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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Radio from Hell Ale

There are a lot of podcasts and radio shows out there that are dedicated to - or feature beer. But as far as I know, there's never been a beer made specifically to honor a radio show.

Well, Squatters has done it. In conjunction with X96's Radio from Hell Show the Utah Brewers Cooperative has developed a new beer that is described by hosts Kerry Jackson, Bill Allred & Gina Barberi as "Utah's first breakfast beer" (Radio from Hell is a morning show).

Red as Hell Ale, is coincidentally an American Red Ale. If your not real familiar with the style, these beers tends to focus on the malts, but hop character can range from low to high. They're mostly balanced ales, with toasted malt characters and a light fruitiness.

This brand new release will debut on February 7th, at 8am at The Beer Store (1763 s. 300 w.) The Radio from Hell Show will be broadcasting there show from there all morning.

The beer has an ABV of 5.5% and comes in a capped 750ml bottles. The price is a very affordable $3.99 per bottle and will be available at all Squatters location, The Beer Store and select liquor stores.

I for one, am very fond of the Radio from Hell Show. The fact that they're partnering with Squatters, shows that craft beer in Utah is officially in the mainstream and not just some foody anomaly. Can't wait to try it!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Low Carb Beers You May Have Never Considered

A year ago I decided that it was time to getting my fat ass back in to shape. For the last decade my body had been expanding like bloated dough under a heat lamp. The cause was the same that many Americans are faced with, high chloric diets and little to no exercise.

For a craft beer lover loosing the LBS's is not an easy thing. Beer is the antithesis for trying to loose weight. It is a very nutritious beverage, high in calories and carbohydrates. I never sought out the "low carb beers" over the last year because.... Well, that's not beer, at least the beer I know and love. But it got me to thinking, what is the lowest carb beer option for a beer snob like myself?

After minutes of research I found that there is no real data on the beer style that I found to be the least naturally made carbohydrate laden ale. The Lambic.

There are many styles of Lambic. The basic lambic is a cloudy, uncarbonated, bracingly sour beer that is generally about two to three years old. Unlike conventional ales and lagers, which are fermented by carefully cultivated strains of brewer's yeasts, Lambic beers are produced by spontaneous fermentation and are exposed to wild yeasts and bacteria such as Brettanomyces bruxellensis (brett) and B. lambicus.

These "wild yeasts" used in the fermentation of these products eats sugars that regular beer yeasts can't. There are a lot of sweet lambics out there - Lindemans for example - that are loaded with sugar. The unfruited versions (gueuze) from Hanssens, Cantillon, Oud Beersel and Drie Fonteinen will have the lowest sugars.

These aren't a practical every day option for the Utah beer lover. Unless you have an iron pallet. The high tartness and acidity will wear on the stoutest of tongues, but when your in need of beer that's full on flavor, that won't shit all over your diet, you have a friend in the "Brett based beer".

Some "brett beer" recommendations available in Utah are Squatters 529, Epic's Elder Brett, Lindeman's Gueuze and Lindeman's Cuvée René.

Some other more traditional low carb craft brands include, Full Sail's Session Premium Lager and New Belgium's Skinny Dip.

As I pointed out earlier, there is no hard data on the carbohydrate levels in sour beers (that I could find), theses observations are based on the known functions of the the yeast strains discussed.


Friday, January 27, 2012

New Beer Friday 1/27/12

Please thank avid beer lover Douglas for todays, New Beer Friday. For he selfishly did the the legwork on the following beers.... By the way. When I say "legwork", I mean he walked his ass across the street to the liquor store, bought some and called me. So... Thanks, Dougie!

Deschutes Abyss '11: One of my favorite Imperial Stouts. I haven't had the 2011 yet, but I have had the 2009. The nose is of vanilla, dark fruits, prune, chocolate and licorice. The taste stars with notes of bourbon, oak and vanilla. Roasted malts, dark fruits, dark chocolate, and molasses round out the end. Extremely layered and complex, exceptionally well-balanced. Its quite a treat!

