Located in an old trolley building in downtown Salt Lake City, Desert Edge Brewery at the Pub offers flavorful beers in a comfortable setting. The red brick exterior walls and large steel arches hint at the building former purpose. With seating for 1,220, there should be no problem finding a spot to sample the beers and food. The second floor offers a view of the Trolley Square shopping district, while the main floor features inner vistas of the 30-foot peaked ceiling with white steel trusses and ducting overhead. A very large bar stands at the center of the room and sports silent TVs, all surrounded by the red brick interior walls. A third level of seating offers greater seclusion. Open in 1994 and expanded significantly in 1995, business seems solid, with the crowd nearly evenly split between men and women in their 20s and 30s.
Two 10,000-pound grain silos offer visual evidence of the emphasis on beer production. The 15 barrel AAA Metal Fabricators brewing system on the ground floor feeds three uni-tank fermenters, while six 720 gallon vessels in the cold room offer plenty of space for serving up the variety of brews. Only the lighter beers get a pass through the Diatomaceous Earth (DE) filter. A six-place sheet metal construction sampler tray houses the labeled tasting selection. The very clean Munich Lager is a clear amber with a creamy mouthfeel and malty flavor. The Porter is a clear dark brown with a lasting chocolaty, licorice-like character matched to a medium body. The Utah Pale Ale is a hazy gold with pronounced Cascade hops in the aroma and flavor. The Pub Pilsner is a clear straw color with a crisp hop flavor, light body and light hoppy aftertaste. The Happy Valley Hefeweizen, served with a lemon wedge, is a hazy straw color with a very light body, wheat flavor, slight tanginess, but no clove character. Served at cellar temperature, the cask-conditioned Stout offers a roasted aroma followed by a smooth mouthfeel, thin body, light roasted flavor and dry finish. The Later Days Stout is pushed by nitrogen and features a thick, creamy head, creamy mouthfeel and dry, roasted flavor. It's best sampled after it warms up a bit. The seasonal Dunkelweizen is a clear dark brown with a full mouthfeel and light chocolate flavor. Very smooth and very nice! Before selecting a $3 pint, the $3 Sampler of seven two-ounce tastes offers an excellent introduction to the house beers.
The food menu includes Pub Sandwiches - $6, Grilled Sandwiches - $7, Salads - $2.50 - $7, Soups, Enchiladas, Vegie Burritos, Pizzas - $7.50, Calzones - $8, and Dinners $9-$10. Pastas and seafood appear to be the dinner attractions. Souvenirs can be found at the merchandise case where shirts, growlers and glassware are all sold. A mechanized lift makes the facility very wheelchair accessible. The wide flavor range of the beers and the friendly atmosphere will make you almost forget that Utah state government is protecting you from drinking a "beverage alcohol" above 3.2% alcohol by weight. Since beers sell for over $5 at the nearby Delta Center during Jazz games, Desert Edge Brewing offers customers both good variety and good value, a situation highly appreciated by visitors and some residents alike.
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri -