweries, and now there are more than 30 breweries in Salt Lake City (including Ogden, Park City, and surrounding areas). We think that qualifies as explosive growth!
While we didn’t make it to every single one of the Salt Lake City breweries during our short stay here, we do think that we hit most of the highlights and did our due diligence to cover the others based on what we’ve heard from friends and bartenders alike.
We did have some favorites while visiting these fine Utah breweries, but we aren’t listing these in any specific order because we know that taste and experience are entirely subjective.
Table of Contents
Uinta Brewing Co
Epic Brewing Co
Hopkins Brewing Co.
Grid City Beer Works
Level Crossing Brewing Co.
Fisher Brewing Co
Bewilder Brewing Co
RoHa Brewing Project
Proper Brewing Co
Toasted Barrel Brewery
Salt Flats Brewing Co
SaltFire Brewing Co
Red Rock Brewery
Desert Edge Brewery
**Boozing Abroad contains affiliate links throughout the site. If you choose to purchase items through these links, we will earn a small commission at NO extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure policy here**
Salt Lake City is spread out and having a good spot to stay is key for the walkability aspect of your trip. We do recommend having a car, but ride-sharing programs and electric scooters are also options for getting around.
Top picks for where to stay in Salt Lake City:
This fun boutique hotel has lots of quirks and flair and is super walkable to our favorite spot, Caputo’s Market and Deli!
Residence Inn by Marriott Salt Lake City Downtown
Just across the street from Pioneer Park, this spot offers great walkability as well and during the summer months, a farmers market is held in the park on Tuesday and Saturdays. With food trucks and local vendors out, this is a great time for local finds!
Looking for more hotel options? Click here now to see all the great options in Salt Lake City!
HOW TO USE THIS MAP: To view the layers and see the names of the places on this map, click the tab in the top left corner. You can select the check marks to show or hide certain layers. If you select the icons on the map, you will get more information about the point of interest.
HOW TO SAVE THIS MAP: If you select the star icon next to the map name, you can save this map to your Google Maps account. To view it, open Google Maps in desktop or on your phone, select the menu button, go to “Your Places,” scroll to the right to Maps, and you will see this map.
Photo Credit: Uintabrewing.com
If you have a goal of brewing the best beer in the country, why not open a brewery in the least beer-drinking state in the US?
You’ll certainly stand out for many reasons. That’s exactly what the founder of Uinta Brewing did way back in 1993 when he opened his pride and joy in an old mechanic’s garage.
As one of the top 50 breweries in the country (and one of the biggest Utah breweries) based on volume, Uinta is one of the mainstays in the growing market of breweries in Salt Lake City.
Some of their most popular beers are the Hop Nosh IPA and the Cutthroat pale ale, but they have a huge list of beers available, and even have a line of hard seltzers called Westwater.
While on one of our hikes in Arches National Park (our first of Utah’s Mighty 5), we enjoyed their Park Series Golden Ale with scenery from the iconic Delicate Arch in the park. Their Park Series beers were brewed (and cans designed) to raise awareness for America’s beautiful parks. And beautiful they are!
Uinta is also 100% wind and solar-powered, becoming the first business in Utah to do so.
Now, let’s get to the funny-looking (and sounding) name, Uinta. The brewery is named for the nearby mountain range which is the highest range in the contiguous US that runs east to west.
Since even native Utahns pronounce it wrong, we’ll help you out…”you-in-tuh”.
If you’re a lover of craft beer, you might have heard about Epic Brewing as they have a location in the loaded beer city of Denver and also purchased a brewery out in Santa Barbara, California. But it was the Salt Lake City location that started it all for this great brewery.
Epic is Utah’s first brewery since Prohibition to brew exclusively high-alcohol content beer.
That’s a big deal for Utah and, more specifically, the breweries in Salt Lake City because of the tight restrictions around alcohol.
They can serve their high-point beers in their tasting room because of the type of alcohol license that they have. We tried to understand all of the Utah alcohol laws, but it’s easier to just say, “because Utah.”
And these aren’t just your generic boozy beers. They’re “epic” you might say. Their Tart ‘n’ Juicy Sour IPA was perfectly named as it was deliciously…tart and juicy.
Their most popular beer is their Big Bad Baptist, which is an incredibly flavorful Imperial stout brewed annually for its highly-anticipated release.
Epic also makes several different variants of the Big Bad Baptist, or BBB, and the variants change based on the year. We had the original BBB and their Pecan Pie BBB which was a perfect marriage of cinnamon and pecans with the bourbon and coffee notes of the base beer.
They also had a Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup variant available too, which just sounds delicious!
“Kiitos” means thank you in Finnish and Kiitos Brewing is thanking all of us by offering a huge list of craft beer that is built to satisfy any beer drinker.
