Friday, September 28, 2012

National Drink a Beer Day

Yup. Would moi lie about something like that? Hell no! Since there is no new beer today, you must take it upon yourselves to enjoy at least one pint and try to convince the nearest Appletini enthusiast to try a beer instead. I'd recommend a Sour Apple Saison from epic or a Unibroue Éphémère to ease them into bliss.

I've always said, "There's a beer style for everyone, just identify what you don't like your beer to taste like and move on from there".

And if you need some extra help with something new?
Epic's Big Bad Baptist returns in all of its coffee/bourbon glory - Deadhorse Amber from Moab has been reborn in cans and Uinta's Wet 'n Wyld makes appearances on tap at Beerhive, Bayou & Brewvies.

Cheers!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Attack of the Squasatch

Squasatch: -noun (skwa-sach)
A joint Venture of Squatters and Wasatch breweries. Produced by the Utah Brewers Cooperative.

Squatters/Wasatch announced yesterday that the two companies have entered into an agreement to merge into one company. The two breweries have had a long relationship through the Utah Brewers Cooperative but the two companies have always been separate.

The two companies have been looking into expanding their already wide distribution network for quite some time and with a new third party investor, their expansion plans will soon come to fruition.

Boston based, Fireman Capital will make a 35 million dollar investment in the combined business. The investment will support further expansion of the Squatters and Wasatch portfolio of craft beers, distribution growth, brand and marketing initiatives, and the continued success and expansion of the complementary brewpub business.

Peter Cole, Founding Partner of Squatters, said, “This investment opens the door to the next level for Squatters and Wasatch, and provides the financial firepower and expertise we need to meet rapidly growing demand for our beer and to reach new markets.

Greg Schirf, the founder of Wasatch Brewery, will continue to manage brewery operations for the company. Joe Lambert, Operating Partner for Squatters since 1996, will continue to oversee the restaurant business. Peter Cole, Jeff Polychronis, Joe Lambert and Greg Schirf will all maintain ownership in the combined company.

Look for regional, Utah based Squatters/Wasatch  breweries to pop up in other states, possibly Texas as part of their regional distribution plan. Wasatch and Squatters beer is sold in 11 states - they have a combined five restaurants and 300 employees.

So, what do you think, is this third party going to benefit and evolve the progressive beer movement we're currently experiencing in Utah? Or do you fear the money will influence changes in the brands we've come to know and love.

Cheers!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Massive Moab Update!

There's a lot of beer stuff going on in Arches Country, so we'll cut the crap and get right to it.

Moab's Brewmaster Jeff Van Horn has been teasing us all with hints of new beers for quite a while, now it looks like he'll be able to deliver on his promises. We'll start with what's happening now and move on from there.

Moab has been planning on re-releasing their Deadhorse Amber Ale in their popular 16oz. cans for quite some time. These 4% beers should be hitting store shelves any day now.

JV and the crew have also canned Johnny's IPA at 7% and the Rocket Bike at 5.5%. They are available at the restaurant and the brewery's bottle shop. The high gravity Deadhorse is still in development.

These will be shipping to Boise, Idaho this week but none will be headed to Utah's Liquor Stores. The DABC has opted  not to carry them, so Moab is the only place in Utah you can buy them. I urge you all to call or write the DABC & help change this. It's bullshit that you should have to visit a neighboring state to drink a locally made beer. In the meantime, they will be expanding into Arizona by the end of the year, then in to Nevada.

In the next two weeks the next addition to Moab's Desert Select Series is due out. The Hopped Rye will be released at the brewery and (this is for you Douglas) the Export Stout will be available around the first of the year. Again, only in Moab.

The Hopped Rye will be in the massive 1 liter flip tops, but it will be the last. The brewery is expecting new .5 liter bottles in December from Italy. They are still flip-top style bottles as well. The Export Stout will be the first Desert Select Series beer in the .5 liter bottle, then they will change out the Imperial Black IPA, Triple & Scotch Ale to the new bottles.

To produce all these new beers, the installation of an additional four - 30Bbl fermenters is happening in the next couple of weeks, this will bring their annual production capacity up around 10,000Bbls.

Me thinks a Moab day trip is on the horizon.

Cheers!

Photo: Slug Magazine/Chad Kirkland

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wet n' Wyld

Uinta's Wyld Extra Pale Ale has been one of my favorite beers since it came out in June 2007. It was bright, refreshing and full of Simcoe and Amarillo hops. What's not to love?

