Stone City is the most recommended brewery in Kingston and I was blown away by every beer I had there. They had eight beers on tap and my least favorite of the bunch would generally be a standout anywhere else. They also serve food and have seating inside and out. To prepare for the beers I ordered their large hummus plate that had so much hummus that I couldn’t eat it all, but it was fantastic.
I started with the newer specialty beers. The first flight had their English Mild, Gose, and Saison. The English Mild was soft and mellow with notes of apricot and caramel, mild vanilla, and a creamy finish from the lactose. When I got a larger pour of this later I got some notes of black tea and almonds as it warmed up. This is a great modern take on the classic style.
The gose was a creamy white/yellow color and had a fantastic mix of lime, ginger, and mild tropical fruit. The creamy mouthfeel reminded me of some of the softer hazy IPAs out there. The modern take on the style was so delicious that I predict it will spawn a whole new version of gose like the first hazy IPAs did. The saison was soft and fruity with notes of crisp pear, and a light grassy finish.
Their American wheat is like a session hoppy wheat from San Diego. The beer had tons of fruity hops on the nose and flavors of guava, pear, pineapple, and a soft creamy body with minimal bitterness. The Belgian Wheat was more classic to style with notes of spice, vanilla, and mild white cake. The other two hoppy beers were similarly soft, all in the style that I have tasted at breweries like Fieldwork or Crux. The session ale was very similar to the american wheat with notes of juicy pineapple and tangerine.
The IPA had notes of white cake, pineapple, and citrus, like eating pineapple cake. The stout was creamy and mildly sweet with notes of marshmallow, vanilla, and caramel and a mild roast at the finish. It is quite impressive for the style as well. Another thing that I liked at Stone City is that they sell growlers pre-filled after they are sterilized, purged with CO2 and capped and encourage people to bring back their growlers to be sterilized prior to filling. This is one way to get around the issue of dirty growlers.
Stone City was one of the most impressive breweries of this trip and their beers were all fantastic. I drank a bit more of the English Mild and Gose because they are very different than what I can get of a similar style out in California. I hope to make my way back there again in a few years to see how they’ve grown.
12 String was not on my list when I planned out the area but I arrived there thanks to some people I met at Selkirk Abbey. They had some excellent beers in a wide variety of styles. My very first beer in the taster flight was the passion fruit gose, one of the most balanced fruited gose beers I have had. It is balanced in that the fruit doesn’t overpower the complexity present in the base beer. The beer had a mild tart kick to it and an overall nice balance of flavors.
The Jam Session IPA was a balanced IPA with lots of fruit and citrus notes, fairly standard. The C# #5 IPA had tons of pine and fruit from the hops but a bitterness that dominated it too strongly. The Rye IPA was malty with barely noticeable citrus hops and a good rye bite, fairly average. The Double Drip Imperial Stout was thick and mildly smoky with tons of roast and coffee. My husband really enjoyed this beer and we ended up bringing a 32oz growler home with us and giving one to my uncle the following day. Really excellent beer. The electric slide Double IPA was the best of the IPAs with tons of citrus and super smooth overall.
Passion Fruit Gose
Double Drip Imperial Stout
Electric Slide Double IPA
Iron Goat came highly recommended and I thought that all of their beers were very well done. They have a large tap room that is also a restaurant and it was busy but not overly so when we visited. I had a large flight of varying styles but focusing on the sours, IPAs, and farmhouse offerings.
The Farmhouse ale was quite solid with a nice mix of spice and a good dry finish. The Rhubarb farmhouse was a tasty twist on the base beer with a good bite from the rhubarb. Both were very drinkable. The cherry sour was smooth and fruity and moderately juicy. At first it didn’t seem very sour but it got a bit tart as it warmed up. The blackberry apricot sour was my favorite of the bunch with lots of jam and a good tart finish. All the flavors blended very nicely.
The headbutt IPA was super floral and piney with a strong bitter finish. This is a great beer to order if you love pine hops in your IPAs. The Impaler double IPA was balanced with dank citrus notes from the hops and a smooth caramel malt backbone. This was also a very tasty beer.
I make a point of going to breweries on my trips directly rather than going to bars. Utah has a few restrictive laws that limit the alcohol content of beers they can serve on tap. Any beer on tap must be less than 4% alcohol and anything higher than that must be served in bottles. This severely limits the ability of breweries to do taster flights because most breweries aren’t going to want to pour taster size pours from a bottle. Though certain breweries I have visited in other states choose to do that they may be limited from the option in Utah as well. The two breweries I visited were Epic and Uinta.
Uinta has a fairly large number of beers on tap despite the 4% alcohol restriction. I tried five of these and then ordered a bottle of the IPA because I couldn’t taste it on tap. The Gose was crisp and mildly tart with some light citrus notes and a light salty finish. I enjoyed the gose quite a bit. They also had a fruited version called Flamingose with pineapple added, which made the beer more cloudy with a darker yellow color. The beer was nice and fruity and had grapefruit notes and a bitter finish. The Baba black lager was smooth and light body with a mix of mild smoke and roast. I have had better black lagers but this one was not bad considering the alcohol restriction.
