Summer Beer Review


Each year, Utah breweries release seasonal beers that pair well with their respective time on the calendar. Autumn’s required drinking includes Oktoberfest styles. Winter calls for dark, boozy ales. During spring, fruit beers blossom in liquor stores everywhere. But summer, ah summer. No seasonal beer-style quite matches up with the season like those of the sweltering months. Pilsners, lagers, summer wheats, and of course, my favorite, IPA, just beg to be quaffed under the hot sun where nothing is more refreshing and goes down cleaner than an ice-cold craft beer.

This season, new summer releases are on store shelves from Utah’s breweries, and I’ve been sampling as much as one middle-aged guy can handle. I then paired the beers with favorite summer outdoor activities. Below is a sampling of new releases I’ve tried. Plus I revisit some old favorites that I haven’t tasted in some time. This year I’m also including regional beers from outside Utah that have earned a place in my beer fridge, and take a look at two brand new Utah breweries that just opened their doors this year.



Uinta West Coast-Style IPA

Let’s get this out in the open right away. West Coast-Style IPA from Uinta Brewing is my favorite new beer of the summer. And it might just be my favorite beer from Uinta ever. It’s loaded with hops that taste of resinous pine combined with citrus flavors, especially grapefruit. And it’s dank… so, so dank. Uinta says the beer features four different hops, including Denali, Mosaic, El Dorado and Chinook to create that dankness. But at 6.2% ABV and 62 IBU, it’s not an IPA that will floor you or wreck your taste buds after drinking a few. This summer, West Coast-Style IPA is my go-to beer for post-mountain-bike-tailgate-sessions at the trailhead with friends. But enjoy it now, because unfortunately Uinta says this is a seasonal release that will only be available from May through August.

Uinta Lime Pilsner

Uinta Lime

One of my favorite drinks of summer is a good gin and tonic. Nothing beats that lime flavor on a sweltering evening. So when I saw that Uinta released a Lime Pilsner this year, my dog ears perked right up. You might say this beer is summer in a can. It’s light, crisp, and hits just the right balance of lime to hop/malt flavor. At a low ABV of 4%, I foresee many lawns mowed and hammocks lounged in with this beer in hand. I think it will pair well with barbecues and campfires too. But Lime Pilsner is not just a summer seasonal. Uinta says it’s a new year-round release that they think may become their best selling beer nationwide.

Wasatch White Label

Wasatch White

White Label from Wasatch Brewery isn’t a new beer… it’s more like a resurrected one. This Belgian-style White Ale was discontinued, but is now back in production just in time for summer. I’m a self-professed IPA hound that has actually been enjoying a Belgian kick lately, and I’ve found this offering from Wasatch to be solid. It has the orange zest and spicy punch on the palate from coriander that you’d expect from a Belgian White. But Wasatch has created a version that is crisp, light and very refreshing. I’ve discovered that a can of this beer is the perfect co-pilot while tuning up the mountain bike in the garage on a warm summer evening. But I’ve also discovered that I have to be careful around this one, because it’s almost too easy to drink at 6% ABV.

Wasatch Blueberry Hefeweizen

Wasatch Blueberry

Serious blueberry flavor pops out on the first swig with this new fruity Hefeweizen from Wasatch. While it still retains the zest of a traditional ‘weizen, the blueberries are dominant on the palate. But this beer is nice because the flavor does not taste artificial and it isn’t too sweet. In fact, a distinct bitterness remains from the first taste through the aftertaste. I’ve been working on a landscaping project in my front yard this summer, and one hot day this refreshing beer was my constant companion, keeping me hydrated and motivated. On a side note, Wasatch has decided to move all their production to cans… that means no more bottles at all. That’s great news for us outdoor lovers because cans are easier to recycle and are much better for packing into the mountains and deserts.



Moab Especial

Moab Especial

When mountain biking, rock climbing or backcountry skiing in Moab, I always cap off my trip with a burger and beer at the Moab Brewery. Each season pairs with a favorite style, and summer means I’m drinking Moab Especial. This Mexican-inspired brew is actually a classic American style: a golden wheat ale. It is light in color and body, has a characteristically smooth mouthfeel, and features just enough hops to give it a flavorful finish. While I have not been down to red rock country yet this summer, I was able to get my Moab Brewery fix by purchasing a 4-pack in a Salt Lake City grocery store. Refreshing on a hot evening, I most recently enjoyed an ice-cold, tall-boy can at a Red Butte concert when the daytime high was over 100 degrees. This beer hit the spot.

