This article was written by St. George News. To view the original article, please click here: First Microbrewery in St. Geor ge to Start Selling Craft Beer, with Plans for Much More
ST. GEORGE — Silver Reef Brewing Co., St. George’s first ever microbrewery, is launching three craft beers Friday with plans to sell its products across Southern Utah, open a pub restaurant and beer garden, and become the beer of St. George.
The brewery, named for the mining ghost town just north of St. George, is the first brewery to come to St. George and is located at 4391 S. Enterprise Drive.
With the growing nationwide popularity of craft beer, owner David Moody said he saw the need for a brewery in the area. He began construction on the brewery last year and started brewing beer over the summer.
Michael Key, director of brewing operations, has been in the brewing business for 25 years and spent most of his career working for Gordon Biersch Brewing Company. Coming to St. George, he saw this as an opportunity to spread his wings, create his own beer recipes and develop a brewery the way he wanted to.
“What it offers to the community is local, quality craft beer. That’s what I hope and believe we can bring,” Key said.
Key is trained in the German style of brewing, so the beer is never force carbonated. They also use a reverse osmosis system to convert local water – which is not very good for brewing beer on its own – into quality beer water.
“Water is the most important ingredient in beer. You can have the best hops, the best malt, the best yeast, but if your water is not good, your beer is not good,” Key said.
The Brewery is starting out offering three 3.2 percent draft beers to distribute to restaurants and bars across Washington County on Friday.
The first beer is called “Fresh and Juicy” and is a hazy session-style IPA. The IPA was brewed with a malt called Golden Promise and five different kinds of hops.
“If you smell it and you taste it, it’s nice and tropical. You pick up melon and pineapple and everything in that beer. And it’s not bitter,” Key said.
The second beer is called “Color Country Red,” and is an American red ale fermented with Belgian ale yeast and a fruity character.
The third beer, a Mexican-style lager, is named “Agua del Diablo,” which means “Devil’s Water.”
“We’re really happy with how all three turned out, but I’m really enjoying the ‘Color Country Red.’ … I’m really happy drinking that beer,” Key said.
They have also brewed an all natural “Silver Reef Root Beer,” made with sugar, root beer flavoring, natural vanilla and bark flavoring, and no additives or preservatives.
Plans are also in motion to begin canning the beers, which will be available at the brewery and in stores by March or April of this year.
Once they begin canning, they have plans to design a golden German-style helles bock, as well as an IPA with a higher alcohol content. They’ll also craft seasonal brews and an even wider variety once the pub and beer garden open in about six months.
The team is still in the planning process for the pub and restaurant menu, but they have plans to build a beer garden with fire pits, games and a stage for music events.
They plan to host one special event per month, everything from a gathering of the St. George Wine Club to holiday events such as Oktoberfest and Cinco de Mayo. They also hope to partner with local charities, starting with Switchpoint Community Resource Center, to help raise money through events and beer sales.
The brewery has six 60-barrel tanks, which can hold 120 kegs of beer, and three 40-barrel tanks that can hold 80 kegs. They have plans to distribute their products as far as Cedar City, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, but for the now the focus is on the Washington County area.
Not only do they have plans to expand the brewery, but they also have a vineyard, have begun making wine with the help of the IG Winery in Cedar City and hope to eventually have a winery on site in St. George.
They will also start a distillery business in the next year, making rum, vodka and bourbon.
The brewery is having a VIP grand opening Friday night, and community members who wish to try the beers can attend a beer and food pairing event at The Ledges on Saturday from 7-9 p.m. The event costs $45 per person, and guests must be at least 21 to attend.
“We just want to be the local beer and people kind of grab onto us and be the beer of St. George,” Key said.