Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Best Utah Beers You Probably Never Had

When we talk beer here, I generally try to limit the topics to local beers and breweries or to suds available to Utahans. Which isn't always easy. I get it. Utah isn't exactly a "beertopia".

Sometimes it's tough having such a narrow topic, but I'm constantly surprised about who much there is to talk about. Plus it does no good when we're constantly being put down by word-of-mouth, from people who wouldn't know a good beer from their own asses. Because we get such a bad-rap about our local suds, I feel occasional reminders are needed to dispel the myths.
Many people from outside of the Zion Curtain are frankly just stunned by the fact that we actually have beer here. And the notion that the beer we have is actually tasty; is just beyond their comprehension. So I decided to throw out three of Utah greatest accomplishments in the art of brewing. Unfortunately, unless your a beer-geek-gnerd-snob-dweeb or dork you may have never heard of...or tried any of these.

The First beer is what looks to be a regular seasonal from RedRock Brewing. Rêve debuted in the fall of '07 to much praise from beer enthusiasts and consumers alike. Rêve received the bronze medal at the '06 Great American Beer Festival and the silver medal in '07. Before ever seeing a consumers chalice. Rêve pronounced Reev is a Belgian style triple that's oak aged.... Well 'till brew master Kevin Templin says it's ready.
This fine ale pours alight 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. 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.

Next comes what is possibly Utah's highest rated beer ever. Squatters' Fifth Element is a colaborational brew that was many years in the making. With input from some of Americas finest brewers, brew master Jennifer Talley crafted a masterful representation of the Saison style that in just a few short months has risen to the top of heap on ratebeer.com's best Saisons. A hell of an achievement considering the company that it keeps. No word yet on if Fifth Element will be made again.
Pours a cloudy apricot/straw color with a fizzy white head that reduced to a thin froth. The nose has a bit a of barnyard funkiness to it, with hints of lemon. The tastes starts with light citrus notes then transitions intotart green apples and peach. Next comes a dry oakiness that compliments the tartness well.The finish is a combination a champagne like dryness and bitter florals. Light and dry but highly drinkable. It's 6.75% ABV is well hidden.

Last is what may be the best beer made in Utah that you never got a chance to try. Back in '05 Uinta Brewing Company purchased a batch of spent Bourbon and Sherry barrels with the intent of experimenting with their Anniversary barley wine. After two years of aging in the American whiskey and sherry, the result was one of the most complex yet smooth ales ever to come from a Utah brewery. Labeled simply BBB (Bourbon Barrel Barleywine) this phenomenal effort was never intended to see the light of day on store shelves. It was instead given out as a promotional gift to out of state beer distributers and brewing companies. As well as being entered in the Stockholm beer and whiskey festival. Were it received high marks.
How did I come by it? Well, let's just say it made an appearance at an out of state beer festival. If you know of a bottle or know how to get your hands on one, snatch it up. You've found a very rare and precious thing. Steve at Uinta said "there is no intent to ever put BBB into production" but also said, "you never know".
Pours a dark amber/orange with a thin cap of foam. The nose was a nice perfume of Bourbon, malt and vanilla. The taste started with hazelnut and sweet malt. Next comes smooth Bourbon with dark ripe fruits; raisin and fig.The finish had a rounded, well hidden boozy mix of whiskey and pine.

Let me know if you've tried any of these, or if you think that there's a beer out there worth mentioning as exceptional. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lost on the Boulevard

First off let me preface today's "beer spewage" by saying "I can't find these beers!"However much as I'd like, I can't tell you anything about them. So, I need your help in tracking them down! Anyway, I have It under good authority ("AndytheJerk" & Carlson Distribution) that Boulevard Brewing Co. out of Kansas City, Missouri has entered the SLC market with two of it's six; year-round beers.

Founded in 1989, Boulevard Brewing Company has grown to become the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest.

