Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shades of Pale

Where am I? I'm not sure. I recognize this place. It seems like Utah... but there are all of these breweries popping up. I'm getting dizzy...

After months of quietly crossing T's and dotting I's comes word that Utah - Park City to be specific, has a new craft brewery.

Shades of Pale Brewing Co., is the brainchild of Trent Fargher & his fiancee Alexandra Ortiz. The two relocated to Summit County five years ago from the Breckenridge, Colo., area.

Trent found that there were just "fairly limited" choices in local beers and decided to up the ante and enter the craft brew game in Utah.

Shades of Pale, which was launched in mid-2009, plans to start with a line of three or four beers, including a Belgian, a stout and an Indian pale ale.

Fargher says he hopes to start producing beer and distributing the product in kegs by early 2010. He plans to start a bottling operation as early as the middle of 2010, depending on the demand for the beer. Construction inside the building could start as soon as next week, he says.

Shades of Pale will be located at 1950 Woodbine Way, near the Park City Cemetery. Fargher says he eventually wants to move from the Woodbine Way building, with the intent to opening a custom-made brewery someday.

This has all happened fairly quietly. Greg Schirf, the founder of the Wasatch Brewery was unaware of the Shades of Pale plans until early in the week. Schirf says there is "plenty of competition" in the industry, and he expects the new brewery will compete with his own.

Well there you are. Wadaya think?

Cheers!

Photo: Grayson West/Park Record
Info: Jay Hamburger

30 comments:

Aj said...

Excellent! The more brewery options, the better. Especially if Shades of Pale will be making a Belgian.

Anonymous said...

Saying that he wants to brew fine beer would sound admirable. Saying that local beer choices are "fairly limited" just sounds myopic. Are there any local brewers who don't offer a Belgian, a stout, and an IPA?

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. Epic and Shades of Pale are both starting up with the false premise that Utah does not have good beer now and they are doing something new. Utah doesn't have a limited selection from our brewers and Epic, they are making full strength and they are great..

Douglas said...

The more the merrier. Too bad this is what, a year away.

Anonymous said...

Utah absolutely does have a limited selection, relatively speaking. Look at our choices compared to what's available in California, Oregon, Colorado, or many others. Even when you only take local breweries into account, we don't have a lot compared to the "better" places, beerwise. If you try to convince yourself otherwise, you're just being dishonest. What we do have is good, and I'm thankful for it, but we need a lot more to be a truly great beer state.

Anonymous said...

All these new brewery's are coming to save the day! But I don't think that the day needs saved! We have a world class brewing community in SLC. So if you are a new brewery coming to town it is always better to be a little humble right off the bat than come across as the new brewery that is going to show us all how to do it!

Dono said...

I can appreciate someone's willingness to start a brewery in Utah. It is however with challenges. Given our demographic, compared to California, Oregon and Colorado, we have a consumer base with fewer drinkers and even fewer that are full on beer enthusiasts seeking that next great hop fix. Yes you need to search a bit to find the beer, but when you do it is World Class, unique, well made and yes a great selection comparatively. I do agree with the previous comment, the brewing community is tight here, we get along, we even, god forbid, help each other. So it's not a good start to bash the progress of the breweries in Utah.

Tilley's Mum said...

And let's not forget the pesky Utah legislature/laws which have kept the breweries limited to what and how they can sell (but it's getting better). This has no doubt hurt the ability for new breweries to open! So kudos to those who have made it possible.

But we here in Utah don't like it being reduced to "just 'fairly limited' choices in our local brews" given all the shit they/we've had to go through. And I think this is why people are taking exception to that statement. And it implies that the brewers have not done a good job at providing selection.

P.S. Let me just get on my soap box and tell everyone next legislative session to WRITE YOUR LEGISLATIVE REP!! We're here, we drink, get used to it!

DC said...

Save the day??? Utah has enough salvation; breweries do not need to enter the salvation business. Most just want to brew beer people enjoy.

Competition is good, it makes all players better positioned to serve consumers and thank goodness, beer is not a zero sum game.

At Epic, we searched the globe for our brewer. Over fifty serious applicants from around the world, most even wanted to move to Utah. The best in our opinion: FOUR from Utah, one from Oregon and another from San Diego. The Utah brewers are all greatly skilled people, dedicated to the trade and to helping others. Can’t wait to earn a place next to them.

