Utah Brewery Map

SLC Bewery Tour

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Buy Utah First!

If you live, have lived or have visited Utah in the past thirty years you've probably noticed the price we pay for our liquor and beer is beyond obnoxious. If Sen. Mike Dmitrich, D-Price has his way consumers could pay less for spirits from small breweries and distilleries. Currently, alcohol sold at the State Liquor Store is subject to an 86 percent markup. The new bill would reduce that markup to 47 percent for liquor and wine and would drop to 30 percent for heavy beer(over 4.0% abv). Last year the state collected $53 million in liquor profits.

If the bill passes, consumers would potentially pay less for spirits produced by local companies when purchasing alcohol at the liquor store because the state markup would be lower on those than on large chains' products. The bill would not affect alcohol prices from any brewery for beer at the grocery store. In addition, the bill would still funnel 10 percent of gross sales from the liquor store going to fund the school lunch program.
Don't hold your breath folks, there's a line already forming to quash this minor tax break.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Twelvth Day of Xmas: Pilsner Urquell

Well here we are. A 12 pack later and twelve days wiser. The grand holiday experiment concludes with a bad case of the narley barleys and a world-wide classic. I hope that the past dozen days have given you the opportunity to try something new, or at the very least get you out of comfort zone for the holidays.

I was thinking that the final beer would have to be something rare and special. You know, some uber-octane, malt-beast. Crafted by the heirs to some mythical European beer dynasty. But that's not what the twelve beers has been about. It's just about good beer. This may not be a beast of a beer but it does have a hallowed history. This is the Pilsner that all other Pilsners take their names. Pilsner Urquell.

Pours a nice burnt yellow with a fine fluffy white head. The nose is nice with grassy hops and malt. The flavor starts bready with a light hint of honey followed by burst of floral/grassy Saaz hop spiciness. And ends with lingering floral spiciness. Finishes crisp and clean. This would probably serve you better during the warmer months, but after days of heavy Holiday food this will be a welcome change. A great session beer. 4.4% abv. Available Statewide. Merry Christmas, be safe and thanks for checking out Utah Beer!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Eleventh Day of Xmas: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Oy! I got stuck with the stomach flu kids, so day eleven is going to be brief. Sorry... So, on the Eleventh day of Xmas may barkeep served me a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale.

Saving one of the best for last, this one pours a nice ruby/brown with two fingers of head which left a beautiful web of lace in the glass. The nose was of caramel sweet malts banana and vanilla bean with a nice balance of piny hops. The taste was mostly sweet carmel, vanilla and a hint of hazelnut. The finish was dry and and had a nice piny bite. They list this as an IPA but I can easily see this being a "Strong" or "Spice" ale. Either way, it’s an awesome beer. It dials in at 6.8% abv and you'd never know it. Available state-wide. Cheers.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tenth Beer of Xmas: Uinta's Kings Peak Porter

The Tenth Beer of Xmas that my Barkeep gave to me, is Uinta's Kings Peak Porter. After the recent snow storm nothing sounds more satisfying than cozying-up with a fine brew to put you into your special place and keep your spirits alive. This is a multi-award winner that's been a staple in our home for years.

Pours a dark ruby-brown with a moderate tan head. The nose is huge with roasted malt and coffee, a light toffee sweetness is also notable . Taste starts with a good dose of roasted malts. Dark cocoa notes come next providing a minor sweetness. The end is cappachino-esque. The finish is similar, with some residual hop bitterness. This is a nice, medium-bodied porter. That satisfies in cold or warm weather. Kings Peak Porter is available year round at most grocery and convenient stores in and around Utah.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ninth Beer of Xmas Delirium Noel

It's day nine. At this point you should seeing pink elephants. If for some reason your not, beer number nine will cure that visually and mentally. So, with that, The Ninth beer of Xmas is Delirium Noel.

Pores a slightly hazy dark amber color with a solid head that dissipates into a thin cap of foam. The nose is of toasty malts with a boozy perfume of peach, prune, nutmeg and clove.
The tastes starts sweet with honey, dates and nutmeg. Oak and vanilla finish it out, with burnt cherry and cinnamon notes carry you into the finish. Smooth, sweet malt body with just enough of a hint of hop bitterness to keep it from becoming cloying. A very nice holiday brew that goes down as well as any high ABV Belgian brew. The 10% abv is well hidden, opening the door for the pink elephants to sneak-up and molest you with they're trunks before you even know what's happening. So stay on your bar stool and beware.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Eighth Beer o' Xmas: Rogue's Santas Private Reserve

One of the most highly kept secrets about Santa is his love of beers. You don't hear many songs about the jolly ol' elf tossing back his favorite dram of ale . Or about his home brew sessions with the Heat Miser. That would throw Utah neo-cons into hissy of biblical proportions. Go ahead, take your chances. Leave him milk and cookies, but be warned your just screwing yourself in the long run.

To be assured of getting your G.I. Joe with the kung-fu grip, or that blow-up doll you've had your eye on. Place a bottle of the Eighth Beer of Xmas on your table and you'll be golden in his eyes.

Pours a copper/red color with a nice pillowy two finger head. The nose is very hoppy. A perfume of Pine and florals assault your sniffer The taste starts with a slightly malty flavor, then a very strong hops prescience comes through. Piney and roasted grain flavors are present also with a nice bitter finish. This beer is huge on hops and is probably the reason Santa’s nose is red. A very good pale ale for the holidays.