Boulevard's American-style Wheat Beer and their Lunar unfiltered Brown Ale are said to be available at right now at Macey's Foods and Reams. I don't have either of these stores near my home, and the stores I have visited have turned up bupkis. I called Carlson Distribution, they assured me that they are available, but couldn't be specific about exactly which stores are carrying them. So please brothas & sistas help me help you. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twelth Beer o' Xmas'08: Moose Drool

I don't know about you guys, but the Twelve Beers o' Xmas '08 has so far made me younger, smarter and much more attractive to women.... Wait. Hold on for a moment please..........My wife has just informed me that "This is not the case" and that I'm still asleep.

Okay, while I still may be suffering the effects the last eleven days, I think my palate may still be on track(I hope). So for the last beer, I'm gunna leave you with a treat that was denied to Utahans for far too long. So, for the Twelfth Beer o' Xmas that the Beer Lush pushed on thee. Moose Drool from Big Sky Brewing.

This is one of those beers that for years was constantly being smuggled in to the state by fans who loved it's rich flavor and kitchy name. Now It's available to y'all statewide.

Pours a clear deep brown with red highlights. The head is a firm, tan pillow two fingers in size. The nose is of fresh bread, roasted malt and caramel. The taste starts out sweet malty and a little smokey, bit of chocolate too. This dries up fairly quickly and switches to mild malt with a moderate amount of bitterness. Big chocolate flavor and fruity yeast are present in the end. Good full mouthfeel. Drinkability is easily the strong point of this beer. Moose Drool just seems to hit all the right notes, making it a damn good drinker anytime of the year. One of the easiest drink'n beers to come into the market in a while. Cheers and Happy Holidays!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Eleventh Beer o'Xmas '08: Samichlaus

All I have to say for today is "14.0%"... Well that's not all I have say. I mean c'mon what kind of beer dork would I be if I didn't spew forth a little more of this "Diarrhea of the Pie-hole" that I call beer information. Anyway, yeah that's right today's beer packs one hell of kick in the groin.

Once upon a time this was the strongest beer in the word according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Now, it's not even in the top ten. Still this is one potent som'bitch.
Samichlaus hails from Austria where it's brewed only once a year, on December 6th. It's stored and matured afterwards for over 10 months before it is bottled. Samichlaus is strong enough where it can mature for many years which many would say(including myself) brings out it's best qualities.

Ahemm. The third Beer o' Xmas that the Beer Lush pushed on thee. Samichlaus from Brewery Castle Eggenberg.

Pours a dark, clear orange/amber with not much of a head that turns to zero head.
The nose is like a fruity rum punch apple, maple, orange peel, molasses and toffee.
The taste is quite sweet. it's starts with a rich buttery maple syrupy caramel. Next comes brown sugar, pear, raisin, plum, fig and cooked apples. The finish is sweet and boozy with a little vanilla and oak. The carbonation is very soft and it feels a little slick in the mouth. It has Qualities similar to Gand Marnier and is available throughout Utah. Kippis!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tenth Beer o' Xmas '08: Orval Trappist Ale

This is perhaps one of the best beers in the world. It's readily available throughout Utah and if you've never tried it.... well then shame on you! This beer and it's monastery has quite the long history.

The monastery was born from an act of gratitude around 1070 A.D. The Countess Mathilda of Tuscany was widowed and her wedding ring had accidentally fallen into a fountain. She prayed to the Lord and at once a trout rose to the surface with her precious ring in its mouth. Mathilda exclaimed "Truly this place is a Val d'Or!" Which I gather means "Fuck'n Awesome!" In gratitude, she decided to establish a monastery on the site.

Beer has been brewed at the monastery since it was founded. However, the beer we enjoy now has it's roots in the 1930's with some English influences, such as the infusion brewing and "dry-hopping". This results in a beer whose characteristic aroma and taste are owed more to the hops and to the yeasts than the malts. So. With that brief glimpse of Catholic history all out of the way, the Tenth Beer o' Xmas that the Beer Lush Pushed on thee is....Duhhh.

Pours a rich dark orange color with a dense two fingers of foam.
The nose is malty with fruity esters, Belgian yeast, honey and some mild lemon.
The taste starts with a light malt sweetness blended well with lemon, tart apples, and some barnyard yeastiness. The end is full of hops with a slight tartness that lasts through to a dry finish. Nice moderate carbonation.
This ale manages to pulls off the neat trick of being very mild and subtle, yet deeply complex. A true world class beer. L'chaim!