Anonymous said...

Thank God... err... or heavenly father, whatever, because the beer scene in Utah is pathetic compared to neighboring states. It is a completely true premise that Utah does not have good beer.

Anonymous said...

...and yet they continue to do incredibly well at national and world wide competitive venues. Pull your head out and go get a good pint of beer. Don't try to blame Utah beer for your obvious ignorance. Per capita Utah breweries do very well and the brewers are sought after nationally for their quality beer production.

Mikey said...

Pathetic is a very strong word. Yeah it's obvious our beer scene isn't on par with our neighbors.

Saying "It is a completely true premise that Utah does not have good beer"., is beyond wrong - beyond ignorant and at best spiteful.

Andy is thirsty said...

Utah has great beer, and I'm all for more variety. Every bar I go to has the BMC's and either Uinta or Wasatch/Squatters (UBC) on tap. Grocery stores have the same with the addition of Park City and Moab brews and Bohemian's pilsner, which are all three contract brewed far away from Utah as far as I understand. I don't care all that much for Uinta (with the exception of their delicious porter) and I love the UBC's beers but I drink a hell of a lot of them and sometimes I WOULD like another option. How many thousands of gallons of Full Suspension and Evolution can a guy drink? Personally, I'd like to drink several thousand more gallons, but sometimes I'd also love a pint or two of Roggenrock or Pip's Mild Brown when I'm out. As it is, Uinta and the UBC have a stranglehold duopoly in SLC's distribution market. Hoppers, Bohemian, Red Rock, and Desert Edge get much more limited keg distribution and I'm glad to get them when I can. I am a huge supporter of our local breweries, but yes I'd also say "fairly" limited is a fair description of our situation. This may be due to contractual agreements around the valley and not yet running bottling/canning operations, however, because if those other breweries that are already in place were represented as well as Uinta and the UBC in our bars, liquor stores, and grocery stores, then I would be very slow to call our choices limited. And I would love to see this change. Hoppers is now sending kegs to the Beerhive and there have been long-standing rumors that the Bohemian will start canning their full lineup. Red Rock's new production brewing facility should be operational soon? I know the Desert Edge also just moved/expanded their brewhouse but I don't know what the projected consequences of that are supposed to be. I also understand the value of a single location brewpub. A brewpub does not need to distribute to be great. There is a lot of charm and draw in a small little backstreet operation that is focusing on quality brews and their own location's draw and ambience rather than production quantity and distribution.
Of course, the whole game changes once full strength beer is allowed in kegs in Utah. Then the UBC and Uinta will be changing their recipes (upping their gravities) to compete against the likes of not only Shades of Pale but also brand names like Sierra Nevada, Deschutes, Rogue, etc. on tap. But then I can drink Squatter's IPA and Wasatch's Winterfest on tap with unchanged recipes so I'll probably just die from alcohol poisoning anyway.

Anonymous said...

When full strength beer is allowed in kegs here, I will be a very happy person. I do worry though that full strength will only be allowed at places with a full liquor license, and the regular "taverns" will still only be able to have 3.2, so the local brewers will have to make 2 separate versions, or just choose not to make full strength versions at all of their current 3.2 lineups.

I would like to address the issue of our beers quality. It is good, and the awards do speak for themselves. Our brewers have mastered the art of making 3.2 beer that's actually enjoyable. However, in my opinion, the 3.2 offerings here don't hold a candle to the full strength beers from out of state, or even to our own local liquor store only offerings. Drink a lot of Mirror Pond Pale Ale, then try a Full Suspension. You will notice that the latter is thin, watery and not nearly as flavorful by comparison. To be fair, Mirror Pond is one of the best pales available in the US, but style for style, this holds true. Drink a lot of Black Butte, Rogue Mocha, Sierra Nevada, or other good porters available in other states or at our liquor stores, then notice how thin and watery a Polygamy Porter seems. And then of course, there's Trader IPA. When every single style that we have in our grocery stores is exactly 4.0 ABV, something isn't going to be right with a bunch of them. Sure, we do have gems like King's Peak here and there, and I can certainly enjoy an occasional Golden Spike even though it tastes nothing at all like a real German hef (it's just VERY drinkable and pleasant), but by and large, the 3.2 stuff here isn't really that great compared to the full strength competition. I know our brewers are extremely skilled, and I absolutely love all of our local full strength offerings. This year I drank and loved tons of Summerbrau, White Label, Hop Rising, Squatters IPA, Devastator, etc and I can't wait to stock up on Winterfest.