And if your worried about Santa drinking and driving, don't. The reindeer do all the driving.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Seventh Beer o' Xmas: Bohemian Brewery's Cherney Bock

Sticking with the local brews, I thought I'd select a lager that been around for years, but may have never passes your lips. Therefore Bohemian Brewery's Cherney Bock is the seventh beer o" Xmas. Cherney Bock is part of a quartet of old school lagers made from the finest Czech & German traditions in Midvale, Utah.

Poured a very dark chocolate brown with a thick tan head. The nose was full of roasted malt, dark fruits with a pleasant nuttiness. The taste starts with a deep roasted malt taste, then a dark nuttiness with minor raspberry notes beneath. The end was nicely balanced with an easy piny hop bite at the end. If I had not been told this was a Bock I would have thought it was a schwartz beer or a Stout. Which is not a bad thing at all. Actually Bocks are a fine alternative to the traditional winter warmer crowd. This is an awesome, tasty beer. Even if it’s "Bockness" isn't textbook. I really love this stuff and with a ABV of 4.0 I could drink it all night. And maybe I will Damn-it!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sixth Beer of Xmas: RedRock's Rêve

One of the best beers to come out of Utah in years(from in fact the west) is here and you'd better snag one now because it's in very limited production. Since 2003 the crew at RedRock have been experimenting with recipes to come up with the perfect Barrel-aged, Belgian-style tripple. It's been a long hit-and-miss process. Over the past four years we've gotten a chance to sample various stages of the development of this brew from local area beer festivals. At one time; I believe it was aged in a Bourbon barrel and the result was, well.... unique. Well never fear, experimentation and diligence has paid off with a spectacular interpretation on a centuries old classic.

This has been RedRocks' year. Garnering awards left and right, it's seems they can do no wrong. And it looks like they've saved the best of '07 for last. So for the Sixth Beer of Xmas, I highly recommend Red Rock's Rêve.

Poured into a Chimay goblet a light golden honey color with with a moderate fluffy white head that dissipated to a very thin froth. The nose is a little boozy with banana, cloves malt and ripe mango. The taste is very much the same starting with candied sugar and cloves that transitions into toasted malt and banana. The end is sweet and oaky. The alcohol is warming and welcomed, masked well by Rêve's full body. It adds a whole new dimension to the beer You really get a good sense of the oak in the finish. It's barrel aged for one year. Don't get me wrong it's got a kick. It's 10.2% abv is more than enough to warm your inner beer geek.

RedRock Rêve is more proof that that Utah beers are much more than just 4.0% anomalies . Earning the bronze medal at the '06 Great American Beer Festival and the silver medal in '07, Kevin Templin and his team are proving big things can come in small packages.

RedRock Rêve is available in limited quantities at RedRock's SLC location and it's Park City Pub as well as The Bayou and Fiddler's Elbow! The special edition trippel is available in a commemorative 750mL corked bottles, so snatch 'em up while you can. Cheers!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fifth Beer of Xmas: Ayinger Dunkel

The fifth beer of Xmas that my barkeep served to me was Ayinger's Altbairisch Dunkel. Keeping in mind that "cousin love" is bad and that I'd like you to hang in there until day twelve, we'll remain on the path of lower alcohol beers for another day. This beer is pleasant and is sufficiently complex for any beer palate.

Poured a rich reddish-brown color producing a 1/2 inch thick head of rapidly dissipating foam. The aroma is incredible, fresh, dark roasted malts with a hint of cocoa. The taste started with rich roasted malts, hazelnut and a hint of molasses. Hops come next nicely balancing the malt sweetness carrying it through to the end. A subtle sting of espresso in the finish leaves you with the perfect mixture of sweet and bitterness. Don't let the photo fool you this is a creamy, light-medium bodied lager. When they coined the term liquid bread this is the style I'm sure they were referring to.

Drinking Ayinger is a no-brainer. They craft they're beers in the finest of German traditions. This isn't a holiday beer but it serves the season well. It's pleasant and sufficiently complex for any beer palate. ABV 5.0%. Available in Utah year-round.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fourth Beer of Xmas: Wasatch Christmas Ale

The first three beers of Xmas are going to put us in jail if we don't take it easy. So let's tune it down a notch and try something a little more subdued. Wasatch's Christmas Ale has been a holiday staple in Utah for quite a few years, one thing in particular I like about it is the packaging. The twelve packs are/were sold in a nice pine crate. Need one? let me know, I think I have fifty of 'em. Yet I digress

Pours a hazy light orange with an off white head that dissipates quickly. The nose is slightly spicy with nutmeg and grassy hops. The flavor starts relatively light with ginger and and other Holiday spices and transitions to a decent amount of grassy hoppiness. The finish is light and dry. As far as Holiday beers go this is pretty subdued. Not as in your face as the previous three. And it's 4.0% abv will help keep you from hitting on your cousin. Yeah, we were all watching. Your sick dude, get a girlfriend for Christ sake.

Beer Tv?

Believe it or not there are a few good television programs out there devoted to the art of beverage concoction. Off the top of my head; there's Three Sheets on Mojo, The Thirsty Traveler on The Fine Living Network and the cancelled Beer Nuts, Also on Mojo. These are all great programs and I recommend you check them out. Especially Three Sheets. (only available in HD) Zane Lamprey is riot. With the exception of Beer Nuts(only available in HD) there isn't really anything out there devoted to solely to beer. Beer Nuts Had the makings of a good show but didn't have the range of topics to make it watchable on a regular basis.

Now comes word Utah's Own Jennifer Talley of Squatter's Pub Brewery is shooting a pilot for a new program that reportedly is devoted to beer. She was apparently recruited by producer Peter Holmes who saw Talley in a video she did for her brewery and thought she’d be a good host, making the show about brewers, brewing and pairings. Things Jenny is eminently qualified to discuss. The Food Network or similar cable channel would be the likely home for a show like this.

