OGDEN — Jeff Manwaring opened up the door to the roof of UTOG Brewing Co. Tuesday to reveal a stunning view of Ben Lomond Peak, the same mountain depicted on the brewery’s beer cans.
Manwaring is one of three co-owners opening the brewery and restaurant in downtown Ogden near the corner of 23rd Street and Grant Avenue.
“This is what sold me,” he said, surveying the view.
UTOG Brewing Co. is opening at 11 a.m. Thursday. The restaurant area at the front of the building can seat up to 105 people. A section near the full-service bar will be for patrons who are of legal drinking age but Manwaring said he wants families to feel welcome at UTOG.
Manwaring works primarily with the restaurant side of the business and has experience running an outdoor adventure company in Park City, where he’s from. Co-owner Jack Hubble is an experienced businessman and co-owner Carson Foss is the brains behind the beer.
Foss has been home brewing beer for 12 years and said it’s nice to brew on a larger scale. He had the idea to start a brewery about three years ago and brought both Manwaring and Hubble in on the endeavor.
“I was a little worried about whether the recipe would upscale but we brewed our batches and they were as good or better than the home brew,” Foss said. “It’s actually easier because I have a lot more instruments to see temperatures and pressures.”
UTOG is a 15-barrel brewhouse, which means they can make more than 450 gallons of beer. There are six fermentation tanks right now, but Manwaring said he one day hopes to have as many as 18. Some of the brews they produce include a golden ale, session and full strength IPAs, session porter, and even a black rye IPA for more adventurous beer drinkers.
“Then we have a citric pale ale which has a ton of aroma, a little bit of malt and a tiny bit of sweetness,” Foss said. “The finish is crisp. That has to be one of the favorites.”
But don’t be intimidated — up at the bar each kind of beer is listed like ski run. Green dots are next to light, easygoing ales and black diamonds are next to more extreme, hoppy brews.
Foss said their beer will only be available from UTOG Brewing Co. for now. There is a small “beer store” at the back of the building where customers will be able to buy cans of their favorite UTOG brew and take it home. Manwaring said it had to go into the back of the brewery because of their proximity to a nearby Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple.
The 9,000-square-foot formerly empty warehouse is filled with locally-made features. Hubble made several tabletops scratch with wood, epoxy and stain to create shiny usable surface with royal blue inlay. The steel work seen throughout the building was made locally; the cans come from a local distributor and even the spent grain from the beer making process goes to a local farmer.
Before they could get all of the brewing equipment in, Manwaring said they had to remove 12,000 pounds of plaster, which was covering the now exposed red brick walls. There are also large front-facing doors that can be left open on nice days.
The brewing process is in full display in “the pit” where Foss works to turn grain into drinkable beer. Patrons can stand in the comfort of the restaurant and watch beer being made below them, something Manwaring said happened because it was going to be too expensive to reinforce the floor.
“It was like, well how about we just get rid of the floor move everything down so it’s like a bird’s eye view,” he said. “We were like, ‘That’s not a bad idea!’”
All the beer travels about 60 feet to get to the canning machine on the upper floor, which Foss said can get through 35 cans per minute. They can store up to 27,000 cans in the brewery’s massive industrial fridge.
The UTOG menu includes appetizers like reuben fritters and mac and cheese bites along with sandwiches, salads and entrees like fish and chips. There is also a kid’s menu and an express lunch menu with affordable to-go items you can pick up in a hurry.
The bar has room for 12 tap beers and a growling machine, which is used for sealing just-filled cans of beer. There are five TVs mounted throughout the restaurant along with two small lounge seating areas. There is also free parking in the large garage across the street.
Manwaring said one day he’d like to expand the restaurant to include a back patio area and maybe even a rooftop bar, all of which would have an amazing view of Lindquist Field and the surrounding mountains.
“It may not happen this year, but maybe next year,” he said. “We’ll see.”
The brewing community in Northern Utah has seen some growth in recent months. Rooster opened B Street Brewery and Tap Room in December 2018 and Ogden River Brewing has plans to break ground on a new brewery in the area as well.
“When I started this the only brewery north of Salt Lake City was Roosters (Brewing Co.),” Foss said. “That was one brewery for like 700,000 people.”
Manwaring said other local brewers have been extremely welcoming.
“Roosters and Talisman have been more than friendly,” he said, referencing two Ogden breweries. “They don’t sense us as competition or anything and they’ve been super helpful and super nice. There’s a really great community and atmosphere here.”
UTOG will be open seven days a week including for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.