Squatters brings brewing, and its old brewmaster, back to downtown SLC

Jason Stock taps his first new creation, Dog Lake Pale Ale, to mark his return to the brewpub.

(Stuart Melling | Gastronomic SLC) Jason Stock pours a glass of his new creation, Dog Lake Pale Ale, at Squatters Pub Brewery, 147 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City, on Monday, March 27, 2023. Stock has returned as brewmaster at Squatters' downtown Salt Lake City location.

Salt Lake Brewing Company is putting the brewing back into downtown Salt Lake City, by rehiring a very famous alumnus, one of the most recognizable brewmasters in the state.

Jason Stock, one of the elder statesmen of Utah’s craft brewing scene, has returned to arguably Utah’s most well-known brewpub — and, earlier this week, tapped his first new concoction.

The move comes more than a year after Monster Energy Drinks gulped down CANarchy – the collective brewing company that both Squatters and Wasatch breweries called home.

Two months after the estimated $330 million deal, the newly minted Salt Lake Brewing Company confirmed they had sealed the deal to ensure the continuity of all the popular Utah brewpub locations. Formed in part by Squatters’ original founders, Peter Cole and Jeff Polychronis, SLBCo.’s re-acquisition had a certain romantic elegance to it, effectively bringing the team full circle back to their 1989 roots.

One question that remained up in the air — would Salt Lake Brewing Co. get back in the brewing game? — was answered on Monday, wrapped up in a rather exciting bow, with the getting-the-band-back-together announcement of Stock’s return to Squatters’ downtown Salt Lake City location.

Like many brewmasters, Stock’s backstory is one born of home brewing. First cutting his teeth in the late 1990s, Stock credits the The Beer Nut as a home from home where he honed his craft – and also where he first heard news that Squatters were on the lookout for new brewing help.

Stock applied for the position of Squatters’ assistant brewer in 2000, using as his resumé a six-pack of home-brewed suds. That alone was enough to bag the position. A gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival followed in 2001; Stock took home the accolade for a Black Forest Schwarzbier. By 2011, the Utah native was elevated to brewmaster at the downtown Salt Lake City brewhouse.

I once asked the ever-humble Stock about the position, the stuff of many a drinker’s dream. “The main differences between being a ‘brewmaster’ and a brewer are less glamorous than one might expect,” Stock said. “Basically I now handle tax reporting and I’m in a lot more meetings than I used to be.”

Joking aside, Stock is a serious brewer, and on Monday he tapped his first new creation for Salt Lake Brewing Company: Dog Lake Pale Ale.

The ale is brewed with citra and comet hops, and dry-hopped similarly for extra flavor and aroma. In the mix, Munich and caramel malts help that golden orange pour. Dog Lake is a classic American pale ale that offers a fruity, resin-like flavor and aroma, plus it clocks in at a reasonable 5% ABV.

In the coming months, expect the 10-barrel brewhouse to put out a lineup of five or so standby brews, everything from a hefeweizen to a stout, as well as a number of seasonal specials. (A certain Mr. Melling’s Cream Ale might even make a glorious return this year. And yes, I will keep going on about that till I kick the bucket.)

Fans of the former lineup, however, don’t need to worry. The new Salt Lake Brewing team continues to retain great ties with the CANarchy group, pouring many of the old family favorites. That means you can still grab a Hop Rising alongside sampling one of Stock’s new creations. For the time being, the latter will be available on site only, fresh from the newly acquired brewhouse next door. Time to re-investigate one of Utah’s most historic brewpubs, if you ask me.

Editor’s note • Gastronomic SLC and The Salt Lake Tribune are partners in a content-sharing agreement.