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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Utah Craft Brands Remain Strong

As the year ends remember this. Even though beer sales have dipped slightly over the last year due to the economic crisis, sales figures continued to be healthy for craft beer brands, far greater then either imports or domestic macro beers.

And growth by dollars continued to rise, in part due to higher prices, but also due in part to the consumer’s willingness to pay a little bit more for better beer, as seen in the past months sales of local high ABV brands.

This essentially confirmed the recession-proof nature of beer, and especially craft beer. Many Local breweries are continuing to see excellent sales and sales growth in stark contrast to the big guys. Even expanding their operation into the coming year.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Accolades for Cutthroat

Congrats to Uinta Brewing on receiving a Silver Medal in the English-Style Bitter category for their Cutthroat Pale Ale at the The sixth annual European Beer Star Awards.

836 beers from more than 30 countries participated in the European Beer Star. 78 jurors awarded gold, silver and bronze medals in 41 categories.

Record attendance, was spurred on by a surge of foreign entries, which was 22% higher than the previous year. Submissions came from all continents: from Australia to Panama, from Russia to Thailand, from Brazil to the USA.

Uinta's Flagship beer is one of the most celebrated beers in the state. Sadly people from outside of Utah will only get to experience this great beer from within our borders. Due to some bullshit copyright laws. Oh well, more for us I guess.


Friday, December 25, 2009

My Xmas Present to You...

...is My favorite beer commercial ever! Sadly, I think the last time I even saw a Stroh's beer in Utah, Michael Jackson was still black. But to be honest I haven't been looking.

Thanks for all the support Utah craft beer lovers.

Cheers & Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

More Holiday Beers

As if you didn't have enough new beer options Desert Edge had to come along and give you All the Way Alt. This is a tasty German style ale,"Alt", with a copper color and slightly bitter and dry finish. There is a bit of toasted flavor in the finish as well. They also have on tap Downtown Nut Brown, although not for long. It is almost out. As well we have the Holiday Raspberry Stout and the Augustus Amber Ale.


If your thinking about getting some Outer Darkness or Paardebloem you'd better get on it. Both are flying out of their respective breweries. In the time I was at Squatters on Monday evening I watched at least eight cases walk out the door, and that's just when I was there.

If your wondering if you'll like O.D., it pores a thick, opaque ebony color with a good two fingers of dark copper colored foam.

The nose was heavy with coffee, chocolate, licorice and a hint of vanilla. Definite alcohol perfume in the end.

The taste starts with Chocolate covered raisins, followed by some underlying dark fruits. The sweetness fades into big roasted coffee and cocoa and finished up with a nice roasted vanilla malt taste.

The alcohol is noticeable but it doesn’t taste like a 10.5% beer. An amazing, full and complex Imperial Stout. The mouthfeel is thick and rich, you really get a sense for how heavy all of the ingredients are as you swish it around.

This has to be one of my favorite Utah beers of all time. The chocolate and coffee flavors are balanced perfectly. Best enjoyed in small sips where you can really savor and appreciate the great flavor and artistry in the brew.

Happy Holidays & Cheers!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Breakfast in a Glass

Tomorrow Hoppers is putting on tap Donovan's Irish Breakfast Stout. It combines an Oatmeal Stout with a Sweet 'Milk' Stout that contains unfermentable lactose milk sugars, then they added several pounds Millcreek Guatemalan coffee. Donovan uses their house London Ale yeast strain and are leaving it unfiltered, but still very bright.

The aroma starts with a rich full coffee aroma, oatmeal, chocolate, and slight fruitiness. The rich body is backed with flavors of creamed coffee and then a rich malty silky oatmeal. It finishes with a lingering Guatemalan Coffee Flavor and fresh milk chocolate and slight fruitiness. Let it warm a bit to get all the complex coffee flavors, oats, and fruity yeast aromas. It's breakfast in a pint!

