For beer lovers, the MacCool's Public House in Layton (855 W. Heritage Park Blvd., 801-728-9111, MacCoolsRestaurant.com) has become a popular sipping destination. That's because in recent months, MacCool's has gotten serious about beer.
There have always been great brews at MacCool's, ranging from Guinness on tap and big cans of Boddingtons to full-strength local microbrews. But the gang at MacCool's in Layton really kicked it up a notch this summer when they opened their new beer garden. Along with a sun-drenched deck on which to sip your way through a selection of some 120 or so beers, this beer garden is an actual garden. MacCool's manager Michael Andersen showed me around the joint recently and also pointed out the veggies and herbs that surround the beer deck. The produce is used by the MacCool's kitchen team in dishes they prepare.
On a recent visit, we hunkered down in the beer garden—don't worry, you can also get that great beer menu inside when it's cold—and enjoyed our server's recommendation to split a 650ml "bomber" of Rogue Brutal IPA. It's a special order of MacCool's, meaning that it's not available in state liquor stores. MacCool's offers many other special orders—like Portland's Alameda Brewery El Torero IPA, bursting with hints of orange and floral aromas—as well as imports and local brews.
We sipped the Brutal alongside a slightly wack new appetizer concocted by MacCool's co-owner Scott Schlissman: Philly cheesesteak eggrolls. Yes, that's right: It's essentially a deep-fried Philly cheesesteak in an eggroll wrapper. I can forgive Scott for his artery-hardening trespasses, given that he's a Philly boy, born and bred. And, I have to admit, a deep-fried Philly cheesesteak can be oddly addicting.
There was nothing brutal about the taste of Rogue Brutal IPA. It's an Imperial Bitter beer with a smack-you-upside-the-head hop aroma (OK, maybe that's the brutal part) and gorgeous, citrus flavors with more hops on the tongue. The brewmaster at Rogue describes this beer as a "cross between a Very Extra Special Bitter and an Indian Pale Ale." That pretty much nails it. I'd recommend sipping this interesting IPA with MacCool's outstanding split pea and ham soup, or maybe alongside the potato-filled pierogies.
Sticking with the Rogue theme, we decided—upon Mr. Andersen's suggestion—to order a bottle of Rogue OREgasmic Pale Ale. Hey, how could we resist a brew called OREgasmic? This great beer also had a fruity hop flavor, backed up by rich Maier Munich malts. It's great with spicy seafood dishes like MacCool's fried calamari and shrimp with sweet chili dip, but also pairs well with the outrageously scrumptious char-grilled, herb-roasted lamb riblets.
As part of its commitment to all things hoppy and malty, the Layton MacCool's also features a monthly beer pairing dinner. The next event, a dinner featuring Moab Brewery, takes place Thursday, Nov. 20, at 6:30 p.m. The evening will kick off with an appetizer trio of mini crab cakes, hummus with beets, and local cheese with apricot and Amaretto-infused herb honey, paired with Moab Tripel Desert Select Ale. Next up will be herb-and-spice-rubbed hanger steak with horseradish and mint, paired with Moab Red Rye IPA. An intermezzo of lamb riblets and Moab Black Imperial IPA Desert Select will be followed by Shoo Fly cake and Moab Squeaky Bike Nut Brown Ale.
The Moab Brewery dinner at MacCool's is $45 per person, not including tax and gratuity. Call Michael Andersen at 801-728-9111 to reserve your spot.