Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Salt Lake City: At Least I Can Say I've Been There

It should come as a surprise to no one ever that finding good beer in Salt Lake City would be more challenging than in many other cities. Yes, Epic and Uinta are turning out some nice brews (most of which make it to the Portland market) but beyond that there is a distinct lack, likely attributable to the laws under which Salt Lake City brewers must operate.

Spending three days in SLC over the Labor Day weekend we found some nice beers at both Red Rock Brewery and Desert Edge Brewery (both brewpubs). The four we had at Red Rock (IPA Junior, German Pilsner, Oatmeal Stout and Special Bitter, the latter two on nitro) as well as two of the three we had at Desert Edge (Utah Pale Ale and Espresso Stout on nitro) were solid beers. That's saying a lot considering that all of them clock in at about 4% ABV.

The bottles we picked up* however were more of a mixed bag. While the Bobcat Nut Brown from Red Rock was acceptable for the style, their Elephino Double IPA was too floral for me. The two Moab Brewery cans we picked up (yes, Moab isn't in SLC but I haven't seen it in the Portland market to date) couldn't have been further apart. The lager was well-done and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it while their Johnny's American IPA was one of the worst beers I've had. The two Squatters Brewery bottles were the best pair we picked up however drinking them out of order probably gave the IPA a bit of a short stick in terms of objective evaluation because the Hop Rising was a great full-flavored, not-too-sweet DIPA.

Most of the beer available in bottles and cans were things that I've seen in Portland, making beer drinking in SLC far less interesting than I find it to be in other cities I have visited. Operating on the "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" rule, I'll defer to Mag's summation that Salt Lake City is "a good session beer town."

*Pro tip: Should you find yourself looking to pick up beer in SLC, DO NOT go to the State Liquor Stores; Harmon's grocery had a much larger selection AND they had beer coolers. However, if you're looking for a couple minutes of entertainment, drive by one of the State Liquor Stores on a Friday night. The phrase, "busier than a one-legged grape stomper" comes to mind.

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