Shades Brewing
Cart 0

The Dream 


about opening a brewery is the smile people get when you tell them about it. Everybody wants great beer… even in Utah. It was a long time coming and was just a dream at first. I’d been brewing beer as a hobby for fifteen years, but start a brewery? Well, my wife Alexandra urged me to engage the dream and help me make it a reality. We have been successfully brewing and distributing beer in Utah since 2010. I’m from a family of gourmets with a knack for blending great flavors. Alex is from a family of passionate Colombians. She knows how to get things done. She also knows how to dance a fiery Tango, but that’s a different story. We now have a great team that work along side us to create some amazing recipes. Our goal is to create uniquely-brewed, handcrafted beers, of outstanding quality that keep bringing people back for more.





Step out of the Sun and into Shades of Pale Brewing

Sequestered deep inside the old Hi-Grade Meats compound at 2160 S. West Temple is Shades of Pale Brewing. You know the place: Its sign had those two smiling cartoon pigs, eager to be turned into hotdogs. The pigs are gone, and now a Shades of Pale sign beckons. To get to the taproom, you must enter the glass door next to the blinking LED “open” sign. You will walk down a series of dim, fluorescent-lit corridors—an abandoned part of the meat-packing plant. Pallets block off empty rooms connected to the corridors, and arrows are affixed to the walls so you don’t get lost. You’ll start to feel like you’re in The Walking Dead, or that maybe you’re about to get turned into a hotdog.

When you open the final steel door and enter a large warehouse, you’ll know that it’s safe. The smell of bubbling wort will lead you in toward the brewhouse at the end of the room. As you approach the bar, built right in front of the open brewhouse, and climb atop a barstool—made from reassembled pallets—a man in coveralls stops hosing down the floor to pour you a pint of Publican Pale Ale. He might be Trent Fargher, owner and operator, or he could be Zack England, Head Brewer. The only light in the warehouse comes glinting off the brewhouse’s stainless steel fermenters in front of you. The brewer will resume his work, you’ll sip your beer, and you’ll think to yourself, maybe out loud, “Where the hell am I?”

Sitting at this bar, I spoke with Alexandria Ortiz de Fargher—the Head of Marketing and Merchandising at Shades of Pale. Alexandria and her husband started Shades of Pale in Park City in 2011, in a small warehouse that they describe as a glorified garage. It was the typical small-brewery startup story: An experienced homebrewer decides to make their passion a profession, starts small, and soon faces unexpected demand. “We got our license in 2010, but we were not officially open to the public” Ortiz says. “We were doing recipe development, and then we started getting invited to festivals, and people were excited about the beer.” Before long, they had to upgrade from their tiny Sabco pilot system to a bigger brewing setup. Further expansion became necessary with increased demand for their line of five bottled, session-strength beers—Publican Pale Ale, Jack Wagon Wheat, 4-Play Porter, Misdirected IPA and Ready to Fly Amber Ale. So, in 2014, they moved the whole operation to South Salt Lake.

The taproom opened last November, but not without setbacks from the city. “The license they wanted to give us was a restaurant license,” says Ortiz. With this type of license, 70 percent of their revenue would have to come from food sales. This obviously made no sense, since Shades of Pale is a brewing facility and is in no way equipped for food preparation, so they fought back. Ortiz says that they mobilized their supporters to participate in letter-writing campaigns, attended city council meetings, and invited the reportedly all-LDS South Salt Lake City Council members to tour the facility in an effort to convince them to change legislation to accommodate their taproom. It worked. “This is an area that’s underserved and undergoing development,” Ortiz says. “The city does want to bring prosperity to the area.”

With the opening of the taproom, Shades of Pale has become sort of a community hub in the otherwise rather desolate Commonwealth District. For workers in the area, it’s the prime spot to grab a pint after quitting time, and it’s the place to try the freshest, newest developments in Shades of Pale’s beer lineup. In addition to their five roster beers, their taps might offer a brand-new stout or Forte, their new white IPA—it’s always changing. Inside their refrigerated keg and bottled-beer storage room is a makeshift bottle shop. You might be able to find the limited-run Saint Blackout Belgian Tripel, and you can buy full-strength versions of their session beers, which they distribute to Wyoming. To appease the DABC, their labels are covered up with their “Beer X” labels—the catch-all label for their one-off, experimental line of beers.  And, since Shades of Pale would rather give patrons the option of eating food at the bar rather than forcing them to, you can get food delivered from the adjacent Pat’s Barbecue or Este Deli if you get hungry.