Wow! What a great week for local craft beer.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bohemian's Schwenkelweiss Black Wheat

The Bohemian Brewery doesn't brew seasonal beers very often, so when they do it's definitely worth talking about. Today the boys at Bohemian are releasing their Schwenkelweiss Black Wheat. It utilizes a wide array of wheat malts to give the beer a fine chocolaty aroma and flavor, that's balances well with a refreshing wheat tang. Or so they say.

Another thing that makes this beer unusual for Bohemian is that it's nitrogen conditioned instead of the normal Co2. Which should add a nice silky mouthfeel to the brew.

This is looking to be a great week for new beers. Should be on the taps by the afternoon.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Two Big - New Releases

Today there are two big debuts on the Utah craft beer scene, so lets get right to it.

First off, we have RedRock's long awaited version of their collaboration beer Paardebloem (Flemish for Dandelion). This beer was brewed earlier in the year at RedRock & New Belgium breweries. While NB's version was released soon after brewing RR's went into American oak barrels for aging.

Inspired by the great hop shortage of 2008, dandelion greens were used as they have a natural bittering effect much like hops. The result is a blond ale brewed with toasted pilsener malt, flavored with fresh picked dandelion greens and grains of paradise.

Paardebloem is hazy and light gold in color with peachy/lemony nose. It has a unique floral bitterness with a big malty backbone. There is a touch of added sourness(intentional)that the New Belgium version lacks. This provides a nice balance for the big spicy/sweetness the ale carries.

The ABV is at 8.8% and sells for $15.00. Most importantly there are only 150 bottle available! So I don't have to tell you that this won't be around for much more than a couple of weeks. Only available for "in house" sales at RR's downtown SLC location.
Next we have Outer Darkness. This is the first commercially produced Imperial Stout brewed in Utah.

This beer is big all around. Big espresso notes, big cocoa, Big roastiness and big alcohol. 10.5% abv to be exact. This may put Outer Darkness very close to being Utah's strongest beer ever.

Squatters has 800 bottles and they will be $14.99 for sale at the table or out the door. For the best Outer Darkness drinking experience Brewmaster Jenny Talley recommends warming it to 45f before opening and pour the beer directly down the center of the glass without any tilt. This beer is big enough that it can be cellared for 1-3 years before resurrecting.

For sale at Squatters Pub downtown SLC and at Squatters Roadhouse Grill in Park City.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yet Another Distillery in Utah

Just weeks after the grand opening of the High West Distillery in Park City, comes word that another distillery is in the planning up in the mountain resort community.

Lespri Spirits would be the third entry into Utah's fledgling distilling community, behind the above mentioned High West and the newer Ogden's Own Distillery, makers of Underground; a J├Ągermeister-esque herbal liquor.

The founder of Club Lespri wants to start distilling vodka at their location in Prospector square, saying that it resembles in some ways the microbrewery market of years ago and that it could expand Park City's reputation as an imbibing place in a state that many outsiders perceive as being filled with teetotalers.

Scott Rogers, Club Lespri founder, said he wants the product to be "super premium botanical vodkas." According to his description, Lespri Spirits will purchase a neutral-grain spirit and then distill the spirit into vodka at the Sidewinder Drive restaurant-spa-health club.

Club Lespri has hired consultants to assist with the distillery, Rogers said, Club Lespri expects to test up to 12 recipes of vodka before deciding on five or six to produce and that the alcohols will be "vapor-infused vodka," but he does not consider them to be flavored vodkas.

Club Lespri is seeking state and federal permits to operate the distillery as it seeks an approval from City Hall. Rogers said he hopes the permits are granted by the end of 2009. Rogers wants to start making the vodka this winter and begin selling
the product by the end of the ski season.


Sourse: Jay Hamburger Park Record

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Menu and Attitude at the Wasatch Brewpub

Beer in America is not just the "working man's" drink any more. It has a much broader base that it's had, well...ever. Every style of beer produced around the world is available or recreated at some point every year in Utah.

With the demand for quality beers ever increasing brewpub owners are looking to complement their ales and lagers with cuisines that will make them shine.

Recently the Wasatch Brewpub in Park City brought on Chef Michael Jewell to create a new menu specifically designed to complement the wide range of beer that come from Wasatch's Brewhouse.