Two weeks ago the guys at Uinta decided to try something new, take one batch of Wyld Extra Pale and do a special, one of a kind edition.

For this special edition Uinta acquired a shload of fresh Simcoe hops, enough to average 4lbs of  hops per barrel of beer ( 1 beer barrel = 31 gallons).  The result, we hope is one citrusy, resinous and sessionable sombitch!


The "wet" in Wet n' Wyld refers to the state of the hops. Most hops are dried to eliminate weight and spoilage, these are fresh off the vine, wet as nature made them.

Wet n' Wyld is draft only (no bottles) and will be available at the breweries pub and those pubs and bars that tend to give a shit about good local beer.

Wet n' Wyld will be tapped today (Sept, 25). Call before you make the trip.

Cheers!

Friday, September 21, 2012

New Beer Friday 9/21/12


 RedRock Brewing has had a lot of luck with their Nut Brown Ale. I believe it is their most notable beer, winning dozens of awards over the last decade. Beer Yogi, Kevin Templin hopes lightening strikes twice with their newest release, Bobcat Brown Ale. It still has the same great malty/nutty profile with a bit more alcohol and hop smack.

The nose is roasty and nutty with notes of coffee and chocolate. It has a nice, roasted, nutty flavor that exhibits good balance with the abundant piny hop notes. There are notes of toffee and coffee in the end as well. It's very satisfying and drinkable with a soft medium body and dry finish. Very nice get some before it's gone.

The next beer has been around for a few weeks, but unless you've made it up to Snowbird's Oktoberfest you may not have tried it. Bohemian Brewing's Oktoberfest Bier is session marzen that has all the flavor of a tradition oktoberfest packed into a 4% package. The nose contains caramelized malts, fruit, some grassy hops and spices. The taste starts out sweet with flavors of fruit and caramel. Then some breadiness comes in from a hearty malt character and lager yeast. The hops presence is mild but brings some balance. Another excellent lager from Bohemian!

Now we have Fresh Cask Friday! Last month Hopper's Brewmaster and Secret Agent, Donovan Steele introduced us to his new cask program. Every month he'll take one of his beers,  alter it slightly - two different ways and present it to you for your impressions.

This month Donovan has selected his Madame X Stout. Both firkins (casks) have French Oak. One with Ethiopian Coffee added and the other with roasted Ghana Cacao nibs. Both will be tapped at 5pm today, so people can try them side-by-side or blend the two if desired. These cask beers are only available until they run dry. I seriously doubt they'll last past 10pm.

Prost!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blue Law Porter

This just in, from our "funny as hell file". Epic Brewing is concocting a new beer for their Exponential Series called Blue Law Porter.

This latest addition to their line-up is brewed with blackberry puree and spruce tips.  The Blue Spruce is Utah's State tree and according to the label the tips are hand-picked around Utah's Capitol Hill where new blue laws emerge every year.

Epic has not announced the release date yet for Blue Law, but it sounds like it could be a wonderful holiday porter. Stay tuned.

Cheers!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Neighborhood Pubs are a Go!

Looks like the concept of small neighborhood pubs has a green light from the Salt Lake City Council. A sizable crowd gathered at the Salt Lake City Council meeting that invited the public to debate whether businesses could serve alcohol in commercially zoned areas that border residential areas.

The 6-1 vote stipulates that the ordinance should dictate pubs be small in size, about 2,000 square feet. The council also agreed that to make the spacing between the future pubs to be at least 600 feet apart to avoid creating a dense area of bars, or what they called “entertainment districts”.

Opponents are worried that the pubs will turn their neighborhoods into sleazy ghettos, while proponents  think it would be safer because residents could visit a pub without having to drive to a neighboring community.

These "pubs" would be more of a restaurant and less bar or tavern, because the licence dictates that they primarily serve food over alcohol.

Looks like another step forward to me, until the legislature decides to override the councils decision and revert the ordinance back. 

Cheers!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Goose Island Beers are Coming

About two years ago the Utah Department of Alcohol Beverage Control began a restructuring at their main warehouse in Salt Lake City. The goal was to free up space in the severely overcrowded downtown space. One of the options was to get the majority of the beer out of there and into the hands of local distributors. This decision is one of the best ideas to come out of the DABC in quite some time.