Info provided from The Brookston Beer Bulletin has Jenny interviewing Shaun O’Sullivan at his 21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant. Then O’Sullivan and Talley visited Magnolia and sat down to talk with owner Dave McLean over some food and beer. Then on Tuesday they filmed at Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa. They filmed at both the new production brewery nearby and at the brewpub. Later Bruce Paton, the beer chef, cooked some food and he sat down with Talley and Russian River owners Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo to talk about the pairings while they enjoyed both the food and beer.

I hope this bird flies, it would be great to have a program out there devoted to beer by people who know and love it.

As I mentioned in earlier post I'm a Videographer by trade. Coincidentally I did a two-part feature on Jenny in '04 along With my colleague Sandy Riesgraf. The Story was called The Queen of Beers. And, if I can toot my own horn; we won the Beer Journalism Award for it at the '05 Great American Beer Festival. I'm not saying, that why got you the job Jenny, But... Your welcome. All kidding aside, Good luck with this project Jenny. Salt Lake has your back. Thanks to Jay Brooks from Brookston Beer Bulletin for the photo and the legwork.

Here is The Queen of Beers.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Third Beer of Xmas: Wassail

For the third beer of Xmas that my barkeep gave to me(please sing along). Full Sail's Wassail! When this winter warmer comes around, you need to snatch 'em up quick. Utah only gets one frig'n pallet a year, then buh-bye. Trust me, this is one delicious beer.

Pours a dark maraschino brown with a nice bulging cap of foam. The nose is very pleasant with citrus rind, toasted malt, caramel and allspice. The flavor starts spicy with orange and clove. Toffee and a hint of chocolate round out the middle complement the spiciness. The end is all hops with sturdy grapefruit and pine notes. The finish is a little boozy; which is surprising because the label lists it at 6.5% abv.

This is one of those ales that had me raising an eye brow at the first swig, but by the fourth, I was hooked. This is yet another outstanding winter warmer that is far more than just malt and hops. Wassail is one of Full Sail's best beers and should be a no-brainer this holiday season.

It's a good thing we're spreading out our little "experiment" over twelve days. I suspect most of us would be tits-up on the Berber by day eight. Cheers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

2nd Beer of Xmas: Winter Solstice

For the second beer of Xmas my barkeep gave to me, Anderson Valley Brewing Company's Winter Solstice. AVBC is on of those breweries that can do no wrong in my eyes. Everything that they have produced over the years(that I've sampled) is nothing short of delicious. Hence they must be represented. And for the holiday's they're winter seasonal is a must try.

Winter Solstice pours a beautiful reddish-brown color with a creamy, fluffy head. The aroma is mildly hoppy with delicate malt sweetness. Vanilla bean is dominant with orange peel for balance. There also seemed to be a hint of nutmeg. The Taste was of roasted malt, vanilla and carameled apple. The bitterness was mild which allowed the vanilla to finish slightly above the hops. Sweet and slightly spicy, The higher alcohol (6.9% ABV) added a nice warming affect. The balanced was perfect from start to finish. I love this beer so much I buy up all that I can, as to enjoy it year round. I find it very drinkable and I’m eagerly looking forward to this years fresh batch.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Twelve Beers of Christmas

Time for a new twist on an old theme. I'm sure this is nothing new, but hopefully it will give you a chance to try something new or at the very least revisit an old favorite. Today starts the Twelve Beers of Christmas. Traditionally the Twelve Days of Christmas begins on Christmas day and goes for the proceeding twelve days. You all know the song. For our purposes we'll begin today(12 days prior to Xmas) and instead of giving a gift; gift yourself the joy of beer. Over the next twelve days I've selected a variety of beers available to those of us behind the Zion Curtain. It was tough coming up with a list of diverse beers available to the local beer faithful. But i think I've come up with some offerings that'll bring some cheer to the waining days of '07.

The first beer of Xmas that my barkeep gave to me is Uinta's XIV Anniversary Barley Wine. This Local heavy weight pores of dark chestnut/orange hue with a luscious foamy tan cap. The nose is of burnt oranges, warm caramel malts, heavy toasted breads with pungent hops that produce pine and citrusy overtones. Earthy notes cinder behind most of the hop twinge in the nose. The taste started with hops up front, bittering with pine and dark citrusy stuff of orange and highly ripe peaches, malts play second fiddle with burnt caramel and toffee, crispy biscuit toasty edging, touches of chocolate, brown sugar, and then turns back to a hoppy finish of pine and citrus orange. The bottle says it’s at 10.3% abv but it doesn’t burn like it. I have a six pack of the no. X that I’ve lay'd down to age. It's incredible! just hope I can make it last another year. This is without a doubt one of the best barley wines that I’ve ever had. Home team bias aside.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

When Passions Collide

Beer is my hobby, But it's television that pays the bills. Back in '04 I was hired to shoot a profile on Uinta Brewing Co, here in good ol' Salt Lake City, Utah. The story originally aired on The Fine Living Network's The Insider's List. This particular episode profiled ten unique breweries from around the U.S. Uinta was chosen for their environmentally conscious business practices. And of course their great beer. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Enjoying a Beer Today? Thank Utah!

If you have an uncontrollable urge to have a sip of one of your favorite adult beverages today(12/5) there's a very good reason. Today in 1933 the United States of America breathed a collective sigh of relief as Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, nullifying the 18th amendment. The ink was hardly dry on Utah's vote before President Franklin Roosevelt issued an official repeal and tossed-back the first legal beer in years.
Prohibition of liquor proved to be a massive failure both socially, legally and economically. By the by the end liquor law enforcement was virtually non excitement or payed to look the other way. In 1923 Utah's attorney general claimed that drinking in the larger cities was just as popular as it was before prohibition. Huge profits from the manufacture and sale of liquor made it impossible to stop.

