Level Crossing Brewing | Virtual Taproom for 2-Year Anniversary

Virtual Taproom Level Crossing - Featured

Level Crossing Brewing joins Utah Beer News for the latest episode of our Virtual Taproom video series.

Owner Mark Medura visits with Tim Haran to discuss a variety of topics, including:

  • The re-release of Space Oddity, a popular Hazy Double IPA
  • What the brewery has planned for its two-year anniversary
  • How Level Crossing weathered the pandemic, which started just as the South Salt Lake brewery was about to celebrate its one-year anniversary
  • And more!

About the Utah Beer News Virtual Taproom

Utah Beer News conducts 15-minute video interviews with brewers, breweries, and everyday imbibers. These brief conversations are recorded virtually. They are uploaded the same day (or the next day) to the Utah Beer News YouTube channel.

Instead of the more in-depth interviews and brewery histories typical of the Utah Beer News Podcast episodes and Brewery Profile articles, these bite-sized conversations feature so-called “newsy” information. We talk about new beer releases, upcoming events, and general happenings in and around Utah’s craft breweries.

If you’re a brewer or brewery representative — or even an everyday imbiber with a story to share — and would like to participate in an upcoming episode, please fill out the contact form.

Level Crossing Brewing - Brewhouse
The Level Crossing brewhouse, prior to its opening in 2019.

Level Crossing Brewing Transcript

The following is a slightly edited transcript of our conversation. And here’s a previous article we wrote about Level Crossing Brewing.

[Tim Haran]

Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining Utah Beer News for the latest in our brief one-on-one video conversations with local brewers, breweries, and everyday imbibers. I’m Tim Haran, founder of Utah Beer News. And my guest for this episode is Mark Medura, owner of Level Crossing Brewing.

Welcome, Mark.

[Mark Medura]

Hi, Tim. Thank you very much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

[Tim Haran]

Oh yeah, you bet. Thanks for taking the time to talk with Utah Beer News.

Before we get started real quick, if others in the beer industry — I know this is kind of a new thing for us, so if others in the beer industry are interested in participating in an upcoming episode, feel free to send me an email at tim@utahbeernews.com.

Today, I’m talking with Mark today because Level Crossing Brewing is celebrating its two-year anniversary.

Congratulations, Mark.

[Mark Medura]

Thank you very much.

[Tim Haran]

How does it feel?

[Mark Medura]

You know, it feels unbelievable. Despite the last year as all of us have experienced, we’re just so excited, so proud to be here as part of the community.

I made a comment this morning — who would have thunk two years? Actually, I did. Because I want to be here for 25 years. We’re here. We’re rockin’ and rollin’.

[Tim Haran]

That’s great.

I visited with you guys in early 2019 to provide an early look at the brewery before you opened to the public. If you want to go to UtahBeerNews.com you can check out our article with Mark and the gang and a podcast episode before they even opened up, so two years later here we are again.

I know you have some cool things planned for today, but I wanted to take a step back real quick because I think Level Crossing and you have an interesting perspective on things. Your first year, you were open almost exactly a year before the pandemic hit. And then now it’s been one more year that you’ve been in full pandemic mode, for the most part.

You’ve done a lot in that time, though. You’ve won a GABF medal just a few months after you’ve opened. It’s been pretty cool to see what these first two years have been like for Level Crossing.

As you start Year 3, though, we’re getting close to having pre-COVID beer-drinking experiences again, I think. Maybe you can talk to me a little about these first two years. The whirlwind it’s probably been and kind of what you’re looking forward to for, like you said, the next 25 years.

[Mark Medura]

Yeah, absolutely. The first year is always the challenge as far as getting opened. You’re always worried as an owner, jeez is anybody going to like us, is anybody going to like the brand, the beer.

Our opening day, what if people don’t show up? I was here at about 5:30, you know you just have those thoughts that go through your head. Of course that’s never the case for all the breweries that have opened here in Utah.

In the first year, it’s just startup. You’re in a startup mode. You’re a jack of all trades. We opened up March 30, 2019. Like you said, just around the middle of March 2020 is when the shutdown kind of happened here in Utah. So we were presented pretty quickly with two of the biggest challenges, hopefully, that we’ll experience.

One, just getting opened. And not just getting opened but getting opened and doing it well versus the pandemic our second year. So we’ve, my beard has grayed 25 years’ worth in two years. It’s been a very interesting year.

A very proud — all the breweries, including us, as far as we’ve made it, as far as we know. We’re going into April of 2021, I think you can agree, I think we’re on the backside of this pandemic. We still have some months to go. It’s just unbelievable that we’re all still here. We’re all still thriving.

I drive by a lot of other places and there are a lot of people on their patios and things like that, so it’s just wonderful to see the community, the distilleries, the breweries, the wineries, all of us have gotten the support from everyone in the community has been overwhelming.

[Tim Haran]

You’re right. It’s been great to see the community rally this last year especially to kind of, you know, give you guys a boost and give other breweries a boost in this difficult time.

But today is I think a happy occasion. Here we are March 30, 2021 and you’re celebrating, like I said, your two-year anniversary with a beer release. A re-release of one of your beers that was super-popular last year.

Let’s talk about that a little bit. What do you have hitting the public today?

