Bohemian Brewery: The Road Less Traveled

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Bohemian Brewery
94 East 7200 South
Midvale, UT 84047
bohemianbrewery.com

Bohemian Brewery is a homegrown business reimagined from Czechoslovakia to Utah. An alpine feeling brewpub making traditional Czech beers and homey food, Bohemian Brewery makes some of my favorite comfort meals. I go there when I need fried fish or a killer bratwurst.  My friends from Vienna and from Romania heartily approve of the food as authentic central European fare.  All the food is made fresh on the premises every day, as is the beer.

Bohemian makes great beers strictly according to the Reinheitsgebot, a set of old German brewing laws that limited the ingredients used to make beer—a harder way to brew than some contemporary techniques. But still, it’s like they came out of the womb fully developed and started brewing.  No learning necessary. Despite the 3.2 barrier being broken, Bohemian has continued to make its super fine 3.2% beers and they are as good or better than any of the rest, in keg and can.  It’s just plain good, always consistent and always a pleasure to drink. 

The Cherny Bock, a light bodied black beer, has a set of molasses flavors that are as deeply colored and edgeless as a Miles Davis trumpet solo. One of the slow, airy ones with a mute.  This beer goes really well with some of the more intensely flavored foods on the menu, particularly the Bohemian Goulash ($15) which is both darker and sterner than some of the other goulashes I have had in town.  While this dish is often filled with onions and noodles or spetzle, the Bohemian’s is pleasantly austere—a generous serving of beef and sauce, with the signature house dumplings on the side.  Another tasty pairing for the Cherny Bock—the Old World Roast Pork ($16), is a big helping of sauce and cubed pork served with the impeccable sauerkraut, which is made in house—a real treat. 

The Bavarian Weiss (served as other Heffeweissens are in the West, with a lemon on the rim), is cloudy like other heffe beers, but lighter with more citrus and less banana flavor than most.  It is a good choice for the fine Pilsener Battered Fish and Chips ($16), a richly-battered hand-cut halibut countered nicely by a dash of coleslaw. The Fried Calamari ($12) would also be a good choice, tasty either on its own or as part of the value oriented Brew Master’s Basket ($12.75), an appetizer assortment of calamari, garlic fries(with a good house sauce), and spreadable roasted garlic heads with Parmesan-toasted rye slices.

The Viennese is the most dynamic of the Bohemian beers. It is very proud, fun and drinkable.  An amber lager, there are times when it feels like I can almost taste it molecule by molecule, the precise shape and flavor of the malt. It’s awfully nice with the Schnitzel ($16), which is served with creamy, chunky mashed potatoes.  Schnitzel is fried breaded meat, chicken or pork in this case. It’s not part of the American scene, but really good and really simple. It’s also the item my European friends mention as being “right” when they eat here with me. The delicious Blackberry Brandy Chicken ($17) would also be a good choice with this medium-bodied beer.

The Czech Pilsner is lightly-sweet/slightly-mouthy and crisp, with a subtle hop which comes to the top of my attention like a distant mountain on the horizon or a shark fin over there, past the life boat, safely away. It’s a comfort beer, a session beer, drinkable for the long haul and not flashy enough to become dull. Pair this one with the Halibut Fillet ($22), for one of my favorite dishes in town. It’s crusted in horseradish and fried, and it’s just what I want from fried fish.  It comes dressed with a rich lemon hinted white sauce, potatoes and vegetables.  Also good with the Pilsener are the delicious house made Pirogies and Bratwurst ($15), a tasty and classic beer food done right.  I like sausage, always, and I like these Bratwurst as well as any I can remember.  Also Gary’s Seafood Pasta ($22) is a nice garlicky dish whose rich palate is handily complemented by the Pilsner’s crisp bite.

Bohemian’s line of beers are hard to make, excellent to drink and under-appreciated.  As local kegs go, Bohemian beer is the most expensive, but most local bars don’t pass the price difference on to me, the consumer. So on a value basis Bohemian is often among the best buys on the taps at your local bar. But if you decide to try the beer or one of the beer samplers (all four beers in 4 oz. sample mugs) at the brewery itself you can also indulge in some of the delicious food Bohemian makes to accompany its beers.

Beer prices at the Bohemian are: Samples $0.50 (served in a cute glass mini-mug), PINT (14 oz) $4.75, LOVELY (20 oz), $6.50 MANLY (30oz) and $8.50 PITCHER (60 oz) $14.  All the merits are my approximate guesses.  Growlers are filled to go too, for $11 if you have your own growler, and an additional $8 if you need to buy one.

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