Problems of enforcement and the unpopularity of prohibition led to cries for its repeal. Following his 1932 election, President Franklin D. Roosevelt kept his campaign pledge and each state soon began voting on the issue in special conventions. Despite the Mormon church's efforts, Utahns voted on November 7, 1933, for repeal of national prohibition and in the same election also repealed the state's liquor law. Utah was the thirty-sixth state to vote for repeal and thus, ironically, delivered prohibition its death blow.

Legal liquor began flowing again in Utah in 1935 when the first state liquor stores in Salt Lake City and Ogden opened their doors. Business was brisk at the new stores as Utahns eagerly bought-up the once forbidden libations; in the first fifteen days of operation receipts totaled $54,866.

So, thank Utah... er... or maybe Utah should be thanking the rest of the U.S. For if we hadn't the entire United States may have collectively come together to beat the holy shit out of us. So, your welcome! I think.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Cantillon Iris

Let me start out by saying that don't have much experience with true lambics. I never know what to expect from these extremely wild beers they range from the sweet to the acerbically tart. I've never had an unblended lambic before. The closest I've tried is the gueze style(blended). Iris comes from the Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels. Pours a hazy honey orange with a moderate off-white head. The nose was sour with green apple and grapes and cheese. The taste is wildly tart and funky. Starting with an assertive sour mustiness then dry oak. The end is of citrus peel and sharp cheddar cheese. The finish is old and dry. Far too tart for my taste, however, it is complex and intriguing. This an interesting lambic to reflect over.

They'd Make Carrie Proud

It's no secret that the South Salt Lake City council has a problem with beer. In '03 they officially placed into law a ban on home brewing. A ban they they had no intention of enforcing. Then they wanted to shut down bars on Sunday because, Well... why not? it's Sunday! You should be begging for your soul, not watching football and having beer. That failed.

Now the mayor and council is pursuing it's next richeous ban. According to police statistics, Salt Lake has the valley's highest crime rate and has about two dozen active Tavern licenses. A few years ago, the City Council capped those licenses at 15, hoping to trim the number of taverns. They intended as bars folded, they would not issue new permits. Well bars in the city didn't fold like they thought they would and those who did want to sell they're business simply transferred their beer licenses to bar buyers. Now the council, possibly as soon as Wednesday, hopes to prohibit such transfers and thus, over time, slash the number of bars.

This issue was addressed a few years ago and obviously didn't go over well with bar owners. It will likely happen again. But this time I believe it will pass. The council will base it's decision on the number of tavern-related crime in South Salt Lake. This will be the councils main source of ammo in the fight.

Now to play Devil's Advocate, the city has 26 bars and private clubs to serve a population of 26,000. Not a bad ratio. I think the county I live in has only 10 tops. South Salt Lake's effort to cut back on bars comes up for further discussion, and a possible vote, at Wednesday's 7 p.m. City Council meeting at City Hall, 220 E. Morris Ave. (2430 South).

Friday, November 30, 2007

I Told You So!!!

The other week I tried to compile a brief walk-through of Utah's Liquor laws. Toward the end, I mentioned that because Utah's Liquor laws are so convoluted and ignorantly written, they undergo changes that often add to the confusion of the laws.

The state was going to move 4.0% flavored malt beverages to State Liquor stores because they were just too damn enticing to the young'ins. Well in a rare act of sanity the states liquor board voted against the proposed move. So for now; no change. However this doesn't mean that some legislative zealot won't try to override that D.A.B.C. ruling and and start this mess all over again when law makers gather for the '08 legislative session in January. So enjoy the convenience of buying your "Foofy Beers". For now...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Grain, Grapes and Grounds

Let's go back in time. Back.... back.... back. Can you see yourself??? Sitting in your third grade class; one finger in your nose the other stuck down your trou??? Ah sweet memories. Besides all the digging and scratching, you were probably also learning the three R's, amongst other youthful pursuits. Now that your an "adult", the digging and scratching still remains, but your academic refinement has evolved(for those of you who believe in evolution).

Gone now are the three R's. And if your reading this, most likely your now into the three G's. Grains, Grapes and Grounds. Coincidentally there is a place to to take care of all your steeping needs. G3(Grains, Grapes and Grounds) opened in Ogden, Utah mid 2006 by Heath and Jennifer Stockard, avid home brewers who saw a need for a home brew shop to serve the Northern Wasatch Front. Whether your itch is brewing beer, making wine, coffee or even tea this charming renovated space in Ogden's new re-development project has nearly every tool the noble art of beverage concoction has to offer. So if you enjoy adult beverages, get your ass over there and support the Stockards. Located at 2340 Washington Blvd and open Tuesday thru Friday 11:00AM-5:30PM and Saturdays 12:00PM-5:00PM (Closed Sunday and Monday). Cheers.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Insanely Bad Elf

I don't know... I guess I should have been closer paying attention. The label was a dead give-away, I should have noticed the clues. It was my own fault. I mean it's called Insanely Bad Elf for Christ's sake!!! The label has some kind of sociopathic mutant elf all bound up and and looking like he's ready to molest a cat.

This is another from the boys at Ridgway. It comes from a line of "theme beers" the brewery does around the holidays. It started with Bad Elf, then to Very Bad, then Seriously, Criminally and finally Insane. I haven't tried the others but this reminds me of one of those beers that people make just to say "We can make one of those."