[Mark Medura]

Today we’re re-releasing our Space Oddity Hazy Double IPA. It’s an ale brewed with orange blossom honey. A little bit lower as far as hazies are concerned but it’s my personal favorite beer. It’s our head brewer Chris Detrick’s favorite beer, so we wanted to tie it to the most commemorative date we can have in our short history.

It’s part of our Red Feather Series, limited release series. Every year on March 30 we’ll release this Space Oddity and every month we’ll come out with a new Red Feather series. Every March you can get excited and say, oh jeez, Space Oddity’s coming out.

[Tim Haran]

That’s awesome.

[Mark Medura]

This is our second year. Along with the beer we have commemorative glassware as well, noting our second anniversary. Collectors thing. We’re thrilled again to be here for two years and to be able to brew the beers we love and to be able to share it.

[Tim Haran]

Yeah, for sure. I guess I should note that I’m drinking right now out of the one-year anniversary glassware. And I’ve got your award-winning beer, the Suss it Out Rye IPA. A delicious beer. One of my favorites from you guys.

But this Red Feather Series, like you mentioned, that Space Oddity is part of. That’s just phenomenal. There hasn’t been a bad beer out of that series. It’s awesome to see that you’re going to keep continuing that with every so often and especially on your anniversaries. That’s going to be great to see.

[Mark Medura]

Yeah, 2020 we released six of them. This year we’re going to do 11 of them. We’ll re-release the six we’ve previously done and then we’ll have five more this year.

The Eternal Pursuit, the Belgian Strong, that we released in February is a new one. We have a new one coming out in May.

Eventually, we’ll have one a month for every year forever. We love it. It’s something different, something new. Chris, the head brewer, is always trying to do some unique things that may not be as popular in the Utah market, as far as styles.

We want to try to introduce people to new styles. Expand the education kind of platform.

[Tim Haran]

Right. You’ve created some delicious beers. Let’s talk about the space, the taproom for a minute. If people haven’t been down to visit Level Crossing in a while. You guys are still cranking out the good beers, good food. You’ve got a nice space. Socially distanced.

You’ve created a patio for these warmer temperatures coming up. It’s just going to be a great place, I think, to spend some summer evenings or summer days or whatever.

Maybe just talk about what you’re expecting this summer as far as the taproom goes?

[Mark Medura]

When the pandemic hit, obviously the seats went away and things like that. We pivoted pretty quickly. We wanted to get that kind of patio thing going sooner than later.

The taproom is still socially distanced tables. We are still going to be requiring masks after the April 10 mandate is taken away. Just as a courtesy to other people and our staff. We feel that’s what we want to do and we hope everybody respects that.

We have live music on Fridays and Saturdays out in the tent. Hopefully when the warm weather gets here. Not hopefully — when the warm weather gets here, we’ll take off the walls. It will be some nice, shaded space and then the taproom obviously. The number of seats in the taproom. We’re actually more than pre-pandemic.

Everybody’s kind of assigned seating. Once you sit, you kind of have to stay there. There’s no mingling around. Once we can get, just like everybody restaurants or breweries, once we can get the barstools back into standing-room only where you’re five-people deep at the bar, for me, that’s kind of when I think things will be back to normal.

I don’t know when that’s going to be. It’s coming. We know, this too shall pass, as George Harrison says. Yes, we’re excited for the summer. Warm weather. Nothing’s better to me than drinking a beer in the nice, warm sun after a hike or something like that.

As you mentioned, we have food. We have wood-fired pizza and sandwiches, things like that. We’re going to expand our food menu, probably by June, just to get back to our normal menu we had pre-pandemic.

The beers, we have a 25-gallon pilot system that we’re just having fun on. We use it for R&D but we’ve got a lot of the staff members involved. Whatever you want to brew, let’s brew it. We’ve had a lot of staff interaction as far as brewing some cool beers that we wouldn’t normally do on the bigger scale.

[Tim Haran]

That’s great. That’s the fun part of craft beer, isn’t it? Try different things and see what sticks. What people are drawn too. So that’s cool.

Cool, Mark. Again, to reiterate, today, the anniversary day you’ve got Space Oddity re-releasing to go. And you can drink it there, too, right? You’ve got that license where you can drink it on-site.

[Mark Medura]

Absolutely. Whether you want to enjoy it here or take it home. There’s no limits on how much to purchase or anything.

[Tim Haran]

Very cool, very cool. Like you said, commemorative glassware. I’ll have to come down and get the next one in my series to go with my one-year anniversary glass.

Cool. Thank you, Mark. I appreciate you joining me at the Utah Beer News Virtual Taproom. That wasn’t too painful, was it?

[Mark Medura]

No, that was fun. Let’s keep going. I’m excited.

[Tim Haran]

We’re going to sit down later in April and do a full podcast with Level Crossing, so I’m excited for that to get the full scoop. But these quick, 15-minute, kind of telling people what’s going on right away with a certain brewery has been kind of fun. I’ve been enjoying doing that.

One more time, thank you Mark for taking the time to chat with Utah Beer News. And congratulations on your two-year anniversary.

[Mark Medura]

Well, thank you again. It’s been a pleasure to be here. I really appreciate all your support.