Utica Club was the brand name of sodas sold by F.X. Matt Brewing Company in Upstate New York during prohibition. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, F.X. Matt was in Washington, D.C. and obtained the first federal permit to sell beer. That beer was Utica Club. It was a national brand for decades before slowly retracting to a regional specialty. It followed the same path of other blue-collar beers enjoyed by our fathers and grandfathers, relegated to the cheap beer section of the cooler. Today, it remains a relic in the portfolio, a premium pilsner lager encapsulated by a throwback can.
Utica Club shares a lot in common with other cheap light lagers in its price class, right down to the red, white and blue colors on the can. The pilsner pours crystal clear and golden to yellow in color. Give it hard pour to build a fizzy, fluffy head, but don’t be surprised when it falls apart quickly.
It’s a lower weight, lighter bodied brew, built for the lawnmower-beer-drinker or the person that wants a clean, refreshing beer after a hard day of work.”
Speaking of falling apart, do not expect much from the nose. Pilsner beers typically give off specific scent from the malts. This beer does not. The aroma of pilsner malt is faint and nonexistent, and trying to find a smell is not even worth the venture.
Things change in the flavor department. Utica Club’s lands on the above-average side of the macro light lager scale. Sweet malt is accented by some hoppy bitterness that lingers through the finish. It has more of flavor than a Bud Light or Coors Light, with some hints of spice from the hops, but without the stale flavors that often manifest themselves after the beer warms.
What the Utica Club brings to the table that others in its class do not is the same thing that has kept it alive for nearly a century. It possesses a bolder, more robust malt backbone than the big boys, but do not mistake this for something from the craft light lager wave of 2018. It’s a lower weight, lighter bodied brew, built for the lawnmower-beer-drinker or the person that wants a clean, refreshing beer after a hard day of work.