Besides cold storage, it has opened up the beer markets to a host of craft brands that may have shied away from Utah because of it's less than delicate treatment of their products.

Over the last few months we've enjoyed spreading the word of new craft beers coming into the market, today we have another notable breweries brands coming. Goose Island Brewing.

Founded in May 1988 by John Hall in Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois. Goose Island produces several
year-round and seasonal styles of craft beer, the best-known of which are 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Honker's Ale and their most sought after beer, Bourbon County Stout.

Anheuser-Busch bought Goose Island in early 2011, after helping distribute the Chicago-based company's beers for several years. The move means that the Goose Island craft brews will be among few of its kind available for purchase in all 50 U.S. states.

While some higher-end beers will still be produced in Chicago, some of its bigger sellers will be churned out at Anheuser-Busch breweries in Fort Collins, Colo. and Baldwinsville, N.Y. Goose Island beers should be popping up in SLC near the end of November.

Are there any Goose Island labels that your really hoping to see?

Cheers!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Deschutes on Draft in Utah

There are two basic camps in Utah as far as beer is concerned. Those who like low point beer and those who... Well, don't. There are a few, myself included who just like well made beer no matter how much punch they're packing.

Having grown up in Utah and raised on low alcohol beer, I get why many yearn for something with more punch and body.  You just can't dial back some styles and stay true to the original style. But if you grew up outside of Utah and never really had a Low point beer the idea of a good flavorful session beer is is a novel concept.

Don't forget, beer has for centuries been a low alcohol beverage, I fact the lowest of all fermentable beverages,  primarily because it was the best option for hydration when clean water wasn't available.

Ok, where am I going with all this? Well other markets are discovering what many of us have known for some time, session beers can be damn good!

Many craft breweries around the nation are trying their hands at low point beers. Stone Brewing's Levitation (4.5%) - Victory Brewing's Donnybrook Stout (3.7%) - Widmer Brothers' Sunburn Summer Ale (4.3%) - Dogfish Head Brewing's Festina Pêche (4.5%) are just a few examples of popular breweries making small beers.

A few weeks ago Full Sail Brewing out of Portland , Oregon concocted a special session pale ale just for markets like ours. And now one one of the largest craft breweries in the nation, Deschutes will follow suit and create or recreate some of their beers for the Utah market. These guys wouldn't be doing this if they didn't feel the demand was there.

If your buzz is just as important as your flavor you likely won't be swayed by my argument, but if you haven't tried a Jonny's IPA or a Rye Pale from RedRock in a while your tongue, belly and equilibrium may thank you.

When the  Deschutes stuff gets closer, of course we'll let you know.

On a side note: I'd like to point out that it's not easy making flavorful low alcohol beers. Our local brewers are masters at it and have had decades to perfect them. Choose with your tongue and not your eyes, because the taps that these new beers will occupy will like take the place of something local made.

Cheers!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kolob Kolsch

Greg Schirf,  Chief Happiness Officer at Wasatch & Utah's Brewers Cooperative has never been one to shy away from controversy. From Polygamy Porter to "Baptize your Taste buds" to Evolution Amber Ale, his penchant for irreverence towards the dominant culture keeps the faithful "irked" and the "Gentiles" snickering.

With Mormons in the spotlight this election season I guess it was inevitable that a rebranding was in order. Something to catch the eye and something to cause the occasional gasp.

Summer Twilight Kolsch Bier, Wasatch's summer seasonal is soon to get a make-over and become
Wasatch Kolob Kölsch. If your not familiar with Mormon lore Kolob is the heavenly body nearest to the throne of God.  Some Mormons consider Kolob to be a planet and is also the inspiration for the fictional planet Kobol within the Battlestar Galactica universe, created by Glen A. Larson, a Mormon.

Kobol Kolsch labels should be popping up in bars, grocery & convenience stores the next month or so, and will likely shine more light on the Wasatch brand and some of the stranger parts of LDS myths.

Cheers!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ale to the Chief!

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past week, you know that the White House's Signature home brew recipes have been made public for all home brewers to try.

Obama's White House Honey Blonde Ale and White House Honey Porter — made from honey made in beehives on the presidential grounds — have quickly become a hot commodity in the home-brewing community. Even SLC's Beer Nut has put together kits for the Presidential ales.

