Beer Reviews

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I can’t believe how quickly summer has blazed by—It’s either the amount of fine beer that has been pumping through the beer shelves (and our veins), or it’s global warming’s refusal to give us decent summer weather. I’ll take the former on that one. The craft beer scene in Salt Lake has made a significant dent in the big guys and is on the cusp of doing even more damage. Thanks to our Utah brewers for keeping our palates entertained with a selection of styles. Raise your glass to each other and enjoy this high-point lineup for what is left of the summer heat.

Big Cottonwood Amber Ale
Brewery/Brand: Utah Brewers Cooperative/Squatters
ABV: 5.75%
Serving: 12 oz Bottle
Description: This newest member to the Utah beer lineup pours a crystal clear amber color with a light-tan head. The aroma is a balanced bready/caramel malt character with a firm piney American hop kick. The flavor is citrus forward and finishes on the palate with caramel and more hops.
Overview: This is yet another fine Squatters Pub crafted beer that has gotten enough of a crowd following to make it into the regular lineup of the Utah Brewers Cooperative. The original recipe came from the Squatters Emigration Amber Ale, a pub regular, before being beefed up in alcohol and with a bit heavier hopping regimen. This is an ideal summer drink for the hop heads who want a well-rounded amber.

Hop Syndrome Lager
Brewery/Brand: Epic Brewing Co.
ABV: 4.5%
Serving: 22 oz Bottle
Description: Off the crystal clear pour, this lager puts off a small white head and aromas of light toasted malt, lemon hops and sweet honey. The taste is smooth with very clean, bready malts and finishes off with a light grassy pine hop finish.
Overview: The newest addition to the Exponential Series, the Hop Syndrome is a hopped-up lager using a newer “high alpha” (really bitter) Calypso hop that has recently hit the market. While this may sound unpleasant to the light-beer consumer, these hops are well balanced and add a pleasant characteristic to the beer. Fret not, Natty sippers—sack up, and drink a beer that comes in a manly bottle.

Summerset Saison
Brewery/Brand: Hoppers Grill & Brewery
ABV: 7.4%
Serving: 750ml Bottle
Description: This saison comes out of the bottle honey/gold in color with a nice frothy white head. The aroma is a complex blend of yeasty spices, citrus hops and bright fruit. The flavor leads to balanced malts, spices, fresh fruit characters and an all-around mellow hop character.
Overview: I’ve never really offered myself to another man, other than Michael Landon and Steve McQueen, but Donovan Steele, with brewing skills like this, just made me switch teams. The saison yeast is known in the industry to be one of the hardest yeasts to handle, but Hoppers’ Head Brewer Steele has put his yeast-handling skills to the test and won. This is my new favorite of the year. Cheers.

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