Utepils opens backyard beer garden

Dan and Deb Justesen
Dan and Deb Justesen stand in their newly completed outdoor beer garden at Utepils Brewing Co.

When Dan and Deb Justesen opened Utepils Brewing Co. on the banks of Bassett Creek near Theodore Wirth Park in 2017, they wanted to harness the unique green space at their disposal.

A newly completed creekside beer garden opening with a celebration on June 29 does just that.

“What a beer garden is supposed to be is a park,” Dan Justesen said.

The backyard at Utepils, located on Thomas Avenue North on the border of Bryn Mawr and Harrison, has been well used since the brewery opened. But the grassy area was prone to flooding.

The new patio has a concrete flooring with several drainage grates to prevent flooding. Several moveable picnic tables are circled around a gas fireplace that is rimmed by an old sifter from the abandoned grain mill next door. Fresh sod has been laid along the outside and several flowerbeds have been installed.

Utepils beer garden
The new beer garden space is dog-friendly and features movable tables, views of the creek and a central gas fireplace.

“It’s a social place,” Dan Justesen said.

The beer garden is dog-friendly, with several bowls ready for water outside.

Utepils has sought to be an authentic European brew hall, and the Justesens say the modern rage in Europe now is drinking in parks.

It will also improve the setting for their annual Oktoberfest celebration. Utepils celebrates in the original spirit of the holiday: a marriage celebration. About 40 couples have renewed their marriage vows under Utepils’ backyard arbor over the past two years.

“I don’t think there’s a dry eye in the house,” Dan Justesen said.

Now they’ll have firmer ground to stand on.

Utepils Brewing Co.
225 Thomas Ave. N.