Beer Stories

How Did Ogden Become A Craft Brew Mecca?

At last count, Ogden, the mountainside metropolis of almost 90,000 residents boasts five breweries, each owned by individuals passionate about making craft beer.

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Photo courtesy of Roosters.

OGDEN – At last count, this mountainside metropolis of almost 90,000 residents boasts five breweries, each owned by individuals passionate about making craft beer.

With the exit of Becker Brewing and Malting Company from Ogden in 1964, the city lacked a brewery until 1995, when Kym and Pete Buttschardt opened Roosters brewpub at 253 Historic 25th Street. 

Since that time, Roosters began brewing artisan beers in a facility adjacent to its B Street taproom in West Ogden in December 2018. Their Layton restaurant, which opened in 2005, also operates a brewery.  Jacquie King began brewing as an apprentice with Roosters in the fall of 2015, and now heads up beer production at the Historic 25th Street location. “I love beer, I love the process,” King said. “It takes an artistic mindset but also a very scientific one … you never get bored.” Roosters plans to roll out new flavors this spring and summer, King said, including an agave-lime blond ale, vanilla hazy IPA and a pilsner made with New Mexico-grown Zappa hops. 

In addition to Roosters, four more craft breweries put down roots in Ogden: 

  • 2016 – Veteran-owned Talisman Brewing Company, 1258 Gibson Avenue
  • 2017 –  LatinX family-owned Cerveza Zolupez Beer Co., 205 W 29th Street, Unit 2 
  • March 2019 – UTOG Brewing Co., 2331 Grant Avenue
  • October 2020 – Ogden River Brewing, 358 Park Boulevard

So how did Ogden become a craft brew mecca? Kym Buttschardt, of Roosters, believes changing demographics played a role, but she also credits Ogden’s unique character. “Our tagline is ‘Great beer, gritty town, good people,’” Buttschardt said. “We’re a hard-working town, we have people that support local  businesses and I think we responded to what the public wants.” 

For Pat Winslow, owner of Ogden River Brewing, preparation to launch such a venture spanned several years – punctuated by a leap of faith. By the time he retired from the Union Pacific Railroad in 2017, Winslow had already spent a decade brewing beer in his garage and grilling food for friends to enjoy in his backyard. Along with that passion for pals, brews and food, Winslow also completed a year-long professional certification course in brewery management from Portland State University in 2013. He seemed ready to embark on the next chapter, except that Winslow needed several thousand dollars to set up shop. Then, a brief Kickstarter campaign delivered over $30,000 to his cause.  “We put 1400 people on a Facebook page in 30 days. It was phenomenal,” Winslow said, noting that “people in Ogden are unique in a lot of different ways, but they’re a very loyal group.” This spring, Winslow said he plans to experiment with different Gose beer recipes that will be “kind of tart and a little bit salty.” So far, he’s produced lavender, black currant and cranberry-flavored Gose brews.  “That’s the fun thing about being a craft brewery,” Winslow said. “We can make whatever different beers we feel would be appropriate to the time.”

The large patio behind UTOG Brewing’s restaurant and brewery features a unique view of Lindquist Baseball Field. Carson Foss, who co-owns UTOG with Jack Hubble and Suzie Owens, views that as an asset. But he said the restaurant is also family-friendly, has an onsite beer store, and offers great customer service.“That’s one thing I really push on my employees – attention to detail and making sure you’ve got no customers waiting – not knowing what’s going on,” Foss said. 

Photo courtesy of UTOG by Jazmin Comley @hi_its_jaz

UTOG’s open brewery also gives customers the chance to see “packaging, brewing, everything,” Foss added. As with Winslow, Foss began brewing beer as a hobby before it mushroomed into much more. “We just released our Snapdragon last week. It’s an imperial rice lager,” Foss said. “And we’ll be doing a ‘collab’ beer with Yakima Valley Hops. I don’t have a name on it yet, but we’re shooting for the end of March on that one.”

Photo courtesy of UTOG by Jazmin Comley @hi_its_jaz

Talisman Brewing Company, founded by Dusty and Joann Williams, features a tavern, brewery and bottle store.  Talisman “became Ogden’s first production brewery that didn’t also include an attached restaurant.” Since then, Talisman has produced several award-winning craft brews that include Uplifted Scottish Ale, Iron Age Oatmeal Stout and Comin in Hop Wheat IPA. Talisman beers range from 5 to 12.5 percent alcohol by volume. The tavern sells beer by the pint, crowler, grumbler, pitcher and growler (sized from 16 to 64 ounces). For those with the urge to try several flavors in one visit, Talisman features the build-your-own “flight of beers” consisting of four 5-ounce tasters.

Tucked into a less-traveled block on lower 29th Street, Cerveza Zolupez Beer Co. has the distinction of being family-owned. Founder and brewer Javier Chavez Jr. said that years of experimentation fueled his beer recipes. “I brew my beers with flavors and ingredients from my family’s traditional Mexican culture, such as piloncillo to agave,” Chavez, an attorney-turned-brewer, said on the website. “Brewed with soul and passion, each craft beer was genuinely influenced by my personal Mexican heritage.” Cerveza Zolupez has no attached restaurant or tasting room. Its Mexican-style brews can be purchased in several grocery stores, bars and restaurants.

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