Northern Highlights | Beer | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Northern Highlights 

An easy and satisfying tour of Ogden's beer scene.

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The other week, I hopped on my bike on a 100-degree day and trekked to Ogden, to challenge O-Town's beer makers to keep me hydrated while I toured downtown's beer hot spots.

Roosters - Pink Lemonade Haze: My first stop took me to 25th Street, where Roosters original brewpub awaited. This milkshake IPA pours hazy and straw-yellow in color, with a white, half-finger-width head that displays fair retention. An aroma of tart lemon, lesser peach and a hint of orange and vanilla emerges.

Meyer lemon flavor appears upfront while the lactose takes a backseat, and comes across as a light vanilla. You get a flash of peach sweetness near the end, but outside of that, it's largely hop-driven. The finish is largely a blend of floral bitters and lesser vanilla. There's a light creaminess to the texture, but with a sharp, dry finish.

Overall: The restrained use of milk sugars by brewer Jacquie King Wright gives it a milkshake feel without it being sticky-sweet.

Utah Ogden (UTOG) OG Juice: Stop 2 took me to UTOG, where the board was loaded with 15-plus beers. I opted for the Juicy IPA, which pours a hazy golden-orange, with more than a finger's worth of creamy white head. The aroma is very lively: pink grapefruit, pineapple, passion fruit, mango, apricot, lemon zest, orange zest and pine.

You're met immediately with topical flavors, grapefruit and other citrus zests. Malts are creamy and complimentary to the hop blend—somewhat sweet with the other fruity notes and hints of honey.

Overall: A very nice representation of the style, the 7.5 ABV is barely noticeable, which creates a satisfying and quenching ale.

Ogden River - Strawberries and Cream: When I ordered this beer, there was no indication that it was served on the nitro tap. Fortunately for me, I love nitro beers, so I was already ahead of the game. It has a crystal-clear gold color, with a thick, creamy nitro foam cap. The aroma is sweet, grainy and even a little bit floral, with the light fruitiness of strawberries sitting underneath and appearing to bring the majority of the aromatics here in the nose.

The taste is sweet and a little bit tangy from the fruit, with the mix of malts and strawberries making for a refreshing combo. There is just a light tingle of bitterness across the back end, which leads into a crisp and dry finish. The mouthfeel is light-bodied, with some firmness from the nitro, putting the exclamation point on a fairly easygoing and quaffable experience.

Overall: To sum it up, this is a red velvet cake in beer form. It hits all of the right notes, without trying to be a copy of a cake or confection.

Talisman - 7th Wonder: Seven minutes later, my bike got me to Talisman and a perfect-for-the-heat pale ale, mostly clear, dark gold with just a bit of chill haze and a persistent thick white head with web-like lacing. There's a really amazing smell with lots going on: citrus, pine, floral, herbal, berries and tropical fruit.

Citrus and tropical fruit appear front in the taste, followed by a bready malt middle and then pine and citrus for a light bitterness that finishes a bit sharply. The whole package was fresh and quenching.

Overall: Probably one of the more aroma-heavy APAs I've had in a while—easily drinkable, very interesting, and I would not mind another.

My Ogden bicycle bar crawl was a complete success. What a great way to spend an afternoon. I was a little annoyed that I had to buy food at three of the four stops (not Talisman), but that's the fault of Utah's nanny state, not the brewpubs. Next trip, I hope to work in Ogden's Cerveza Zólupez. As always, cheers!

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