Pyramid's Discord Dark IPA: Pours black like a porter but the nose is all IPA. Citrus and piney hops with roasted malt and coffee. The flavor starts with a fair dose of roasted malt, caramel, toffee, and chocolate. Grapefruit and pine come next to round it out. The finish is tangy with peachy citrus that carries through to the finish. The best Pyramid beer to come along in quite some time.

While I have your attention there are some new beers coming soon to a liquor store near you... Maybe. This is the DABC we're talking about.

PRIMATORE - MAIBOCK, DOPPLEBOCK & DARK LAGER: These beers hail from the Náchod brewery, one of the oldest in the Czech Republic.

CORONA FAMILIAR: This is apparently a repackaged version of Corona Extra.

GUINNESS BLACK LAGER: I understand it's a basic black lager. Nothing like the tradition Guinness that your used to.

As always, if you come across any of these let the rest of us know what store you found them at.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Companion is Elder Brett

I'm on a mission, a mission to spread the gospel of beer. Over the years, I've had many companions - from all over the world - to help proselytized to the yellow fizzy Gentiles.

Some have been American, British, Czech, German and even a few Danes. But the "companions" that tend to really "bear their testimonies" are the Belgians. These guys will eventually convert the most agnostic of beer lovers.

Last June, a missionary from the Church of the Crooked Stave in Colorado made a pilgrimage to the High Desert Epic Cathedral in Salt Lake to create a new super missionary to spread the holy word. His name? Elder Brett.

Okay, enough of all the religious parables, let's talk Collaboration Beer!

When Crooked Stave's Brewmaster/Owner Chad Yakobson met the guys at Epic Brewing they found that they had a lot in common, a collaboration was in their future.

Elder Brett was brewed at Epic by Kevin Crompton, Epic’s Brewmaster and Yakobson. After several weeks working on the recipe and selecting the proper Brett strains and barrels for the beer to morph from a golden Sasion into a Saison-Brett Golden Ale.

Elder Brett's sour/tart profile comes from a Saison yeast, the young beer was moved to French oak white wine casks retired after the production of Epic’s 2011 Great American Beer Festival (GABF), Silver Medal winner, Brainless on Peaches.

The barrels were inoculated with a blend of four different types of Brettanomyces. Aging for over nine months in the barrels allows the character of the unique wild yeast to fully express itself in the beer. The result combines all the elements for a truly sublime complexity.

The aroma is rich with the musty, barnyard-like character that “Brett” is famous for as well as some remnants of the white wine. The flavor also has wonderful amounts of fruity notes both from the yeast and hints of the peach fermentation that took place previously in the barrel, all rounded out with a pleasant and refreshing acidity and incredible drinkability for an 8.8% ABV beverage. The beer has a round body, is dominated by yeast character, but is tart enough to leave the palette refreshed and wanting more.

There aren't many "Brett" beers made in Utah, this one is only the fifth one made here and more are coming! If your a fan of sours, you life is about to get a Hell of a lot better. Available at Epic Brewing on January 26 (Thurs) and should hit other states sometime in February.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Pelican Comes to Town

There's a great little brewery that literally sits right on the Oregon coast that makes some of greatest beers I've had the pleasure to sample.

The Pelican Pub & Brewery opened in May of 1996. From the start Pelican's brewmaster, Darron Welch's goal was to create beers that were stylistically distinctive from anything else around.

Although he favors highly aromatic beers with hops and malts that seem to jump right out you, Darron always seems to find a way to produce assertive yet balanced beers with clean, snappy finishes that demand your attention.

Luckily for us, Del Vance over at the Beerhive has been working on acquiring Pelican's beer - they're due to arrive sometime next week?

The first beers to arrive will be:

India Pelican Ale
- The nose has a great citrus hoppiness to it. Mango, peach, pineapple and grapefruit all come out. The taste shows more of the grapefruit flavors throughout. A dry, fruity, herbal, bitterness coming through in the finish. An outstanding IPA.

