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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Uinta Brewing's New Line of Beers

If you've been paying attention to Utah's craft beer scene over the last 12 months you've noticed that there's been huge momentum from breweries and brewpubs to move beyond Utah's famed low alcohol beers.

Now we all know that Utah brewers have been brewing higher ABV beers for years, but the recent explosion in the desire to produce big beers is only being fueled by the publics craving for them.

The Utah Brewers Coop is seeing record sales with it's Hop Rising 2IPA and people in and out of the beer industry are taking notice. The game has changed and everyone is getting involved. The Utah Brewers Coop has clearly been leading the way with nearly a dozen high ABV labels to their credit. Squatters Brewpub has done some as well, along with RedRock, Wasatch Brewpub - Even Hoppers will have some high Abv Labels out soon.

Uinta Brewing company has been in the "big beer" game for a while. Their Barleywine is still Utah's biggest beer to date, annually coming in at around 10-11%. As well as their Anglers pale ale and Monkshine Belgian style Pale.

Uinta has been curiously absent from our local "beer renaissance" but no longer. Now comes word that Uinta will finally be amping-up it's game and will begin to commit to a line of big - bottle conditioned beers.

Starting early 2010 Uinta will begin production on a line of premium beers unlike anything seen in Utah. The "super premium beers" will be small batched - high alcohol beers in the 12-15% ABV range - Aged in oak barrels and cork finished.

The debut line-up is rumored to consist of an Imperial Stout(Utah's first), an Imperial IPA and a regular release of Uinta's Bourbon Barrel Barleywine; which was a bit of a phenomenon in the local beer scene.

I just hope that that 12%-15% is an exaggeration. In my opinion when beers get that boozy they start to become more of a novelty and less of a premium. I guess we'll wait and see. What are your thoughts?

These new additions, along with all the other fine brews that they do, will help to eliminate the popular and misinformed bias that Utah just can't do beer well.


Photo Courtesy: Aubry Sun


Douglas said...

Wow! Now that's what I'm talking about! It's about time, and considering how awesome the Uinta BW is, I can't see this as being anything but awesome. I'd love an Imperial Stout to come out, especially if it's barrel aged, and I'll buy loads of them. In terms of the ABV, I don't think we have anything to worry about. If they have a range in mind, I doubt it starts at 12%, but who knows. Higher ABV stuff can be done really well. Such as: Struise Black Albert
Black Hole
The Angels Share
Behemoth Barley Wine
Here's a list of the strongest beers in the world. Many are great:

Carlos said...

I'm totally down for an Imperial Stout. I think this is really lacking in the Utah area, and I KNOW we have brewers that can make a spectacular one.

However, I agree about the 15% ABV. It's important to not get all carried away, as I think a lot of times this is more of a "hey, look at me" stat. Other factors are, IMO, what makes a great beer.

I also, however, am getting tired of "bourbon barrel aged", as I think I've noted before on this blog. It can work, and it can work really well. But, like the ABV, let's not get carried away and think everything is better because it's barrel aged.

With that said, I'll definitely try whatever they put out, and look forward to drinking something awesome.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see more big beers, but how about some more local IPA's? I can count just 2, Squatters IPA and their Double IPA. Samuel Smith ain't got shit on the Squatters IPA, but I'm not always in the mood for a British style IPA. I'd like to see some American IPA's in the vein of Stone IPA, Racer 5 and Lagunitas made right here in Utah.

Douglas said...

^ Oh man, there are a ton of other IPAs in Utah. I'd like to again point out that the IPA I had at Hoppers a while back was really good. Uinta makes the Trader IPA. Etc. Moab's Double IPA was awesome, but didn't make it up north. I'd like to see that beer bottled in 12 ounces and sold more widely.

Thirsty Andy said...

Hmm. Any new beer is good news. I too agree...any beer over 8 or 9 percent I'm likely to buy once just to try it, but I rarely buy those beers twice. It just sucks to drink a beer that gets you so toasty that you can't fully enjoy a second, and third, and fourth.
I hope local brewers won't take it to the extreme other end, just because they've been limited to the extreme lower end in the past. I'm a believer in classic styles. If you want to brew an IPA, brew it at 5.5 to around 7 percent. It's not an IPA if it's 4%, I don't care what you say about its hop aroma. If you want to brew an ESB, brew it around 5-6%. If you want to brew an Irish stout, brew it at 4%. My point is, I hope local brewers start producing some awesome stuff without worrying about 4% limits or pushing the upper envelope either. Just make it good.
I hope some awesome beers come out of this. I'll admit I didn't care much for the BBB. I love wood in my beer when it's well done, but this one really didn't do it for me.
I'm just waiting for a local brewer who's willing to take on the challenge of a properly made gueuze or old ale. Who's gonna be willing to take the time and storage space to produce these beers? Will Epic be first?

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of good IPA's available in our liquor stores, but few good local ones ( I can't stand Trader, Desert Edge, and other stuff that's crippled by Utah's laws, they just don't compare to the good stuff at all). Full Sail's is pretty good, especially for the fantastic price. I don't know what the deal is here, since most good beer costs an arm and a leg, but for some reason Full Sail and Sierra Nevada are priced perfectly in Utah. I love both Squatters IPA's, but we could really use a few more. I'd rather see a new normal ABV American style IPA though than an imperial to compete with Hop Rising. As far as an imperial stout though, oh please god YES let it happen.

Andy said...

Anon: Jenny Talley is your god. And god is making it happen. -Oracle Andy

Ricky H. said...

I can't wait 'til a few Imperial Stouts come out locally. There is (or was) a serious lack here, that's why I spent so much time and money on getting my home-brewed one just how I like it. I fully expect our micro breweries will blow mine out of the water, save me some time brewing it myself.