Beer Reviews

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Odds are, if you’re reading this, living a “countercultural” lifestyle is at the top of the list on that whole quasi-grasshopper-vision quest thing you call a life. In SLC, beer would be considered a top player on the list. The predominant culture hates it, and counterculture, for the most part, embraces it. For this month’s beer reviews, we have a group of beers that may epitomize one local brewery’s attempt to give the predominant culture the middle finger while their neo-conservative boot heels are firmly placed against your throat. You’ll find that these beers (on the whole) have a unifying theme. See if you can guess what it is.
 
Priesthood Pale Ale
Brewery/Brand: Epic Brewing Co./Unsacred
ABV: 4.0%
Serving Style: On Tap, 22 oz Bottle
Description: This one has a nice, deep ruby color, with a nose that’s grainy, piney and citrusy. As far as pale ales go, this is one dank, moist som’ bitch! Deep caramel pops out front with a rich earthiness. The end is hoppy and fruity with pine, berries and citrus.
Overview: Low in alcohol, but not watery by a long shot, it’s a nice, hearty pale ale, with good drinkability.  
 
Rimando’s Wit
Brewery/Brand: Epic Brewing Co./Unsacred
ABV: 4.0%
Serving Style: On Tap, 22 oz Bottle
Description: Rimando’s Wit has a hazy rice color with a fresh aroma of coriander and orange peel. The taste is spicy up front with a nice breadiness. The end is citrusy and slightly dry from the spices—nice and refreshing.
Overview: Named for Real Salt Lake Goalie Nick Rimando, this is the tamest in theme and palate. Drink it up before that boy puts a cleat up your ass! 
 
The Vision Lager
Brewery/Brand: Epic Brewing Co./Unsacred
ABV: 4.0%
Serving Style: On Tap, 22 oz Bottle
Description: This lager is crystal-clear straw in color with a light, sweet grainy nose. The taste follows with nice, bready, toasty grain. It finishes with biscuit, bitter grass and a tame earthiness. 
Overview: I’m having a “vision” of sorts right now. My spirit guide is telling me to ice-up some of these damn things, ’cause nothing quenches a thirst on a hot summer day like a nice German-style lager.  
 
Unfaithful IPA
Brewery/Brand: Epic Brewing Co./Unsacred
ABV: 4.0%
Serving Style: On Tap, 22 oz Bottle
Description: Unfaithful is deep and golden in color like an IPA should be. My sniffer gets nice notes of biscuit, pine and hints of cascade citrus. The flavor starts with biscuit malts, floral hops and pine resin. The end is bitter, dry and slightly harsh. 
Overview: Have faith here! This beer’s bitterness drives the need to keep drinking it. Its dryness, combined with low alcohol, creates some kind of yin-and-yang effect on the tongue, drying and quenching at the same time. Try it—you’ll understand.
 
Living along the Wasatch Front as we do, many of us tend to forget that the state of Utah is a pretty damn big piece of real estate—breweries are starting to pop up in practically every region of our nanny state. The farthest in-state brewery from the capital city is Zion Canyon Brewing Company, which is located in the town of Springdale, 307 miles to the south. Zion Canyon was started back in the Fall of 2006 by brothers Dale and Derek Harris and has thrived in Southern Utah since it opened. In early 2011, the brewery expanded their distribution to include the Wasatch Front. The brewery was recently sold to another group, which is in the process of expanding their brands. That’s a brief history of the brewery, but what about the beer? There are currently five beers coming out of the small Springdale brewery, and here are my impressions of the four that I’ve had.


Hop Valley IPA
Brewery/Brand: Zion Canyon Brewing
ABV: 4.0%
Serving Style: 12 oz Bottle
Description: It pours a hazy, amber-orange color. Stick your nose inside the glass, and you’ll get aromas of citrusy hops, some spices and malt. The flavor is sweet, with notes of flowers, caramel, lemon peel and pine. The finish is fairly bitter.
Overview: This is a pretty good session IPA—when served fresh, it really pops.
 
Jamaican Style Lager
Brewery/Brand: Zion Canyon Brewing
ABV: 4.0%
Serving Style: 12 oz Bottle
Description: This beer pours gold with almost a minimal head. My massive nose picks up notes of sweet malts, some grain malts and floral hops. I also get some apple and other faint, fruity notes. The taste is sweet, malty grain cut with mild floral and faint spice hops.
Overview: Not a bad attempt at an island lager—it works very well, especially this time of year.
 
Springdale Amber Ale
Brewery/Brand: Zion Canyon Brewing
ABV: 4.0%
Serving Style: 12 oz Bottle
Description: This amber-colored beer pours with a bit of haze, off-white, thin head on top. The nose was a mix of malted biscuits, wheat toast and citrus-hop notes. The flavors start with caramel, toasted cereal and a hint of tobacco. Next comes a floral hop bitterness that transitions to citrus as it heads into the finish.
Overview: There is a lot going on in this amber ale—probably the most flavorful out of the four.
 
Virgin Stout
Brewery/Brand: Zion Canyon Brewing
ABV: 4.0%
Serving Style: 12 oz Bottle
Description: Our last beer from ZCB pours an extremely dark brown with nice, burgundy highlights. The head is moderate and tan-hued. I really love getting my nose inside a beer to help boost the flavors. In this, I picked up big, roasty, almost burnt notes. The flavor mirrors the nose starting with dry, roasty cereal,  chocolate and coffee. Vanilla comes next with a roasty, hoppy finish.
Overview: It has a medium/thin mouthfeel, and the light carbonation gives it a pleasant creaminess. It’s a nice stout.
 
Cheers!

 

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