Heber Creep'n | Drink | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Heber Creep'n 

Therer's more to Heber than Swiss architecture these days

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  • Mike Riedel

When you live in the thick of the state's central brewing district, it can be easy to lose track of all the great breweries that surround and service communities outside of the main population center. This week we re-visit one of Utah's newer breweries, Heber Valley Brewing Company. Their solid brews and Norwegian themes are an excellent excuse to return to Wasatch County.

Heber Valley Norsk: This is a new pilsner for the mountain community, and it pours a clear golden-amber color with a billowy two fingers of white head. There's good level of retention, slowly fading over time to leave plenty of foamy lace on the sides of the glass. The aroma of the brew is a big grainy and herbal hop smell, mixed with some notes of caramel. Along with these smells comes a touch of a hay, plus a little bit of toasted bread that is pleasant and welcoming.

The taste begins with a grainy and lightly caramel-sweetened flavor. As the taste advances, the caramel gets lighter and the grain stronger, all while some herbal hop tastes begins developing. With the herbal profile comes a little bit of an earthy weight, mixing nicely to produce a more herbal-dank taste. With a touch of hay and grass that come at the end, one is left with a somewhat malty-but-not-sweet and nicely hopped taste to linger on the tongue. The body of this 5.0 percent brew is average to slightly thinner, with a carbonation level that is medium to high. For the mix of dank and grainy, with a somewhat lower sweetness, the mouthfeel is great and makes for a very easy drinker.

Overall: This is a nicely hopped (but not overly hopped) pils. It's abundance of flavor and classic adherence to style creates a very easy-drinking pilsner that will satisfy your lager craving any time of the year.

Heber Valley Holmgang: Our second new brew from Heber is a hazy pale ale. The difference between a hazy pale and a hazy IPA should generally be in the malt, with more of a caramel-driven profile. Holmgang pours opaque/cloudy—a shade darker than yellow, but not quite orange or gold—with a dense two-fingered head that is foamy and creamy. The aromas are rather down the middle for the style for the most part, although there are hints of "dank" hop that are more prominent than the norm. Orange, mango and pineapple notes take the forefront, with hints of lemon and white grapefruit—appealing aromas, but muted and a little muddled.

The flavor is initially rather sweet, with juicy orange flavors on the tip of the tongue. Sharper citrus flavors cross the mid-palate, although they lack any distinct flavor, along with some pine hoppiness. Resin and dank meet up with white pepper, white grape and grainy notes at the end, along with hardly a hint of booze, all of which help offset the initial sweetness. The brew has a nice balanced drinkable presence, with medium body and excellent carbonation. The dank hops and light 5.0 percent alcohol provide a nice drying finish for a brew that initially presents somewhat sweet.

Overall: This is a solid expression of the style. It's hard to nail these down, because the bitterness factor that separates classic pale ale and IPA generally doesn't exist in this iteration of the style. I like this because there is a hint of bitterness that makes my mind definitively think "pale ale."

If you want Heber Valley's suds, you're going to have to make the trip or get some of your friends to mule you some. It's a tiny brewpub on the north end of Heber, but well worth the trip for a can, draft or crowler. As always, cheers!

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