From Polygamy Porter Bratwurst Sandwiches to Pan seared Idaho Trout you'll find the right beer for the job.

And speaking of the right beer for the job. The Wasatch Brepub has it's Polygamy Porter on nitro tap right now. Think of it as the best mocha/espresso milk shake you could ever dream of, but better 'cause it's beer!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

1000 Brews & A Rare Night

In the nine years that the Bohemian Brewery has been around little has changed at the old world style Brewpub. Sure they've added a brand new brewery and canning line, but what comes out of the taps still remains the same.

Bohemian is all about tradition and they make some of the most authentic tasting lagers you'll find brewed in the states.

Last November the Bohemian crew brewed up their 1000th brew and will be tapping it tomorrow; December 14th to share with all of those who care to come by.

Besides the specially priced beer, look for prizes and a general great time. Hope to see you there.

Also, Id like to thanks everyone who made it out to the Holiday Tasting last Friday. We were all blown away by the turnout. We estimate that there were 40-45 people in attendance and had nearly double that amount with great, rare beers from all over the world.

Id especially like to thank our local brewers who attended, the home brew clubs, Eric(host), Doug, Geoff, Kevin(for fetch'n the gasket) and Mrs. Mikey.

We couldn't have done it without everyone's great enthusiasm and passion for great beer. I think we might be able to pull this off again... What do you think?

I posted photos on my Facebook page and a few at UtahBeer's Facebook page if you care to check them out.

Cheers to you all!

Friday, December 11, 2009

On the Darkest Day, Outer Darkness Cometh

It looks like December 21st is going to be the release date for Outer Darkness. Coincidentally (or not) this is also the darkest (shortest) day of the year. The Winter Solstice. Jenny and Jason have brewed up about 800 bottles of the Imperial stout. It's bottle conditioning right now.

I was lucky enough to get a sample from the tank a few weeks ago, your gunna f'n love it boys and girls!

See you all at the Tasting tonight.

Also, the funeral for Garry Maxwell is Saturday the 12th at 11am in St. George. Details in tribune. There will also be a wake at Squatters on Sunday Dec 13th at Squatters 4:00 - 9:00 pm. The email address for notifications is garryswake@hotmail.com

In lieu of flowers there will be a suggested $20 at the door to assist with funeral/estate costs for Garry. Any extra funds gathered will go to the family.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Holiday Tasting is Full

Due to the overwhelming response we're going to have to close the invitations to the Tasting as of now 2:30pm 12/10/09. Thanks so much for all the interest, it's a true testimony to how great Utah's beer community is. I think we will try to make this at least a semi-annual thing if all goes well. Thanks again and Cheers!

RedRock's New Brewery Goes On-Line

RedRock's new brewery is finally up and running. Last Tuesday Eric Dunlap and Brewmaster Kevin Templin flipped on all the switches - got out their mash paddle and started making beer.

If your expecting the inaugural beer to be something grand and momentous; like some ancient beer/mead hybrid made with a six thousand year old yeast strain... I'm gunna have to disappoint. It was their good 'ol Hefe... Hey these boys still have a schedule to keep!

All the beer coming from the new facility will be kegged for distribution out side of RedRock. So start looking for their beer to start appearing on more taps around the state. RedRock's brewpub brewery will still be making their award winning beers as usual. Congrats Guys!

Here's a video commemorating the facilities first brew day.

Congrats Guys & Cheers to you!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Chef Gary 'Captain Bastard' Maxwell Passes

Last Sunday Chef Gary 'Captain Bastard' Maxwell passed away. Gary was the former Master Chef of Squatters Pub Brewery, Fuggles and was working for Sizzling Platter/Hoppers as a computer tech and occasional culinary adviser.

Chef Maxwell was known by many brewers and worked alongside them in creating great food to go along with their beer. He had just started down a new carer path in computer technology. I know many brewers, and those in the brewing community, have had the pleasure of knowing him and working along side of him. We all still continue to enjoy his creations and celebrate his life.

So hoist a pint of his namesake Captain Bastard's Oatmeal Stout in his honor.