Ninth Beer o' Xmas'08: Wasatch WinterFest

For the Ninth Beer o' Xmas that the beer lush pushed on thee, Wasatch's Winterfest!
This a a brand new offering from Wasatch and man is it yummy.

Pours a clear ruby color with a moderate fluffy off-white cap of foam. The nose is bright with citrus and pine with subtle spicy caramel malt beneath. The flavor starts out with grapefruity hops and a bit of orange zest. Next comes a faint hint of gingerbread then transitions to a rich maltiness. I think there may be a little roatiness in there as well. Very nicely balanced with a well hidden 7.1% abv.

This is one of the best beers to come from Wasatch in the last few years. This is only a seasonal so stock up. Everyone I've talked to that's tried this gives it high marks.
Kampai!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Eighth beer o' Xmas '08: RedRock's Griswald's Holiday Ale

When me thinks of the words Griswald and Holidays usually the first thing that pops into my tiny mind is the movie Nation Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and that great shower scene with Beverly De Angelo. Secondly, I remember that the shower scene in question actually happened in the movie National Lampoon "Vacation". Then thirdly, I become sad for a moment, then I go back to imagining the shower scene.

Well much to my wife's delight I now have an additional image to occupy the vacuum that is my mind when those two words are uttered together. So on this, the 20th of December 2008, The Eighth Beer o' Xmas that the Beer Lush pushed on thee is Griswald's Holiday Ale from RedRock.

Pours a clear golden amber color with a thin cap of foam. The nose is mostly of nutmeg and cloves with touch of maltiness beneath. The taste starts out with malty then the spices kick in. Nutmeg and Clove are very pronounced then transitions into a Cinnamon spiciness. The finish is bright and piney. This bitch screams Hallelujah! Jebus I'm coming home! Available on tap at Redock's SLC and Park City Locations as well as the Bayou until Christmas. De Angelo!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Seventh Beer o' Xmas'08: Squatters' IPA

One of the best craft beers made in Utah is also one of the best craft beers in the U.S. Squatters India Pale Ale is a multi award winning brew that is perfect drinking year round.

So, the seventh beer o' Xmas that the beer lush pushed on thee... Squatters IPA!!!

Poured a golden copper color with a thick solid cap. The nose was a perfume of fresh hop cones. Very piney and flowery with a tiny hint of pale malt beneath. The taste was fresh with notes of spruce needle, grapefruit zest and flower petal. An ample amount of dry and roasted malts compliment nicely the fresh hoppiness. The finish was dry and leafy with a body that has a medium feel. This is an awesome IPA The ample amount of hops mask the alcohol well and provide for a great session. Definitely check this one out. Did I mention the fresh hops? 6.0% ABV. Salud!!!

Picture stolen from the Sunday Beer Club. Thanks Don.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sixth Beer o' Xmas '08: Delirium Nocturnum

Thanks for hangin' in there everyone. We're at the half-way point of our journey on the inebriation express. Next stop, Pink Elephants. Right about now, you should be seeing these demons of the drink; if not? you will be soon.

Singing... The Sixth Beer of Xmas, that the beer lush pushed on thee.... Delirium Nocturnum! This strong, dark beauty hails from Belgium and has a bit of a kick to it. So be respectful or that Pink Elephant will be showing you the business end of that trunk. Mark Alston knows what I mean... Eh Mark???

Pours a dark brown with amber highlights. Two fingers of foam quickly fade to a thin cap. The nose is of apple, dark fruit, bubble gum, maltiness and spices. The flavor starts slightly sweet, with musky malts and an earthy spiciness. The end has some prunes with a mild tartness to it. Alcohol is noticeable and it finishes dry. Creamy and medium-bodied in the mouth. A good Belgian dark ale. Definitely worth a try, especially for lovers of the Belgian style.

Fifth Beer o' Xmas '08: Rype From Four+

The fifth beer o' Xmas that the beer lush pushed on thee is Rype from Four+. This is a strange but good locally made brew. It has all the characteristics of a Belgium Witbier, without the "Wit-ness". For some reason it looks more like a Pale Ale. But that does nothing to detract from it's taste.

