UTOG Brewing Co. has been open and operating for just a few months now, but the restaurant (and full bar) has already made a big impression.

Brewery menus are typically known for menus made up of basic burgers, chicken tenders and wings that can hop quickly into a fryer.

UTOG has taken a different, delicious, family-friendly approach.

The brewery’s passion for fresh dishes full of flavor is clearly apparent if you chat with its director of food and beverage, Tanner Blonquist. Ask him about their Reuben Fritters and you’ll find yourself diving into a hungry history of marrying creative dishes with what UTOG does best: brews. The fritters, for example, are made of corned beef brisket that’s soaked with UTOG’s Golden Grant, then pulled apart and mixed with high-grade Swiss cheese and covered in a tempura beer batter made with, you guessed it, their brews: UTOG’s Golden Grant and JP Porter.

“Every single step of that dish is made in-house and incorporates our beer,” Blonquist said.

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The Rueben Fritters at UTOG Brewing on Monday, June 17, 2019, in downtown.

Operating a brewery in Ogden, he emphasized, “requires you to give people great value with great taste.”

To not mention the Brussels sprouts would be a crime worthy of adding to the Legislature’s list of bills.

The sprouts change day to day and, simply put, are marvelous. According to Blonquist, the sauces in which they are cooked vary — and the sauce changes how they cook them — from yellow curry to a balsamic gastrique. (The day we visited for lunch it was mushroom gastrique.)

UTOG is also adamant about changing daily specials; dishes like Chicken Toastadas or Pork Roulade — pork loin wrapped in bacon stuffed with bread crumbs, onions, tomatoes and then roasted and served on garlic mash and drenched in Alfredo sauce. That’s a decadent mouthful.

“We wanted to come from fresh ingredients, have staff prepare them into dishes that are so unique to us and that nobody else would have,” Blonquist said.

The menu’s recipe inspiration is a collection of his career in the food industry, from Park City to Washington — although he grew up in Utah.

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The Buffalo Mac and Cheese Bites at UTOG Brewing on Monday, June 17, 2019, in downtown.

This was apparent in UTOG’s take on fry sauce, which pays homage to Utahns’ divine love of the condiment but includes a twist likely not found elsewhere.

Sriracha fry sauce.

This combo has been 10 years in the making, when Blonquist was sauteing sweet potato wedges, which he then finished in the oven, as an alternative to fries to accompany a filet mignon dish. He had previously played with sriracha ranch, but in a stroke of genius decided to combine the sriracha with what Utahns call fry sauce (a.k.a. a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise). You get the flavor without the extreme spice sriracha is known for.

“Sweet potato fries and sriracha fry sauce are over-the-moon amazing,” he said. “The marriage of sweet potato and fry sauce is incredible.”

To complete the sprouts and fry sauce trifecta, the lunch service is extremely prompt, which likely makes it easier for downtown workers to get in and out quickly with a happy belly and happy boss. At nights the restaurant is said to fill up, a bustling place to enjoy a meal with friends, bring family from out of town or impress a date (on a reasonable budget).

“Ogden is growing, and I think we’ve gotten a tremendous response and appreciation in what we’re doing in craft beer, our food and our location,” Blonquist said as he spoke of what he hopes to be the brewery’s future as a cemented, local mainstay.

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