With the close of another year, CATALYST surveys the state of locally produced adult beverages in Utah. It’s been a good year here, despite the persistent presence of the Zion Curtain. From a new locally produced gin to innovative holiday ales on tap across the valley, check out this list to find what’s new, tasty and worth trying this season.
(See “A Local Salud!”, December 2013, for a comprehensive list of Utah-made spirits.)
Jack Rabbit Gin
Taking advantage of new liquor laws, last year three friends – Chris Barlow, Erik Ostling and Utah native Matt Aller – launched the state’s only gin distillery – Utah’s first since 1870. This sophisticated spirit is infused with Albanian juniper, coriander, orris root – a substance from dried iris roots, valued for its soft violet scent and used in perfumes and potpourri – and grains of paradise – a spice related to ginger that imparts some heat, like peppercorns, but with a more complex flavor palate including citrus, jasmine and nuts. The gin is finished with a vapor infusion of fresh sage, rose petals, and lemon zest.
Jack Rabbit gin is available in most Utah State Liquor and Wine stores statewide, 750ml, $28.
Sugar House Distillery, LLC
It was James Fowler’s passion for home brewing (he once won a Colorado home brewers competition) that provided the idea and inspiration to start Sugar House Distillery. Now, with help from professional distiller Dan Feldmen, Fowler is making, bottling and selling a new Utah spirit, Sugar House Distillery vodka. Made from a corn and wheat mash, the product has a smooth, neutral taste that lends well to mixing. The public is invited for tours of the stills and the handcrafting process.
Bottles are available
for sale at the distillery, 750 ml, $20.
2212 S W. Temple #4
A Midwinter Night’s Dram
This little treat made its first appearance a year ago but only now is coming available outside the distillery doors and on Utah Liquor Store shelves around the state. Another High West offering delivered to rave reviews, some say it holds all the best flavors of Christmas. The limited release Dram is made Rendezvous Rye finished in port and French oak barrels. Complex in palate – candied plum and dried fruit notes from the port, notes of vanilla and unsweetened cacao, with a light cinnamon heat to the finish – this drink deserves a glass of its own.
Bottles are available for sale at the Park City distillery and are slated to appear soon on Utah Liquor Store shelves. $80
Vintners Select Black Currant Wine
A slightly more bold version of the winery’s Pioneer Red, this new offering has dark, fruity characteristics similar to a Merlot. Hive Wintery specializes in wines made from honey and fruits other than grapes.
Available only at the winery’s own shop,
1220 W. 450 N. #2, Layton, 801.546.1997.
Or try their Pioneer Red black currant wine,
available at the downtown Utah Liquor Store (205 W. 400 S.).
Red Rock Brewing Co.
Secale 2014, 8.5%
This German-style dopplebock is a rye lager aged for one full year in rye-whiskey barrels from High West Distillery. The brew is dark but smooth with hints of vanilla, oak and whiskey.
Available in bottles at any Red Rock Brewery location as long as supplies last.
Wasatch Brewery Pumpkin Stout on nitro, 6.5%
There’s a whole list of Wasatch pumpkin seasonals this year. The stout is a Guinness-style, dark and creamy brew available at the new Sugar House Pub.
Wasatch Brew Pub at Sugar House Crossing, 2110 South Highland Drive
Epic Brewery – Imperial Pumpkin Porter, 8% and “Big Bad Baptist” Imperial Stout release #31, 11-12%
The real pumpkin puree used in Epic’s seasonal porter creates an earthy taste that stands it apart from most other pumpkin beers. Instead of relying on the typical pumpkin spices for flavor, this porter is rounded out with sweet whole Madagascar vanilla beans. The stout is a big beer that goes down dangerously easy. Aged for one year in whiskey and bourbon barrels, flavored with cacao nibs and local Charming Beard Guatemala roast coffee, it has dry flavors of roast barley and sweet whiskey notes with a strong coffee nose.
Epic Brewing Company, 825 S. State St. or at state liquor and wine stores.
Avenues Proper – Foreign Gentleman Stout, 4%
This dark seasonal, also made with Charming Beard coffee, will have its own unveiling party at the brewery/restaurant on December 7. Available on draft.
Aenues Proper, 376 8th Avenue.
Bonneville Brewery (Tooele) – Peach Wheat Ale and Ton Up Nut Brown Ale, 3.2%
Light like a hefewiesen, this creamy ale has peach notes without becoming too fruity and adds an extra touch of sweetness with honey malts and lactose. The northern English-style brown ale uses brown and chocolate malts and English hops for an earthy flavor with hints of graham cracker. Available at the brewery and select restaurants and bars in Salt Lake until supplies last.
Bonneville Brewery, 1641 N. Main St, Tooele
Bohemian Brewery – Gratzer and Munich Lager, 4%
Polish in origin, this beer style is unique for using oak-smoked wheat, which imparts a strong smoky flavor to this light, crisp, straw-colored brew. Available only at the brewery. The Munich is a dark lager that uses Munich and caramel malts for a toasty flavor with muted hops. Available at the brewery and select local bars and restaurants while supplies last.
Bohemian Brewery and Grill, 94 E 7200 S, Midvale.
The Bee’s Knees
2 oz Jack Rabbit gin
¾ oz honey syrup (equal parts honey and water, mixed)
½ oz fresh lemon juice
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lemon wedge.