The beer is all brewed on their HEBS, or High Efficiency Brewing System (one of a few in the US), which allows Kiitos to save energy, use 40% less water, and about 20% less grain.
They’ve got numerous year-round beers with very straightforward names like their Coconut Stout, a Blackberry Sour, or their Amber Ale. When we visited, we also had a few seasonal options including the Vanilla Nut Cream Ale which was extremely smooth and creamy, and the Cucumber Tart which is exactly what it sounds like.
Hooray for naming your beers for what they are!
Back then, drinking and brewing were all but non-existent or even forbidden in Utah. So, naturally, he started Utah’s first brewery in 1986.
A couple of years later, the owner proposed a bill to the Utah Legislature making brewpubs legal in Utah. It was successful and Utah’s first brewpub opened in the nearby resort town of Park City. We visited their Sugarhouse location in downtown Salt Lake City which was right next door to Hopkins Brewing.
Today, you can get their beer at any of their brewpubs in Salt Lake City or Park City. We had their Tropical IPA, the Clothing Hoptional pale ale, their Hefeweizen, and their pumpkin ale (which was perfect for the cooler weather and fall colors).
Their fall lineup included a dunkel, a sour saison, the Coffee & Cream milk stout, the Campfire smoked lager, and of course, a pumpkin chocolate stout called the Basic Witch.
At just $1 per sample (Utah alcohol laws are weird and restrictive), we got to try their whole draft board for a bargain.
Also, the head brewer used to make wine, so his Sauvin Blanc Brut IPA is actually made using Chardonnay grapes and is a dry white wine and an IPA all at the same time. Definitely one of the more interesting beers we had at the many breweries in Salt Lake City.
Something unique about Hopkins is their wall of coasters. You can decorate one of their coasters with any artwork you’d like (some months are themed), and each month, they select one as their “Coaster of the Month” and proudly display it in the middle of their draft board. The winner even receives a gift card so they can buy some beer to put on their coaster!
Hungry? A full menu awaits you, including typical snacks like fries, a soft pretzel, and fried pickle chips, or more filling options like wings, tacos, and sandwiches.
They even have some boozy dessert options like cupcakes or pretzels served with a caramel sauce made with their stout.
Mark this down as one of the truly unique concepts at any of the breweries in Salt Lake City.
Grid City has three core beers – a cream ale, a pale ale, and a brown ale. Nothing truly unique about that, right? It‘s the carbonation process that sets this place apart.
The three core beers are carbonated in three different ways: the traditional CO2, a nitro version, and a cask version.
We got flights of their cream ale and brown ale which included one of each type of carbonated beer. It was so cool to taste the differences in the types of beer. Drastic changes amongst the same base beer.
They also have a few different types of Pilsner pours:
- More CO2, less foam
- Tighter foam, less CO2
- A foam shot of beer. Seriously
It’s all true to the Czech-style of pilsners. The Lukr Milk (the foam shot of beer) was our favorite and so unique! We’ve come full-circle from our college years if we’re asking for foamy beer on purpose!
To round out their alcohol offerings, they make their own hard seltzers too. If you’re feeling hungry, they have a decent-sized menu with burgers, sandwiches, wings, and more.
So our expectations were already (and unfairly) through the roof. But let us tell you, they absolutely delivered!
A fun and modern vibe complements the great beer at T.F. (short for Templin Family, the family behind the brewery). The owner and brewmaster has been around in the Utah beer scene for a while and has worked at a few of the other Salt Lake City breweries (RedRock and Desert Edge), so he knows his stuff.
They have several beers on tap for you to enjoy, including some great German beers like a Dortmunder, Oktoberfest, Kellerbier, and Schwarzbier.
Or you can have some other favorites like the Pineapple Berliner Weisse, Wicked Sea Party (New England pale ale), or a very interesting hazy Norwegian Kveik ale.
Not to be outdone by the foamy options at Grid City, T.F. offers a pour of beer called a Schnitt.
What’s a Schnitt, you ask?
Chris took 12 years of German so he can tell you that Schnitt literally means “cut” and this type of pour hails from Germany when a bartender just opens the tap for a burst and lets it hit bottom rather than pouring a proper beer.
Because of the amount of head that is produced from this pouring style, it’s a less expensive beer than your typical draft.
In Germany, a Schnitt is often the last beer as you are heading out or if you’re waiting on your slow-drinking friends to finish their full beers and you don’t want them to be empty-handed.
Due to Utah’s 5% ABV limit law, we weren’t able to taste some of their higher-point beers like the Astro Shake milkshake double IPA or the Suss It Out rye IPA as these were only available in to-go cans.
Remember, we have VERY limited space in our RV for beer storage!