Not only that, but look at the grocery store prices. Uinta 6 packs routinely hit $8.99 at most stores, and Squatters Organic is $9.49 most times I notice it. I can get Sierra Nevada or Full Sail 6 packs at the liquor store for 7 bucks and change. Of course, most other stuff there is way overpriced, but that's beside the point. UBC full strength stuff is what, $8.59, every time. It just makes almost no sense to buy the 3.2 stuff here, and I rarely do. If you drink nothing but the local 3.2 stuff, then it tastes great to you and you probably think I'm out of my mind, but if you mainly stick to full strength beer, you really do notice a difference.

In short, the 3.2 thing really is the single biggest thing that keeps our beer scene down, and I yearn for the day that it goes away. Full strength in kegs will be an excellent start though, and the fact that it almost seems within the realm of possibility right now has me very excited.

Mikey said...

Andy, I wish you'd come out of your shell for one and tell us what's on your mind. :)

by the way Bohemian is made and canned at the brewery in Midvale.
Cheers

Andy still hasn't quenched his thirst said...

Hey I think all of my opinions were at least positive toward all parties this time, right? (Okay there was a slight dismissal toward Uinta in my post, but mitigated by my praise of their porter).
I was unaware that Bohemian was now canning on location. I knew they had built the huge addition for the purpose of a canning line so that they would no longer have to contract the canning out of state. But I thought that once they started canning on location they were also going to distribute their other beers, and I haven't yet seen anything but the pilsner in stores. What gives?
Also, any answer to my query about Desert Edge's new brewhouse? Are they gearing up to distribute more kegs or what was the purpose of the brewhouse move with those guys?

Craig said...

The more competition the better for all of us. Better beer & more selections, what more could you ask for. As for me, I stay away from one of the bigger breweries in town/Park City. So that limits my options, so I'm looking forward to a few new breweries opening up.

Anonymous said...

Golden Spike hefe is an American style wheat beer, that's why it doesn't taste German..Bohemian has always canned on site in Midvale...and yes, thank Jebus that Epic and Shades will come teach our brewer's how to brew "real" beer, whatever!
Utah brewer's are ALREADY some of the best in the world! suck it!!

Anonymous said...

Utah brewers can't seem to make anything but weak, watery beers. That's why Epic will be the most innovative brewery Utah has ever seen. The Brewmaster there has worked in breweries all over the country and will show Utah what's been missing, good beer, especially Belgians and true American ales, with alcohol.

Andy's quenched his thirst tonight said...

I think the emnity between the startup brewers and established brewers in this community is stupid. To all the anonymous posters that are apparently angry at the new guys: Shut the fuck up. I haven't seen any evidence of them putting down the existing breweries or saying you are inferior. Claiming that they can bring something new and of value to the market is perfectly acceptable. Why would you start a new business in any market unless you felt you could?
To the people standing up for the news guys and saying the existing breweries suck and make "watery beers": you are retarded. You shut the fuck up too, and learn to enjoy a good session ale, and also some of the best strong ales I've ever tasted (i.e. Squatter's IPA and Fifth Element, Wasatch Winterfest, and Red Rock's Reve).
And now I'm gonna shut the fuck up, because it's 2:30 am and I've been drinking.
Beer is good. Dickheads aren't. Nobody needs to suck it. Except for maybe everybody. Let's all get drunk together and either fight it out with our fists or realize that everybody has the same goal: good beer. Holy shit, you mean we're all on the same side?? Imagine that!
There, Mikey. I came out of my shell. Hope you're happy.

Brian said...

I'm coming in a little late to this party...

I wouldn't get your panties into too much of a bunch over the new guy saying the beer choices are "fairly limited." They are. There's no doubt that we have some really good beer brewed here in Utah, but I see pretty much the same choices in every bar visit. And that gets old.

Of course there are challenges because of the laws and the lower number of drinkers. But again, there aren't that many choices unless you're willing to drive long distances to hit the brewpubs that don't bottle.

