Beer Reviews – September 2012

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Summer is roaring to an end, and if you’re still reading this, your liver, or at least some motor functions, are still intact. That deserves a “cheers” and probably a slap on the wrist for not drinking hard enough to support our local brewers. Nonetheless, this month we have a stellar lineup of some hop-emphasized beers, and a newer stylization of beer to impress any Belgian connoisseur. So sit back, enjoy, and for god’s sake, please step up your game.

Squatters Monsoon Monster
Brewery: Squatters Pub
ABV: 7.3%
Serving: 25 oz bottle
Description: This American IPA pours a deep, clear orange/amber color with a nice, fluffy, white head. The aroma is floral off the initial sniff and then leads into lemon zest and delicate citrus. Off the sip, the citrus character pulls through as the dominant flavor with decent amounts of oranges and earthy characters, and finishes off dry.
Overview: The newest of their Small Batch Series, the Monsoon Monster is a collaborative effort between John Harris (formerly Full Sail), Dan Buirk (Utah Brewers Co-Op) and Jason Stock (Squatters). Made with Falconer’s Flight hops (a varietal blend with heavy notes of lemon, grapefruit and other citrus), this beer packs quite a bit of bitterness, and a balance to make a sessionable IPA to enjoy.

Citra in Red
Brewery: Desert Edge
ABV: 4.0%
Serving: On Tap
Description: This new release from the brewhouse of Desert Edge is served clear and amber in color with an off-white, frothy head. The nose is a balanced blend of caramel and a soft, fruity citrus. The taste is malt-forward, with a definite presence of malt and an earthy graininess, followed up by piney hop citrus in the finish.
Overview: From one of my favorite places to see a new release comes this single-hopped red ale. Using only Citra hops, a variety of hops that are citrus dominant with some spice worked in (imagine your favorite American hop on crack), this beer is well put together with the hop character kicking some ass on the palate, and the solid malt character making this an easy drinker. I’m not ashamed to say I did some irreparable liver damage with this guy. I highly recommend it.

Chocolate Saison

Brewer/Brand: RedRock
ABV: 4.0%
Serving: On Tap
Description: This darker take on a French/Belgian style opens with a clean malt aroma, a hint of roast, and maybe a bit of black pepper. The color is a rich brown, similar to a porter, but not as black as a stout. The head is a dark, tannish lace that’s thin, but persistent. The taste is close to a porter as well, but with a subtle difference that becomes more distinct as the beer warms. Suddenly, spicy notes and some more complex saison character come out.
Overview: It’s more like a stout or porter than most saisons, but it’s nice to see brewers varying the profile of this versatile style. The yeast is what does the work, adding complexity to a solid base. Definitely worth a couple of pints to really discover its wealth of flavor, this brew will cross boundaries. Whether it’s a porter for Belgian-beer nerds or a Belgian for stout-drinkers, the result is delicious. –Rio Connelly

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