Ross Metzger and Cody McKendrick know a thing or two about beer. Not only are the duo the names behind Salt City Brew Supply, Metzger and McKendrick are now also the proud co-owners/brewers behind one of Salt Lake City’s newest craft breweries—Bewilder Brewing. With all of that combined experience in the brewing business, you’d probably expect something a little special, and you wouldn’t be wrong. This is definitely one to watch.
The brewery formally opened in December 2019, but due to licensing timing, the brew house setup was only able to go into production in January 2020. A number of collaborations with other local brewers helped bridge the gap on the taps.
Affirming the familial nature of the Utah brew scene, Metzger notes that it was tough. “We really couldn’t go much longer without beer to sell. We’ve got a lot of friends in the industry from our brew supply business and they really stepped up to help us.”
Now that the Bewilder’s own barrels are happily bubbling away, the brewhouse team hopes to deliver something new and unique to the Salt Lake City craft beer scene.
“Our focus will be German lagers and British pub style beers,” notes Metzger. “We have 16 tap handles and will rotate most of them, so something new will be available on a regular basis. Our first beers on tap will be an American Pale, an English Strong Bitter, and a German Hefeweizen with American hops.“
Bewilder’s beer will be style specific, which is to say, brewed as authentically and as close to the real deal as is possible without picking up the whole brewery and dropping it in Manchester or Munich.
To deliver on that ambition, rigorous attention to detail is required, which means starting from the very basics—beginning with the water. Rather than “editing and filtering” Utah water, as Metzger puts it, the brew house build allows the team to craft precise water chemistry from the ground up.
As Metzger explains, “If I’m brewing a specific regional beer, there are numerous factors to emulate, with water being a critical component of that. We can recreate the exact water chemistry to match the style we’re brewing.” From that precision base, regional malts, hops and endless brewing experience complete the picture.
In addition to the brew house, it’s also worth keeping an eye on the kitchen at Bewilder Brewing. Taking a different path than some of their peers, the menu here is crafted and created in-house by chef Justin Field. Field’s beer-friendly pairings follow in the same vein as what’s in the brewing kettles. Dishes include a number of Euro-influenced dishes from brilliant brats to most recently, a decidedly delicious looking scotch-egg special. Naturally, the beer informs the cuisine too, with various brews turning up in Field’s cooking.
For now, you’ll need to make a beeline for the brewery itself to enjoy Metzger and McKendrick’s creations because the duo have no plans to sell outside of the brewery for the time being.
You’ll find Bewilder housed in the former Western Electric company building on the edge of downtown SLC. It’s a big, bold, 120-year-old brick construction, and not a trace of the former Club X tenants remains, with the space sand blasted back to its original glory. The spacious build-out is a fun place to hang out, which I recommend you do sooner than later over their carefully crafted beer and food.
445 400 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
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