written and photos by: Andrea Peterson
Just when you think there can’t be a new brewery in the state that will soon lower the DUI blood alcohol level to .05 percent—there is. RoHa Brewing Project is the latest in a string of new bars and breweries to pop their caps in Salt Lake. RoHa Brewing, however, was in planning long before Gov. Gary Herbert decided this year to scare away out-a-staters.
Just over three years ago Rob Phillips, Chris Haas and Josh Stern began the arduous process of turning a great idea on paper into tasty cold brew.
Haas and Phillips met at the Desert Edge Beer school where Haas taught the ins and outs of beer brewing, not to mention, beer drinking. But the RoHa project didn’t start right away. Haas has had to clear his schedule many times before being able to partner up with Phillips. The third leg of the “three-legged” chair as they like to describe themselves—is Josh Stern. “Rob brought Josh on to help,” says Haas. “I was a little nervous at first—not knowing him. But after the first meeting it was obvious it was going to work. We all brought something to the table.”
Everything the three partners do seem to have a purpose or story. The name of the brewery is ‘Ro’ from Rob and ‘Ha’ from Haas. And if you look closely on the label you will see three symbols that represent the partners: ‘positive’ for Phillips, ‘logical’ for Haas, and ‘intensity’ for Stern.
Right now, RoHa is just a tap room with two 4 percent beers on tap and a cooler of their higher-point beers. The partners aren’t in a hurry to grow into anything bigger. They’re satisfied to be a grab-and-go brewery with exceptional beer.
Each beer has a personal story:
Three Deep: Is a session beer, meaning you’ll be able to put back three before you go under the table—also correlating to RoHa’s three owners.
Back Porch: Phillips and Stern equate their friendship with enjoying a chilled frothy on a back porch.
Thursday: Phillips and Stern would get together for what they called “Thirsty Thursday.” They would try new beers and some home brews while talking about, rating and discussing the characteristics.
Green Couch: When Haas was working to get his foot in the door in the Salt Lake brewing scene—he did a lot of couch surfing. He fondly remembers a particularly cozy green one.
Keningston: This regal beer is their “Grand Saison,” that seems to pair well with the name the street the brewery’s on.
“I don’t know if there is something distinctive about us. But there is something distinctive about our beer,” says Haas. He’s brewmaster—coming up with the flavors and profiles for each beer. “It’s simple. We want to make balanced drinkable beer. Not too sweet and not too bitter.”
Their goal is to eventually to serve food, but for now they are focused on making good beer. “Building a brewery and a brand is a project. Not a destination—a journey.”