Only the Purest of Brews

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Just so you know, I hate Oktoberfest at Snowbird. Every September, possibly while high, I get this idiotic idea that it might be fun to drive up the canyon, walk a mile through a parking lot, pass a handful of crap-ass craft booths that I see every week at the Farmer's Market, stand in line for an hour to pay $5 for a pint of the same Uinta or Squatters beer I have sitting in the fridge at home, and then stand in another hour-long line for some cafeteria-style knock-off of German food. By the time I see the error I've made heading up there, I am too tipsy to bother with any hiking, too drunk to buy any more beer, and ready to put a gun to my head if I hear "THE FUCKING CHICKEN DANCE ONE MORE TIME!!!!"And to top it all off, I have to get behind the wheel of a car and navigate it down the hill with 5000 other assholes who have had twice what I had to drink. A big white tent, hash browns smashed flat as an attempt to make potato pancakes, a bad alpine slide, and booths selling hemp bracelets is not a way to pay our respects to our Eastern European ancestors and friends.

With the upcoming Oktoberfest celebration, I decided I would do my best to point people to a place that served true Eastern European fair and beer that would please even the pickiest of German immigrants. The Bohemian Brewery occupies a log cabin-style building that has housed a number of restaurants and a ski rental place. I was convinced that the location was cursed because nothing seemed to last more than a year or so there. It's kind of an awkward location, being just off State Street on 7200 South, surrounded by other dining gems like Hooters and Arctic Circle. When they opened in 2002, I figured this would just be another lost cause ... until I went there for the first time and realized I had found a place run by people with an almost fanatical approach to brewing beer. I figured they would be so anal and stubborn that they would refuse to fail. It helped that the food was good, too. Six years later, it's still on my list of one the few places in the south end of the valley that I like to frequent. For all you old mod kids out there, the Bohemian also has an amazing collection of vintage scooters on their second floor for the public to peruse. The people at the Bohemian take their beer seriously. They are one of a handful of breweries in the US that brew only lagered beer to the standard of the German purity law, which means it's true German beer. They keep their selection slim but delicious, offering only four brews: The Czech Pilsner, crisp and refreshing; The Viennese Lager, rich and hoppy with a full body and clean finish; The Bavarian Weis, a traditional German wheat beer that is fruity and smooth; and my favorite, The Cherny Bock, a dark lager that is both malty and slightly bitter, but still lively with a hint of cocoa.

The menu is a mix of pub-style food and traditional Czechoslovakian dishes. It has a decent selection of starters including chicken wings ($8), pub-style calamari ($9), and a roasted garlic bulb ($6) with toast points and a tomato basil tapenade. There are a handful of soups and salads ($4-$10) a number of sandwiches including a garlic burger ($8) and what could be the best B.L.T ($7) I've ever had on homemade rye with a house aioli. Entreés include pilsner-battered halibut and chips ($14), a goulash ($11) with beef chunks in a sweet paprika sauce served with bread dumplings, a good selection of brick-oven pizza ($12-14), and schnitzel ($14).

On my most recent visit, we opted for a seat on the patio—a shady spot on the west side of the building with a pergola overgrown with hops. We started with an order of garlic fries ($5). I ordered the pirogies and bratwurst ($13) with a pint of the Viennese Lager, as the menu suggested. My dinner was a behemoth plate of two large brats, succulent and rich, with pastry pockets stuffed with dill-seasoned potatoes and cheese and sweet sauerkraut with smoked bacon. My wife opted for the Provencal ($12), a pizza with fresh tomato, goat cheese, olives, roasted garlic, fresh basil, onions and mushrooms and a pint of The Weis. For dessert, we got the fresh raspberry dumplings ($5) with a vanilla cream sauce. We left feeling full and content, our bellies warmed by great beer and good food.

Bohemian Brewery, 94 E. 7200 South, Midvale, 801.566.5474, bohemianbrewery. com