However, our flight did include some extremely drinkable and sessionable beers like the Bat Country blonde ale, the You-tah Coffee Uncommon Kentucky Common ale, their Oat Slayer stout barrel-aged in port wine barrels, and the In the Pines hazy pale ale which was a delicious explosion of citrus flavors.
They serve hand-tossed pizzas (as in we watched them toss the dough) to go along with their beer and also have a music stage on one side of the taproom that sits on top of an old truck bed.
Why the name, Level Crossing? Well, the owner grew up near a “level crossing” which is an expression about where an old dirt road meets a level railroad crossing…a crossroads where people can meet to share their stories and enjoy a laugh. Sounds perfect for describing a local brewery!
Fisher survived and restarted operations after the repeal of Prohibition, but eventually the brewing came to an end in 1967 which began almost 20 years of no beer being bottled in Utah!
But, in 2017, fifty years after the original brewery closed its doors, the comeback kid, or in this case, the great-great-grandson of the original owner, re-opened Fisher Brewing in Salt Lake City as an employee-owned and community-focused craft brewery.
You won’t find Fisher beer in cans or bottles, but you can drink their great ales and lagers in the taproom or in their semi-covered outdoor area. Beers like the Fisher Beer (a classic American pilsner), the Sweater Party pale ale, and the Chandler’s Backyard wet-hopped pale ale dot their draft list.
Photo Credit: Bewilder Brewing Facebook
Now, they are sharing their love of craft beer with even more people through a downtown brewery near the popular Pioneer Park. Despite opening right before one of the craziest years on record, for soooo many reasons, they have stayed committed to making craft beer as well as handmade sausages.
A lot of their beer has a European flair to it, like their Patersbier (“father’s beer” in Dutch) which is a lower ABV version of a Belgian Dubbel or Tripel, or their ESB. They still have all of your mainstream beers too, like IPAs, wheats, sours, and even a Pineapple Chipotle Cream Ale.
RoHa Brewing Project was started after a years-long friendship that began at a monthly beer school session between Chris Haas (the Ha in RoHa), one of Utah’s craft brewing pioneers, and Rob Phillips (the Ro in RoHa), a passionate home brewer.
Fast forward to today and they are producing and serving some high-quality beers in one of the smaller taprooms of the Salt Lake City breweries. But don’t let the small taproom size deter you.
Their draft list includes some approachable beers like their Back Porch pale ale (seriously good for just about any occasion), the Maltese Cross red ale (collab with the Salt Lake City Local 81 firefighters), the Americano coffee golden ale, and one of their fall additions, the Pumpkin Black ale.
As we often do, and while enjoying our beers at RoHa, we asked the bartender and several locals for suggestions for more microbreweries in Salt Lake City as well as all of the greatest restaurants in the city.
Our list of to-dos is now much longer!
When you’re indulging in a day of brewery-hopping (or you’re just a red-blooded human being), sometimes all you want is a big, juicy burger.
Most of the breweries in Salt Lake City have some food options or food trucks, but lucky for you and all of us, Proper Burger, related to Proper Brewing, is cooking up those juicy burgers right next door to the brewery.
You can order your burger and then walk over to the brewery where they will deliver your food to your beer-filled table. We recommend the Rarebit burger (bacon and a house beer-cheese sauce) or the Proper Style burger (caramelized onion, cheese, zucchini pickles, and Proper sauce).
Both were absolutely scrumptious and the Rarebit even caught the eye of Guy Fieri (yes, that one) who visited Proper Burger a while back.
The beer is every bit as good too. You can try something as simple as the Proper Beer (English golden ale) or some of their hoppy options like the Hopspital Session IPA or the Yacht Rock Juice Box New England IPA.
They have numerous other draft and canned beers available too, but whatever you get, expect this: “Never prim. Always proper.”
Photo Credit: Toasted Barrel Facebook
You can find a lot of your standards here, but also some of the more exotic beers for the breweries in Salt Lake City.
The founder/brewer started homebrewing back in 2000 after moving to Salt Lake City and being frustrated with the lack of beer options. We’d be frustrated too!
He admits that his first batch of beer was bottled in 2-liter bottles and was “pretty bad,” his words, not ours!
Some of their current taplist, which is always changing, includes a sour brown ale, a mango sour, a Belgian Quad, a tart wheat ale, a white IPA, and the Utah Double IPA, which was brewed to double the local alcohol standards (8% ABV – which was double the 4% limit at the time).
You can sit in the car, just no drinking and driving!
The brewery’s ownership team has prior racing experience, so you’ll find many nods to motorsports culture throughout.
So what’s the connection between racing and the Salt Flats?
Utah’s well-known Bonneville Salt Flats (about an 1.5 hours away from Salt Lake City) are famous for being in many car commercials, the site of many land speed records, and is where motorheads unite.
