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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.