A couple weeks back, I had the pleasure of judging beers in the North American Brewers Association's 2017 North American Beer Awards. More than 100 judges from all over the continent spent three days in Idaho Falls looking for the most outstanding beers from 2,000-plus entries. After this experience, I can truly say you owe it to yourself and to the men and women who brew in our communities, to visit or revisit some of their brilliantly made Utah suds. Here are some of your medal winners:Bohemian Brewery: Cottonwood Common (silver)
The taste is flavor-forward with assertive biscuit toast and caramel. An herbal and grassy hay component rings in next from the hops, providing great balance. There's also some light apple in the finish. It's very easy drinking, yet complex enough to be enjoyed slowly.
Bohemian Brewery: Best of Show IPL (silver)
The taste here is almost sweet as it passes over the tongue. The malts are honey-like, and the hop bitterness screams citrus. The finish is slightly bitter with a minor sodium bite. There's very limited availability.
Proper Brewing Co.: Patersbier (gold)
The taste has toasted grain and minor yeast spices and balancing herbal hops. This is a simple beer that's executed very well. There were far more flavorful beers in this category, but this one beat them all.
This Belgian-inspired IPA tastes bready and malty, with hints of citrus and clove. Some pine comes next, providing a dry, lingering finish. This
Red Rock Brewing: Bobby Brown the Cat (
Red Rock Brewing: Anniversary Ale (silver)
To me, it tastes like a muted Tootsie Roll. Some berry fruitiness appears and then transitions to big, dry grass and pine bitterness. It finishes dry with a bit of alcohol heat.
Red Rock Brewing: Viva la
The nose has sweet malts, some corn and subtle grassiness. The taste is much like the nose, with sweet grains,
RoHa Brewing Project: Thursday India Pale Ale (
The taste starts with grapefruit peel hops.
RoHa Brewing Project: Kensington Grand Saison (bronze)
Starting with biscuit and orange peel, some lemon and apple peel come next, with phenolic yeast spices rounding out the
Roosters Brewing Co.: Honey Wheat (silver)
The sweet malts here are accentuated by notes of honey and mild yeasty fruitiness.
Shades of Pale Brewing: Misconception (
This is the second Utah beer to medal in the Belgian IPA category. Its taste starts with nice, spicy Belgian yeast that morphs to leafy citrus and tropical fruits. The Belgian yeast is subtle and not too overpowering.
Uinta Brewing: Uinta Pils (bronze)
Utah Brewers Cooperative: Squatters Outer Darkness (
The taste starts with chocolate-covered raisins, followed by some underlying dark fruits. The sweetness gives way to big roasted coffee and