The brewery and tasting room used to be a professional race facility filled with race cars, tools, trophies and awards, but today, it’s home to the great brewery as well as the Salt Flats Spirits brand (vodka, gin, rum, bourbon, and canned cocktails).
The beers are mostly racing-focused like the Autobahn Berliner Weisse, the Brickyard Belgian Wit, and the Salt Flats Hefeweizen. Also, all of you #PSL lovers rejoice for their Pumpkin Spice Latte beer. We like this alcoholic version better than the Starbucks kind, just sayin’.
SaltFire claims to blur the line and teeter on the edge, but that there is a method to their madness. Or is it the other way around?
Whichever it is, the methods and the madness result in some good craft beer like their Lupulin Dew Wet Hopped pale ale, which features hops picked and thrown into the kettle within 24 hours of harvesting. Chris had this beer the same day it was canned and it was incredibly fresh.
Samantha had the Dirty Chai Stout which was a delicious coffee stout and the perfect pick-me-up to start our brewery-hopping afternoon.
They also have numerous other beers: IPAs, sours, blonde ales, saisons, lagers, porters, and pilsners. Something for everyone!
Shades has a really nice outdoor area with big picnic tables to go along with their big 20-oz. beers. Our 5% ABV draft beers included a Plum Berliner Weisse and the Misdirected West Coast IPA (a classic IPA).
To restock our RV beer fridge for the road ahead, we put together a six-pack of sour cans (brewed in the Norwegian Kveik style) which included the Pistachio ice cream ale, Guavalicious sour ale, a Peach Cobbler, Mango Chili, a Bloody Mary Michelada sour, and a PB&J sour fruited with blueberries (a perfect complement to an actual PB&J on one of our hikes in Utah’s Mighty 5).
If you can’t get enough of the sour ales, try their triple-fruited sour ales (mango apricot, peach habanero, or strawberry lemon) which are called Slurry’s.
Photo Credit: Bohemian Brewery Facebook
Bohemian Brewery was one of the favorites of some of our friends who live in/have been to Salt Lake City, and it’s no secret why.
Originally from Czechoslovakia, the founder of Bohemian brought the old-world tradition of “lagering” to Utah, and has been making beers in that old-world style (think the Purity Law – barley, hops, yeast, and water only) since 2001.
Bohemian also has a great restaurant, again serving up some old-world style European food like pierogies and bratwurst or beef stroganoff. Don’t worry, if you’re not up for that type of food, they do have some of your classic pub fare too. And even better, everything is made from scratch daily!
If you love that German beer style or lots of lagers, you’ll love Bohemian..try the 1842 Czech Pilsener!
Photo Credit: Red Rock Brewing Facebook
Don’t believe us?
The original brewpub in downtown Salt Lake City was named “Brew Pub of the Year” by Brewpub Magazine and “Large Brewpub of the Year” by the Great American Beer Festival. Told ya so.
Today, you can get their craft beer at any of their three locations: the original downtown location, a brewpub in southern Salt Lake City, and a brewpub in Park City.
Their list of year-round core beers is too long to list, but some of the favorites are the Drioma Russian Imperial Stout (10.1% ABV) and the Elephino double IPA (8% ABV).
Make sure you check out their beer store too, as you won’t be able to find everything in a grocery store (5% ABV limit) or at the state-controlled liquor stores.
Photo Credit: Desert Edge Brewery Facebook
Over the years, they’ve expanded their offerings of both food and drink and began brewing their own beers in 1995, making them one of the older breweries in Salt Lake City…age is just a number!
In 1996, one of their core beers, the Happy Valley Hefeweizen, won Utah’s first Great American Beer Festival gold medal and they’ve continued to win many awards and medals since. They like to brew their beers a little more aggressively relating to the hops, but they do maintain a good balance that makes things drinkable.
You’ll always find the hefeweizen, a pilsner, a pale ale, and their dry Irish stout on tap, and they offer many other seasonal beers that cover most of your other beer styles.
Desert Edge is also very environmentally-focused and is 100% wind-powered. Further, their biggest claim to sustainability is the fact that their beers never see a “bottling line, the inside of a semi trailer or a refrigerated supermarket shelf.”
Overall Breweries in Salt Lake City
It goes without saying that we were pleasantly surprised with the breweries in Salt Lake City. We genuinely enjoyed all the beer we tried and the people here are absolutely amazing. While you probably haven’t considered Salt Lake City yet for a beer destination, we truly believe that this will be a hot spot for beer in the next 5 to 10 years.
Mark this place down as a great beer destination in Utah.
We are working on our other Utah Guides now. In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter below to be notified when we release a new Utah post.
For info on Utah and nearby places, click on the picture below:
Let's be Social!
About Boozing Abroad
We are Samantha & Chris and we are Boozing Abroad (literally). Both stateside and overseas, we are connecting people with local cultures through local booze!