- Mike Riedel
With all of the new breweries popping up, it's easy to forget about some of Utah's steadfast originals that've been producing suds made by locals for locals for years. This week, I'd like to reacquaint you with Tooele's Bonneville Brewing Co. People tend to think it's practically in East Wendover, but it's really only about 30 minutes west of Salt Lake City. Head Brewer Dave Watson has been creating textbook examples of craft beer there since 2013. If they're not on your radar, you're definitely missing out.
Pilot Peak Pilsner: Pilsners are always a joy to pour. Their sunny golden hue brightens my mood every time I see it; even the ascending bubbles are akin to a Zen garden in a glass. The aromas here are classic pilsner, too. There are no trendy hops, just notes of floral and spicy whole-cone Noble ones. Malt shines first on your palate and prominently features stale crackers, semi-sweet malt and crusty white bread. Those herbal and spicy grass undertones from the nose come in next, evening out the some of the more raw flavors from the grain bill. After the lager is washed clean, some residual drying from the toasty grains lingers, along with some of the more herbal aspects of the hops.
Overall: This beer mimics the flavor qualities of more full-bodied pilsner interpretations. I give full props to Bonneville for staying on style, as opposed to making a lager and dumping IPA hops in it. It's one of the better pilsners that you're probably not drinking.
Free Roller India Pale Ale: It has an orange tinged ruby color that's topped with almost two fingers' worth of fluffy off-white head, eventually dying down to a thin layer and dissipates to a slight bit of patchy lacing. I even got a dollop of foam on the tip of my nose from getting my big beak a little too close. No matter—the aroma is lightly floral, with pine and herbal hop scents. Doughy yeast soon takes over, building to biscuit malts. The taste takes its cues from the aroma, starting off with a medium amount of sweetness, with the hops being the first to show up. Herbal hops continue to stick out the most, with a bit of citrus and pine in tow. It finishes with medium bitterness with an herbal hop aftertaste.
Overall: This is a nice-tasting India Pale Ale, which reminds me a lot of the IPAs that were all the rage a decade ago. It keeps the hops in check and avoids becoming just another carbon copy IPA—definitely worth your time.
Redline Red Ale: Red and copper dominate the hues here, as a fairly dense light khaki head forms a sturdy one finger of soapy foam. The nose has two basic combatants: citrus peel and pine. While these two duke it out, earthy and fruity malts subtly add balance. The taste begins with citrus peel, pine and grass; toasty biscuit and light toffee come next. These play off of the hops, creating a ghostly berry flavor. There are zero cloying flavors after the finish, but there's a fair amount of earthy pine bitterness, with lingering notes of pine, citrus and grass.
The bottom line: Redline offers a solid balance of citrus hop and dark/bready malt sweetness—smooth and crisp for an ale. It's a nicely enjoyable offering.
These beers, in addition to dozens of other Bonneville varieties, are available on draft along the Wasatch Front, with bottled offerings in most area grocery and convenience stores. As always, cheers!