2010 was a year that the City of Salt saw two new craft breweries, more than enough new seasonals, enough high gravity beer to give you a wedgie, and some damn fine liquor. So with all this booze hitting the craft beer and liquor scene in Utah, it was hard not to blow my load on the conclusion to the year. So for you, we will be highlighting the best of the best that hit market and what I feel best summarized the bad-ass-ness-ocity that is the motherfucking Utah craft scene!
Outer Darkness (2010)
Brewery: Squatters / Utah Brewers Cooperative
Serving Style: 22oz Bottle
Description: The pour is pitch black and settles with a heavy brown head. The aromatics open up into a complex combination of heavy chocolate roasts, vanilla, coffee, and some licorice. The flavor creeps in with sweet dark fruits coated in chocolate and coffee, then polishes off with a vanilla backing and a soft alcoholic warmth.
Overview: As this was the year for the Utah Brewers Cooperative to be kicking some serious ass in the craft beer industry, I only saw it fit to give these guys the year end review. Outer Darkness was originally conceived by Squatters (downtown), and has now been taken up by the Co-Op. They have most definitely met the quality of the original, so for those of you who were not able to snag a bottle of the 2009 version of this brew, hopefully you got your hands on a couple from this batch.
Distillery: High West
ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
Serving Style: 750 ml Bottle
Description: This brilliantly clear spirit opens up with aromas of toasted almonds, sweet fruits, grass-like characteristics, and soft vanilla follow-through. The flavor follows suit with a dangerously smooth drink and moderate warmth on the end. The residuals left behind are soft pears, grainy roast, and a balanced yet subtle oak.
Overview: For an un-aged whiskey to taste this smooth and have such flawless character, it’s no wonder the boys at High West are already making a name for themselves in this state and many others. This comes onto the craft liquor scene at a time where craft distillation is the new boom. And why not put Utah on the map to end the year? –Tyler Makmell
Brewery: Bohemian Brewery
Serving Style: 12oz Can
Description: Finally I can take this local favorite home with me. Cherny Bock is a smooth schwarzbier or black lager that has long been available on draft. Pouring from the can an opaque black with mahogany edges and a light cap of tan-to-off-white foam, it looks the same, but how does it taste? The body is full, supported by toasted malt, a light, balanced hop and defined by the almost sooty roasted quality of some of the darker grains used here. More on the black coffee end than the chocolate that other dark beers often favor. Plus, there are none of the tinny or metallic aromas or flavors that some beers can get when they’re canned.
Overview: Bohemian’s Pilsner has been available in silver and green cans for a while now and the last year has already seen the release of their popular Viennese in red. With this latest release of brand new, handsome looking black cans, I can finally stuff my fridge until bursting with Bohemian. I wonder if they’ll start selling sampler packs? I have been a big fan of this beer and I’m glad to see it make the transition to cans without losing anything. I wonder if it would work well for beer pong. Cheers to the Czech-style brewers down in Midvale for letting me have this one at home. –Rio Connelly