Stormwatchers Winterfest - The nose is a rich aroma of caramel, fig, dates, leather and is slightly nutty. The Tast starts with a caramel and dark fruit flavor, that adds an earthy hop element by mid-palate; nuts and toffee smoothness come next, with a bit of booziness in the finish. A Warming and creamy winter beer.

Kiwanda Cream Ale - The nose is malty with some floral hoppiness. The taste started with a mild maltiness next comes moderate floral and citrus hops. Finishes clean and dry. Nicely balanced beer. Fruity and refreshing.

The Pelican's are only available at the Beerhive. We'll let you know exactly when they arrive.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Santa Cruz Brown Ale

There have been a lot of trends developing in the beer universe over the last decade from IPA's to Sours to Barrel Aging, brewers have been pushing the beer envelope in every possible direction.

Lately the newest trend has been "The Hybrid Beer". These are beers that are not technically correct or brewed to an exact style. They take from one brewing discipline and add something from another.

Black IPA's/Cascadian Black Ale are an example. Crossing a porter with a pale ale shouldn't work but it does (for some it doesn't) if done properly.

Epic Brewing's newest beer is an interpret of the recent Black IPA trend. The Santa Cruz Brown Ale is a true hybrid. For this beer Epic combined the rich malty backbone and color of an American brown ale with piney, resinous American hops, creating a completely new and unique type of beer.

Santa Cruz will debut tomorrow (January 19th) at Slackwater Pub and Pizzeria in Ogden, Utah. Everywhere else on Friday.


Friday, January 13, 2012

New Beer Friday 1/13/12

Today's new beer has been around for a few years, but has only been available at the source, Sierra Nevada's Taproom/Restaurant. Luckily for us SN has decided this beer is ready for the masses and it's their first new beer of 2012.

Ruthless Rye IPA: The nose is earthy and malty with piney resins. The flavor starts piney with a complex grainy malt character. Next comes hints of cocoa and a mild rye spiciness. The finish is dry and piney.

This is very much like a spicy SN Celebration in that it’s got good hop character, its solidly built and very dense for the 6.6% ABV. Very clean and balanced. @Beerhive & various socialized liquor outlets.

If you spot some, tell us where!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

DABC Meeting Highlights

It was a somewhat strange meeting full of laughter and gasps. It was like listening to room full of war veterans sharing their stories of combat. Ranging from the bizzar to the heart breaking.

I'm talking about yesterday's meeting of the DABC Review committee. It was a bigger than expected crowd that showed up at the Main SLC Library. The attendees were a wide array of bar owners, restauranteurs, brewers, vintners and consumers. Many offering up their stories of the insane, stupid and bizarre situations that they currently deal with on a weekly if not daily basis. Here are a few examples.

In 1879, the Shooting Star, Utah's oldest operating bar was established. You'd think a bar with such longevity would have a grandfather clause a mile long. Not so. Every year the owner has to get permission from a church, school, park and a library; all of which never existed when the bar opened in the 19th century.

A restaurant owner in Park City pointed out the difference between pouring wine or beer at a table versus pouring the same bottles at the bar behind the Beer Burka. Obviously a keen tactic designed to save the souls of children and the other "saved".

The Brewvies debacle. In case you don't remember, a few month ago Brewvies Cinema Pub was fined a few thousand bucks for serving alcohol during a movie (the Hangover 2) that featured nudity. Because of the nudity Brewvies was charged as operating a sexual oriented business. It was a fucking R rated movie!!!

A restauranteur in Park City received and payed for her alcohol license on one day, the very next day it expired and it needed to be renewed. Because apparently all liquor licenses expire on the same day in Utah. I guess it was going to be to much of a hassle for the DABC to say, "let's hold off a day, it expires tomorrow".

One restaurant owner said he had to shut down his beer taps three weeks in to the month because he had exceeded his alcohol/food percentage for the month because the high tax on beer was bringing in more money from beer than food. Remember, a restaurant must sell more food than liquor to stay in compliance. I believe it's 70/30?

