Brought together by their individual roles within local breweries, Brown Gradient Beer Wenches aspires to spread joy through their combined passion—craft beer.

Brown Gradient Beer Wenches: Top Local Beer Picks

Beer & Spirits

The Brown Gradient Beer Wenches formed in July of 2020 to represent women of color and spotlight diversity within the brewing community here in Utah. Brought together by their individual roles within local breweries, Brown Gradient aspires to spread joy through their combined passion—craft beer. SLUG interviewed each member—Melissa Diaz, Melissa Dahud, Shyree Baxter and Stephanie Hall—to hear more about their craft beer journeys and favorite beers! Keep up with The Brown Gradient Beer Wenches through their Instagram, @bg_craftbeer_wenches.


"If it’s barrel aged in tequila barrels, yes please! It gives the beer the perfect amount of boozy punch," says Melissa Diaz.
Photo: Johnny Cowan

Melissa Diaz

SLUG: What is your background in brewing and craft beer?

Diaz: My first job in craft beer was at 595 Craft and Kitchen in Las Vegas, NV. We had 24 rotating taps, so I got to try a lot of different beer from all over! My job was to break down and sanitize each beer line when we tapped a new keg. We wanted to ensure the beer tasted exactly as the brewers intended.

SLUG: Which is your favorite beer at Bewilder Brewing Co. and why?

Diaz: Hands down, the Imperial Mole Porter! It’s a seasonal beer that is only released in the fall for Dia De Los Muertos. I love it because it reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate, but boozy!

The Latin spices and chocolate are a perfect blend. [It] tastes like mole for sure, which brings back memories from my childhood.

SLUG: Is there anything significant about this beer’s brewing process that makes it special or stands out to you?

Diaz: If it’s barrel aged in tequila barrels, yes please! It gives the beer the perfect amount of boozy punch. [Tequila barrel-aged beer] sits in tequila barrels for eight months. When it gets closer to canning they drill holes in the barrels and try it to make sure it’s exactly how they want it to taste. The whole process is awesome; to wait for beer to absorb the barrel profile takes great patience and trust.

Bewilder Brewing Co. | 445 400 W | 385.528.3840
M–Th: 11a–11p; F–Sa: 11a–12a; Su: 11a–10p | bewilderbrewing.com


"My favorite thing about beer is that beer is something that is loved by so many different types of people," says Steph Hall.
Photo: Bonneville Jones

Steph Biesecker

SLUG: What are you most passionate about when it comes to beer?

Biesecker: My favorite thing about beer is that beer is something that is loved by so many different types of people. I always say that beer is the great equalizer because no matter your gender, race, political affiliations, etc., beer is something that people are able to agree on.

SLUG: Which is your favorite beer at Red Rock and why?

Biesecker: It’s hard for me to choose one favorite Red Rock beer. Secale is probably at the top of my list but since it’s only available in limited amounts each year, I’d probably go with Elephino or Frölich. They’re all so easy to drink and I never tire of any of them.

SLUG: Can you break down the flavor profiles of your favorite Red Rock beer?

Biesecker: As far as flavor goes, Secale is such an incredible beer. I’m a huge doppelbock fan, and the fact that Red Rock ages this lager for an entire year in rye whiskey barrels takes it right to the top of my doppelbock list. It’s such a smooth beer and one of the best sippers. It’s malty, sweet and caramelly, and since I’m also a big whiskey fan, this beer checks multiple boxes for me. I love letting it warm up just a little before I enjoy it because it brings out that whiskey flavor even more.

Red Rock Brewery | 254 S 200 West | 801.521.7446
Su–Th: 11a–9p; F–Sa: 11a–10p | redrockbrewing.com


"Whenever someone tells me they don’t like beer, I tell them I bet there is something they like, they just haven’t found it yet," says Melissa Dahund.
Photo: Johnny Cowan

Melissa Dahund

SLUG: What is your background in brewing and craft beer?

Dahud: I have 12 years in the service industr but did not get into the beer industry until 2018. [I] helped with the production side here and there until I worked at Uinta Brewing Company [in] late 2020 and was doing packaging full time.

SLUG: What are you most passionate about when it comes to beer?

Dahud: Whenever someone tells me they don’t like beer, I tell them I bet there is something they like, they just haven’t found it yet. I also love the connections I make with people in the industry and with my guests. We … nerd out together and talk about some of our favorite beers we enjoy or any new releases a brewery we like announces. When it comes to my guests who are unfamiliar with beer, I genuinely enjoy introducing them to certain beer styles and finding something they may like. It makes me very happy when they actually find something they enjoy.

SLUG: Which is your favorite beer at Level Crossing and why?

Dahud: I’d have to go with the Dallas Alice. It is a Belgian Style Blonde Ale. It’s very easy drinking. Lately, I’ve been wanting lighter beers, and this has a great flavor profile. It’s got a floral, citrus and light honey aroma. The beer finishes dry with a lingering, lemon-zest flavor.

Level Crossing Brewing Co. | 2496 S W Temple St | 385.270.5752
Su–Th: 11a–10p; F–Sa: 11a–11p | levelcrossingbrewing.com


"I definitely pride myself on being able to choose the perfect beer for someone to enjoy when they’re having a hard time picking one," says Shyree Baxter.
Photo: Jovvany Villalobos

Shyree Baxter

SLUG: What is your favorite beer within our local brewery scene and why?

Baxter: Slackwater has SO many great beers. My favorite beer there is definitely the Bohemian Helles—­­its rich but still light and crisp with almost a hint of those Belgian style banana notes.

SLUG: Is there anything significant about beer’s brewing process that makes it special or that stands out to you?

Baxter: I think learning about the malting process or treating the water properly so that the beer comes out tasting the same consistency every time. Those are the kinds of things that interest me with beer. I [want to] know the chemical reactions and processes and why they happen.

SLUG: What are you most passionate about when it comes to beer?

Baxter: My greatest passion in beer is definitely sharing it and talking about it. Beer education is so fun for me! I definitely pride myself on being able to choose the perfect beer for someone to enjoy when they’re having a hard time picking one. Or helping someone who “doesn’t like beer” finally find one they like and they understand the flavor profile. I think knowing what you’re tasting makes it more fun and taste even better. I genuinely enjoy seeing that happy look on someone’s face while they enjoy a craft beer.

Slackwater | 10290 S State Street | 801.930.5147
M–Th: 11a–10p; F–Sa: 11a–11p; Su: 10a–9p | slackwaterpizzeria.com

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