This year holds a lot of promise for Shades of Pale. They are opening a 3,000-square-foot event center, and they’re planning to host Gallery Stroll events, among others. For those who don’t want to spend a nice summer afternoon drinking beer in a dark warehouse, there will be a 6,800-square-foot beer garden in the outdoor space between the facility’s buildings. They are in the process of expanding their brewing capacity, increasing distribution and constantly creating new beers. Currently, they’re aging a pale ale in Beehive Distilling gin barrels, and a sour beer program is in the works. Shades of Pale is a beer destination, and they are open to the public seven days a week. Check for their current hours since they’re continually tweaking their hours, depending on customer flow. The taproom is still in its infancy, after all.


Shades of Pale Plans to Expand

In just a few short years, the local beer-producer Shades of Pale has gone from just being in Park City grocery stores and restaurants to being available all along the Wasatch Front and as far as Moab. The first shipment of beer left the brewery in May 2011, and since then Shades of Pale has had to expand three times in its same location on Woodbine Way.

"Right now, we have all these things we want to do, including eventually releasing a high-point beer in the liquor stores, but we need to expand from our current location so we can add larger tanks," said Trent Fargher, owner of Shades of Pale. "We’re pretty small right now."

The current footprint of the brewing area is about 500 square feet, Fargher said. Production for a single batch of roughly 217 gallons, or 1,000 22-ounce bottles, takes 14 to 18 days from kettle to bottle. But with a growing market in grocery stores and restaurants, Shades of Pale has had to turn away customers.

"We’ve had to turn accounts away just because we haven’t been able to produce enough," Fargher said, "which is painful. People want to pick it up and put it on draft it’s difficult to service everyone we want to service."

Shades of Pale will have to wait for new equipment to be manufactured, and with a booming microbrew industry, the wait list is long. The company could wait up to a year before the right tanks can be made, Fargher said.

"You really want to buy from a reputable manufacturer who understands the industry and the beer-making process because the equipment is different depending on where and what type of beer you are producing," he added.

The beer maker currently producers three beer styles, a wheat, porter and pale ale.

"We wanted something that would appeal to a wide variety of folks," Fargher said. "We wanted something easy on the palette, not something too harsh or only for the beer geeks. We wanted to set a base line and since then we’ve been perfecting those three styles."

Salt Lake City is currently Shades of Pale’s largest market, accounting for more than half of company sales.

Shade of Pale plans to stay in the Park City area, and Fargher said he was looking at spaces in the Silver Summit area that would give the brewery at least 2,500 square feet of space. But depending on whether or not the right space becomes available and how long equipment manufacturing will take, Fargher said Shades of Pale may construct a new building, a process that could take 12 to 18 months to complete.

Fargher said he wanted to add tours and a local tasting area.

"This will be the next level," he said. "A new facility will allow us to expand not only in the Utah market, but outside of the state as well.

"We’re looking to continue our growth, offer more brews and more overall product the best billboard we have for advertising is what space we have on the shelf, and right now that is just three bottles. We need that bigger billboard on the shelf so that more people know about our brand."




Brewery leaving Park City for SLC

Shades of Pale Brewing Company announced Saturday plans to move its manufacturing facilities from Park City to Salt Lake City.

"We’ve been looking for the last couple years to try and remain in Park City and haven’t been successful in really locating a place where we can continue to grow and expand without putting a lot of money into infrastructure," Shades of Pale founder and sole full-time employee, Trent Fargher told The Park Record.

Fargher said that zoning in the Park City area drastically limits options for a newer facility. The company, which has been making beer in Park City since it opened in 2010, explored locations in the Bonanza Park area, as well as in the Silver Summit area near Home Depot.

