Yes, they do have craft breweries in Utah. And despite the neo-prohibitionist influence of a certain church, some of them are doing quite well, thank you very much. Case in point: Salt Lake City's Epic Brewing, which offers a three-tiered lineup with the prices escalating as you move up. I have yet to try the Elevated and Exponential Series, but if the trio from the introductory-level Classic Series is any indication, they're probably pretty darn good. All three featured this week come in generous 22-ounce bombers.
Epic Capt'n Crompton's Pale Ale
This bright copper pour opens with resiny hops and earthy herbs with touches of pineapple and roasted malt. A well-balanced brew with caramel-tinged malt playing against citrus, while ample hops add more body than bitterness. There's a nice black pepper note on the palate that finishes dry with touches of spice and earth.
Epic Cross Fever Amber Ale
I'm not usually a big fan of ambers--too much sweet malt in most for me, but this one is a tasty exception. There's a much bigger hop presence on the nose than one might expect. And while supple malt flavors dominate the palate, the hops keep things in balance. A nice roasted quality--something like lightly charred toast--adds interest in a brew that cries out to be paired with smoked or roasted meat. This beer would make a great choice for a Labor Day barbecue.
Epic Pfeifferhorn Lager
This is a classic lager in the best sense of the word, which means it goes down oh so smoothly. Buttery grain aromas mix nicely with soft, citrusy hops and honey-laced malt. Creamy fruit flavors mark the palate, along with yeasty fresh bread, lightly sweet malt and just the softest kiss of hops. The finish is clean and refreshing and lingers nicely.