Poured a clear ruby red with absolutely no head at all. The nose was boozy with raisin and toffee. The taste started sweet with caramel then transitioned into spicy raisin and fig. The finish was syrupy, boozy and cloying. A good dose of piney hops would have made this a much more palatable brew, but as it sits it's a tough drink'n little bitch. It's label calls it it an Imperial Red but let's not kid ourselves it's all barley wine. It's abv dials in at 11.2% and never lets you forget it. As a holiday warmer it will warm you right the fuck up. Straight jacket not included.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wreck the Halls

At this point in my Beer-a-thon I was starting to feel the effects of all this holiday cheer Wreck the Halls from Full Sail Brewing isn't new to Utah but this seasonal ale is defiantly worth checking out.

Poured a dark copper color with a moderate, foamy cap. The nose was sharp with pine and citrus zest. Very nice. The taste started sharp with a huge citrusy hop smack with a full malty backbone. The finish was bitter slightly fruity and boozy with apples and oranges. The hops zest hangs in to the very end. I wish that the nose could have come through a little more in the taste. Mmmm... This beer me like. A solid performer, defiantly worth checking out this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Equinox Winter Beer

We should probably mix it up a little, so today let's get out of the U.K. and check out a seasonal from Belgium. Looking at the label, you'd never know this is a holiday beer. There's no elf asses or drunken cherubs to suck you in; just a big frigg'n boat. Don't let labels deceive you, this is one of the best of the new arrivals.

Poured dark brown with a thick two fingers of creamy foam that reduced to a thin cap. The nose was earthy with malt, cocoa and musty spices. The taste started with roasted coffee and malt. Cinnamon, citrus and spicy dark fruits spices come next. The end is nice and bitter with a good dose of hops. Equinox is perfectly balanced. It's near cloying fruitiness is immediately countered with solid pine bittering. It's a remarkable winter brew that should savored and enjoyed. Only available at the Bayou It comes in a 750 ml. bottles and it's 8.5% abv is easily masked by it's full flavor.

Highly recommended!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Santa's Butt

I've been on this planet a relatively short time. In that time, I've said and done a few things that I've regretted. This isn't one of those times. However, there is one phrase that I'm positive I would never utter while waiting to open my presents on Christmas morning. "Mmm... Santa's Butt sure sounds good right about now". Well Christmas '07 may prove to be the year my wife finally tosses my ass out. Not because I've suddenly found love for a cultural/religious icon's ass, but because I want a beer at nine in the morning on a holiday.

Thankfully, I'm not one of those morning drinkers. However It's not a big stretch to crave something dark, rich and roasted in the morning and for some this Holiday Porter might do the trick. Santa's Butt also comes from Ridgeway Brewing in West Sussex, England.

Poured a dark ruby color with no head. The nose was musty with dark fruits and malt. The taste started a little on the thin side with chocolate, toffee and vanilla. The end was light and roasted with hints of coffee. This defiantly got better as it warmed. Overall an okay Winter Porter. I like a Porter with more balls and less butt. A little more roast and richness would serve this beer well. And it's 6% abv won't hurt you too much.

Warm Welcome

New to the area this season(via the Bayou) are a slew of new holiday imports from the UK. Braving the dangerous Friday night crowd at the Bayou I sacrificed my safety and liver to bring you the first glimpses and reviews of these limited availability beers.

Warm Welcome from Ridgeway Brewing out of West Sussex, England is the first of these new imports I got the opportunity to try. This beer poured a very clear ruby/brown color with a light beige cap that dispersed rapidly. Nose was nutty with a hint of molasses sweetness. The taste started clean and malty with grassy hop bitterness at the end. The finish was sweet with a dry spiciness. This is a textbook English Brown Ale. It dials in at 6% abv. A little hoppier than most but worthy of the holidays.

Sorry about the lousy pic. Bar lighting in the evening sucks.

A Pair of Jacks

I love this time of year! Not so much for the weather or the shopping headaches but for the great influx of seasonal beers. So, for the next week or so, I hope to spread the word about some of the great beer options that are out there for your holiday enjoyment.

My first experience with pumpkin spiced beers was back in '98 at the Great American Beer Festival. My wife came up to me cooing over this great spice beer she had just sampled from this tiny mom-n-pop brewpub from Wisconsin. At first thought, the idea of a pumpkin beer raised an eyebrow. But soon after sampling, I was one of the converted. Basically, if you like pumpkin pie you'll most likely enjoy pumpkin ales.

Now, some pumpkin ale are with pumpkin & spices and others with just the spices. These two local options I believe are just spiced.

First one out of the gate is Wasatch's Pumpkin Ale. Poured a clear copper hue with a small cap of white foam. The nose was spicy with nutmeg, allspice and malt. The taste starts malty and nutty with great cinnamon and nutmeg essence. The pumpkin pie flavor is right on. the end is clean with a slight hopiness. The finish was slightly sweet.

Next up Punk'n from Four +(Uinta). Poured a dark, amber color with a thick white head. The nose was spicy with cinnamon and nutmeg. The taste jumps right into a complex spiciness of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and allspice. The end was light and dry with slight cascade hops coming through. The finish was dry and spicy.

All in all these are both fine examples of pumpkin spice ales. However they are both very different. Wasatch's has much more maltiness in the backbone, which compliment it's spices nicely.

Four +'s(Uinta) is much dryer. It lacks the malty sweetness but makes up for it with rich Holiday spices.

Depending on your palate either is a fine choice. Punk'n complements cheese cake well and Pumpkin Ale is a fine session drinker.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Another Good Year!

Every year at the Great American Beer Festival there's always one or two good stories to shout out to the inter mountain beer faithful about our local brewers. This years was an exceptionally good year for Utah and one brewer in particular.