"Right now, we’re 1,200, 1,300 square feet for our operation, and we outgrew that basically six months after we were here," Fargher said. "And in looking at what we wanted to move into, we wanted to be somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 square feet to start with, with the ability to expand beyond that as needed.

"The infrastructure to put in a facility like this is very expensive and it’s costly to continually move, so we’d rather get into a larger space and grow into it, and then have the ability to expand around it, and there just isn’t that ability here in the Park City area."

The Salt Lake City facility will be located on S. West Temple just south of 2100 South.

When it moves to the new locale, which will include a tap room, a gift shop, and art gallery, Shades of Pale will begin manufacturing full-strength beers for the first time.

The company would like to open a smaller facility in Park City, but Utah’s liquor laws forbid full-strength beers from being served from kegs, and that is currently a sticking point for the company.

"It would be more like a nano-type setup where we’re doing recipe development, and we’re getting direct feedback from customers over the counter. But in order for that to happen some laws need to change," Fargher said.

"To serve beer that’s higher than four percent [alcohol by volume], at this point you have to put it in some sort of bottle, can or package. Well that’s not real conducive to setting up a pilot system to be able to do feedback where I can’t serve it," he said. "I can make it, but they can’t drink it."

Fargher said that a bottling line can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take up significant space.

"I don’t know, it’s one of these ludicrous laws that we have on the books that just makes absolutely no sense."

The company will be moving to the new facility beginning in July, and expects it to be a process lasting around a month.

"We’re excited to move, we’re excited to expand our offerings," Fargher said. "It’s all we can do to keep up with the four styles we’re making. But we have a lot of other styles under wraps at this point that we’ve been playing around with and experimenting with. There will be some good stuff to come from Shades of Pale for sure."



Step aside Budweiser, there is a new brewery in town

Trent Fargher was accustomed to having an ample selection of locally brewed beers when he lived in Colorado, choosing his favorites to drink while he resided in the Breckenridge, Colo., area.

But when he moved to Utah five years ago, now living in Summit Park, he found that there were just "fairly limited" choices in local beers. Fargher, an information-technology consultant, and his fiancee, Alexandra Ortiz, are entering the brewery market with a small outfit, called Shades of Pale, in 950 square feet at 1950 Woodbine Way.

"Coming from Colorado, we had quite a wide selection of brews to choose from," says Fargher, a 41-year-old Ohio native.

Fargher recently won an important permit from the Park City Planning Commission for the brewery, one of the approvals he needs before Shades of Pale is able to open. He also must obtain a permit from state alcohol regulators as well.

There was little interest from regular Parkites as the City Hall panel awarded the Shades of Pale permit. There are talks continuing between the municipal government and Fargher about hazardous materials that will be at the site as part of the beer-making process.

But it appears that Shades of Pale will be the second alcohol-related business to open a manufacturing location in Park City within a short period, following the upcoming debut of High West Distillery, a whiskey maker, in Old Town. Taken together, the two reinforce Park City’s reputation as a rollicking resort in a state known for its teetotaling ways.

"When people come from out of town, they want to drink the local stuff," Fargher says.

Shades of Pale, which was launched in mid-2009, plans to start with a line of three or four beers, including a Belgian, a stout and an Indian pale ale. Fargher says he hopes to start producing beer and distributing the product in kegs by early 2010. He plans to start a bottling operation as early as the middle of 2010, depending on the demand for the beer. Construction inside the building could start as soon as next week, he says.

Fargher says he eventually wants to move from the Woodbine Way building, with him envisioning opening a custom-made brewery someday. Shades of Pale could offer tours of a new building, he says, another off-the-slopes attraction for Park City.

"In today’s craft brewing line of business the operation doesn’t have to be big to compete with the likes of Budweiser or Miller, it can be small, local and produce a high quality product for consumer enjoyment," Fargher writes in a description of Shades of Pale that he submitted to City Hall.

The brewery’s Web site exclaims that "everything else pales in comparison." The site features the word ‘Bud’ circled and crossed out in red.

Shades of Pale is entering a growing industry of small breweries, sometimes called craft breweries, with a trade group reporting nearly 8.6 million barrels of beer were produced by them in 2008. The Brewers Association, based in Boulder, Colo., at the end of July counted 1,525 breweries in the U.S., more than at any time in the past 100 years, according to the group.