Poured a very clear amber-tinted golden color with a thick, frothy two fingers of head. The nose is of orange zest, yeasty breads and coriander. The taste started with orangey twang that transitions to a malty wheat backbone. Yeasty notes come next with a finish that was spicy and lemony. The mouthfeel is nice and creamy. Nicely balanced. It’s 4.0% abv makes it a great session beer.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fourth Beer o' Xmas '08: Mikkeller's From/To

The fourth beer o' Xmas come to us from The Mikkeller Brewery in Kobenhavn, Denmark. The guys at Mikkeller have become true Rock Stars in the international beer community after just a few years. Their success is partly due to the breweries focus on creating challenging beers that test the boundaries of conventional styles and where quality always comes before quantity.

Mikkeller Beers are quite hard to get a hold of in Utah. As far as I know The Bayou is the only place selling them, and Salt Lakers are sucking them down.

That being said. The fourth Beer o' Xmas that the beer lush pushed on thee is Mekkeller's From/To. This is a hard one to describe. It's classified as a Baltic Porter. But if I were to describe it, I would say, "If a nice British Porter knocked-up a Belgian Strong ale. From/To would be the progeny. Or the little-shit in this case".

Pours a dark black color with a nice finger of tan colored head that remained for quite a while.
The nose has notes of coffee, roasted malt, moist-dark fruit topped with a subtle dose of floral hops. The flavor starts with coffee, chocolate and a hint of smoke. Next comes plum, cloves and a hint of maraschino cherries. The end has a warm booziness to it with just a hint of orange peel. Any detectable bitterness comes from the roasted malts not much in the way hops.
Looks much heavier than it is. Moderate body with low carbonation lend a semi-creamy texture. ABV is at 8.0%. Skaal!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Wee Heavy Third Beer O' Xmas '08

The first and second beers o' Xmas were a bit on the leafy side. Sorry, that's just my pallet I guess. But don't worry Doug, I promise a nice variety in the coming days. So today I thought we'd move to the opposite end of the spectrum(so-to-say) and try something somewhat sweeter. A scotch Ale, or as some would call a Wee Heavy. These have a much more pronounced malty caramel and roasted malt flavor. As well as a low tea-like bitterness. They'll defiantly warm your cockles or your cocklettes if your a woman.

So, the third beer of Xmas that the beer lush pushed on thee: Traquair's House Ale.

Pours a Deep Amber/Brown colors with a very thin cap of foam.
The nose is very Earthy with a Musty Yeastiness and Dark Fruits
The taste starts with Caramel/Toffee and biscuit malts next comes an Earthy Peatiness with a very mild amount smoke flavor. A slight Black tea bitterness rounds out the end. Very little hop profile. It's a smooth and very drinkable beer at 7.2% abv. It's a modest beer for the most part, but it will warm you nicely. Slainte!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2nd Beer of Xmas '08: Rogue Yellow Snow


Well the snow has finally fallen. And with the fluffy white stuff comes the usual hazards. Black ice, dead batteries, Internet porn wrist and of course yellow snow. Now as twisted as I am, I would never recommend any of those to you. Except the porn. Have you guys ever seen that girl that does that one thing where she takes that Kiwano fruit and.... ahh... sorry. Maybe I'm getting a little off-topic here. Anyway as I was saying, I would not normally recommend any of those hazards to you, except for today. Today I must recommend that you my bothers and sisters in beer land consume yellow snow. Now in this case the mug o' piss is a delicious blessing. And should only be imbibed if contained within packaging such as that above.

So with that being said, the second beer of Xmas that the beer lush recommended to thee; Rogue's Yellow Snow IPA. Yellow Snow has been missing on liquor store shelves for a couple of years, but it's back in Utah now and it's pissier than ever!