The big story from this past weekend was from Red Rock Brewing Co and their head brewer Kevin Templin who stunned the audience by not only winning five medals but Large Brewpub and Brewer of the Year!

This is huge for Utah's image as a legitimate beer producing region. So often when I speak to people from other states and countries about our beer, they balk at our miserable alcohol restrictions and poo-poo the very thought that varying styles of 4.0% beers can be made consistently and still be palatable.

Kevin and Red Rock were not the only ones to get good news from their piers in Denver. Squatters received two medals. A Silver for it's new Organic Amber Ale and a gold for it's IPA. India Pale Ales are one of the most popular styles in states. And this one is consistently ranked as one of the best.

The final medal winner is is from Hopppers Grill & Brewing out of Midvale, Ut. They're not as consistent in the medal categories as some but they are no strangers to winning hardware and do an excellent job of producing good beer. They achieved a gold medal with they're Lil' Pips Mild Ale. I had never tried it 'till last Thurs and was happy that a light session drinker like that could win a gold.

Those are the highlights for now. In the coming days; war stories and pics from GABF. Cheers!

Hoppers Grill & Brewing Co.Lil' Pip's Mild AleUTGold English Style Dark Mild Ale or English-Style Brown Ale
Redrock Brewing Co.Munich DunkelUTBronze European Style Dark/Münchner Dunkel
Redrock Brewing Co.Organic ZwickelbierUTGold Cellar or Unfiltered Beer
Redrock Brewing Co.Redrock ReveUTSilver Belgian Style Strong Specialty Ale
Redrock Brewing Co.Redrock Nut Brown AleUTSilver American Style Brown Ale
Redrock Brewing Co.Redrock Black BierUTSilver German Style Schwarzbier
Utah Brewers CooperativeSquatters IPAUTGold English-Style India Pale Ale
Utah Brewers CooperativeSquatters Organic Amber AleUTSilver Bitter or Pale Mild Ale

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


If your going to the Great American Beer festival this weekend and you haven't got your tix, you may be screwed. I found out earlier this morning that most of the sessions have sold out completely! This has left many scrambling to get what ever tix they can find. Yours truly included. My wife and I have been attending GABF for the last nine years and in that time we have never had any trouble buying tix the day of any given session. Looks like the scalpers are going make a killing this weekend. If we make it in, I'll hopefully post some pics next week. Pray for us all.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Due to shitty weather the Utah Brewers Festival has been cancelled. Apparently it's going to be snowy and miserable. I think the organizers made the right call for everyone involved. If you've already purchased an $8.00 festival ticket, you can receive a refund from October 8 - 26, 2007:
1. Bring your ticket to the Gallivan Center on Saturday, October 6 between 11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
2. Bring your ticket to the Tracy Aviary during business hours. Liberty Park - SE corner 589 East 1300 South.
Check back in the coming months for a date and time for the 2008 Utah Brewers Festival.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

De Ranke XX Bitter

Home brewers are some of the most innovative and passionate people on the worlds beer stage. Some of the best beers/breweries in the world got a kick-start from a local guy or gal doing something unique in their kitchen or garage.

That's the story behind XX Bitter. Nino Bacelle and Guido Devos, two friends turned a weekend obsession into a classic, craft brewing story. For a few hours on Friday and Saturday; every week, the marvelous turn-of-the-century Deca Brewery in West Flanders is turned over to the De Ranke brewers, who make small batches of what many consider to be one of the best specialty beers of Belgium. Their beers are robust and flavorful, and famous for their massive hoppiness.

Poured a creamy off white head that caps a hazy gold color. The nose is moderate blend of grassy/floral hops with a slight honey/grain character beneath. The taste has a nice sharp bitterness to it that turns a little astringent. Grassy hops are very prominent. Not much in the way of malt character; maybe a little toasted biscuit. The beer is pretty dry with a light feel. Overall I am a little torn by this beer, I love hoppy beers but lack of malt character left it a little stale at the end. Maybe it's just not as fresh as it should be. If you like Orval Trapist Ale; you'll find this similar. Think of it as Orval on steroids. 6.0% abv. Available at The Bayou in 330 ml bottles.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus

Lovers of Belgian Beers rejoice! A new score of bière de la Belgique has silently crept it's way into Salt Lake City. Mark over at the Bayou has brought in some hard to find labels that may pique your interests.

I haven't tried them all, but I'll review them as I can. Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus is without a doubt the most "authentic" Lambic I've ever tried. Poured into a Chimay goblet an amber/grapefruit hue with a moderate amount of champagne bubbles. The nose was musty with vinegar and raspberries. My first taste was a full mouth swig that immediately gave me lock jaw. The tartness at the beginning was immense with lemon and raspberry and never let up. The body however was light and the carbonation subsisted as it warmed. I'm glad I got to try it but the tartness is a little too overpowering for my pallet. If you want a dry, 100% textbook, original lambic try it. But if your afraid of your lips puckering into infinity, stay back. Cheers.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Support Your Local Brewers

When I discovered last year that our local beer fest was in danger of going away, I was curious about what would be required to take the helm and try to resurrect Brewers Festival. Well let me tell you, it takes a lot. They require a strong commitment and a lot of time. From high costs to staffing, security, permits, toilets, etc; it can be a huge undertaking.

That being said, I'm sooo glad that local beer champion Greg Reid had the time and desire to shoulder the burdens. So, to thank Greg for a thankless job, get you asses out to the Gallivan Center Oct 6th and support you local breweries; While helping out the Tracy Aviary.