In the first six months of 2009, the Brewers Association says, the small breweries sold an estimated 4.2 million barrels of beer, slightly more than the 4 million sold in the same period the year before.

"I think there’s a demand for people to buy local, support their local brewers," Fargher says.

Shades of Pale will open across Park City from the Wasatch Brew Pub, part of the long-established beer maker Wasatch Brewery. Greg Schirf, the founder, was unaware of the Shades of Pale plans until early in the week. Schirf says there is "plenty of competition" in the industry, and he expects the new brewery will compete with his own.

"People enjoy drinking fresh, local beer," Schirf says.




Shades of Pale Brewery looks forward to Bottling their own Beer.

The process of brewing beer can be complex and time consuming, but rewarding. Shades of Pale Brewery in Prospector, has mastered the recipes for six different kinds of beer since opening in October.

The brewery had a trial-and-error period during which they took time to perfect each batch, explained Shades of Pale Owner Trent Fargher. Some beer took longer to perfect than others, he admits. Head Brewer Matt Davis worked on perfecting the Belgian White for over four months, while the wheat beer only took three batches.

Shades of Pale beer can be found at Bistro 412 on Main Street Park City and Good Karma in Prospector. Fargher is currently brewing several different kinds of local beer including: Jackwagon, an American wheat, a porter called 4play, Publican Pale Ale, Parley’s Pale White Ale, Slippery Slope (an espresso stout) and a German Kolsch called Perfect Stranger.

The brewery will start bottling their own beer on site in about two months, explained Fargher. The brewmeisters are currently working on creating their own labels that they hope will inspire adventure in Park City.

For example, one label might give a brief overview of Round Lake and a website to go for a map. This particular ‘adventure’ might be worth two beers on a scale to five beers, explained Fargher. The idea behind the point system is to rate the adventure based on the number of beers you’ll want when you’ve completed it.

Eventually the brewery hopes to accept adventure suggestions from local outdoor enthusiasts to be featured on the labels.

Fargher explained that it takes about seven hours to brew at batch of beer from milling grain to just before the wort goes into the fermenting tanks. Ales take about 14 days to ferment, while darker lagers take at least 21 days, before they sit in a lager tank for an additional 30 days.

Shades of Pale anticipates brewing full-strength beer in 22-ounce bottles by the end of summer.

Fargher and his partners keep 15 grains on hand to add variety to their libations. For example, wheat grain adds a nutty flavor, while other grains add bitterness, he said.

After the grain is milled, it’s poured into a large tank with boiling water, "It’s like making porridge the process extracts the sugars out of the grain," Fargher explained. Essentially, boiling water, plus grain, plus time, equals the extraction of sugars.

After the sugar is extracted, it’s pumped into a kettle and boiled for 90 minutes. Hops are added throughout the boiling process to help flavor the liquid. The hops also act as a preservative and can instill a bitter, leathery or fruity flavor to the beer, Fargher explained. The end result of this stage makes wort.

That mixture is then pumped through hoses to the fermenting tanks. Ales ferment at 68 degrees, while lagers ferment between 45 to 48 degrees. After the fermenting period, the beer is moved to a Brite tank, where it pushes Co2 through the liquid, Fargher explained.

The brewery has five fermenting tanks and one Brite tank, which under pressure, carbonizes the beer. Fargher explained that the brewery is planning to get larger fermenting tanks so they can expand the amount of beer they produce in one batch. They’re also discussing the possibility of expanding the brewery into a neighboring building.



Share A Press Item

"Use this space to highlight mentions and praise from newspapers, magazines, online publications, or social media. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed malesuada eu leo semper tempus, elementum magna non diam."






We are currently located in the heart of Salt Lake City, 10 minutes south of downtown and east of Sugar House.


Shades Brewing

154 West Utopia
Salt Lake City, UT 84098



Contact Form

To help visitors get in touch with you, double-click this page, hover over the form, and click Edit. Then go to the Storage tab and choose where the information will be sent.

Name *