Cheers Captain!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Holiday Tasting '09 update

Oy vey! I spent the past weekend in San Diego at a strong ale festival and boy is my liver tired. The Festival at Pizza Port in Carlsbad hosted some 80 plus ales & lagers from all over the world with nothing below 8%abv.

Right now, believe it or not. "I am over beer"! - Nothing until this weekend. which is where I'm headed with this post.

Friday is the first ever Big Ass Holiday Beer Tasting. If you haven't RSVP'd please do so soon so I can get an accurate head count.

Now remember, your entry is a nice bottle of beer to share with the group (22oz). Earlier I had asked for people to bring extra beer. That is no longer the case. I think we will have a sufficient amount of beer to cover it. The home brew is still absolutely welcome.

There will be food there, but if you want to bring something please feel free.

Questions or RSVP me here at utahbeer@gmail.com


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Jesus Christ: Vintner - Entrepreneur

* Utah Beer Satire* Heaven (UB) - Being the only son of the omniscient creator-deity worshiped by billions of various faiths for more than 6,000 years, defiantly has it's advantages. Jesus Christ beloved Vitner and Jew has returned to earth after being away for nearly two millennia, to announce the creation of a new division of heaven, devoted to the making of wine and beer at home. In a move that retail-industry insiders are calling "theologically fitting," Christ is hoping to take the world by storm with his new line of "Water into Wine Kits".

"I really can't believe I never thought of this before", Christ laughed. "I've been making this stuff since my Jerusalem days, but it never clicked until recently". The brainstorm came from an evening of drinking with Julio Gallo on his cloud a few months ago. "Jules (Julio) started giving me shit about my wines, saying that 'there's no way you can make a good - full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with only water'. I really wanted to smote his ass"! Christ joked. "But we pulled out a few bottle and did a little celestial tasting".

"I was really surprised"! said Gallo; a former mortal and vitner who's was co-owners in the Gallo Winery; one of the top winemakers in the world. "The boys got talent, I'll give him that."

After the fateful meeting Jesus approached his dad for backing in the endeavor and the rest shall we say is history. "My dad was the first to encourage me to try wine making back when I was living on earth, I was poised to become one the preeminent vitners of the middle east... 'till that whole crucifixion thing came along and really screwed things up... It really sucked."

There's no word yet on how the new kits will work, but Christ insists that you'll have wine on your table in minutes instead of months or years. If the wine kits take off Jesus says he'll be working with Saint Arnold (the Patron Saint of Brewers) on a home brew version of the kit. Available Christmas '09.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The First NoAle

Donovan Steele, secret agent and brewmaster over at Hoppers is amping up the holiday beer competition with a brand new offering that's both new and exiting.

The beer called "the First NoAle" is a Patersbier styled Belgian ale. It's a traditional styled ale that is brewed and consumed by the fathers in the Trappist monasteries.

This version is a darker amber revivalist type once brewed by several Trappists Monasteries. The 4.0% abv fits right in the range of the style and Utah's abv on draft cap.

They were often very mildly spiced and Donovan has chosen Blue Juniper Berry as it was occasionally used and a native spice here from the Wasatch Range. It's not meant to be overtly noticeable, but rather support the rich caramel, Pilsener and biscuit malt flavors. Donovan chose a blend of two Belgian strains, both from the Ardennes Valley, one of which is originally sourced from Rochefort.

The nose is fruity, spicy and malty. The taste is very earthy/malty with flavors of citrus and spice. Some Juniper beneath to back everything up. "I really wanted something that tasted like the season". Donovan said, "so I added just a little 'dry spice' to the secondary fermentation. It's a Patersbier with a dose of local spice". The First NoAle should be on tap tomorrow 11/2/09.

Also, Hoppers first high abv beer is in the fermenter and doing nicely. The Double Black Lager is dark in color yet clean and easy to drink. It's an all German malt beer, Spalter hops, and a yeast strain from one of the German Klosters. "The brew went perfectly". Dono says "I can't wait to get this into bottles".

Nicely done Dono!

The posts will be a little late this week because I'm on vacation and that means my ass sleeps in!