The Session IPA was smooth and crisp with mild citrus notes and not overly bitter. I liked it better than the Wyld Extra Pale which while smooth and balanced had a bit more malt forward character and was overall too mellow. Hop Nosh IPA makes its way down to San Diego regularly but I wanted to try it fresh from the source, even if that meant in a bottle. The IPA was super smooth and nicely balanced with a solid malt backbone without being a malt bomb. The beer had good dank hop character and hints of juice and citrus. I didn’t try the double IPA or the other stronger offerings because ordering 12 ounces of each would be quite a bit much.
I didn’t do any sort of tasting at Epic because I was more interested in their higher alcohol stouts. Though we did end up buying two bottles, one of the Oatmeal Stout, and one of the Imperial Stout, to enjoy in our hotel room. We also later shared a bottle of Big Bad Baptist at the Annex restaurant Epic has in Salt Lake City and later that evening opened a bottle of the Son of a Baptist at home since Epic beers make their way to San Diego as well.
The oatmeal stout was super smooth and delicious and scary easy to drink quickly. It had notes of marshmallows and a mild roast with a really velvety background. I found the imperial stout to be a bit too molasses forward. It had some hints of chocolate and roast under it but the molasses was overwhelming and killed it for me. The Son of a Baptist is a smooth and light bodied delicious coffee and chocolate stout that features coffee prominently with some mild bitter chocolate under it. In comparison to this, the Big Bad Baptist, aged in Bourbon Barrels was thick and sweet yet balanced perfectly without bourbon dominating too strong. Coffee and chocolate notes were both much more subdued here giving it a delicious balance.
Of the four i would soonest search out the oatmeal stout and the big bad baptist for future consumption. They are both delicious well-crafted beers.
While the two breweries listed aren’t the only ones you can visit in Salt Lake City, they are the two most prominent. If you do plan to visit either of them it might make the most sense to bring a bottle or two to your hotel room rather than drinking at the brewery because there is a fairly high markup to drink the big bad baptist at the brewery rather than taking the bottle to go. Though the brewery experience was not ideal it was a great companion to the hiking I did in the area that was quite gorgeous.
I probably wouldn’t have gotten out to visit Home Brewing Company, located next door and connected to The Homebrewer in North Park off El Cajon Boulevard, if it wasn’t for the Groupon they offered. Just like White Labs, one of San Diego’s major yeast sellers, you might not know they serve beer if you don’t regularly visit them to buy brewing supplies. But also like White Labs, they have a lineup of beers that can be educational and tasty at the same time. I found the beers at Home Brewing Company to be more approachable and generally more tasty than anything I ever tried at White Labs in my few visits there. While I understand why White Labs offers four different versions of each beer they serve, to highlight differences in yeast, their main product, I found the base recipes to be a bit lacking. Home Brewing Company does some similar variations but not as numerous and in many ways the beers they offer attempt to show what certain lesser known styles should taste like.
Though I will be describing the beers I tasted when I visited, keep in mind that the lineup of beers tends to change pretty regularly because they don’t have any core beers that you can expect to find each time you visit. The first three beers were all very similar lighter alcohol beers except the first one had a red malt and the second and third had the same pale malt but different yeasts. Other beers after that generally attempt to showcase one or another part of the underlying beer. I really enjoyed comparing the first three beers, all using the same hops, but which were different from various other changes in ingredients. The amber version had a more pronounced malt flavor while the two pale versions were both good for showcasing the hops though slightly differently. The difference between cali ale yeast and English ale yeast was subtle yet clear and it can be fun to try to distinguish on your own.
The other beers in my tasting were each unique, ranging from a hoppy brown ale that at times tasted like chocolate and at times orange to a Belgian style stout, a gose, an alt beer, and an imperial stout. Out of these the gose was both the most interesting of the bunch and one of the more interesting variations of the style I have had locally. Simultaneously mildly salty and super fruity I got notes of pear and doughy malts in a delicious combination. The alt beer was also impressive with a smooth malt flavor that had notes of tasty caramel. The tasting notes provided with each beer are detailed and on point and would provide a nice basis for someone new to tasting to learn the various flavors a beer can have.
Home Brewing Company is also extremely minimalist in decor because it is not meant to be a full on brewery. There is no board listing all the beers on tap and the bar doesn’t attempt to showcase some exotic tree. There isn’t much room for a lot of people to hang out but the few standing tables make great places to discuss the differences in the beer. They are also right in the heart of North Park’s growing brewery scene and so easy to stop at on your way to Belching Beaver or Fall Brewing. You shouldn’t feel you need to try everything but it is worth stopping by regularly to see what new styles you can discover or what differences of ingredients you can learn. You may even end up feeling inspired to brew your own.