Roosters Irreverent Pale Ale

Roosters Irreverent

Irreverent Pale Ale from Roosters Brewing Company in Ogden was first released last summer. At the time, I found it to be one of the most solid, low-point hoppy beers on the market. This year I grabbed some more and found the same to be true in 2017. In short, this pale ale is a hop bomb. Roosters says they use a ton of Mosaic, Chinook and Zeus hops. The result is a hop-forward steamroller of tropical fruit flavors contrasted with pine. It’s an impressively delicious beer despite only measuring at 4% ABV. I brought a bottle along with my Moab Especial to a Red Butte concert where it was the perfect ale to transition away from a lighter beer as the sun went down.



Fisher Brewing Company

Fisher Beer

Fisher Brewing Company has one of the coolest backstories of any brewery in Utah. Originally founded in Salt Lake City in 1884 by Albert Fisher, A. Fisher Brewing Company grew to become the largest brewery in the state. The doors closed however, when they sold to Lucky Lager in the 1950s. Fast forward to 2017, and Fisher’s great-great-grandson, Tom Fisher Riemondy, along with three partners, resurrected the brewery in the Granary District of downtown Salt Lake City.

Today, they are slinging dozens of beer styles on tap out of a remodeled auto-body shop, with growlers and crowlers to take home. Most on the menu are summer-friendly styles, like their White Pale. It’s a well-balanced and light pale ale with a hop-forward profile. I brought a golden-colored crowler of it home and enjoyed it in the shade of my back deck after a long day at work. Fisher Beer is highly recommended summer drinking.

RoHa Brewing Project


Another new brewery that opened its doors in Salt Lake City in 2017 is RoHa Brewing Project. Longtime local brewer, Chris Haas teamed up with friends Rob Phillips and Josh Stern to create this small, yet funky brewpub on Salt Lake’s south end. They have a taproom and cold case where you can purchase their five debut beers. Of course my favorite is the Thursday India Pale Ale. While it’s on the malty end of the IPA spectrum, the beer kicks in after the first swallow with an excellent, piney aftertaste that lingers. The fact that many of their beers come in outdoor-friendly cans is a huge plus. Try one yourself while grilling burgers or load up a cooler for a river trip.



Sawtooth Idahome IPA


When in Idaho, you must sample the local goods. On a recent trip to Sun Valley, I stopped by Sawtooth Brewing in Hailey where my wife bought me a sixer of Idahome IPA. I brought it to our cheap motel room (our reserved campsite was flooded) and enjoyed a can while sitting on a floral-print comforter while watching cable on a 90s-era television. Despite my depressing surroundings, this beer made up for it with a bold punch of hops. Sawtooth says it’s a west coast-style IPA brewed with only local ingredients, like Idaho-grown barley and Idaho 7 hops. It’s a solid choice if you visit our neighbors to the north, and hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy one in a nice, dry camping spot on my next visit.

Palisade Brewing Company Let It Grow

Palisade 2

I visit Western Colorado at least twice a year to visit family and mountain bike desert singletrack in Fruita. While there, I always swing by my favorite brewery in the Grand Valley: Palisade Brewing Company. During my last visit in May, I brought home a sixer of their Let It Grow Imperial IPA. The brewers say they used a technique called “hop bursting” where the majority of the hops are added in the last 15 minutes of brewing. The result is a ton of hop nose with less bitterness – which means it’s dangerously easy drinking. I think it’s the perfect double IPA for summer because it tastes like fresh grapefruit without the pucker factor. I’ve enjoyed weekend evenings on my ski-chair swing watching the clouds drift by as I sip on one of these. If you find yourself in Palisade, Colorado, be sure to visit this brewery located in the middle of wine country.

Melvin Killer Bees

Melvin Killer Bees

Melvin Brewing is all the rage these days among serious Utah craft beer-enthusiasts. This already legendary brewery in Alpine, Wyoming had small beginnings as a 3 barrel nano-brewery in the back of a Thai restaurant in Jackson. But in just a few years, they’ve expanded into a 30 barrel production brewery down the road from Jackson in Alpine. The reason for this growth is high demand, and the reason for this high demand is that they make damn fine beer.

Take, for example, my go-to Melvin summer brew, Killer Bees. This is an American-style blonde ale brewed with honey. Now I’m not usually one to go out and purchase a honey blonde, but Melvin may just make me reconsider. Their version is extremely well balanced, with grassy hop notes that play off the slight sweetness of the honey. It equals a beer that is dang smooth, easy to drink, and leaves no bitter aftertaste. Hell, it even tastes awesome lukewarm after sitting in my pack for hours while hiking in the Wasatch.

If you’re looking for some Melvin to take home in Utah, you’ll either have to road-trip to Wyoming, or visit Outpost Spirits in Eden. They are the only package liquor store in Utah that carries Melvin, but trust me, this beer is worth making the effort.

Leave a Reply