This is one of the biggest frustrations (along with the lack of really good coffee) I've had since moving here from Washington 16 months ago. I realize that I was pretty spoiled up there regarding beer... There were tons of awesome in-state breweries and I had no trouble getting the great beers from out of state.

Unfortunately, until we lose the 3.2 & 4.0 laws, this is what we get. One of the local beers I really love is the Squatters IPA. It's as good as any standard IPA I've had. I think it's a sign of what can be brewed in Utah when the brewers aren't concerned with the alcohol content.

I just hope the new guy makes some good beers and gets them into the bars so I have more choices when I go out. And I really can't wait for the day when full strength beer is available on tap!

Anonymous said...

I personally think that its ironic to say that Utah beer sucks. There are so many fantastic beers in Utah. That's a great way to shoot yourself in the foot before your doors are even open. I personally will never buy his beer nor try it for that matter. Perhaps he should giddy back up to Colorado if Utah isn't good enough for you.

Mikey said...

In Trent's defence all he said was the Beer selection was "fairly limited". That's a long way from saying Utah beer sucks. Don't crusify the boy before he's even made a single batch. That's not fair.

Josh said...

Hey Brian,

I haven't had much PNW coffee other than a few random coffee shops in the Portland area that I've been to, but what local coffee have you tried? I personally buy bags of it from Beans and Brews, a locally owned chain, and IMO it tastes pretty damn good. The beans from Coffee Garden and Sugarhouse Coffee (Cafe Ibis and Rimini, respectively) seem passable to me as well. Maybe it just really is that much better in WA, but I personally love my french press batches in the mornings with the aforementioned choices.

trevorhaggett1 said...

(poor college student) saying that local beer is limited is not "Myopic" don't know what that means. Don't know a lot about beer, do know that in Portland I could go to a grocery store, buy unrecognizable beer in champagne bottles that cost under $10 and could buy a different beer everyday for a year and still not get close to tasting all the different beers from the different parts of the world. Have been to the beer store in SLC and some gas stations in Portland have a better selection, so any new beers are WELCOME!! bring em on!!!

trevorhaggett1 said...

(poor college student) ok I know that Portland has 30 microbreweries within city limits but lets face it it is funner to drink here in Utah. I feel like I am back in high school hiding my consumption of this dark beautiful liquid, here in Utah there are fewer beers, albeit they are GREAT, and I am THANKFUL to have them and to have a forum full of other craft brew drinker of which to speak with, also the climate is better here, the girls are prettier, and the economy is better than Portland so live with it!!

trevorhaggett1 said...

(poor college student) Brian where u from man? Grew up in Portland but also lived in Tacoma for a while! Wouldn't it be nice to lap up a good Maritime Brewing Company Imperial Pale Ale on tap!!! The good old days!!!

Brian said...

It looks like there were some questions for me that I didn't know about. I'll be sure to click the "Email follow-up comments..." link this time.

Anyways...

Josh: Regarding the coffee, it's kind of like the beer. Yes, there is definitely good coffee (particularly if you're just buying beans for french press or single cup pours), but the overall choices are more limited. What I really wish for are more high end coffee shops. The Coffee Garden is great and Caffe Dbolla is worth experiencing, but neither are anywhere near me. I'm sure there are some more good ones in SLC that I haven't found yet. I live and work in Park City and none of the coffee shops up here are up to par with either of those.

Brian said...

poor college student:

I grew up in Vancouver, WA, but spent most of the last 14 years in Bellingham, WA until I moved here a year ago. I definitely spent most of my drinking years more in the Seattle area than the Portland area. The place I miss the most is Boundary Bay Brewery in Bellingham. I really like their IPA and Scotch Ale.

I love being a coffee and beer drinker in Utah! I feel like I'm part of a secret club! We've discovered the real secret to happiness and everyone else is just missing out!

Anonymous said...

Happy about more beer. And super proud of the Utah Brewers. Nobody Mentions the dominance of UINTA BARLEY WINE.

If you buy beer from the DABC stores do you notice that taste of Cardboard, oxidation, staleness? Not the big beers, but the average pales, Full Sail, Sierra, and Sam Boston Lager. I used to enjoy those beers, but from the warm shelves it is tough to drink them. It really compromises the beers.