Now at least one Utah brewery will be making one of the White House beers; to be poured sometime before Election Day. The beer to be named, El Presidente Honey Ale will be made by Greg Schirf, Head Honcho at Wasatch Brewing & co-founder of the Utah Brewers Cooperative says, the White House beer is just the right fit for his brewery and he wants to get it flowing at their pubs in Salt Lake City and Park City ASAP and added "We think it’s terrific that we have a president who is not just a beer drinker but a beer maker."

 If you interested in trying to make it yourself, here's a link to recipe.

Cheers!

Friday, September 07, 2012

New Beer Friday 9/7/12

Last week Hoppers debuted their GABF entry into the Pro-Am competition. Dallas Barlow's Rated X   British Style Mild Ale was well received and had everyone looking forward to the next Pro-Am release.

On the heals of last week's debut, Epic Brewing is offering the Pro-Am version of Scott Hunt's award winning IPA 74 today. Hunt’s beer will be released under Epic’s Hopulent IPA brand label. Look at the “release information area” on the side of the bottle for "Pro-Am '12". Big congrats to Scott, can't wait to try it! @ Epic & "better beer bars".

Boulevard Brewing's Collaboration #3 -Stingo is in the market as well. The nose starts with nutty - dark malts, biscuit, toast, toffee and herbal hops. The taste starts with rich brown and dark malts, a little biscuit and toasty brown malts. Next comes nutty caramel and toffee, The end has a candy sugar like sweetness with a decent herbal/grassy bitterness; as well as a boozy smack.

Overall it's okay, but not great. It has the typical UK style malt/hop characteristics but it's quite boozy tasting. @ Beerhive & likely to select liquor stores.

Returning champions: Bristlecone Brown Ale from Uinta & Radius from Desert Edge Brewing. 

Cheers!


Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Bucket: Homebrew Competition

Eastern Utah, listen up! There is a homebrew competition put together by the the Bucket Homebrew shop out of Vernal. Entry deadline is 5pm on 9/15/12.

It looks like the judging and party will be held at 6550 N. Moonshine Arch Road in Vernal UT. (coyote caves aka Flintstone highway for locals). You will need to contact the Bucket for the exact location.  

The general public is welcome to come. $10 entry fee if you don't have a brew to enter. EVERYONE ATTENDING WILL JUDGE BEST IN SHOW! You can bring a tent for a $20 site fee.

The Bucket is located at 510 e. Main St. Vernal, Utah. for more info their phone is 435-781-2739  

Cheers!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Field Beers are Here!

Autumn is just two weeks away. With it comes some of the most loved beer styles from all cultures. Over the next few weeks we'll try to profile some of the best - locally made - seasonal offerings to help you ease into the cooler months.

Today we're talking "Field Beers". In particular Pumpkin Beers. Field beers are any beers using vegetables as an adjunct in either the mash, kettle, primary or secondary fermentation.

Our first beer is Uinta's Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Pours a dark copper orange. The nose is of sweet malt, pumpkin pie spices, vanilla, and some wood notes. The taste is of sweet malt and pumpkin puree up front while nutmeg, allspice vanilla and Bourbon round out the finish. The spices add a sight earthy bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is an incredibly delicious pumpkin ale with a nice balance of all the flavors. One of the best pumpkin beers, in the Universe.

Our next option is Epic's Fermentation Without Representation, a collaboration beer made with DC Brau Brewing Co. Pours an extremely dark brown color with a small tan head. The nose is huge with pumpkin, squash, ginger, cinnamon, chocolate, roasted malt, clove and caramel. The taste of big with chocolate, roasted malt, pumpkin, caramel, cinnamon, ginger, light coffee, clove, and spices. Fair amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of pumpkin, chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, clove, and spices on the finish for a bit. Medium carbonation and body; with a nice creamy mouthfeel that drinks easily for 7.5%. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming after the finish. Great balance of flavors and bitterness. Overall this is an excellent pumpkin spiced porter.

Next up is Wasatch's Pumpkin Ale. Pours 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. (grocery/convenience stores)

And finally another from Uinta Brewing, Punk'n. Pours 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. (grocery/convenience stores)
All of these beers are now available at the respective breweries,  grocery/convenience stores, better beer bars and soon to your local liquor stores.

And a quick note: Radius is now on tap at Desert Edge. This is a golden ale that is wet hopped, with a light, simple malt flavor to emphasize the fresh hop  flavor. Wet hop beers are made when you pick the hops and then pitch or use them right away without drying them. This will go quickly.

Cheers!