This is part 2 of my Bend Oregon breweries coverage. Part 1 included Boneyard Brewing and Crux Fermentaion Project. In Part 2 here I explore the rest of the breweries I visited in Bend.
I only visited Riverbend brewing because of a recommendation by the server who helped us at Crux. I asked for her suggestion for best IPAs besides Crux and Boneyard and she said we should visit Riverbend. It wasn’t on the must-visit list but I am glad we stopped by. I did seven tasters there, Hydrostatic IPA, Organized Love IPA, Katatonic double IPA, Chains Required IPA, Barrel Aged Katatonic, Boots and Flannels black lager and Equinox IPA.
The Hydrostatic IPA was super smooth and delicious with prominent orange flavors and a fairly solid malt backbone. The Organized Love was fantastic, super balanced with citrus and mello pine and amazingly smooth. This could easily stand up to the single IPAs from Boneyard or Crux. Katatonic double IPA was more balanced and strong with a super dank, sticky, sweet finish. It was a bit malty for my tastes but I really liked the barrel aged version which had a nice sour finish and light vanilla from the oak.
The Chains Required IPA was also super smooth and light body with a juicy finish with subtle lemon. Equinox IPA was smooth and fruity with a good balance of rye and smooth malts. Boots and Flannels was a smoky black lager with a tart finish that was also quite tasty. I took these tasters quite slow as it was the last stop but I was wishing later that I had found their Organized Love IPA at a growler station around town or that I had filled some while I was there. It was really that good. This is a great brewery to add to the list if you have more time.
Top 2 Riverbend Brewing
Organized Love IPA
Katatonic Double IPA
On our second day we started the day at Silvermoon where I wish I hadn’t tried so many of the IPAs because the IPA 97 was the main one I enjoyed. The others weren’t bad but they weren’t that fantastic. I tried the Hob Nob IPA, IPA 97, Turning Point IPA, Southern Exposure IPA, Tart of Gold, Porter, Stout, and the Bone Crusher Double Red Ale. The Hob Nob was smooth and balanced with a bitter finish. It is an easy beer to drink. IPA 97 had a massive lemon and pineapple flavor and was probably the freshest that day. This is their flagship and I can see why. I brought back a six pack for some friends at home.
The Turning Point IPA was smooth with lemon flavors and a crisp dry finish while not too bitter. Southern Exposure was also smooth and light with a crisp bitter finish and a bit more citrus from the southern hops. Both of these were drinkable but a little low on the hop flavors for my tastes. The Tart of Gold was a smooth sour, not too tart, with guava and bitter grapefruit flavors. It was a solid first effort. I have had worse from small breweries but it was fairly average and probably wouldn’t satisfy those who really like sours.
The porter was super tasty with lots of roast and a smooth finish. The stout was even better with thicker mouthfeel and some bitter chocolate on the finish along with some additional bitter hops to finish it out. I could have drank a bit more of either of these if I wasn’t planning on hitting more breweries. The bartender told me I had to try the Bone Crusher if I like hops and I was very impressed. I would say it is more of a double IPA that happens to have a solid malt backbone. The fruity hops take center stage here and balance nicely with the caramel malt backbone. This and IPA 97 are worth tasting though if you are going to a lot of breweries I would just stick to those two.
Top 2 at Silvermoon Brewing
Hop 97 IPA
Bone Crusher Double Red IPA
I have written about Deschutes in the past and I always found their IPAs to be a bit too malt forward, which was the case here again though I had to try the fresh squeezed again to see if I was missing something. It is also worth coming by the original pub for some unique offerings that are not available elsewhere, which is what I focused on. My husband really enjoyed the stout float he ordered as well. I had four tasters here, the fresh squeezed IPA, Smoked Gose, Horseridge IPA, and Rue de Bond Saison.
Fresh Squeezed is balanced and showcases citrus hops but the malts are a little too forward for my tastes and it still tastes too traditional for me. I really liked the Horseridge IPA though. The malt balance works so much better with the English hops making for a smooth IPA that showcases the hops strongly. If you are going to Deschutes for hops this is the one to try. The smoked gose was really delicious and balanced. The underlying gose has a nice citrus bite and the smoke is subtle enough that it doesn’t overpower the rest. The Rue de Bond Saison is quite tasty and showcases banana with herbal notes for a super tasty saison. I brought a growler home but sadly it wasn’t sealed right and was oxidized when I got home.
Deschutes is best to visit for their delicious porter and stouts and you can buy a lot of the barrel aged versions of their Abyss at the brewery. If you are used to the more traditional Northwest style of IPA then you will enjoy their IPAs, otherwise you might want to skip it in favor of other local places that have taken a more modern style to their IPAs.
Out of the three in this post I found Riverbend to be the most impressive. Their IPAs were mostly fantastic.