SaltFire Brewing: South Salt Lake’s Punk Craft Brewery

We’ll start with a bit of news about SaltFire Brewing, a craft brewery that’ll be celebrating its fourth anniversary in June. Parked outside the space for a li’l bit has been a vehicle that looks suspiciously like a food truck. In fact, it’s got a name: Punk As Truck. The vehicle’s not a mirage, as the space has lacked for steady trucks before now. It could be the brewery’s on-site food option as early as this weekend, if the stars align and all paperwork gets filed and accepted by the various agencies with a say in such matters. 

At the worst, the brewery’s looking at a timeline of “very soon,” according to SaltFire’s head brewer Emily Kokum. To date, the brewery has not had a consistent food truck presence, but that’ll be changing here in May. It’s another inducement for folks to visit this South Salt Lake location. 

The Punk as Truck naming fits into the overall music-heavy approach to SaltFire’s marketing and branding. As of yesterday, a variety of beers available at the brewery included clear winks-and-nods to new wave, punk and metal. Examples of the former: Charlotte Sometimes, a 5.2% ABV American blonde that shouts out The Cure; Frankly, Mr. Shankley, a 7.2% hazy IPA and hat-tip to The Smiths; and 10 Ton Truck, a 7.0% American IPA that references Tami Neilson’s song, “10 Tonne Truck.”

Heavy Metal Parking Lot, an American Black Lager from SaltFire Brewing
Heavy Metal Parking Lot, an American Black Lager from SaltFire Brewing (Photo by Thomas Crone/Salt Lake magazine)

The most SLC of the bunch is Heavy Metal Parking Lot, a 6.66% ABV American Black Lager, which throws a direct naming reference to the 1986 cult video of the same name. An underground legend on the VHS tape trading circuit, Heavy Metal Parking Lot was a short cinema verite documentary, capturing Judas Priest fans on a pre-show, good times bender in, yes, a mid-’80s concert parking lot. Today, you can find it as quickly as you can type the name into YouTube. But, for a good long time, it was a mouth-to-mouth phenomenon. 

Kokum says that SaltFire’s beer was done in collaboration with the Heavy Metal Shop, which figured that a black lager would be the most-metal coloration possible. The owners of SaltFire then coordinated specifics with Kokum and her small staff, who go about making their beer the best match possible to the name’s suggested. In this case, they created a “crushable lager” that could bring concept and taste together, available at the natural price point of $6.66 for a 16-oz. can. 

Here are more things to look out for this spring at SaltFire: 

Making An Afternoon Of It

Located in a distilling and brewery hub of South Salt Lake, SaltFire’s grown alongside other concerns like Beehive Distilling (2245 S. West Temple); Shades Brewing (154 West Utopia); Grid City Beer Works (333 W. 2100 South); and Level Crossing Brewing Company (2496 S. West Temple). The hub, says Kokum, has allowed people to travel around the neighborhood, stopping in by car or bicycle. At Saltfire, brewery hoppers are able to pick up cans to go, with 95% of Saltfire’s products canned for to-go sales. Patrons are also able to enjoy guest beers from a variety of local and regional breweries on their tap system. 

Three’s The Magic Number

In addition to brewing for an in-state market, Kokum notes that Saltfire ships kegs to both Arizona and Idaho. In the home market, SaltFire sells out of the tap room, through DABC outlets and at local pubs and restaurants. And, since we’re talking about threes, there’re three special beers expected to arrive at the time of SaltFire’s fourth birthday in June: a tart sour cherry, an India pale lager and another offering TBD. 

Beer Plus

In addition to their own products and the guest taps, SaltFire’s bar license allows/mandates some additional options. They source regionally, with Old Cellars wines, canned cocktails from Beehive and Mountain West ciders. Rotating kombuchas are available for N/A drinkers.

2199 SW Temple, South Salt Lake

Read more about Utah drinking in Bar Fly.

Thomas Crone
Thomas Crone
A freshly-minted transplant to Salt Lake City, arriving here in January of 2022, Thomas Crone serves as the Music Editor of City Weekly, while also contributing online coverage of the local music, arts and food/beverage communities to Salt Lake magazine. Unlike many of his new kinfolk, he prefers the indoors.

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