Poures a semi-cloudy yellowish orange color with a thick pillow of head that stuck around throughout the beer. Tremendous lacing as well.
The nose is a nice airy and floral perfume with grapefruit hops and a bit of sweet malt.
The taste starts with big citrus notes out of the gate. Then Biscuity malts become noticeable in the background. The end has a hint of pine and florals. The finish is dry, bitter, and lingering. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice creamy oily slickness. Way over-balanced. And that why it's so good! it's like chewing on a grapefruit peel. Pure heaven. Prost!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Twelve Beers of Xmas '08: The Second Coming

Continuing a tradition started last holiday season, The Utah Beer Blog begins it's second year of The Twelve Beers of Xmas. This is an attempt to provide inspiration to Utah's beers lovers; to get out and try a new beer or at the very least revisit an old favorite. Ahhh, who am I kidding! this is about enjoying some good beers while trying to stay sane through-out the holidays. Anyway, starting today and continuing 'till Xmas eve. The recommended beers will be limited to those that are available to consumers in the State of Utah.

So with out further adieux....

The first beer of Xmas that the Beer Lush recommends to thee; Sierra Nevada's Anniversary Ale 2008. This is the first time this beer has been available in Utah.

It pours a hazy, honey-amber color with a stiff two fingers of soapy head. The head retention is excellent, leaving nice rings of lace. The nose is mostly of piney and floral hops with just a hint of malt in the back.
The taste starts dry and grassy with hints of lemon rind. Next comes a fruity and bready caramel malt foundation. The lemon and grassy bitterness returns in the end rounding it all out with a medium dry finish. What a nice beer! I knew Sierra Nevada would not disappoint, I loved this nice flavorful crispy seasonal beer.

It's classified as an American IPA but it feels more like an APA. It's 5.9% ABV gives it a medium body that complements the season well. Cheers!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Repeal Day!

Today marks 75 years since Prohibition was officially repealed in the United States with the ratification of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution. On December 5, 1933, a 3/4 majority of states needed to ratify the 21st Amendment was reached when Utah adopted the 21st Amendment. It not only officially ended national Prohibition which began with the 18th Amendment in 1919.

Today American consumers of legal drinking age have access to nearly 13,000 labels of beer from small regional microbrews to the largest multinational labels. I'd say we've rebounded quite well. Cheers!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Second Coming. Wa-Hoo!!!

It looks like Cache Valley Brewing is one step closer to becoming reality. Tuesday night, the Logan City Council voted to approve a brewpub in historic downtown Logan!!!

This won't be the first time the name Cache Valley Brewing has been established. Back in 1888 Jacob Theurer started the first Cache Valley Brewing. It served the people of Cache County until it closed up shop 1912. The brewery known as "Jake’s" was built on the north side of the present state highway on the south side of Johnson grove.

As the city increased in population more saloons were opened up and the liquor evil became so great that in 1909 there were about nine saloons doing business in Logan.

The agitation for the abolishment of the saloon evil became so intense that on December 23rd, 1909, an ordinance was passed by the City Council which prevented the sale or manufacture of liquors of any kind in Logan City.

The ordinance became effective January 3rd, 1910, and Logan was the first settlement in the Valley and one of the first in the state to adopt such a reform. Later the county passed a similar ordinance, then the Utah Legislature passed a prohibition law and finally, the National Prohibition Law was passed October 28th, 1919.

It is interesting to note that as early as 1882 the citizens of Logan started the movement for prohibition and were among the first to get it adopted. It would be a great Justice if CVB could re-open it's doors nearly a century after it was forced to close them. We'll try to keep you updated on CVB's status. Cheers!

Monday, December 01, 2008

New Brewery/brew pub in Logan???

Utah could be getting another brew pub soon! A new start-up brewery/brew pub is so far meeting little controversy. The brewery, which is just in the planning stages right now (Cache Valley Brewing) would potentially open up downtown next year.


Remember this is Utah. Even though we are making huge strides in the legalization of adulthood around the state. All thing alcohol will stir controversy. So, what's the stink? Odors. An individual raised a concern about the possibility of the brewery emitting odors that could "stink up" the downtown area and it actually saw some discussion during a city meeting.


Really.... offensive odors?.... in a restaurant! Do you seriously think anyone would invest in an endeavor knowing that it's signature menu option would emit questionable odors, while people are eating? Well at least it's original. I was expecting the whole, "it will turn our five year olds into raging alcoholics" shit. Well let's hope hope this project gets off the ground. Our friends in Cache County could use some craft beers close to home. Cheers!