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Cutting Edge

Trolley Square's classic Desert Edge Brewery at The Pub isn't just for nostalgia.


  • Mike Riedel

Few institutions in Salt Lake City invoke more of a sense of nostalgia in folks of a certain age than The Pub. If you were a young adult growing up in the 1970s, you probably spent some time at the converted tavern in the old trolley garages. Even when The Pub decided to brew craft beer in the mid 1990s, the loft was always filled with people looking for new experiences. Today, not much has changed; the food is still faithful to its roots, and the beer just keeps getting better. I was way overdue for a visit to one of my favorite places, so it was a good excuse to check it out in order to fill you all in on some of the great brews on the east side of Salt Lake City.

Bears Ears Amber Ale: This newcomer to Desert Edge's lineup is an obvious nod to one of the state's more controversial regions. Its appearance is semi-hazy, with a burnt red color that has slight orange tints along the sides of the glass. The aroma has a good balance of sweet caramel malts, light citrus and bitter hops. The taste starts off mainly sweet, but it still has a slight bitter element punching through. The hops here primarily offer citrus peel, with pine and a hint of berry popping up from the malts. The finish is less sweet than the initial maltiness, which adds to the drinkability of the beer.

Overall: Ambers tend to get overlooked by many beer snobs. They're seen as simple, and are often referred to as "entry-level beers" for aspiring beer nerds. It's a simple ale that reminds you beer doesn't have to be overly complex to be super-enjoyable.

New Zealand Pale Ale: This pale ale is influenced by a varietal of hops from New Zealand. We start off with an orange-amber hue with a bit of chill haze and a large creamy cap. The nose is bright with fruity hops with hints of dark berries, mild melon, citrus and tropical fruits.

Grapefruit peel, melon and faint tropical fruits lead off on the tongue, while caramel malts pop in next, providing the fuel that creates the aforementioned fruit salad flavors. The end has a hint of bitterness—not sharp; more earthy and herbal.

Overall: It's a nicely satisfyingly hoppy pale ale that goes down like a treat, definitely worth sampling if you stumble across it.

Happy Valley Hefeweizen: It pours a cloudy orange yellow color that takes on more of golden appearance when held to the light. The aroma starts off with a little bit of doughy yeast, followed by a nice lemon peel and citrus aroma; wheat bread and biscuit round it out. The taste is similar to the aroma, and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of sweetness. The doughy yeast is one of the first flavors to show up, and it quickly plays off those nice lemon juice and rind aspects that are present in the aroma. Next, the malts impart a grainy aspect to the brew. Non-hop-heads will love the finish; there's hardly any bitterness, with only a slight touch of lemony tartness.

Overall: I wouldn't change much about this beer; it's good just the way it is. It has been haunting the rafters here at Trolley Square since the brewpub opened in 1995, making it a classic, just like The Pub itself.

For the past year or so, Desert Edge's brewhouse has been under the guidance of Head Brewer Chad Krusell. Krusell has managed to keep many of the favorites just as is, while adding his own flare to other newer styles. Don't you think you're overdue for trip to Trolley Square? As always, cheers!


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