OGDEN — All of a sudden, Ogden area craft beer drinkers potentially have several new options to help them quench their thirst.
Two existing brewers in the city — Talisman and Roosters — are in the midst of expansions. At the same time, plans are afoot to build two new brewpubs — UTOG Brewing Co., adjacent to Lindquist Field in the city center, and Ogden River Brewing, west of the existing Slackwater PIzzeria and Pub.
It may seem like a lot all at once. But those involved sense plenty of room for expansion.
“What seems to be on the books for the area — that’s great,” said Peter Buttschardt, co-owner of Roosters along with wife Kym. “I think we’re going to have fun together. Everybody’s pretty supportive of each other.”
Bryan Wrigley, a partner in Ogden River Brewing and owner of the building where UTOG is to be housed, pointed to the concentration of brewpubs and craft breweries in the Salt Lake City area and other western U.S. cities like Denver and Portland, Oregon. The 27 Utah beer-making operations, spread across 32 sites, are concentrated in the Salt Lake City area, and he sees plenty of potential in Ogden.
“To me it’s just something that Ogden doesn’t have that most other cities have,” said Dusty Williams, co-owner of Talisman. “We need it. We need more stuff like this.”
Indeed, though competitors, there’s a spirit of camaraderie among the varied operators, who are aware of each other’s plans.
“The more the merrier,” said Carson Foss, a partner in UTOG, tentatively set to take shape in a largely vacant building east of the right-field wall of Lindquist, home to the Ogden Raptors baseball team. Rather than locales competing against one another, he likens the varied craft beer offerings to “one guy’s art and another guy’s art.”
Still, they mean business. The efforts are about tapping into what the plan boosters’ say is unmet demand.
Pat Winslow took out a loan using his home as collateral to help finance Ogden River Brewing. Earlier plans called for development of the locale at 1921 Lincoln Ave., where the Becker Brewing and Malting Co. once sat. Now the plan is to build on a vacant plot east of that along the south side of the Ogden River, between Grant Avenue and Washington Boulevard.
“There’s plenty of room for what we have in the works right now,” Winslow said, alluding to the varied beer projects. He thinks there even may be room for “a couple more.”
‘SMELL IT, SEE IT, HEAR IT’
Talisman launched in 2016, selling beer from a small operation at the brewery and at grocery stores and other locales around the state. Now the brewer at 1258 S. Gibson Ave. is in the process of installing a tavern within the production facility, per plans envisioned at least a year back. The location — offering a view of the beer production area — is set to open to the public on April 13.
“There’s nothing like it up here,” Williams said. “You come in here, you’re going to smell it, see it, hear it. You can sit at the bar and have a beer and watch everybody brewing, everybody working.”
Onsite food preparation isn’t in the works, but patrons will be able to bring their own eats and Williams is also in talks with food truck operators to have them park outside the locale to service customers inside. Plans in the months to come call for the addition of patio and deck areas outside.
10-FOLD PRODUCTION HIKE
Roosters now operates brewpubs on Historic 25th Street in Ogden and in Layton.
Work started in December on a new production facility and taproom west of the 24th Street viaduct in west Ogden. Buttschardt said the footings and foundation for the new facility are taking shape, with completion and a tentative production launch date of early June.
The Roosters B Street Brewery, as it’s known, will include a canning line and initially increase Roosters’ beer production capacity five-fold and, longer term, 10-fold. The new location, off B Avenue in an area where city leaders envision mixed-use development, won’t have the expansive dining options of the two existing brewpubs, but, rather, will house a taproom with limited food offerings.
The plan is to up production to allow for more beer sales at grocery stores and other locations around the state.
FOOD, BEER. BASEBALL, TOO?
City planning officials granted UTOG developers a conditional use permit last January for their plans on the ground floor of the building at 2331 Grant Ave., which used to house light manufacturing operations. More specific design plans, subject to review by city officials, are in the works, Foss said, with a tentative opening in September.
The plan is for a restaurant featuring “high-class bar food” and a retail operation where beer to go is to be sold. But public input once open will also help shape the plans.
“We have a very open business plan. We have to see how the beer takes off, what the market wants,” said Foss, a home brewer for many years and, until 2016, a commercial pilot.
The brewing operation will be inside the building, visible to the public. “Nothing’s going to be hidden behind doors. It’s all going to be open,” Foss said.
He’s mulled the possibility of trying to reach some sort of accord with the Raptors to allow viewing of the team’s baseball games from the rear of the building, adjacent to the right-field fence. But nothing is concrete.
BARBECUE, SMOKED FISH, BEER
The Ogden River Brewery plans tentatively come up for review by the Ogden Planning Commission on Wednesday, April 4. Winslow, who retired in August after 42 years as a Union Pacific Railroad conductor, hopes to break ground in June and open to the public next December.
Plans call for a smokehouse featuring traditional barbecue fare, like brisquet, pulled pork, chicken and ribs. But smoked salmon and trout offerings are planned, as well as vegetarian food. A rotating menu of beers from recipes Winslow has crafted in his years as a homebrewer will be produced on site, for sale to restaurant patrons and to go.
“That just sounds like fun, doesn’t it?” Winslow said.