The event features live entertainment, food as well as celebrating Utah's award winning craft beer industry. All of Utah’s micro-breweries are invited, each offering three of their finest beers. Participants are encouraged to ask the brewery’s questions and to experience the varied blends and creations. Something that has been missing in recent years is the return of the commemorative refillable mug for participants 21 and older. As usual each Brewers tent will only accept script tickets. These can be purchased near the food tents for a dollar per ticket(I assume).

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Red Rock, Rocks

At our state and county fairs the are no competitions for beers and brewing. I get it. That's how the predominant culture wants it, and I expect no change anytime soon. However, many other states do allow home and commercial brewers to compete at state & county fairs. California is one of those states.

I was surprised to find that Red Rock Brewing Company entered some of their beers at the 2007 Los Angeles County Fair Commercial Beer Competition, the country’s largest annual county fair. Red Rock left Los Angeles with a gold medal for its Nut Brown Ale in the American Style Brown Ale category; a silver medal for Red Rock Organic Zwickel Bier (an organic pilsner); and a bronze medal in the Rye Ale competition for Red Rock Roggen Rock. Not bad considering some of the best breweries in the world are located in Cali. Hopefully they'll offer some of these at the Utah Brewers Fest and The Great American Beer festival next month. Congrats Red Rock crew!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Utah Brewers Festival

Last month someone asked me when the Utah Brewers Festival was going to be held, I embarrassingly said it was on indefinite hiatus. Well, apparently the hiatus is over. Jamie Burnham: Manager at the Beer Nut, kindly informed me that the elusive, somewhat annual, local beer soiree is on.

The Utah Brewers Festival will be held on Saturday Oct. 6th from 11am to 10pm featuring breweries from all over the state. Tickets are $8.00 in advance and $12.00 day of and can be purchased at participating breweries until October 5th.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bad Taste

Any sane adult will agree that kids and alcohol don't mix. But sanity is a relative term on both sides of the alcohol argument. Is it sane to label a malt beverage so it looks like a typical energy drink? Probably not. Is it sane to regulate a product because of it's flavor content? Again, probably not. Well, if your from Utah or have ever spent any time here you know the sanity is a term that at best is controlled by the insane.

The argument here deals with the premise that the more palatable an alcoholic beverage is the more regulation it deserves. And should these "tasty" beverages be removed from the shelves of grocery and convenient stores and placed into the state's liquor agency to be taxed and sold as heavy beer (beer containing more that 4.0% abv). These restrictions would also make it illegal for taverns to sell them.

And how are these tea- totaling mensas going to differenciate between a bottle of Mike's Hard Lemonade and bottle of Wasatch's Raspberry Wheat Beer. The line is too God-Damn thin.

Utah's laws on beer, wine and liquor are beyond convoluted; and this attempt at fogging an already distorted landscape in a knee-jerk reaction to control a problem that may or may not exist, could easily be addressed by attentive store managers and 25 cent signs.

If the Attourney General has such a hard-on for helping the children, maybe he should start with alcohol education or involving himself with more serious teen related problems, like why 41% of high school student can't pass the state's math test.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Great American Beer Festival

One of the best things about being a beer lover is the ability to enjoy a variety of flavors and styles that represent cultures and techniques from all over the world. In the coming weeks one of the best opportunities to sample some of the best and worst of America's Beers; as well as American interpretations on international styles makes it's annual return to Denver, Co.

If you've never been & truly love beer this is a must. For three days you can take-in what ever the American beer culture has to offer. From brewing techniques, to pairings, to cooking. The GABF has what your inner beer geek needs. Oh yeah and drinking beer.

The GABF runs from Thurs Oct 11th to the 13th. From Salt Lake, it's roughly a five to six hour drive with fairly cheap accommodations available. Tix start a t $45 per session.
GABF will serve over 1,600 beers (in one-ounce tasting portions) from 380 American breweries to the event's expected 40,000 attendees. The list of beers is the largest array of US beers ever gathered together in one setting.

Since our local beer fest has been nixed you really should take this opportunity to immerse yourself in beerdom. If you plan on attending drop us a line and let's try to hook up. Cheers!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Molson Coors Wants In

In yet another sign that the craft brew industry is enduring itself to the worlds population comes the announcement that Denver based Molsen Coors Brewing Co.(one of the worlds largest brewers) has formed a small brewing subsidiary called AC Golden Brewing Co. to cultivate above-premium products, joining other large brewers searching for a way to gain a bigger share of the fast-growing market segment already thick with brews and craft beer.

Coors Brewing said the brand incubation brewery would introduce products by rolling them out in a slow, deliberate fashion, similar to the way it launched it's "above-premium beer" Blue Moon White Belgian Ale.

Details on when it will become operational have not been released. Company spokeswoman Aimee Valdez said in an e-mailed statement Thursday that Blue Moon will not be absorbed by AC Golden Brewing.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Michael Jackson Passes Away

Famed Beer Author and enthusiast Michael Jackson reportedly passed away at his home in London, England yesterday. Jackson authored more than a dozen books and helped bring beer out of the working class stereotype that had shadowed it for more more than a century. He was arguably the foremost authority on beer and whiskey in the world, and made it his life’s work to identify and describe the ever growing styles and characters of crafted, artisans beers from every corner of the globe. I had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Jackson on a few occasions. He was a man who was always in demand and yet made time for casual beer geek talk.
He will be greatly missed

Oktoberfest at Snowbird

It's been a brutal month here at Utah Beer. I've been scouring the state looking for good beer related crap and coming up with bupkiss. Finally. A lil' sumpin-sumpin to talk about. Snowbird's three decades long Bavarian themed Oktoberfest resumes once again. This year marks the 35th anniversary of our locally produced Oktoberfest, which will take place weekends at the resort center Aug. 25-Oct. 7.

