The Moab Brewery
is the largest restaurant in Moab. It’s big in size.
It’s big in reputation. It boasts a big selection
of beer. And it offers a big menu of favorite food items.
The only thing that isn’t big about this place is
the brewery. It’s a small, personal enterprise of
fresh hand-crafted ales. This isn’t just any micro-brewery;
this is the Moab Brewery.
Moab Brewery is a local landmark. Even if people haven’t
had the pleasure of eating at the restaurant, most are familiar
with the first-rate brew. The tastes associated with ales
sporting the names Derailleur Red and Scorpion Pale are
popular well beyond Moab’s borders. Considering that
this little-brew-pub-that-could serves beer drinkers in
Utah, Montana, Idaho and will soon expand into Wyoming,
it’s no wonder they’re getting the Moab Brewery
name known in a big way.
The Moab Brewery was established in 1996 by two gentlemen
who were well equipped for this type of venture; John Borkoski,
who had previously founded a brewery in McCall, Idaho and
Dave Sabey, who proudly avows his “appreciation of
good beer anywhere.” The Brewery operates under the
good guidance of General Manager Mike Miller, Chef Van Hartenstine,
and Bill Bennett, who sports the enviable title of Master
The ales are made right on the premises, as evidenced by
the enormous shiny stainless steel vats enclosed by a glass
wall along the south side of the restaurant. The elongated
brew room is so clean, it literally sparkles. Bennett began
his infatuation with brewing beer at home and pursued a
degree, which included chemistry, engineering and sensory
analysis, at the American Brewer’s Guild. He explains
the critical importance of sanitation in the brewing process
and jokes around that he is merely a “glamorized janitor.”
In fact, the process is scientific and demanding, especially
at a micro-brewery where the beer making involves manual
The Brewery offers eight of its own beers on tap. The ales
range in flavor beginning with the lightest, Lizard Light,
described as “a classic American ale...golden in color
and delicately hopped for a refreshing dry finish.”
The darkest beer is the Raven Stout, “an oatmeal stout
with plenty of roasted malts....a creamy start and a crisp
finish.” The selection also includes a pilsner, a
hefeweizen and an amber lager. The Park City Pilsner is
brewed with traditional saaz hops for a full flavored ale
and the Elephant Hill Hefeweizen is an unfiltered wheat
ale which imbues the beer with its traditionally distinctive
The menu of the brewery is designed to offer foods that
pair well with the beer. Unlike many brew pubs whose food
takes a back seat to the beer, the Moab Brewery runs its
restaurant like the food is as much of a draw as the drink.
This explains their success.
The copious menu offers a variety of foods, including soups,
salads, vegetarian dishes, chicken, burgers and fish. The
kitchen incorporates the on-site brews into their recipes,
such as the restaurant’s signature item, Beer Cheese
Soup. Beer is also blended into the Barley Stout Mustard
and the Jack Daniels Beer-B-Q Sauce, which spread over a
half-pound burger makes a dynamite accompaniment to a glass
The Moab Brewery helps diners choose a beer to accompany
their meal that enhances the enjoyment of the food, which
is particularly reflected in the daily specials. They also
offer suggestions in the menu insert, such as recommending
the Park City Steamer with the Smoked Portabella Mushroom
Pasta or the Smoked Half Chicken. Miller offers the following
general guideline, “Choose a lighter beer such as
the Lizard or the Hefeweizen when ordering seafood and a
darker ale such as the Scorpion or Pale with beef or pasta.”
Although beer is the mainstay of the brewery, wine and liquor
are also offered.
The Brewery is located in a sizeable building, which at
one time housed a mechanical store. The restaurant has taken
good advantage of the sweeping spaciousness of the building,
now painted in a soft sandstone and trimmed in natural wood.
Although the bar is separated from the restaurant, the dividing
walls don’t reach the ceiling, which give both areas
the open and airy feeling of an atrium.
The Brewery is decorated with colorful outdoor gear, such
as bicycles, kayaks and a hang glider, all borrowed from
adventure outfitters around town. The restaurant is large
enough to house a novelty jeep, cut in half lengthwise and
attached to a half wall with a dummy poking its fabric head
out of the driver’s seat. Murals depicting wildlife
and red rock scenery contribute to the outdoor adventure
atmosphere. An exterior patio allows patrons to enjoy cool
desert evenings in the summertime.
In the meantime, Moab Brewery offers plenty to keep customers
fulfilled during the winter months. Dime Wings (10 cents
a chicken wing) and $1.75 pints at the bar mean that you
can fill your belly and refresh your spirit for under five
bucks. Thursdays offer free pool and Fridays All-You-Can-Eat
Fish & Chips with $5 pitchers of Park City Pilsner.
And the Brewery celebrates Valentine’s Day by giving
the first fifty ladies a free rose.
Considering the big selection, the big tastes and the big
savings, the Moab Brewery is hard to miss. Summer or winter,
evening or daytime, with lots of friends or on a special
date, anytime is a good time to do the brew.
The Moab Brewery is located at 686 South Main Street and
can be reached at (435) 259-6333. Gear and beer can be purchased
on the web at themoabbrewery.com. Entrees range in price
from $6 to $15. Beer can be purchased to go by the bottle
or growler. Also, check out the new 7-pack for $6.99 (“3.2
means you can have one more!”)
Recipe of the Month
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 bunch cilantro (about 4 ounces)
1 ounce garlic cloves (2-3 cloves)
3.5 ounces white wine vinegar (a little less than
3/4 cup olive oil (or a blend of 80% canola and
Place all ingredients in
a blender or food processor. Mix thoroughly. Dressing
can be saved for a couple of days in the fridge.