"Five brews? That's a long fucking day." Dave Means of UBC. Photo: John Carlisle
Making beer is a time-consuming process and some companies make so much of it, they have to be running at odd hours to meet demand—sometimes continuously. While most of Utah’s brewing companies aren’t boiling away 24/7, many do have a brewer or two who work a late night or early morning shift. It can be lonely working the off hours and experiencing a face of the city that most people don’t. Here’s to all the guys slaving over a hot kettle, making the beer we drink while the rest of us either suck it out of bottles (or cans) or sleep off imbibing too much of it. SLUG wanted to see how these beer makers work so we sent three of our favorite photographers to capture the odd shifts at five Utah breweries. Cheers!
Utah Brewer's Cooperative
Brewer: Dave Means
Brewery: Utah Brewer’s Cooperative
Typical shift: Noon to 9 p.m.
Brew tonight: Captain Bastard’s Oatmeal Stout
Least favorite late brew: Outer Darkness
Favorite music to play when nobody’s around: Slayer, Killswitch Engage
Favorite late night snack: The Bee Mexican Restaurant—they deliver and it’s good food.
Favorite beer lately: Summerbraü Lager, you have to get it while it’s here.
Love it or hate it: I like being able to sleep-in in the morning: [Brewing late] is quiet and peaceful. There’s nobody here to bother you.
Squatters Pub Brewery
Brewer: Jason Stock
Brewery: Squatters Pub brewery
Typical shift: Noon to 9 p.m. or 4 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Brew tonight: Squatters Hefeweizen
Favorite late brew: Anything new and high gravity
Good story: While brewing Outer Darkness, we all wore black and blasted some metal. And one time, I did have a drunk chick wander in very late, not wearing any shoes.
Favorite late night snack: I’ll go to Smith’s Marketplace and make a bad decision in the frozen section, or just hang out at The Republican.
Favorite music to play when nobody’s around: Metal, alt country, and I’m finally getting old enough to enjoy talk radio.
Love it or hate it: [There are] no bads, I love being here alone. I like the solitude—zero distractions
Epic Brewing Company
Brewer: Kyle Rossman
Brewery: Epic Brewing Company
Typical shift: 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. or noon to 9 p.m.
Brew tonight: Intermountain Wheat
Favorite late brew: Spiral Jetty IPA
Strangest experience during a shift: It sounded like there were people talking, so I’d go and try and find them—there were no people. I kept getting spooked by my own reflection in the windows behind the tanks. I thought there was someone moving around back there.
Favorite music to play when nobody’s around: Usually Rage Against the Machine. Something with a lot of noise so I can hear it over the pumps.
Love it or hate it: Getting off in the afternoon is nice—during the winter it’s still light outside.
Brewer: Bobby Jackson
Brewery: Bohemian Brewery
Typical shift: 1 p.m. until 1-ish [a.m.], then it’s time to go.
Brew tonight: Czech Pils
Favorite late brew: Czech Pils—it’s the least amount of grain.
Favorite late night snack: With the pizza oven going, I get a margherita with mushrooms.
Favorite music to play when nobody’s around: Alt country—Drive By Truckers, pretty much all the time.
Strangest experience during a shift: Being watched through the window. There’ll a be 10-top or god knows [who] staring. They’ll catch you dancing or rocking out.
Love it or hate it: I can get up and go skiing, then go to work.
Brewer: Ryan Koons
Brewery: Uinta Brewing
Typical shift: 1 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Brew tonight: Golden Spike Hefeweizen
Favorite late brew: Anniversary Barleywine. It’s a little bit harder, but you get to kick back and make a really good beer.
Favorite music to play when nobody’s around: Drunken country and heavy beats.
Strangest experience during a shift: Hearing some crazy noises and finding someone rooting around in the dumpster.
Favorite late night snack: I try to eat healthy—nuts and fruit, but I eat a lot of Mexican, too, who doesn’t in Salt Lake?
Love it or hate it: You can get your job done isolation and you can hear everything that’s going on really well.