With craft beer sales at an all-time high, micro-breweries are finally being recognized nationwide, but one would never think Utah would be “The Place” to find a proper pub. Although Utah may rank lowest in beer consumption in the United States, the Red Rock Brewing Co. team hasn’t had a problem gaining national acclaim for their brews.

The head brewer behind Red Rock’s accomplishments is Kevin Templin. Brewing with Red Rock for almost nine out of the pubs 13 years, Templin started out in exactly the same place as most craft brewers: “I learned how to brew in my kitchen,” Templin states. With no prior education in the field of brewing, Templin paid his dues. “I volunteered [at Red Rock] for a couple months, and then one day they told me to clock in.”

For the past two years, Templin has worked with a solid brewing team comprised of Matt Davis, Joe Welsh and Chris Harlin. “These are a great bunch of guys,” Templin says. When asked about the direction that Utah’s brewing industry is headed, Joe Welsh, the “Irish backbone” of Red Rock responded, “We’re only going up and up now.”

With over 40 awards won on behalf of Red Rock since 1996, there are currently no signs of slowing down for Templin and his team. At the 2008 World Beer Cup this past April, Templin was awarded another silver medal, this time for his Red Rock Nut Brown Ale. This “All-around good beer,” as Templin modestly calls it, competed against over 30 entries from breweries nationwide. Another Red Rock achievement left unnoticed by the local mainstream media—the results from last year’s Great American Beer Festival. Red Rock took home five medals total for their beers along with one of the most prestigious awards to be given out, Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year; beating out the other 472 national breweries entered.

The Great American Beer Festival is an annual gathering of 45,000+ beer enthusiasts at Colorado’s Convention Center in a celebration of brewing and the hard work that has gone into perfecting the art. With multiple booths lined up, typically headed by the brewers themselves, the consumer is able to sample some of the nation’s best beer. Further, the GABF is host to one of the largest brew competitions in the world. Over 100 certified beer judges gather to evaluate over 2,500 beers crafted by more than 450 different breweries.

When asked about the results of GABF, Templin says: “We got really lucky. You gotta have luck to win five medals there.”

Bringing Utahans good beers time and time again, this brewing team wants the public to keep an eye out for the pub’s rotating releases (they have over 30 recipes to choose to brew from) as well as Red Rock’s bestsellers. Their Nut Brown, Amber and American Wheat are the most consumed brews by the locals. Their Bavarian Weiss will be released this month, and Templin describes it as “A traditional hefeweizen-styled beer.” As much as Templin would love to talk this up, he wanted to make sure we didn’t forget to mention their Organic Zwickelbier, a gold medal winner at GABF. “The Zwickelbier is my favorite beer that we make,” proclaims Templin. Like most of Red Rock’s beer, when you hear this one’s on tap, hurry down before they run out. The Rêve, another beer that should be watched for, is still gaining recognition by Salt Lake City’s beer scene since its initial release in November of 2007. This beer is the result of years and years of fine-tuning. “You gotta understand, we didn’t release the tripel [Rêve] for the better part of three years,” and in that time, it has taken medals at a brewing competition in Idaho Falls three years in a row in a category averaging 58 entries.

The Rêve is a Belgian Tripel, which essentially means that the brewer used three times the amount of malt as a standard Belgian beer. Belgian Tripels are generally golden in color with a nice creamy head. The aromatics and flavor of it vary with a mixture of spices alongside fruity/sweet complexes and a unique yeast attribute. They can alcoholically range anywhere from 8.0 to12.0 BV. What makes Red Rock’s Rêve different from most is the oak aging it has undergone. “We used white wine barrels from Sonoma, Calif.,” Templin says. This is what gives the Rêve its unique flavor. For around $12 per 750ml bottle, this beer can be yours for enjoying late this summer or early fall.

If you are planning on trying this brew when you finish reading this, you are shit out of luck. “It probably won’t be until the late summer before it is ready,” says Templin in regard to the release of the newest batch of the Rêve. “The last batch we did was around 800 bottles, and when that was released, it lasted only two weeks.”

Utah is a breeding ground for new brewers on the rise. With the craft beer industry slowly making a dent in major brewing corporations, it’s the perfect time for consumers to leap into drinking quality, locally made brews. With Templin and his crew consistently rotating a stellar lineup of top-notch brews, Red Rock Brewing Co. is assuring that there is always something on tap at for every beer drinker to enjoy.

2007 GABF medals included:
Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year
Gold Medal: Organic Zwickelbier in the category of Cellar of Unfiltered Beer
Silver Medal: Red Rock Rêve in the category of Belgian Style Strong Specialty Ale
Silver Medal: Red Rock Nut Brown Ale in the category of American Style Brown Ale
Silver Medal: Red Rock Black Bier in the category of German Style Schwarzbier
Bronze Medal: Munich Dunkel in the category of European Style Dark/ Munchner Dunkel