Good times on tap

It started out as a fun hobby, but with new microbrews on the way, Karlsson Brewing is expanding, to the delight of beer lovers
by: John Klicker, When Jeremy Carlson, above and right, was a home brewer, he could only dream of having a brewery such as the one pictured here. Now, he’s surrounded by kegs, mash tuns and fermenters at his Sandy brewery, Karlsson Brewing.

SANDY - Hobbies are satisfying endeavors for many people, but Jeremy Carlson took that feeling to another level. An avid homebrewer, Carlson made the leap to a full-scale microbrewery, Karlsson Brewing in Sandy, late last year.

Like most homebrewers, Carlson's first attempts at his own beer were learning experiences. He started with the typical five-gallon plastic bucket, a glass carboy, a little siphon, and all the hope he could muster.

'First couple batches were touch and go,' Carlson said. 'The more you get into it, the more you figure it out. Then when you go to all-grain recipes, it gets get better, and you start thinking, 'Hey this turned out pretty good.' '

Carlson continued to hone and develop his beers and built a three-tier brewing system in his garage for easier, better production. His father joined in with the hobby, and together they constructed stainless steel fermenters, with a capacity for 26 gallons, to up their homebrewing production.

'(My dad) had five or six taps at his house, and I had three at mine,' Carlson said. 'We could never keep everything running all at once, we'd be homebrewing all the time.'

Carlson had a hardwood floor business with his father-in-law, but he was tiring of it and his father-in-law was about to retire. Serendipity arrived when Carlson found some great brewing equipment online and decided it was time to start a microbrewery.

Karlsson Brewery was born, and while the recipes have remained the same, the scale of production did not. Carlson went from brewing two kegs to 28 kegs with new equipment that provided a better brewing environment.

'Once you figure out efficiencies and what's going on with all the valves, it tastes exactly like the old,' Carlson said. 'My first batch was close (to the homebrew recipe).'

Carlson's recipes have found many fans in the taproom, which consists of a selection of his own brews and a number of guest taps. His Scottish ale has been the best seller, with the pilsner he recently added as a close second.

Originally planned as just a springtime beer, the pilsner has taken off and will remain on tap for at least the near future. A rye beer and two IPAs (India Pale Ale) also have been well received by customers.

Patrons of Karlsson's tap room and beer fans everywhere will be pleased to hear that Carlson has some fun, interesting beers coming up. He is considering a raspberry ale based on an old recipe. Created using a raspberry puree, look for the concoction sometime this summer. He's also considering an imperial IPA, a bock, a barley wine aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels, an ESB (extra special bitter) and a pumpkin ale.

'It's a different beer, but once people try it, they usually like it,' Carlson said.

The beer selection won't be the only thing that's expanding at Karlsson's. Although the brewery has been in business less than a year, they're already looking to expand. Plans include a lab for working with yeast and a taproom addition.

'We're trying to figure out how to stuff a full kitchen in there, or go somewhere else with the taproom and move up to a full kitchen and more space,' Carlson said. 'If you don't roll when it's going, you might miss the boat.'

This is all music to beer lovers' ears. No one will want to miss the boat when Karlsson trots out the microbrew magic that started not long ago as Carlson's hobby.