No "sales" on alcoholic beverages in bars (happy hour), yet the DABC has "sales" in liquor stores.

The commission will take what they learned from this meeting an present it to the legislature's leadership on January 23rd.

I have a feeling those who will make the final decisions have already decided what they will and won't do in regards to the DABC. This whole thing that I've just told you about, is just a show to make you feel like your "part of the process". In my opinion of course.

The public can also relay their comments to the committee by emailing them at ReviewDABC@Gmail.com.


Monday, January 09, 2012

Your Input is Needed!

2012 is still in it's wee infancy and we here at Utah Beer wanna make sure you get your "outrage on" early so that your nice and primed for the annual liquor circle jerk on the hill known as the Utah Legislative Session.

One of the things I hope this... this thing that we've all created manages to accomplish is to get you, the outraged beer lov'n Utahan - into the game and try to take charge of your own destiny.

Tomorrow, you may get an opportunity to be heard. The DABC Review Committee is having a public hearing on how to solve the problems at the DABC.

The DABC Review Committee isn't part of the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control. It was created by legislators to seek out broader public input into the debate over how to address the problems that exist in the current system for alcohol regulation in Utah.

Your input is needed. This meeting isn't going to be about, "how to get Utah out of the liquor business" or "fridges in Liquor Stores" it's about getting input from the adult Utah drinker to the people who will be making the decisions on how to improve the states biggest money making department.

The meeting is tomorrow Jan 10, 2012 from 2pm-4pm at the Salt Lake City Main Library. 4th floor conference room. There will likely be media of types there. A huge presence could go a long way in showing lawmakers the we're serious about getting Utah into the post prohibition Twentieth Century and beyond.


Friday, January 06, 2012

New Beer Friday 1/6/12

For the first New Beer Friday of 2012 we get to enjoy a beer that's long overdue.

Our Special Ale 2011 (Anchor Christmas Ale) has been released annually since 1983. Every year is unique in some way. It's one beer I always look forward to every year. I've been drinking it since 2002. Sadly I don't love it every year. This year is one of those "meh" years.

The 2011 has a nice soapy, herbal nose with prune and raisins. The taste starts malty up front with cocoa, spices and dark fruits hit the tongue strong. Semi-sweet cola rounds out the back end. Hints of spices & prune make for a rather dry finish.

This one of those beers that won't "wow" you, but will make you glad you had it.

I had it at the Beerhive, but it usually shows up in various liquor store that normally sell Anchor Beer.

Also, there's a new poll!


Monday, January 02, 2012

Where's Your Beer Tax Money Going?

This story has been floating around for the last week or so, and even though it's beer related it seemed to be more about the lack of spending prowess by some individuals to use the money that's allocated to them rather than beer itself. So, I guess we'll talk about it and you can decide if it's worth discussing.

If you aren't aware of what I'm talking about, let me back up. There's statute on the books that gives cities and counties some of the taxes collected on the sale of beer. This statute also says that "revenue must be spent on programs and procedures designed to prevent or reduce the abuse of alcohol by minors and adults". Not a bad way to use the taxes, right? Seems like an appropriate use for beer tax money to me.

Apparently 26 municipalities around the state have come up with some creative ways to use this money - by diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars of beer tax money into everyday city or county activities. Here are some stellar examples. To combat drunken driving and other alcohol-related problems, the city of Riverton bought an inflatable arch. The Utah County Sheriff’s Office bought a dog. Delta helped pay for crossing guards. Not exactly beer related, eh?

If it’s determined any of the 26 municipalities misspent the money, a portion or all of what they would have received from the beer tax in fiscal 2012 will be withheld.

As long as Utah's beer consumers are getting raped by taxes, the very least lawmakers could do is craft language that's specific about where our taxes are going and appropriately punish those who can't mange their beer tax money better.


Source: Salt Lake Tribune