So strap on your lederhosen, cram your alpenhorn in to the back of of your Honda and join the 70,000 visitors that'll consume tens of thousands of brats and weisswurst. Along with hundreds of kegs of local suds. I'm not sure yet if an actual Oktoberfest style beer will be available, but I'm checking.

Monday, July 16, 2007

In like a Lion

The Czech's love they're beer. They have one of the highest per-capita beer consumption rates in the world and created what has become the most popular beer style in the world. The Pilsner. Utahans love their beer as well. Even though we have one of the lowest per-capita beer consumption rates in North America, and a claim-to-fame of having some of the weakest beer around. So, what could tie these two apparently different beer drinking cultures together?

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and communism in Europe ended. It opened up Western markets that had been denied to some of the best breweries in the world for nearly four decades. Transitioning to free-market brought on new challenges to brewers who were eager to get they're products out to a Host of new international distributors.

In the early ’90s, Lev importer Milena Harvey—a Czech—had married an American and moved to the United States. As she looked for work, she noticed a market thick with good beer. But the only Czech beer available to the U.S. market was Pilsner Urquell. Harvey knew that dozens of quality beers were brewed in her homeland. So, she thought, “Why not import some here?” One of those brews was Lev. “We tried to introduce the beer to as many places as possible,” including Utah, says Harvey, who is based in Pleasanton, Calif. “Lev was just kind of an afterthought,” she says.

But Utah’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the state agency responsible for buying and selling all alcohol over 4.0 percent A.B.V, chose Lev first. They're explanation was that the beer is of good quality, is priced well and there are few similar beers on the market.

Distributed in 12 states, Lev has, for some inexplicable reason, made its biggest splash in the Salt Lake City market. It sells better here than anywhere in the country, says Harvey. Every year since it was introduced to Utah in 1995, the beer’s sales have increased. In 2006, the state consumed 10,000 cases.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Beer & Air

If you like clean air and beer(shit who doesn't). You may have to sacrifice a little bit of one for the other. Retail prices for beer at supermarkets and other stores were up 3% in May from a year earlier, the biggest increase in 2½ years, according to the latest data from the Labor Department. Those going out on the town will also pay more for suds. Prices for beer consumed away from home were up 3.8% in May from a year earlier.

The gains are in part a result of rising costs for malting barley, one of the main ingredients in our beloved beer. So, "why is barley suddenly so expensive"? Well a booming ethanol market is to blame. "But Mikey, they don't use barley in the production of ethanol". That's correct my friend, corn is the main distillate for ethanol. All those farmers and ranchers that use corn for their livestock feed are finding that corns availability isn't what it once was and are now looking to other food sources(Wheat and barley) to supplement the needs of they're livestock.

We pay a lot for beer as it is in Utah. And I know that it'll get worse before it gets better. I Just hope paying a little more in this case is a sign things are improving on some environmental front.

Friday, June 29, 2007

More Headaches

The other week I wrote about a report that the DABC was going to be changing the pricing structure at the state owned liquor outlets. Be prepared for some new headaches in the way the same ol' taxes are collected. The Trib has a detailed explanation of the ensuing, added confusion to come. Good Luck out there.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Brewer Wanted

Bohemian Brewery has an opening for a Brewer at their brewery in Salt Lake City, Utah. Practical brewing experience in a professional environment or comparable industrial experience is welcome. The position includes duties in all departments of the brewery, from brewing, cellar operations and packaging to warehouse. Bohemian Brewery is an equal opportunity employer. Interested applicants please fax their resumes and cover letters to the following number:, or send via email to
jpetras@bohemianbrewery.com or pete@bohemianbrewery.com .

Friday, June 22, 2007

Tapped for a Tap?

Need a Kegorator? Well I sure as shit do! The problem at my camp always seems to revolve around the lack of pesos in the "keep Mikey in beer fund". So if your "tapped" for a tap I've found nice people who want to help. Well... at least one of us. The happy people at Keggerators.net are giving away a fine single dispensing keggerator to one lucky contest participant. The contest runs from June 1, 2007 - August 1, 2007 and all you have to do is explain why you deserve it. I think it'll look great in my living room, next to my easy chair.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Utah Breweries Crack The Top 50

If there's anything to be said about my rants on Utah beer, it's that I'm a little touchy on the perceptions people have about our local suds. Whether it has to do with measuring alcohol by volume/weight, or the good ol' "Oh, I thought your state was dry" shtick. I do my best to get out and preach the good word.

Now, it's common knowledge that Utahan's consume less beer than any other state or province in North America. It's sad but true. But even though we consume less than others, statistics recently released by the Brewers Association, show that two of Utah's breweries rank 47th & 49th out of just under 1400 craft breweries in sales. Nearly 80% of all craft beer sales come from these 50 companies. Those aren't bad numbers for a state that's mistakenly known for it's "shitty" beer.

Wasatch(Brewers Co-op) and Uinta's respective sales match their awards and accolades totaling into the triple digits.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Please Stop Helping!!!!

It has been brought to my attention, that in an attempt to make beer, wine and liquor seem cheaper; the D.A.B.C. is going to start adding the state tax at the cash register instead of including it on the shelf tag. Hmm. Well, look at it this way. At least now you'll know how much they're actually screwing you.


Sadly... this is still not the case in Utah.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Highlights & Lowlights

It was a blast at this years Mountain Brewers Fest. The Utah delegation showed up in full-force. Here's a few of your representatives.
And by the way, big thanks goes to Rob for being the D.D.