When summer arrives, we tend to stow away the big stew pots and casserole dishes in favor of cooking burgers on the grill and enjoying lighter fare under the hot Utah sun. Likewise, I tend to switch out the big, bombastic red wines and dark, brooding brews for beers that are refreshing and won’t weigh me down when it’s warm. And if they travel well, so much the better.
Beers from Bohemian Brewery (94 E. 7200 South, Midvale, 801-566-5474, BohemianBrewery.com) travel well since most of them are available in cans, making them an obvious choice for camping, boat trips, picnics, fishing or just enjoying in the backyard. However, you’ll need to stop by the brewery to try my favorite summertime Bohemian, the Bavarian Weiss wheat beer, which is available only on tap. It’s unfiltered, refreshing and, with a wedge of lemon, tastes like sunshine itself.
Desert Edge Brewery (273 Trolley Square, Salt Lake City, 801-521-8917, DesertEdgeBrewery.com) has been supplying thirsty Utah beer lovers with hand-crafted brews for about as long as I can remember. Out on the brewery’s patio at The Pub, I like the Summertime Kristalweizen, which is light like a lager but with malted wheat and mellow hops. It’s a crisp session beer that really rocks the Reuben sandwich at Desert Edge.
Because it offers such an abundance of beers, it’s tough to choose a favorite Epic Brewing (825 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-906-0123, EpicBrewing.com) summer sipper. However, when temperatures rise, I’d probably opt for Epic Hop Syndrome Lager. It’s fruity, hoppy and a good partner for barbecued fare.
The Uno Mas at Hoppers Grill & Brewing Co. (890 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, 801-566-0424, HoppersBrewPub.com) is a light, Mexican-style lager made for enjoying in the hot sun, perhaps with Hopper’s smothered pork chile verde burrito. Don’t forget the lime wedge.
For a taste of something special, check out the Paardebloem Ale from Red Rock Brewing (250 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-521-7446; 1640 W. Redstone Center, Park City, 435-575-0239, RedRockBrewing.com). This is a unique Belgian-style ale made with toasted Pilsner malts, peaches and fresh dandelion greens. It’s like a summer picnic in your mouth.
At Roosters Brewing Co., (253 25th St., Ogden, 801-627-6171; 748 W. Heritage Park Blvd., Layton, 801-774-9330, RoostersBrewingCo.com) it’s hard to pass on the Bee’s Knees Honey Wheat beer. The unfiltered wheat beer has hints of honeyed sweetness, yet is crisp and dry. It’s a great accompaniment to Roosters’ fish tacos while dining out on the Ogden location’s sunny patio.
With the company’s imminent move to Salt Lake City, Shades of Pale Brewing’s (ShadesOfPale.com) Publican Pale Ale should be a tad easier to get your hands on. It’s a light, easy-drinking ale with moderate bitterness and floral hop flavors and aromas—a slam-dunk for the backyard barbecue or beer-league softball game.
For many years, Squatters’ (multiple locations, Squatters.com) Full Suspension Pale Ale has been my go-to summertime brew. Apparently, I’m not alone. Full Suspension has twice been awarded the Gold Medal in the Bitter category at the Great American Beer Festival. It’s an unfiltered, dry-hopped, Northwest-style pale ale that’s a party on the palate. Grapefruit aromas lead to a slightly sweet, citrus finish on the tongue, with well-balanced hops lending some grassiness. Full Suspension is readily available in bottles, but try it on tap at Squatters, if you can.
Celebrating turning 21 this year, Uinta Brewing Co. (1722 Fremont Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-467-0909, UintaBrewing.com) is obviously here to stay. And, my hope is that Uinta’s organic Sum’r Ale sticks around that long, too. With its uniquely citrusy malt character and refreshing brightness, Sum’r Ale is a no-brainer for grilled foods and spicy fare.
I have to admit that when I first moved here in 1992, I was never too far from the upstairs bar at Wasatch Brew Pub & Brewery (250 Main, Park City, 435-649-0900, WasatchBeers.com), where bartender Darkside Dave always knew what to pour me: Wasatch Raspberry Wheat. To this day, it’s still my favorite brew to sip on the patio: light and clean with oh-so-subtle raspberry notes.