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Under new ownership, Park City Brewing has launched five new beers, expects to open its new taproom next month and plans to open a second location in Salt Lake City in 2022.
The new canned beers celebrate quirks of the mountain town considered the birthplace of craft brewing in Utah, from its history to its weather. And Park City Brewing expects to add seasonal and limited edition batches near the end of the year, said president and director of operations Jeff Tito.
A brewery and taproom are slated to open in December in Kimball Junction, possibly with a barbecue-style menu, Tito said. For now, the new beers are being produced under contract brewing with Uinta Brewing in Salt Lake City.
He and head brewer Mike Perine experimented with about 20 beer recipes before settling on the current lineup, Tito said. Using Park City-inspired names for each beer, he added, drives home that everything the company does is local.
Stories behind the names
• Gold Town, a pale ale, refers to Park City being a “gold-level bicycling area,” Tito said. This pale ale is “a hoppier product” that includes standard hops as well as dry hops, he added.
• Sneaker Tree, an India pale ale, honors the “shoe tree” — which is actually several trees with interlacing branches that people have been flinging their shoes at since the 1970s, The Salt Lake Tribune has reported.
How this tradition started isn’t totally clear. A plaque at the spot along Deer Valley Drive near Heber Avenue references “boys” from Easy Street who were drinking around a campfire and then began throwing their shoes at the trees. But the local landmark is beloved — in 2011, Park City residents fought back when a newcomer tried to have the shoes removed.
In naming the beer, Tito said he and his team felt that “‘shoe tree’ doesn’t sound really sexy, so we came up with ‘sneaker tree.’” This India pale ale has a “carmeliness” from its malt, he added, and uses both standard hops and dry hops.
• Siren’s Call, an American lager, pays homage to a historic whistle that has sounded in Park City every night at 10 p.m. for over 100 years, Tito said.
According to the All Season Resort Lodging website, the siren began life in 1901 as a bell that weighed nearly a ton and was used as an emergency alarm. Over the years, it was replaced by a compressed air whistle, then an electrically powered system operated by a phone company, and finally another whistle, which continues its nightly call.
The beer is “a nice little play with some malts and some hops,” Tito said. “It’ll be a lower hops product, kind of a mainstream type of beer.”
• Powder Buoy, a pilsner, is named for a weather buoy north of Hawaii that rides high waves when storms come in from the Gulf of Alaska, Tito said. When that happens, it typically means that within 10 days, Park City will get 30 to 40 inches of snow, he said.
This traditional Czech pilsner is a “nice, smooth tasting beer,” he added.
• Silver Creekwater is a nod to Park City’s Silver Creek. Similar to the India pale ale, this amber lager has “carmeliness from the malt… and some hops in there,” Tito said.
Silver Creek is sometimes referred to locally as Poison Creek, because it was polluted through mining operations that date back to the late 1880s. More than a century later, federal officials and United Park City Mines Co. were still fighting over the cleanup of tainted leftover materials.
Where to find them
The beers currently are sold in cans, with Powder Buoy also served as a draft.
They’re available in multiple Park City locations, including O.P. Rockwell, Grappa and Downstairs, and in Salt Lake City at Whiskey Street and Piper Down Pub. Each is 5% or less alcohol by volume.
Tito said the new beers and branding came about after an overhaul of the leadership of the company. Of the 27 investors who are backing Park City Brewing, he said, none were previously involved with the company.
“[This is a] complete change and movement in a different direction,” Tito said.
Park City Brewery opened its taproom in 2015 and closed it in 2019, with its Instagram account documenting its temporary brewing home with Shades Brewing in South Salt Lake. At the time, the company said the move was prompted by its need for more space, Utah Beer News reported.
Park City Brewing’s new website explains that, in 2020, “a new group who wanted to keep the beer flowing took over.”
Perine, the company’s brewmaster with 15 years of experience, was head brewer and barrel manager at Real Ale Brewing Co. outside Austin, Texas, the website notes. “He’s inspired more by flavors and seasonality than by any one style, which means you’re never going to get bored with his beers,” it says.
Tito said he and the new team have spent “a lot of time” talking with community members about what kinds of beer they want. That’s something that’s harder for large beer companies to do, he said.
“We’re trying to make sure that what we’re doing is exciting,” Tito said. “I think this is the beginning of the excitement.”
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