Ogden River Brewing coming this summer at historic Becker beer plant site

Friday , December 01, 2017 - 6:00 AM

SARAH WELLIVER/Standard-Examiner

Pat Winslow stands inside the future location of his business, Ogden River Brewing, on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, in Ogden. He hopes to open the brewery by July 2018.

LEIA LARSEN, Standard-Examiner staff

Pat Winslow is channeling his passion for beer and a wave of local support into a new brewery called Ogden River Brewing. 

The seasoned home brewer secured nearly $32,000 in startup funds around mid-November from a Kickstarter campaign. Winslow plans to open his brewery by mid-July at 1921 Lincoln Ave. As of last week, he’d already marked up the floors of the old warehouse building with sidewalk chalk, marking out the future sites of the mashers, kettles, fermenter and bar.

“We got great views here. It’s just a great space,” he said, admiring a panorama of new apartment buildings, Mount Ogden and the old American Can building.

Winslow had originally planned to renovate the old Northern Exposure building, which sits directly next to the Ogden River near the Walmart on Wall Avenue. The costs to renovate the old club, however, turned him off. 

A local real estate agent saw Winslow’s Kickstarter campaign and turned him on to the building on Lincoln Avenue. While it’s not right on the river, it’s a stone’s throw from the Ogden River Parkway. Winslow also figured out it’s on the site of the historic Becker Brewing and Malting Company.

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To Winslow, it felt like fate.

“This is right where one of the warehouses was,” he said. “After I looked into it a bit, I said, ‘Bingo. That’s it.’ There’s always something that says, ‘Pat, this is what you need to do.’”

Becker was one of the longest continuously operating brewing companies in the entire West. It even survived Prohibition. But instead of rebuilding a massive plant for distributing brews throughout the region, Winslow envisions an ultra-local vibe with Ogden River Brewing. 

“I want this to be like coming to Pat’s backyard. You sit in a lawn chair, you enjoy your beer, enjoy your friends … enjoy just hanging out,” he said. “This is going to be a unique place.”

Winslow studied brewery management through Portland State University in 2014. Creating a niche is an important part of building a successful brewery business, he said, particularly as more and more craft breweries are popping up in Utah and throughout the nation.

“The vibe, that’s really it. You look at the West Coast, you look at Denver, you look at the East Coast, everybody makes great beers,” he said. “A lot of people make really good beer. But what sets them apart is what kind of vibe they create.”

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A post shared by Ogden River Brewing (@ogdenriverbrewingco) on Nov 21, 2017 at 4:01pm PST

 

Winslow’s vibe will include a beer garden-type patio and a dog run in the back.

The interior space will have murals by local artists, relics from Becker Brewing and other homages to Ogden’s heritage. Ogden River Brewing will serve beer on tap, which must be 3.2 percent alcohol by weight per state law.

Winslow plans to have high-point bottled brews as well. For adults who don’t imbibe, he’ll offer local coffee, kombucha and soda.

“I’ve got a nice American pale ale recipe that’s well balanced and easy to drink,” he said. “The thing about making 3.2 beer is you can’t have any flaws. There’s nowhere for a mistake to hide in the flavor profile.”

Looking long-term, Winslow wants to add a separate building in the back of the property to create some of his favorite types of beer — barrel-aged sours.

“That’s my favorite beer to make because it’s a challenge and it’s unique and it’s always different,” he said. “They’re one of the oldest styles of beers because in old days they didn’t have refrigeration, so they’d make beer, it’d go sour, they’d make fresher beer and mix it together ... I like to say that it’s as old as centuries but as new as the next day.”

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Trains first brought Winslow to Junction City. He spent four decades working for Union Pacific, first in Cheyenne, then in Ogden. He learned to brew here and found a community of friends with the O-town Hopheads brewing club.

This year, his wood-aged “Barrel 2” brew scooped up a first-place award in the Beehive Brew-Off’s “smoked and wood beer” category.

Winslow announced his new venture this fall. 

“We had 23 beers on tap at my retirement party, then I played my Kickstarter video on a sheet in the backyard,” he said. “I really like the idea of bringing people in and making them feel part of how this all started.”

Winslow’s keeping beer lovers and his 275 Kickstarter backers updated on the brewery’s progression through the Ogden River Brewing Facebook and Instagram pages. 

“Keep your eyes open because it’s going to change fast,” he said.

Contact Reporter Leia Larsen at 801-625-4280 or llarsen@standard.net. Follow her at Facebook.com/LeiaInTheField or on Twitter @LeiaLarsen.